The challenge with Chinese as with other oriental food is to find a wine that can cope with a variety of dishes that are brought to the table at the same time.
It is here that the pure unoaked white wines from Alsace with their own exotic flavours really come into their own. Alsace wines are easy to understand because, unlike many French wines, they’re named after the grape variety they’re made from. The best known varieties are smooth, dry Pinot Blanc (a great alternative for Chardonnay lovers); elegant, crisp Riesling; Pinot Gris (a musky, sensual relative of Pinot Grigio); and one of the world’s most spectacular grape varieties exotic, lychee-scented Gewurztraminer.
Remember that the hotter the dish the more aromatic a white wine you need to balance it. Lighter dishes pair best with crisper, drier whites such as Pinot Blanc and Riesling; spicier ones with more intensely flavoured whites that have a touch more sweetness such as Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer. Peking duck is wonderful with Gewurztraminer which provides an exotic counterpoint to the irresistible crisp, lacquered meat.
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