Chinese

Jukes Wine And Food Chinese

The perennial problem when matching wine to Chinese food is that the second you and your pals see the menu, everyone one wants something different and, of course, everyone is an expert! So, in the end, you settle on sharing your dishes with your mates and end up tasting every dish on the table, thus mixing flavours wildly. Sweet-and-sour dishes slam into spicy ones, stir-fried dishes envelop into crispy chilli ones, while poor old plain-boiled food struggles for a break in the non-stop, kick-boxing, palate action. John Woo would be proud of the mayhem, but your taste buds are crying for a break, so this means Chinese-friendly wines must be multi-skilled, pure, fruit-driven offerings with lashings of all-important, crisp acidity – the saviour, and eventual hero of our piece. Tannic, youthful reds and oaky, full-bodied whites are completely out of bounds – thugs. White grape varieties to consider (in unoaked form) are Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Semillon, Pinot Gris, Greco (southern Italy), Verdelho (totally underrated from Australia) and bone-dry Gewürztraminer. Reds are a little more difficult, as there are only a few truly juicy varieties, but New World Merlot, Argentinean Bonarda and cheaper Californian Zinfandels are all good bets. It is no surprise that Antipodean wines work well with this style of cooking as Asia is on their doorstep. One style of wine which I talk about a lot on my trips to China is rosé. It is amazing how versatile rosé wines are with a vast array of Chinese cuisine. I cannot see older Chinese drinking anything other than red wine, but the millennials are with me, and I would bet that rosé becomes a serious contender in top-end Chinese restaurants before too long. Refreshing, deeply fruited, dry and priced from entry-level to elite, this is the only style of wine which ticks all the boxes. Hao chi, Ganbei.