If you’re hoping for good fortune and planning to join in the Chinese New Year celebrations, chances are there will be a few ‘lucky foods’ on the menu – but what about the wines?
With a wealth of salty, spicy, sweet and sour dishes featuring in Chinese cuisine, there’s a gift to serving the right style of wine to complement the colourful parade of delicately balanced flavours.
So to raise a glass to the Year of the Dog and get your tasty take-away or home-made recipe off to a promising start – think whites with a touch of sweetness or grassy aromatics, and fruity reds with soft tannins. Here’s our selection…
1. Vina Ventisquero Root 1 Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Chile, currently reduced to £6 from £8 until Feb 27, Morrisons
Bright and delightfully herbaceous, this zippy sauvignon blanc has bursts of citrus and tropical fruit, with generous lime and minerally flavours backed by fresh acidity. A crowd-pleaser served with steamed fish, soy sauce and sweet and sour chicken.
2. Los Gansos Chilean Gewurztraminer 2017, Chile, £6.99, Aldi
Enhanced by a beguiling bouquet of lychee and rose petals, and just the right touch of floral sweetness, there’s an aromatic freshness to the apricot and lychee fruit. Not too overpowering, it’s a perfect match with fragrant, spicy foods and anything with coriander.
3. Split Rock Riesling 2014, Nelson, New Zealand, £11.99, laithwaites.co.uk
Dubbed the sommeliers’ favourite grape, riesling complements so many dishes – and this Kiwi really delivers, with fresh blossomy, spring flower aromas, and a whisper of sweetness to the round, peachy, citrusy fruit and mouth-watering finish. Balanced and stylish, enjoy with lucky spring rolls and everything else you fancy.
4. Extra Special Barbera D’Asti 2015, Piedmont, Italy, £5, Asda
A food-friendly barbera with an expressive red cherry nose, low tannins, fleshy dark fruits, earthy undertones and typical crunchy acidity, this strikes that perfect yin and yang with beef in black bean sauce or pork stir-fries.
5. Marques de Casa Concha Merlot 2014, Chile, £12, Tesco (in stores only, or £72 for a case of six online)
Legend has it that the more dumplings you eat during the celebrations, the more money you’ll make in the New Year – and if you ever needed an excuse to tuck in, and splash out, this is a must-try merlot with pork dumplings. Scented with deep flavours of wild berries, plums, mocha and spice, the rich, swathe of black fruit is supported by velvety smooth tannins.
6. Seaglass Pinot Noir, Santa Barbera County, USA, £13 or £78 for case of six, Marks & Spencer
If you’re going to order crispy Peking duck, you may as well do the dish justice and pair it with a plush pinot. A warm contrast to the pinot from Burgundy, this is a fruitier version that’s been blessed with Californian sunshine. With a lovely silky freshness and ribbons of cherry and strawberry fruit, the ripeness is balanced by the lifted finish.