5 Wines to Pair with Popular Asian Foods

Drink, Wine

The Lunar New Year is here, and what better way to ring in the Year of the Monkey, than with some recipes to bring good luck, fortune and prosperity? Tradition says that dishes incorporating citrus fruits like tangerines, oranges and pomelos to green leafy vegetables, whole fish and pork, may bring good fortune that will last the whole year. So invite everyone over as it is also said that the more visitors you receive for a New Year’s celebration, the greater the good fortune headed your way!


For Asian Salads: A Juicy Spanish White

Pomelo salad

The Chinese believe that eating pomelo—a citrus fruit that resembles a large grapefruit—will bring continued prosperity and status. And much like many Asian dishes, this Asian-inspired citrus salad brings together salty, sweet and sour flavors. For an ideal pairing, look to a wine that not only has bright acidity, but rich fruit to stand up to the assertive flavors like this Spanish white from Casal de Arman.

For Spicy Cellophane Noodles: A Soft Pinot Gris

Noodle dishes are another good-luck food in the new year; they reference the belief that the longer the noodle, the longer your life! For a spicy noodle recipe like Cellophane Noodles with Shrimp and Garlic, contrast the chile with a wine that has soft, lush fruit flavors, like Greywacke’s Pinot Gris.


For Whole Fish: An Earthy White Like Mendocino Pinot Grigio

Grilled Whole Fish

The Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for abundance, so fish is often cooked for celebrations ushering in the New Year. It is also very important that the fish is cooked whole, as it signifies that the year will begin and end favorably with fewer possibilities for bad luck. When choosing a wine to pair with a recipe for grilled whole fish, look for whites that have savory-earthy flavors. Monte Volpe’s Pinot Grigio is a great stylistic representation of a wine like this.


For Five-Spice Pork: An Alexander Valley Grenache


Pork is a meat seen by the Chinese to bring richness of life in the year ahead. Many recipes (like this one for pork shoulder) incorporating five-spice seasoning, a blend of star anise, fennel seeds, cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorn and cloves, for a delightful aroma. Wines that have supple, blue-black fruit flavors interwoven with warm spice notes, like a Grenache from the Sonoma Valley, will be stunning with this dish.


Orange-Flavored Cake: A Rich Dessert Wine from the Loire Valley

No Chinese New Year celebration would be complete without dessert. As one might expect, one belief is that sweets ensure a sweet year, so don’t forget the dessert! These orange butter cakes will put a smile on everyone’s face and when paired with this Coteaux du Layon dessert wine, you are guaranteed a sweet year ahead.


Head to the Williams-Sonoma Wine Shop for more wine selections.


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