Many guests opt to enjoy a cocktail, a beer or even a glass of sake with a Chinese meal. But Paul Ballesteros, beverage director of upscale Chinese restaurant Imperial Lamian in Chicago, understands many wines can bring out the best flavors in the authentic cuisine.
“With all of the unique flavors that make up Chinese cuisine, there is a chance for people to step out of their normal ‘go-to’ wines,” Ballesteros says. “It provides diners with the opportunity to find new and interesting white varietals, in addition to well-made pinot noirs from all over the world.”
Ballesteros finds that riesling, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir are all great parings with Chinese food. For spicier dishes, an off-dry riesling allows for both the dish and wine to be elevated and refreshed. The spice and sugar flavors used in the barbeque dishes harmonize nicely with the light tannins of pinot noir.
Here are a few of Ballesteros’s suggested wine pairings:
- Roasted Duck served with a plum sauce and house- made momo wrappers paired with the Pascal Jolivet Sancerre rosé.
- Kung Pao Chicken (ginger shao xing, dark soy and Szechuan pepper) paired with Schloss Johannisberg ries- ling trocken (2013).
- Jasmine Tea Smoked Ribs (wok smoked babyback, jasmine, imperial barbeque sauce) paired with Davis Bynum “Jane’s Vineyard” pinot noir (2013).