Olly selects the best wines—
China loves wine. Between 2013 and 2017, wine imports increased by more than 90 per cent, and with Chinese New Year on February 5 there are some decent Chinese wines available here in the UK to sample, as well as international wines to match with Chinese dishes.
With Chinese food, lighter reds with grapes such as Gamay are most harmonious, thanks to their silky texture, but fruity Merlot is also brilliant, especially with crispy duck.
With Dim Sum dumplings, fizz can be tremendous, and for a white wine, I’m a fan of fragrant Austrian Grüner Veltliner, especially with shellfish dishes. As for wines from China itself, Cabernet Gernischt (same grape as Carménère) can handle robust spicy dishes such as Sichuan cooking, but the best of the bunch I’ve tasted is my Wine of the Week – a white Cabernet Sauvignon, which is my go-to pick with Chinese dishes thanks to its supple, scrumptious fruity splendour.
OLLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH
DYNAMITE WITH DUCK: Stone Arka Merlot 2017, Bulgaria (13%) £6.99* Majestic. Bulgarian Merlot is back and this velvet bargain is ready for your crispy duck pancakes. *Mix Six Price.
SHOW ME THE SHELLFISH: Blueprint Grüner Veltliner 2017 (12.5%) £7.99 Waitrose. Scented and zest, a gorgeously refreshing white to quench with shellfish dishes.
DUMPLING DELIGHT: Exquisite Collection Crémant du Jura 2017 (13%) £8.29 Aldi. Still the UK’s best value sparkler and superb served chilled with dumplings.
MIGHTY WITH MEAT: Changyu Noble Dragon Cabernet Gernischt 2015 (12%) £7 Sainsbury’s. A Chinese red that’s the same grape as Carmenère: gently spicy for meaty dishes. *On offer (from £10) until 12th Feb.
WINE OF THE WEEK
Château Changyu Moser XV, White Cabernet 2017 (13.5%) £15.95 Slurp.co.uk. This white is the most scrumptious Chinese wine I’ve yet tasted.