Hong Kong is gearing up to celebrate the Year of the Tiger! So we wanted to highlight a few of our favourite traditional New Year dishes and our insights into what wines match best. So if you will be enjoying any of these dishes with family or friends this New Year, we hope to leave you with a few ‘new’ wine pairing ideas! Kung Hei Fat Choy, we wish you lots of happiness, good health, wine, and many red packets!
1. Spring Rolls
Wine Pairing: First Sighting Sauvignon Blanc
Why it works: With all things fried, we suggest a wine with a nice burst of citrus such as the First Sighting Sauvignon Blanc from Strandveld Vineyards. This wine has high acidity with herbal and citrus flavours that will help cut through any oiliness, balance out the chilli heat, and give a nice lemony zing to a lucky golden spring roll.
Wine Pairing: Litre Riesling (Dry) by Hinterbichler
Why it works: A nice dry Riesling, like our Litre Riesling from Hinterbichler, has a refreshing acidity and clean flavours that match perfectly with dumplings. A dry riesling complements many different fillings and will help offset the oiliness of the dumplings (especially if they are fried). And to top it off this wine comes in a litre bottle which makes it perfect for sharing during a CNY celebration.
Fun Fact: The shape of dumplings resembles old-style gold ingots/money hence why they symbolise wealth! They say the more you eat, the more money you can make in the upcoming year... And to that, we say: challenge accepted.
3. Longevity Noodles
Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir Rosé from Weingut Gabel
Rosé is one of the most visually appealing wines to enjoy and the colour pink symbolises love and happiness! So sharing the perfect Rosé is itself an act of love and happiness - a fitting match with a dish that will bring you a long and happy life.
Alternatively, a fruity sparkling, such as our Sylvester Secco from Hinterbichler, is an equally great option here since the light and bubbly flavour is great with all different types of noodles.
4. Peking Duck
Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir from Karl May
Why it works: Duck is the best of both worlds- it's technically poultry but the flavour profile is heavy like red meat. Because duck is richer than most poultry but lighter than beef, the balance can be made right in the middle with lighter reds such as this Pinot Noir from Karl May. Its low tannins and slender fruity flavour is a great complement to the savoury and salty taste of Peking Duck and its acidity helps the greasy feel of the dish.
5. Steamed Fish
Wine Pairing: BRDX - Blanc (White Bordeaux) from Château de Lisennes
Why it works: Seafood and fish dishes are soft and light so they pair beautifully with similar light white wines from the Bordeaux region such as the BRDX - Blanc. Made with the famous white wine grape varieties of the region (Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Semillon), this wine is crisp and has wonderful acidity, medium-body, and is not too light or heavy, so it’s great in handling oiliness in a dish without overpowering the delicate flavours of steamed fish.
6. Good fortune fruits
Wine Pairing: Prosecco
Why it works: Since Lunar New Year falls during colder months, “good fortune fruits” tend to be winter citruses like oranges, tangerines, kumquats, and pomelos. The fruits are typically round and golden in colour, so they’re said to symbolise fullness and wealth. Prosecco is a great match with these fruits since it's dry, refreshing, and perfectly festive!
7. Nian Gao
Wine Pairing: La Muse - Creamy Chardonnay
Why it works: Staying with sweets, next up is Nian Gao – a sweet rice cake that's typically eaten warm and believed to bring about higher income or a higher position at work! We suggest pairing this tasty treat with a creamy Chardonnay blend, like this La Muse from Domaine La Lauviere, served at the right temperature (around 12 degrees, so, not too cold) which will help enhance the natural umami flavours of the warm, nutty sticky rice.
8. Sweet Rice Balls
Wine Pairing: Gewürztraminer Spätlese from Krebs
Why it works: The key to pairing with sweet dishes like sweet rice balls, is to make sure the wine is either as sweet or sweeter than the dish. A good rule to remember is if your sweet dish has more sugar than your wine, everything will start to taste overly bitter or acidic. For this reason, we'd suggest a deliciously sweet dessert wine such as this Gewürztraminer Spätlese from Krebs, which will really let rice ball flavours shine!