The ultimate guide to pairing wine with Asian food

Good things come in pairs - when you pair wine or whisky with Asian flavours, expect some pleasant surprises.

1. Dry Riesling

Photo: The New Paper

Having a fiery Indian curry or lip-numbing Thai stir-fry? Opt for a low-alcohol dry Riesling. Widely considered the classic accompaniment for spicy fare, it has intense fruit flavour, natural acidity plus a tinge of sweetness to counter the heat!

2. Pinot Gris

Photo: tabla!

Acidity and sugar aren't the only components that can mediate spice - viscosity can have the same effect. Try this rich, lush wine with a Thai green curry or chicken masala.

3. Champagne

Photo: The Straits Times

Most dry sparkling wines go well with anything salty, thanks to their light sweetness. Try it with Vietnamese spring rolls and a fish sauce dip.

4. Malbec

Photo: The New Paper

This bold wine pairs perfectly with sweet-spicy barbecue sauces, such as Thai sweet and sour fish, or popular Cantonese stir-fries such as black pepper beef.

5. Sauvignon Blanc

Photo: The New Paper

As a general rule, choose wine with a higher acidity level than the food that it's match with, so that it doesn't taste flat. Sweet and sour pork goes much better with a high-acid Sauvignon Blanc, than with a buttery Chardonnay.

6. Cabernet Sauvignon

Photo: The New Paper

The tannins in red wine are what help give it structure, making it an ideal complement to luxurious meats. Brawny reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah taste amazing with braised duck or Taiwanese sausages (which tend to have a fairly high fat content).

7. Moscato d'Asti

Photo: Berita Harian

Opt for this sparkling wine with a fruity dessert like almond pudding with lychees. Its sweetness and low alcohol content make it perfect for pairing with spicy fare, too.

This article was first published on The Finder.

Wine myths to stop believing

  • Fact: Surprise! Wines can actually expire.

    Not all wines can age gracefully, and many soon turn stale after a year or two. Only about one per cent of all wines improve with long-term cellaring of five to 10 years.

    Photo: Pixabay

  • Fact: Wine prices are not only influenced by quality. Image - along with market conditions, demand and even currency fluctuations - influence the price.

    Less familiar wines from more unfashionable regions and producers can also offer surprisingly good, value-for-money wines.

    Photo: Pixabay

  • Fact: Don't judge a wine by its bottle.

    A heavier bottle certainly indicates that the winery has made a substantial investment in the packaging, but that doesn't mean that the wine itself is exceptional.

    And just remember: the cost of shipping heavier packing also costs more, which is factored into its final retail price.

    Photo: Pixabay

  • Fact: You don't have to confine your wine to only Western cuisine - you can drink it with Asian food too if you choose something suitable.

    Chinese food pairs perfectly with wines that have high acidity, lower alcohol and relatively understated flavours and aromas. The next time you dig into your stir-fry, try Riesling if you prefer white wine or Pinot Noir if you like red.

    Photo: Pixabay

  • Fact: Cork has been preferred choice as it allows small amounts of oxygen into the wine to help aid its evolution - an important aspect for reds.

    But this doesn't mean that wines can't mature well with screw-on caps.

    Photo: Pixabay

  • Fact: Beer, wine, and liquors all confer the same health benefits.

    Research has revealed that it's not antioxidants that protect against heart disease, but alcohol, which raises levels of HDL - also known as good cholesterol. This helps to reduce plaque formation and clots in the arteries to lower the risk of heart diseases.

    But of course, this isn't a free pass to load up on booze. Drink in moderation!

    Photo: Pixabay

  • Fact: While this is commonly believed, the reality is that not all cheeses pair well with wine. Heavy textured and strong-tasting cheeses overpower the tongue's ability to fully enjoy the richness and balance of a good wine.

    Pair your tipple with a softer, milder cheese like Brie.

    Photo: Pixabay

  • Fact: Uncorking a bottle does not sufficiently aerate wine as the narrow bottleneck restricts airflow.

    Pouring the wine through a decanter into your glass is a more effective way to let it breathe.

    You can also gently jiggle the bottle after opening it to fully aerate your wine and release its flavour and aroma.

    Photo: Pixabay