My favourite white wines for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a fantastic excuse to heat the wok, twist the corkscrew and do one of the things I love best. Cook food and drink wine. Here’s some of my favourite white wines for Chinese New Year.

I picked some lovely things to cook for friends. Spare ribs marinaded overnight; salt and Sichuan pepper king prawns; aromatic beef, slow-cooked with garlic, ginger and star anise; a spicy chicken stir fry and a side of pak choi and oyster sauce. Finally, a sticky pudding finish.

Chinese New Year food and wine pairing
Spare ribs marinated overnight

I chose white wines – aromatic white wines perfect with the myriad of flavours and aromas from my Chinese feast.

Here are my five whites (and a dessert wine too):

Chinese New Year food and wine pairing
Sichuan pepper king prawns are perfect with an aromatic white wine

Extra Special Viognier (ASDA, £5). Peachy, perfectly peachy. Peachy and peppery in fact, with hints of apricots. This wine won a bronze at the 2014 International Wine Challenge and this was a winner too with the prawns. A slight spice in this French wine complemented the spicy but aromatic Sichuan blend which fireworked the prawns.

Chinese New Year food and wine pairing
Asda Extra Special Viognier and The Exquisite Collection Clare Valley Riesling from Aldi

Tesco finest Tingleup Riesling (£9.99) It has juicy seams of lemon and lime cutting right through it. Mouthwatering rivers of citrus race and surge with flavour. Wow. What a star. Perhaps the spare ribs would be great with a red, but I’ll tell you what; the taste tangle of flavours in the marinade and the tingle of the Tingleup, was akin to a melting, sherbetty, Flying Saucer kiddies’ Penny Tray sweet. Trust me.

Tesco Finest Tingleup Riesling review
Tesco Finest Tingleup Riesling

The Exquisite Collection Clare Valley Riesling (£6.99, Aldi) This wine is a ladle of lime, crisp and sparky. It didn’t shine as bright as the Tingleup by glass-to-glass comparison, but if this were the only wine in the world I wouldn’t complain. The prawns had a dipping sauce which included a multi-squeeze of three limes (and one mischievous wayward lime pip) and Aldi’s wine shrugged off the citrus competition.

Viñas del Vero Gewürztraminer, Somontano 2013 (£10.49,Majestic) is from northern Spain and is a veritable tease of aromas, with roses, tropical fruit and lychee. I love gewurtz. My slow-cooked gingery beef was hazed in aromatic, spicy perfume from the star anise. Along came the gewurtz which said, hey, I can match this.

Chinese New Year food and wine pairing

The Society’s Vin D’Alsace (The Wine Society, £8.50) A favourite wine of mine, and it seemed right it should grace the table for a Chinese feast. It’s a blend of sylvaner, which gives the wine its structure, and riesling, gewurztraminer and pinot gris, with a touch of muscat. All wonderful Chinese matches in their own right; blended together a shoo-in.

This was brilliant with the simple pak choi which was stirfried in moments with garlic then graced with chilli. The wine is full and fruity, not too complex, but with a tastebud ping pong.

I don’t usually do puds, but I made toffee and sesame grilled bananas. With them, a “small” glass of Sticky End Sauvignon Blanc 2012, (£15.99, Majestic; mix and match two bottles and save 33% – £10.65). I can’t tell you how gorgeous this is. The wine is a treat of lychees, apricot, caramel topping, vanilla and a shake of spice. A Sticky End for a perfect sticky end.

A Sticky End Noble Sauvignon Blanc wine review
A Sticky End Noble Sauvignon Blanc

(I took all my recipes from www.bbcgoodfood.com)

Also in my glass. … some last minute Valentine’s Day thoughts.  Louis Delaunay Champagne is reduced to £12.99 from £25.99 at Tesco until today (February 14th). It is apple crisp, with green apple and biscuit aromas. Cono Sur has included a gift tag for you to personalise a special Valentine bottle of its Sparkling Rosé (on offer at £7.49 in Tesco also until today, Feb 14).

Finally, Bloom Gin is created by the world’s first female master gin distiller, Joanne Moore. It is a lovely floral flirt of botanics, and comes complete with a pink bow and gift tag at Sainsbury and Waitrose (RRP £22).

Published in the saturday extra magazine February 14, 2015

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