I’ll grant you, when I grab a couple of my favourite dishes from a local Chinese takeout joint, fine wine pairings aren’t usually top of mind. Pairing wines with boldly flavoured foods, like my 6 go-to favourites below, can be a bit tricky. Whether we’re dealing with a bit of heat, sweetness, complexity or flavour intensity, the wrong glass of wine can conflict badly with these elements, or worse yet, spoil an otherwise tasty experience. It was with this in mind that I sat down today to take a look at some basic wine and food pairing guidelines that will help you find a wine that will offering immense drinking pleasure with 6 of the most popular Chinese takeout favourites.
1. Hot & Sour Soup RECIPE
Wine Match: Gewurztraminer; Albarino from Spain; or a dry Amontillado style Sherry
2. Kung Pao Shrimp RECIPE
Wine Match: Chenin Blanc from France’s Loire Valley, California or South Africa
3. General Tso Chicken RECIPE
Wine Match: Slightly off-dry/Kabinett style German Riesling from Mosel or Rheingau
4. Shanghai Noodles RECIPE
Wine Match: Herbaceous and zesty whites like Sauvignon Blanc; Verdejo; or Vinho Verde
5. Moo Shu Pork RECIPE
Wine Match: Lighter reds like Gamay or Pinot Noir – especially young Beaujolais
6. Szechuan Beef RECIPE
Wine Match: Sparkling wines like Prosecco, Cava or Spumante
Boldly flavoured and complex foods favour wines with concentration, power and complexity in relatively equal measure. Most classic Chinese takeout dishes, like those listed above, tend to pair best with aromatic wines with lower alcohol levels and less oak influence, as opposed to highly extracted, heavily oaked and high alcohol wines. When pairing wines with dishes that have a bit of spice, you’ll want to consider selections with a touch of sweetness, or even sparkling wines, whose texture helps cleanse the palate between bites.