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Wine pairing with a Chinese menu

I am planning a Chinese-themed cocktail party, and I'm looking for recommendations for choices of wine that might go with dim sum and some various noodle dishes. Red? White? I haven't a clue. I'm also serving a Chinese beer, but I've got that covered.

I would normally say sake, but isn't that more Japanese? I really have to stick with the Chinese theme, as it is a take on a Chinese New Year.

I would welcome any suggestions.

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  1. A dryish sparkling wine, either white or pink, would be a safe bet and would fit with the celebratory theme. Or open bottles of an easy-drinking red and white and let your guests choose. An Alsatian blend like Hugel's Gentil, a Chenin-based sipper from the Loire like Domaine de Brizé's Anjou blanc, a German Riesling Kabinett or Pine Ridge's Chenin-Viognier blend are a few affordable white options. Among reds, I'd look for something along the lines of Clos de la Briderie's Touraine-Mesland, Brun's Beaujolais "L'Ancien" or a low-endish Pinot Noir from Oregon (Argyle), California (Saintsbury Garnet), New Zealand (Sherwood) or Australia (Ninth Island).

    1 Reply
    1. re: carswell

      Thanks for the suggestions. I will look into all that is available, and maybe try a taste test.

    2. It really depends on what your balance of dishes is like and what kind of flavorings you're using. I personally don't find reds match well with most dim sum, especially if you have a preponderance of fried dishes or high concentrations of sesame oil and soy sauce. Steamed pork and seafood dishes with mild seasonings and sauces would do alright with a light red like those recommended by Carswell. For most other types of dim sum, I prefer to drink a crisp acidic white, like a New Zealand Suavignon Blanc. A dry white sparkling wine could work particularly well too.

      1. I would recommend relatively under-appreciated white wine variety - Viognier. I would stay away from any reds. Viognier is always recommended as specially good match with "asian" cousine. It is not uncommon to walk into some wine store and not find any Viognier but some intelligently stocked wine store should always have some.

        1. Champagne/sparkling, especially as Carswell states, a Rosé would be my first choice. For domestic sparklers, Iron Horse's Brute Rosé would be a good choice. For Champagne, the field is wide open.


          1. for dessert, a plum wine sparkler might be really nice! it might be too cute, on the other hand, but i'd push it and go there. i'd get some of the small heirloom plums that are seasonal right now for the garnish. use paper umbrellas at your own risk, but i bet your guests would love the whimsy, esp. if you served the cocktails with bowls of almond and fortune cookies (homemade of course).

            1. "Dim Sum and 'various noodle dishes'" could and does mean just about anything... from bland to spicy to who-knows-what.

              You want an extremely "universal" WHITE wine that can handle a wide range of flavorings..... Go with a wine that almost can't miss here.... Riesling. Kabinett would be first choice, if you're sure you're having some heavier/spicier dishes, perhaps some grilled foods, etc. then look at a Spatlese also, probably can't go too far wrong with either here.

              Second choice would be Gewurztraminer.... Since you say you haven't a clue, it's going to be easier and more certain going with a Riesling but if you could be sure of obtaining a truly great Alsatian Gewurztraminer then that would also be a real treat with this meal, IMO.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Chicago Mike

                If it helps to be more specific about the offerings, here's are the general menu items. Chicken Potstickers, Crab Rangoon, Steamed Pork Buns, Teriyaki Salmon and Spring Rolls. The noodle dish will be something like a Lo Mein. Nothing will be very spicy, just full-flavored.

                I like the idea of a sparkling wine or rosé. Even a Gewurztraminer. I think, however, that some people just won't want to drink white wine, so offering a red might be a good idea (even if it's a light red).

                1. re: sonofoodie

                  I'd go with Carswell's recommendations. I think sparkling is your best bet, followed by the chenin blancs of Loire. With the salmon teriyaki, I think a sancerre rouge seems best for red. It's light enough to go with the other items on your menu as well.

                  Just a suggestion on the menu. If you are planning on having red wine, I'd cut back or refrain altogether from using rice vinegar as part of your dipping sauces. Instead, add a squeeze of lemon juice. The sourness and the slight bitterness of the rice vinegar will turn most if not all of your red wines into something reminiscent of cherry cola.

                  1. re: sonofoodie

                    Chicken Potstickers, Crab Rangoon, Steamed Pork Buns, Teriyaki Salmon and Spring Rolls.....

                    This stuff, given the varying spice levels and flavors, has Riesling written all over it...

                    1. re: sonofoodie

                      For those who don't want to drink a white wine with this meal, offer them a wheat beer as a wine alternative... gonna taste alot better with this menu than any red wine I can think of.

                  2. Champagne. Regular or Rose. Maybe a slight preference for the rose.

                    If you absolutely need a red option I would go with a Rosso (or Brunello) di Montalcino. Or maybe a good Beaujolais.