Pairing wine with Asian food

Pairing wine with Asian food

Asian food is known for its incredible seasoning and taste making it a favourite in many households.

Sparkling Wine

Dumplings (also known as Jiaozi) are rooted in Chinese history, dating all the way back to the Tang Dynasty in 3,600 B.C. Their money-pouch shape represents wealth and prosperity and is commonly eaten when celebrating. Dumplings are enjoyed in a variety of ways including deep fried, boiled or steamed and filled with a combination of vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, fruits or even sweets. Due to the variety of flavours and various methods of preparation, red wine with high tannins can overpower and clash, especially if the dumpling has soft and sticky doughy skin. The safest way to pair this Asian dish is with a sweeter sparkling wine, especially if the dumplings are deep fried as the natural acidity cuts through the salty grease and the bubbles from the wine complement the texture perfectly. The most common forms of grape varieties in sparkling wine include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. You can also consider the sauce being served with the dish as this will influence the type of wine chosen as well. A sparkling or a white wine with good acidity makes great pairings for either a sweet or a sour based sauce.Heidrun Estate’s Always Sparkling Australian wine has a combination of the ideal fruity flavour with hints of green apple and citrus to match the many varieties of Dumplings and sweet or sour sauces the traditional Asian dish can be served with.


Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc is a grape variety famous for its dry, fresh, and acidic nature featuring a variety of fruity flavours ranging from green apple, lime to passion fruit & peach. It is commonly paired with seafood as the acidity of the wine cuts through the saltiness of the fish. Prawns are amongst the most popular forms of seafood in Asia with many ways to cook and enjoy this delicacy such as stir fried with noodles or rice. When you’re preparing an Asian style prawn dish to pair with Sauvignon Blanc, there are many flavours to consider with garlic or a light chilli being the better choices as it gives a sweetness to the slightly spicy dish Alternatively, the herbaceous aromas of a Sauvignon Blanc allow it to pair wonderfully with herbs such as mint, parsley, coriander, rosemary, oregano or thyme. For example, prawns in a Vietnamese noodle dish with fresh herbs, garlic and light chili would make a delicious pairing.  Try Heidrun Estate’s elegant Golden Hour Sauvignon Blanc, which opens up with a restrained bouquet of nettles and melon, followed by a textured mid-palate of herbal and lime flavours. Crisp and delicate, it finishes with a fine line of lemon acidity.



Grenache is a fruity full-bodied red wine with low-medium tannin and low-medium acidity. The distinctive aromas and flavours of a Grenache are orange rind, raspberry, plum & tobacco. When we start thinking of how we would pair food with grenache, it is all about what dishes will complement the spice in the wine. The low tannin in Grenache ensures it pairs well with anything featuring a mild amount of heat, however, you don’t want anything too spicy as Grenache is high in alcohol. A great example of an Asian dish that  would pair beautifully with Grenache would be Peking Duck with a spicy plum or hoisin sauce. The creaminess and richness of the red wine acts as a buffer for the rich, spicy, and sweet flavour of Peking Duck. This is because the spice in the wine lends itself to a dish with a hint of sweetness. Additionally, the low tannin of the grenache allows the fruity and spicy characteristics of the wine to complement the flavours of the duck and sauce without overpowering it. If you were to pair this dish with a wine higher in tannin such as a Shiraz, it would overpower the delicate flavour of the duck. Pair it with Heidrun Estate’s ‘After Dark’ Grenache sourced from an eighty-year-old vineyard and grown on sandy loams in the north eastern part of McLaren Vale, this Grenache has vibrant raspberry and red plum aromas and flavours with a hint of spice.



Shiraz is Australia’s leading grape variety; grown in the majority of Australia’s wine regions accounting for one-quarter of total wine produced in addition to being the number one wine export. Shiraz is a deliciously bold full-bodied wine with typical flavours including spice, blue fruit, black fruit, dark cherry, chocolate, pepper and plum. Full bodied wines such as Shiraz are higher in tannins and alcohol, which is always important to consider when pairing with food. 

Shiraz pairs best with grilled or roasted meat dishes and is commonly found at Australian barbecues served with flame grilled steak and sausages. Predictably, Shiraz is recommended for Asian dishes with heavier meaty flavours as well. For example, an ideal Asian styled pairing with Shiraz could be Chinese Braised Beef Kenchi. ‘Braising’ is a cooking term where the food is first lightly fried at a higher temperature and then stewed at a lower temperature, cooking more slowly often with liquid until it has become tender. The final dish is often described as rich and spicy and can be served with noodles, rice or even as an alternative filling for chinese bread buns (also known as Rou Jia Mo or Gua Bao). The Australian wine can be paired with a range of other Asian dishes, with the general rule being that the high tannins and strong flavour profile of Shiraz match well with meaty, rich dishes. 

Recipe example:

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted grape variety in the world with standard aromas of blackcurrant, wood (aged in oak), mint, herbs and spices which make this wine a delicious accompaniment to many Asian dishes. Specifically, when pairing with food, it is best matched with big, bold flavours like meats and barbecue. It has high tannis and acidity, meaning rich protein foods that would make a great match for the dry wine profile in addition to meat could include butter, cream and cheese. This combination makes an ideal pairing for traditional Asian dishes with higher fats such as Asian Beef Ramen. Ramen varies in ingredients but has a basic combination of the following: men (noodles), dashi (soup stock), tare (sauce), base (vegetables and meats), and oil or fat. 

Alternatively, mushroom based dishes make a great vegetarian option for Cabernet Sauvignon. Mushrooms have a distinct ‘umami’ taste and meaty texture. As a general rule, earthy, hearty mushrooms like shiitake, portabella, porcini and morel pair well with fuller bodied wines like cabernet sauvignon



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