Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

Chinese Cuisine and English Wine

A second fun evening of matching food and Chinese cuisines at North Shields’s Golden Swallow Restaurant gave everyone there serious food for thought. By and large, aromatic, elegant wines, with good fruit, but fairly low residual sugar have proven exceptionally successful companions for a wide range of Chinese dishes – at least as cooked Golden Swallow style, with not a hint of MSG. There are no gloopy sauces here, sauces which are no friends to good wine, just a lightness of touch and a genuine harmony of flavours and textures.

Villa Maria’s Private Bin Riesling 2009, going for a song at Majestic right now, was terrific, but was matched by Chapel Down’s newly released Bacchus 2009. It’s a delightful wine: fresh, aromatic and crisply fruity, but fully ripe and beautifully clean.  An equally happy discovery was Chapel Down’s English Rose 2008, a pink made from a small dose of Pinot Noir and quite a lot of apparently unpromising material such as Huxelrebe. I bought it from the winery last week. Only a few cases remain, but the 09 will doubtless soon be on stream. On its own it was nice enough, scented, even a little herby and still fresh, but it showed an unexpected depth of fruit when drunk with a range of sometimes quite spicy chicken, prawn and pork dishes.

The other great success of the evening, I think, was the terrific Colomé Amalaya 2008, a Malbec blend from some of Argentina’s highest altitude vineyards.  It not only stood up to a fiery Sichuan beef dish, but seemed to lift and spread the spice from the food around the mouth.

Amongst other wines, we also gave an airing to the Jacob’s Creek Rosé that Simon Tam and his team found such an effective partner for abalone at last year’s Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine Challenge. We couldn’t run to abalone, but it seemed fine with all things prawny.  I’m not sure I’d have given it a trophy, I’d have saved if for either of the two English wines that impressed everyone so much.

One Response to “Chinese Cuisine and English Wine”

  1. Richard Prescott says:

    My wife Alex and I attended this evening and can confirm it was a tremendous success. We were pleased and delighted at how successful the wine and food matching turned out to be. We have since returned to the Golden Swallow on our own for another treat!