This is the Year of the Dragon. According to legend the celestial dragon represents the emperor and power. Today the Dragon symbolizes success and happiness.
I always look forward to the celebration of the Chinese New Year and in many major cities here in the U.S. there are delicious offerings in many restaurants that we can enjoy.
Last year I did a post with wine pairing tips specifically for pairing with Asian style dishes.
In a nutshell, when choosing a wine for foods that are salty, spicy, sweet, and or sour there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The alcohol, tannins, and level of sweet/dry in a wine can make these flavors in the dishes change dramatically leaving unpleasant flavors on your palate.
Here’s the scoop:
1. Wines that are high in alcohol should not be paired with hot/spicy dishes — when you take a drink to refresh your palate you will get the reverse effect — your mouth will burn rather than cool off.
2. Do NOT choose a wine aged in oak.
3. For those who enjoy a red wine, choose a wine that is lower in tannins (Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, or Beaujolais).
To enjoy a wine with hot/spicy dishes choose a wine that has a little sweetness to it. Riesling is one wine to choose with it’s many styles from very dry to very sweet and everything in between.
Sparkling wines that are lower in alcohol, even at 10%, can be refreshing with spicy dishes. The bubbles along with the crispness of the wine will make your palate happy and you’ll enjoy your meal.