Wine flavours are fashionable. It's very difficult to separate the trend from the absolute so it's sensible to keep in mind the inevitable change in preferences and recommendations as well as personal preference on the pairing of wine with the myriad Asian cuisines. It's worthwhile for the interested to keep up with the reading on the topics and indulge in the occasional publication on the topic.

"Asian pairings"
Karen MacNeil-Fife June, 2000

"I generally rely on instinct when pairing wine and food. That's easy enough when the food is roast chicken, which, like many other American dishes--or French or Italian--has not one, but many, delicious wine partners. Bring lemon grass, ginger, and curry into the picture, however, and wine pairing veers off this flexible course.

It's not quite as easy to be instinctive about pairing wine with chili-laced Thai noodles. Even a familiar dish like chicken satay with spicy peanut sauce presents a new challenge in thinking about how flavors work together. Because I love both Asian flavors and wine, I've spent more than a year experimenting with putting them together. Here's what I've discovered so far.

First of all, it's inaccurate to talk about Asian cuisine as a singular entity. The region is immense and, culinarily speaking, includes everything from absolutely subtle dishes to those so vibrantly spiced they make your mouth tingle. Still, what many of us find irresistible are the foods incorporating ingredients that can be hard on wine: soy sauce, fish sauce, chilies and chili paste, ginger, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, and hoisin sauce, plus spices and herbs like cardamom, cumin, coriander, five spice, curry powder, and Thai basil. Wonderful as they are in a dish, these flavors can flatten many wines, rob them of their fruity characteristics, and make them taste bitter, oaky, or too high in alcohol.
So what wines do work? Any that meet the following criteria.
* They aren't Chardonnay. Very oaky, toasty Chardonnays taste like 2-by-4s when paired with strong Asian flavors.
* They aren't Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Tannic wines like these fight with Asian flavors and the wines lose. They end up tasting bitter lean, and mean.
* They're high in acid Snappy, clean, high-acid wines are right in sync with Asian flavors. New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, for instance, with their penetrating acidity and clean tropical flavors, are a sensational match. So are un-oaked Pinot Grigios from Italy and California. Or try a Pinot Gris from Oregon.
* They're wildly aromatic, with pronounced fruit flavors. Varieties like Gewüztraminer, Viognier, Riesling, and Malaysia Bianca are superb with Asian dishes. Look for Gewürztraminers from Alsace, Viogniers from California, and Rieslings from Alsace, California, Washington, or Australia.
* If they're red, they're big and jammy. Full-throttled, berry-fruited Zinfandels, Rhône blends, and Syrahs from California, as well as Shirazes from Australia, are all great matches.
And don't forget rosé. This unsung hero of a wine category is just begging to be drunk with Asian dishes. The single best match of all might be a rosé sparkling wine or Champagne.

WINES FOR ASIAN DISHES
* Chateau St. Jean Johannesberg Riesling 1998 (Sonoma County). Beautifully aromatic and flavorful, with orange blossom and apricot notes.
* Handley Gewürztraminer 1998 (Anderson Valley, CA). Dramatic acidity, with an edge of litchi, ginger, and pear.
* Wild Horse Malavsia Bianca 1999 (Monterey County), $13. Almost sorbet-like, with refreshing peach, tangerine, and litchi flavors.
* Cambria Tepusquet Vineyard Syrah 1998 (Santa Maria Valley, CA). Juicy boysenberry pie flavors and a fabulous dense, creamy texture.
* Rosemount Estate Shiraz 1999 (McLaren Vale, Australia). Wonderful berry fruit and a soft, supple texture.


How to pair wine with an authentic Indian meal. Fiona Beckett.
Fiona Beckett tasted a number of wines with a wide selection of Indian foods organised by a cookery writer Vicky Boghal. Vicky was wine naive at that stage  and the final summary is an greement on the wines by the two.

"If you serve Indian food the traditional way your best bet on the basis of this tasting would be an Alsace Pinot Gris (a good choice when you eat out) a fruity rosé like Pink Elephant , champagne - or Cava. In fact given the success of both rosé and sparkling wine, a sparkling rosé might well be a fine pairing."


Matching Wines with Japanese Food. The Winesleuth

A broad range of Japanese foods with a broad selection of wines. The wines were steered but not specifically selected by the "winesleuth" and she has noted some surprise matchings.
Again the champagne, rosé and strong tropical fruit note wines came out on top. This a is a recurring conclusion and gives a confidence to selections of such wines when you nervously bring along a bottle to an Asian food dinner.