After all of the festivities surrounding Christmas and New Year, January can feel a bit flat. Luckily, at the start of February, it’s Chinese New Year! Preparations start at the end of January and Chinese New Year officially begins on 5 February this year. And the best thing is that it goes on until 19th February, so there’s plenty of time to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Pig with your own feast.
Chinese food is well known for its flavour combinations and delicious mix of spicy sweetness. But don’t forget that it’s not just about Chinese food. Other countries celebrate their new year at the same time, including Singapore, Laos, Korea and Vietnam. So, there are lots of cuisine choices to try out.
Wines to enjoy at Chinese New Year
If you’ve chosen food from Vietnam for a celebratory meal, then the flavour profile is a bit different to Chinese food. It’s a bit less spicy and sweet than many traditional Chinese meals, and definitely less impactful than Korean dishes. All of which lends itself to a nice white wine to go with it. Gruner veltliner from Austria is a delicious choice, such as the peppery but light Felsner Moosburgerin Gruner Veltliner.
Chinese restaurants, of course, take their wine as seriously as anyone and boast decent wine lists. In London, for example, you’ll find Imperial Treasure, a relatively new high-end Chinese restaurant juts off Pall Mall. Its speciality is Peking duck, that would set you back a decent wedge of money, as would the wine they suggest to go with it – a Cheval Blanc at £2,778!
If you’re considering more of a home-cooked Chinese inspired feast, or a takeaway from your favourite restaurant, then there are plenty of wines that work well. If you tend to stick with classic Chinese dishes, such as sweet-and-sour chicken, which can be difficult to match, you could go for a fruity white wine like Fruit Orchestra Chenin Blanc Viognier 2018.
Other wines for Chinese food
While many people automatically go for white with their Chinese meal, it’s always possible to find a nice red to enjoy. Go for a smooth, medium bodied red as a decent choice. A bottle of sparkling wine or champagne can also offset your Chinese New Year feast, particularly if you like to have lots of dim sum snacks.
Try a New Zealand Pinot Gris with its hint of sweetness to go with traditional Chinese food. If you’re opting for a banquet with all the courses, then a Californian Riesling would take you all the way through.