Sweet-sour wines for Chinese New Year

Chinese takeaway signReceived wisdom says the naturally sweet-sour flavours of German white wines work best with Chinese food. Which helps with the food-wine matching for this Saturday’s celebration of the Chinese New Year, but really any wine you like will match, but a bit of sweetness helps.

bowl and chopsticksThe slightly sweet lemon and almond flavours of Morrisons Vouvray (£8.50) balances the stodgy rice, batter and bean ingredients common in Oriental dishes, while its Riesling-taste-alike properties just stops this wine-food combination from becoming too rich and sickly. The one thing this wine does lack is aroma, there is a light hint of floralness but it's so slight you may miss it.  You can't say the same is true of German wines though.

Open any bottle of German Riesling, Müller-Thurgau or Gewürztraminer (literally the 'spicy traminer') and your nose is assaulted with honey, elderflower, pineapple and Cheshire cheese aromas. Overpowering for many, such a complex mix can easily swamp the delicate scents of lighter vegetarian Chinese dishes. For these a better choice is wine made from the Pinot grape.

Pinot Noir is grown in Germany but their typically chilly summers don't allow this red grape to ripen properly. But grow it in a warmer climate and the flavours expand beyound the usual light cherry into deeper flavours of coffee and rosemary. That's just what's going in Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Chilean Pinot Noir (£8) which is made, and bottled, for them by the quality outfit Errazuriz. Buy this wine while you can.

PG Wine Reviews

Chateau du SeuilSainsbury's Taste the Difference Chilean Pinot Noir 2015

£8 Sainsbury's

A great wine with flavours of cherry and plum followed by darker nuances of coffee and rosemary.

Morrisons French Vouvray 2015

£8.50 Morrisons

From the taste you'd think this was a Riesling but it is in fact made from the Chenin Blanc grape. Both give a slightly sweet and floral wine that's great with rich foods.

SPAR Spanish Rioja 2010 Gran Reserva

£8.50 SPAR

An excellent red wine with complex flavours of cherry, plum, raspberry and chocolate.

Lama di Pietra Nero di Troia 2015, Italy

£10 SPAR

Tastes like cherry Madiera cake. A really good wine.

Eberle Californian Viognier 2015

£21.99 Virgin Wines

A lovely example of a Viognier that's both floral and fruity – apricot, melon, ginger and apple flavours.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk