Aromatic whites to drink with spicy Asian food | vintage

sYou could be forgiven for getting under the impression that the entire country was having a dry January, but there were only 130,000 of us doing so in 2022, according to Alcohol Change (there must be several thousand more who didn’t sign up, though). So it’s easy to forget that they’re still in the minority, and that there may be many who think January will be bettered with a glass of something a little stronger.

Foodwise, too, I now find times when I react to heavy, rich Christmas eating and even get slightly bored with comfort food. I crave spicy Korean, Szechuan and other cuisines, and the clean freshness and crunch of Southeast Asian salads. Luckily, we have Chinese and Vietnamese New Years on the way next weekend to scratch that itch.

Wine with spicy food is controversial, of course, and there’s still a school of thought that you’re presumptuous or willful to drink anything but beer. Obviously, as a wine lover, I disagree, and there are many wines that work well with Chinese food (see last year’s column on the subject).

The wines that most people still instinctively reach for are aromatic white wines, especially Riesling and Gyurztraminer. But do they work? Yes, for the most part, though the problem with character wines is that they can often get flowy when you get to the place. Gewürztraminer, for example, is great with duck (especially if ginger is involved), but less so with dim sum or steamed fish. (Asda has a very good one in its extra special range for £7.50, though it’s not as good as Seifried’s in today’s pick), while delicate dry Riesling wouldn’t make much headway with mapo tofu, for example. The bolder the dish, the more sweetness you generally need.

In fact, Alsace dominates the conversation about wines and spices so much that many other wines don’t get much attention. Try other countries’ take on those grapes – New Zealand is particularly strong on aromatics – or travel further afield with encounters in Argentina, Fernao in Portugal, Moscovelero Greece and the many iterations of Muscat and Moscatel. It’s also a Tryanuary, after all.

And just for you dry fellas out there, I know I’ve recommended it before, but it’s worth mentioning again: I Is that true Like Saicho’s sparkling jasmine tea. At £17.99 a bottle, it’s pricier than I feel – and more so than any of the wines below in my selection today – but would be great for a dim sum Chinese New Year. As is, of course, jasmine or chrysanthemum tea, albeit somewhat cheaper.

Five fragrant whites to explore

Emiliana Novas Wrestling 2021£9.59 Ranush Scott, £10, 13.5%. This chile is more like an Australian Riesling than a German, and has a lively streak of lime that goes well with an herbal Vietnamese salad.

Ara Single Vineyard Pinot Gris 2022 £8.99 (offered, down from £11.99) Waitrose, 13.5% off. A non-dry kiwi would go well with a chicken noodle salad.

Sifried Gewerstraminer 2021 £12.99 Waitrose, 12.5% ​​off. Amazing non-dry New Zealand gewürz. It would go great with Sichuan food or Thai red curry.

Adega de Pegões White Pick 2021 Harvest £9.99 (or £8.99 on a mix of six) Majestic (also selling 2020, but go for this one), 13% off. A beautiful and aromatic Portuguese white based primarily on the original Vernao grape. Wine to sip with sushi or Vietnamese summer rolls.

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