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Pairing wine with Asian food

Gone are the days when mealtimes in an English household were dominated by meat and two veg, fish on a Friday and the Sunday roast. Now, our eating habits are as international as our wine drinking always has been.

What’s ironic is that the vines planted, and the style of English wines made, in the dying days of “English cuisine” are actually the perfect match for many of the “foreign” recipes that we can’t get enough of these days. So, what are the wines, and what are the foods they go with?

Let’s start with Denbies Surrey Gold. With its fragrant peach notes, a flinty backbone and a hint of ginger this well-structured wine will complement a Vietnamese “pho ga” dish perfectly. This chicken noodle soup is super-comforting and warming – just the thing to turn to as the nights draw in, with the Surrey Gold as its ideal companion.

Then there’s Chilford Hall Legacy 2016.

It’s off-dry and fruity, with delicate aromas of lychee, cucumber and Turkish delight. These flavours work so well with spicy Chinese dishes, like Szechuan pork. The ripe fruit and small amount of residual sugar stand up to the chilli and provide a refreshing, soothing accompaniment to the dish.

Indian dishes have always been notoriously hard to pair with wine, and low-gas beers like Cobra do work well. But if you’re after a shorter drink, how about Three Choirs Reserve Rosé?

It has the flavours and sweetness to work in perfect synthesis with the spiciness of a Chicken Tikka Marsala or even a Lamb Rogan Josh. But if you’re going down the Vindaloo route then we’d advise you to stick to a giant jug of milk!

What’s the common theme to these wines? It’s those grape varieties I alluded to earlier, which were so in vogue in the 1970s and 1980s.

Germanic hybrids, bred for cool climate conditions – which England definitely was and still is, on an international perspective. Their acidity is low: acidity accentuated spiciness and increases the burn, so low acidity is a plus. They have some sweetness to them – sugar balances some of the fire in a dish. They are low alcohol, because of the cool climate: alcohol exacerbates chilli fire. And finally, they have the ripe fruit flavours, like peach, melon, and even pineapple or banana, that are included in or complement so many different Asian dishes.

Wine critics can be snobby about these types of wine, but we think that’s because they encounter them in the middle of a flight of 100+ wines that they’re sniffing, sipping and spitting, rather than in their ideal environment – in a glass on your table next to a plateful of gorgeous Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Malaysian etc (you get the picture) food.

We’ve put together a mixed case of “Asian food lovers wines” that will take your food and wine matching to another level. Enjoy!

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