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The Best Wines For Your Favourite Chinese Dishes

Written by Shane Grennan

Chinese takeaway and Friday evening mean the start of the weekend,  it does however present a difficultly pairing, spice and strong flavours are a challenge but here are my best options.  Those that suit best are simple well priced wines, not demanding huge engagement and analysis, built for food, which is ideal for Friday!

Chicken Szechuan & Burgundy Pinot Noir

When you've had an especially hard week and deserve something a little bit special, Szechuan and Burgundy Pinot Noir are the golden ticket. Szechuan based foods are full of vibrant spice, which means you need a high acidity wine to balance things out — making a Red Burgundy the perfect choice. Typical Burgundy Pinot traits offer a vibrant acidity with a nose of cherry and blackberry - the spice doesn’t dominate the complexity of the wine, meaning they pair really well with Szechuan dishes. Even on the finish the soft tannins compliment and don’t interfere.  

Suggested Wine: Jean Bourguignan Nuits-Saint-George

Wine: Nuits-Saint-George
Winemaker: Jean Bourguignan
Vintage: 2012
Variety: Pinot Noir – Burgundy
Region: France, Burgundy, Nuits-Saint-George
Price: £22.50 
Buy now from Majestic 

Black Bean Sauce Dishes & Alsace Riesling

Black Bean Sauce sypped.com best wines for chinese dishes.jpg

Black Bean Sauce dishes are not heavily spiced or fiery but are a little salty, so an ideal pairing is an off dry wine which will deliver balance, enter Alsace Riesling. This one is a very well know family producer, widely available and good value.  It has wonderful balance and elegance with an alluring yellow hue in the glass.  A crisp clean nose with an energetic palate, it shows white peach and apple, loads of freshness and very enjoyable drinking, a simple, vibrant, satisfying wine which makes it sing with these dishes. 

Suggested Wine: Hugel Alsace Riesling

Wine: Alsace Riesling
Winemaker: Hugel et Fils
Vintage: 2014
Variety: Riesling
Region: France, Alsace
Price: £15.95
Buy now from Winesdirect.co.uk

Chow Mein & French Viognier

Chow Mein is a wonderful rich textured dish so it demands a rounder style wine and this entry level Viognier hits that spot with gusto. Roundness generally means a decent price and that is never truer than here, yes it’s less complex but sometimes that’s just what you want and this represents enjoyable easy drinking. It exudes gooseberry and florals in the nose, enthusiastically youthful and fresh. The palate has pears and peach, roundness, a tiny little bit tart in the finish but with the Chow Mein it sings. The finish persists quite well. Total value here!  

Suggested Wine: La Campagne Viognier

Wine: Viognier
Winemaker: La Campagne
Vintage: 2016
Variety: Viognier
Region: France, Languedoc-Roussillon
Price: £5.95
Buy now from Matthew Clarke Online

Peking Duck Pancakes & Italian Merlot

A marvellous pairing opportunity here, all that yummy crispy fatty duck and plum sauce waiting to be matched with a fruity red with gently tannins and Rizzardi make an absolute gem.  It has a vibrant nose, chocolate, espresso, liquorice, cigar box, wonderful character, intensity, some truffled black fruit, it is an experience but won't over come the food. The palate is rich with a lightness and acidity that suits the fatty duck perfectly, they finish together with fine polished tannin. A symphony if ever there was one!

Suggested Wine: Rizzardi Clos Roareti

Wine: Clos Roareti
Winemaker: Rizzardi
Vintage: 2009
Variety: Merlot
Region: Italy, Valpolicella
Price: £19.65
Buy now from Field and Fawcett Online

Sweet & Sour & Champagne

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How does one pair a wine with something that is both sweet and sour (savoury)!  Bring out the big guns, Champagne!

Champagne offers a wide profile from zero dosage , super dry examples to Sec and Demi Sec and my experience says lean towards a slightly sweeter Champagne for this dish.  Lanson offers a perfectly balanced example with great value for money.  This is fresh and lively, flowers, honey, citrus but not too much and a wonderful buttered toast element, nutty. The bubble density is not insane, enough, pairing in beautiful harmony with the sweet and sour dish, winding to a satisfying finish where both food and wine win!

Suggested Wine: Lanson Black Label Champagne NV

Wine: Black Label Champagne
Winemaker: Lanson
Vintage: Non Vintage
Variety: Champagne - Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir
Region: France, Champagne
Price: £20
Buy Now from Ocado Online