Asian cuisine is one of the most famous and versatile in the world. It combines unusual tastes and spices in the most skillful way, resulting in delicious masterpiece dishes that you can easily get addicted to.
With an array of different aromas and flavors in a single dish, Asian food can make a unique match with a glass of suitable wine. Below you will find the most popular wines to combine with your favorite Asian dish, as suggested by sommeliers.
Wine to Avoid with Asian Food
But first, let`s see which wine to avoid:
- Chardonnay, especially the New World Chardonnay with typical oaky and buttery notes is not the smartest choice to combine with Asian spices and seasonings.
- Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon due to their intense tannic structure and strong flavors would make an unpleasant and awkward combination with Chinese, Thai, or Indian dishes. It would result in too many flavors in one bite.
What are the Best Wines to Combine with Asian Food then?
You can start with Sauvignon Blanc. Delightful freshness that will clean the palate after a spicy mouthfeel is a true match. The citrusy and tropical fruits will complement perfectly with the complex Thai food and its flavors of chili peppers, citrusy herbs, and coconut hints. Pleasant acidity is what you are looking for when combining Asian dishes with wine.
The fresh, spicy flavors of the French Pinot Gris, followed by citrus and tropical fruit notes are an excellent match with the spicy Asian and Indian cuisine. Here we can also add Spanish Albarino or the remarkable bubblies.
For those who are a fan of Japanese food, they can enjoy a glass of light Rieslings with their favorite dish. This wine has a natural sugar/acid balance that makes a perfect match with the sweet and salty dishes of Japanese delights. This nuance-rich food also pairs well with Rose wine.
The complex and spicy Indian food can make a heavenly match with aromatic wines which are classified as spicy or fruity. Depending on your taste, you can pair chicken or seafood with a sparkling rose, Riesling, or Pinot Grigio. On the other hand, if you prefer full-flavored beef, lamb, or chicken dishes, you should opt for Zinfandel or Syrah.
Chinese cuisine lovers may face a real challenge when choosing the best wine option to complement their meal since it is highly versatile and diverse. Here, you can follow the classic wine and food “rules”, or choose a crisp, refreshing wine like Riesling or dry Rose with a light and delicate meal, and red with more complex dishes. Sparkling wines are always an option as well. When choosing a red wine, you should opt for lower tannins and juicy options, like Shiraz or Pinot Noir.
When it comes to Vietnamese cuisine, you can find more delicate flavors and scented herbaceous aromas that are a great match with wine. The classic recommendation is white wine, but light red like Gamay (Beaujolais)is also an option. Here, you can also try Grenache if you are looking for a more full-bodied wine. Mineral white wine like Sancerre is highly recommended for Vietnamese dishes.
Delightful Rose wines are rapidly finding their way to the Asian food tables. You can go with an extra dry or sparkling rose.
Many wine enthusiasts recommended Southern French wines for Asian food complements. Moreover, Syrah has a characteristic complex structure, along with floral and spicy notes, while Grenache offers a soft peppery fruitiness. Both are perfect choices for balancing the extremely broad Asian cooking style. South French blends have moderate tannins, perfect for hot, sweet and sour, or spicy sauces, yet strong enough to balance the meat fats and improve digestion. So, in this combination, the wine will have a milder taste while the meal more savory.
Another popular combination is round Italian red wines with Asian cuisine. Italy has the magnificent Dolcetta with the lively black fruit flavors, then Barbera with more vibrant and intense fruitiness, and then it comes Sangiovese with their mild zest cherry-based fruitiness. These wines have certain things in common, including uplifted acidity, low to medium tannins, and earthy notes like smoked leaves and licorice or leathery hints.
Moreover, another class of Italian wines makes a perfect match with the Chinese or Southeast Asian cuisine, including hot beef or pork dishes, spiced with garlic, peppercorns, and the magical smell of star anise, basil, coriander, or cilantro. These wines are crafted by blending two popular varietals, including Barbera with Nebbiolo, Barbera with Zinfandel, Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sangiovese with Tempranillo.
In conclusion, the food and wine pairing depend on people`s tastes and preferences. So, there is no wrong combination as long as you find it delicious and enjoyable!