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Wines to complement Spring Festival dinner

By Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-06 07:59

Wines to complement Spring Festival dinner

Wine is not the traditional beverage to match with a Chinese feast's wide variety of dishes, but experts say there are smart choices that will do the job. [Photo provided to China Daily]

With Chinese New Year fast approaching, China Daily invites Asia's leading wine experts and educators to pick two moderately priced wines that would complement foods at the year's biggest banquet. Mike Peters reports.

What would a Chinese New Year banquet be without some nice tipple?

For centuries, the drink of choice at Spring Festival feasts has been baijiu, the potent Chinese white liquor that has fueled generations of merry-making.

With the growing popularity of grape wine in China, however, we pondered the challenge of matching appropriate vintages with such a meal.

Conventional wine-pairing dinners generally cater to the format of European fine dining: Courses are served one at a time, with a different wine matched to each. That's not practical at a Chinese banquet-and many everyday Chinese meals-when courses arrive in waves if not all at once.

So we challenged Asia's eight members of the Institute of Masters of Wine to keep it simple, and suggest one red and one white for the night.

None were tempted to go "lowest common denominator"-forget about inoffensive soft whites or delicate reds that lack the oomph to compete with what might be on the table. "You need a certain amount of acidity to marry wines well with food," one says, echoing a common theme. The words "spicy", "mineral", "peppery" and "fragrant" occur repeatedly in the descriptors below. Sissy wines need not apply.

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