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Wine Alley's Expert Opinion: What wine goes best with Asian food?

Par Vitisphere Le 29 septembre 2008
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Wine Alley's Expert Opinion: What wine goes best with Asian food?
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weet and salty Thaï, sweet and sour Vietnamese, spicy Szechuan and raw Japanese fish… Strikingly easy to sum all these up as one: Which wine with the Asian cuisine? The Asian cuisines, nonetheless, have spices and the fire of red chilli in common, while the contrasts of sweet and sour pose an enigma to the wine choice.

Some general principles still remain:

- Generally, white wine gets along better with Asian food then red wine. Careful with whites based on Chardonnay that lingered in the barrique, the wooden aroma gives spices like ginger, cumin and coriander (omni-present in the different Asian foods) a bitter taste.
- When chosing a red wine, only choose those with gentle tannins, avoid Merlots or Cabernets, but go for velvety and pick the smoothest wine possible.
- The best pairing partner for Asian food is usually found among the sweet or semi-dry white wines. German or Alsatian Riesling experience a real revival on the Asian markets, just like the Gewurztraminer, also in their late-harvest and selected-grape versions. At Sauternes, the Asian celebrity chef Ken Hom has hosted memorable and largely medialised dinners at Château Suduiraut, where the botritized white wine has accompanied his creations. In the Loire region, the non-wooden Chenin wines, whether dry, semi-dry or sweet are becoming more popular, just like the white wines of Jurançon.
- To those recommending a cold beer, for the sake of accompaning spicy hot food with a fizzy drink, one can point at the infinite variety of sparkling wines. The sweet effervescence of a ‘Muscato d’Asti’, does its wonders with a sweet and sour sauce, and with Sushi, no doubt: something dry, whether a Champagne, a Crémant or a Cava. At the top of elegance and luxury stands a pink champagne with Peking duck.

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