What wines for Chinese New Year?

If you want to celebrate the Chinese New Year with wine, here are our tuning tips!

Complex and fragrant, Chinese cuisine is as delicious as it is diverse, that the reason why pairing with Asian dishes can be frightening, yet there are wines that pair delicately and harmoniously with the dishes of the rising sun.

For the Chinese New Year of 2020, let’s be curious, let’s open up the palette of wines together and let’s discover the flavours.

Dry white wines go wonderfully with most Asian dishes

Spring rolls, originally from Vietnam, are very present in all Asian cuisines. They generally go very well with dry white mineral wines.

The wines from Chablis, Sancerre, or those, a little fatter, from Burgundy, bring acidity and freshness to the association of spring rolls and wines.

The Dim-Sum – famous steaming ravioli of Asian cuisine – also appreciate dry white and mineral wines. Here again, Chablis, Sancerre and Burgundy should be preferred.

Sweet and sour pork is best served with a dry white wine, sufficiently fat, with a nice acidic structure and a nice power for an optimal balance. Viognier de Condrieu, for example, should sublimate the aromas of this famous Asian dish.

Our selection: Chablis Gouttes de Lune by Domaine de Mauperthuis 2018

Chablis Gouttes de Lune by Domaine de Mauperthuis 2018

This is an amazing discovery that will not soon be forgotten. This is the ultimate in refreshing, yet food friendly wine. This Chablis reveals the purest expressions of Chardonnay. This grape variety reveals the region’s terroirs in a unique way. This is a wine of unequalled purity, powerful freshness, energy and a very beautiful crystalline expression!
If you are chardonnay lover, don’t miss this beauty.

To be honest, when we offered Mauperthuis‘ past vintages, I asserted that Chablis is a “world-class white wine by any measure, though its prices rarely reflect that.” Well, I double down on that sentiment with this 2018: It’s pitch-perfect Chablis, shot through with the kind of Chablisienne minerality that makes Chardonnay from here different from any other in the world. This one is priced to be a staple of your rotation, so if you missed it the last time, get onboard!

From a new family (relatively speaking) to Chablis, the estate belongs to Marie-Noëlle & Laurent Ternynck. The old vines Chablis saw 12 months in foudres, on the lees, with fruit gathered from vineyards in Fleys. The cool spot comes with a higher altitude, on a windswept plateau and so harvest is generally five to six days later. And so, their Chablis is cool, direct, taut and sapid stuff, as Chablis will go, from such a climate. Acidity runs rampant and travels quickly up and down and into parts of the mouth that stand up to take notice. Sharp and focused Chablis.

Soup, fried food, or peking duck: why not red wine?

Soups are the basis of various Asian cuisines. With these boiling dishes, avoid wines that need to be served chilled. So here’s your chance to bring out a red wine.

Deep-fried chicken and spring rolls will also appreciate light, fruity, slightly acidic red wines. Wines from the Loire such as a Saumur-Champigny or a Bourgueil, a pinot noir from Burgundy or Alsace will make a perfect match with fried chicken.

Nevertheless, if the dish, frying or nem is with shrimps or seafood, prefer a dry white wine, Burgundy or northern Côtes-du-Rhône.

Our selection : Bourgogne Pinot Noir Vieilles Vignes by Roche de Bellene 2017

Bourgogne Pinot Noir Vieilles Vignes by Roche de Bellene 2017

The words vieilles vignes (“old vines”) on a label should always grab your attention. Mature vines are a treasure worth trumpeting on your label (if you have them), and Nicolas Potel of Maison Roche De Bellene sources today’s modestly priced Bourgogne Pinot Noir from vineyards that are 30-80 years of age. That’s impressive raw material for a bottle in this appellation/price tier, but perhaps it’s to be expected when you’re talking about an estate with pedigree that dates back to the 60’s in Volnay.

We often say that the best way to judge a producer is by its ‘entry-level’ bottling, and based on this sub-$30 stunner, you bet we’ll be hunting for Premier and Grand Cru bottlings from Nicholas Potel in the future.

At this price our advice is to jump all over this before it disappears!

The peking duck will be will be on a lovely balance if it is accompanied by a structured and tannic red wine, or even a wine for laying down which has developed aromas of ageing.

A couple of words from Robert Parker’s “The Wine Advocate” on Roche de Bellene. 

“I must also praise a clutch of superb wines from that scallywag Nicolas Potel, who may have lost his name, but certainly not his unquestionable craftsmanship. Under his negociant label Maison Roche de Bellene and his own arm Domaine de Bellene based at his new chai in Beaune (Bellene being the ancient name for the town) he has fashioned some outstanding wines, many at very reasonable prices. Bravo!” 
– Neal Martin, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Côtes-Rôties will undoubtedly be appreciated with this typically Asian dish.

Our selection: Côte-Rôtie Réserve by Stéphane Ogier 2015

Consider the following:

1) Winemaker Stéphane Ogier is a bonafide wine superstar.
2) The 2015 vintage was an outstanding year in the northern Rhône.
3) Côte-Rôtie is perhaps the grandest, most illustrious Syrah terroir on earth.

What happens when all three converge into one? Ogier’s highly prized Côte-Rôtie. In 2015, this top bottling reached untold levels of polished depth, profound savour, and cellar appeal that extends far beyond the horizon.

If I had to pick just 1 appellation, it would be Côte-Rôtie. Ogier’s Côte-Rôties are there with the best of them.

Côte-Rôtie Réserve by Stéphane Ogier 2015

There are a few winemakers in the world that can consistently create the wine epiphany. Every time I drink the wines made by Stéphane Ogier, I try to imagine how a wine could possibly get any better and then….. I can’t.

These bottles will evolve into an unforgettable savoury treasure in the years and decades to come and its value will keep rising too!

Go for sweet wines!

There are still caramelized meats, pork or duck, which are very common in Chinese kitchens.

These caramelized dishes like sweet wines. They will accompany the sweetness of the dishes while bringing liveliness: a perfect balance and a great opportunity to open a gewurztraminer for example.

Our selection: Riesling Terroir Discovery Pack by Tawse Winery 2017

This is the perfect pack to discover the best of Ontario wine from one of the best producers in the area. It included :

  • 1 bottle x Quarry Road Gewürztraminer VQA by Tawse Winery 2017 (750 ml)
  • 1 bottle x Limestone Ridge Riesling VQA by Tawse Winery 2017 (750 ml)
  • 1 bottle x Carly’s Block Riesling by Tawse Winery 2017 (750 ml)
Riesling Terroir Discovery Pack by Tawse Winery 2017

Where to find these wines in Canada?

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