With the first anniversary of initial lockdown orders approaching, we thought now would be a good time to acknowledge something that has been a constant for many of us through the relentless inconsistency of the last year: takeout. While we were forced to rapidly adjust to the reality of no longer being able to leave the house, takeout was there for us, and boy are we grateful. Of course, we can’t mention takeout without recognizing the essential workers who made it possible for us to enjoy restaurant-quality cuisine from the comfort of our sweatpants. We are deeply appreciative for you.
This is the first in a series where we will explore the best wines to compliment your favorite takeout dishes, starting with Chinese food. When it comes to pairing wines with food, the general rule is that you are striving to achieve balance. This is why in general, a sweeter wine will pair well with spicy food. We’ve done our best to select what we feel are some of the most classic dishes to pair with our wines. Read on to see our favorite duos.
Kung Pao Chicken – Perlage Pinot Grigio: The sugar, fruity flavors and high acidity in the wine will balance the aromatic and spicy fattiness of the dish.
Veggie Spring Rolls & Fried Dumplings – The acidity of Serge Faust Carte D’Or Brut Champagne will cut through the oil in these dishes, and bubbles are the perfect pairing for deep fried food.
Beef and Broccoli – The smooth, subtle spiciness of Domaine Bousquet Malbec is a perfect compliment to the heavy sweetness of this classic Chinese dish.
Vegetable Chow Mein & Fried Rice – Mario Torelli Moscato D’Asti is an aromatic wine with notes of dense tropical fruit, honey, citrus and stone fruit, which will match the lighter nature of the vegetables. Plus, the acidity and bubbles will balance out the salt and oil of the dish.
Sichuan Chicken – Girasole Vineyards Pinot Noir is a light, juicy red that will work well with the rich and spicy flavors of this dish and refresh the palate.
If you’re looking for just one wine to pair with all the food you’ve ordered, look no further than Badger Mountain NSA Riesling. The subtle sweetness, high acidity and lighter body of this wine can stand up to the sweet, spicy, tangy and salty flavors of most Chinese dishes.
As a note, I hope this inspires you to patronize your favorite local Chinese food spot tonight. Many of us have become aware of the extreme levels of racism and xenophobia our Asian communities have been experiencing since the start of the pandemic, with many of these appalling acts of intolerance taking place right here in the Bay Area. Please take this opportunity to support those in your community however you can. If you’d like to take action, you can find more information and donate here.