An excuse to eat Chinese food and drink wine, on a Tuesday night? You bet we’ll be celebrating Chinese New Year on 5th February 2019.
Many UK celebrations are also happening this year on 10th February which is the first Sunday after the Chinese New Year to celebrate the arrival of 2019, the Chinese year of the pig. So, get the dates in the diary. Lord knows we all need an excuse to celebrate at this time of year.
Wine is compulsory at Chinese New Year celebrations, as alcohol is believed to ward off bad luck. Plenty of wine is drunk during the family reunion meal on Chinese New Year’s Eve and throughout the evening until midnight when fireworks are set off. So, if you are planning to see in the Chinese New Year in style, you really do need to stock up…
Everything that happens on Chinese New Year is symbolic and is designed to bring health, wealth and success in the coming year, so the choice of wine is all important. Plus if the wine enhances the flavours of the food, the evening will be all the more enjoyable.
Here are our top wine picks for your CNY celebrations plus the best foods to eat with them.
Spring Rolls and Dumplings, Fried noodles
All of these are considered very lucky if eaten on Chinese New Year, with the extra length of your noodles signifying longevity. Domaine de Pellehaut Family Reserve Rosé, 2017, France is a great all-rounder which should go with a variety of mild flavours. Voted as a finalist at the People’s Choice Wine Awards 2019, this is sure to please many palates.
Fish and Seafood
With the eating of fish believed to bring prosperity, you’ll need a very fish-friendly wine like The Dreamer Viognier, Australia. It is delightfully aromatic with a light, refreshing palate which goes particularly well with light textures white fish such as carp and catfish, popular choices in a New Year’s banquet, due to their auspicious-sounding names.
Duck Pancakes and Spare Ribs
The ubiquitous starter for Chinese meals in Britain, these robust dishes call for a red like Rude Reserve Rouge, 2016, France. Rude Wines house red is a dry yet fruity blend of Syrah, Grenache, Merlot and a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon, a food-friendly wine that can stand up to the rich umami and spice of crispy duck with a dash of hoisin sauce or glazed spare ribs. With its vibrant red label, the bottle will look the part on any festive Chinese table, with red being a lucky colour in Chinese culture and believed to ward off the fabled New Year’s Eve monster.
Sweet and Sour Dishes
An off-dry white made with aromatic grapes like Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Viognier is a winner with any Chinese dish with a touch of sweetness. The Berry Box White, South Africa has a touch of fruity sweetness with bags of peach and apricot flavours, but has a good dollop of acidity, the perfect match for sweet and sour dishes particularly chicken, prawn or pork.
Beef Dishes and Roast Meats
With Chinese people adorning their homes with red decorations to celebrate the New Year, any red wine would be fortuitous, but ones with the word in their title are even better.
The sweet fruit and velvety texture of this Redman Shiraz 2013, Australia are a perfect match for stewed meats such as Braised Beef with Ginger.
A beautifully aged Portuguese red whose tannins have softened nicely would be a good match for roast suckling pig. Quinta do Rocio 2008, Portugal is a smooth blend of Syrah, Grenache, Merlot and Touriga Nacional (a grape usually used for making Port), so its complexities should stand up to the layers of flavour in Chinese spice blends used in the rubs on roast meats.
Sweet Rice Cakes and Citrus Fruits
These are all lucky desserts to eat on Chinese New Year and dessert white like Louis Guntrum’s Riesling Auslese 2015, Germany is a suitably celebratory wine to match. Made from late-harvest grapes which have been allowed to ripen on the vine well into Autumn until flavours are incredibly concentrated, this is one to save for the grand finale. A couple of bottles could last until the fireworks at midnight, but failing that stock up on Prosecco to keep the hordes happy. Rude Wines House Prosecco, Italy has an auspicious orange label. With the word for ‘orange’ in Chinese rhyming with that of ‘success’, what better way to ring in the Chinese New Year?
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