8 Tips for Chinese New Year Wine Pairing


1.  Sense of union.
Chinese families prepare their New Year feast by laying out the best classic dishes, each symbolizing a good fortune – and they usually cover all major ingredients from land to sea. Include 3 – 5 wines (or more!) with different flavor intensity and body. Offer each guest two glasses (one for bubbly and white, one for red) so they can share the good-fortune of pairing.

2. Let Umami shine.
Umami is that deep savory sensation that’s very rich in Chinese cuisine. It needs certain flavor intensity in wines, otherwise pairing would feel hollow. Avoid tannic young wines, while mature wines could be outstanding partners.

3. Embrace acidity.
Acidity triggers saliva, resets palate and keeps you excited for each single bite! A New World Pinot Noir with refreshing acidity could add feather to red cooked duck.

4. Dial sweetness.
Sweetness balances salt and hotness, and stands up to sweeter dish. Sweet & Sour Fish is awesome with German Riesling, Alsatian Gewürztraminer or rose bubbly.

5. Think like a chef.
A cru Beaujolais with nice depth and fruit can finish off Drunken Chicken as a “sauce”. A New World Cabernet Sauvignon can extend complexity to Braised Whole Hog.

6. Include a bubbly.
Bubbles in wine scrub and refresh palate, and could transform pairings in magical ways. Vintage Champagnes compliment delicacy in finer dishes; Proseccos celebrate hot pots.

7. Some great ideas.
Versatile whites
Light body: Alsace Riesling or Pinot Blanc;
Medium body: Burgundy 1er Crus, Gruner, German Riesling, California Fume Blanc
Versatile reds
Medium body: New World Pinot Noir, Burgundy 1er Crus, Rhone
Heavy body: New World Cabernet or Syrah; Mature Bordeaux, premium Chianti

8. Year of Sheep.
Year of Sheep in 2015 represents earth and wood elements, so it might be good fortune to embrace those elements in your wine selections. I might go for an earthy Loire Cab Franc, or an aged Etna Rosso!