Wines To Watch: The Chinese New Year Edition – By Expat Sommelier Daan Suijlen

Consider these wines to start 2020's Year of the Rat on a high!
09 January 2020

With the Lunar New Year nearly here, the question is: What wines to drink during Chinese New Year?

Naturally, you want to enter the year right, especially with all of the many auspicious traditions.

So, I’ve selected three wines that will go very well during the celebrations – either on their own or paired with the plethora of delicious Chinese foods.

If you’re living in Singapore, you must enjoy at least one yu sheng, or lo hei, celebration – tossed, raw seafood salads are such a cool experience. They just call for an equally good wine. And, it can be red, white or even sparkling.

For white wines: You want something more tart to deal with all rich sauces, veggies and seafood. I love for the wine to cut through the raw fish and sweet-salty dressing. And, for me, acidity goes well with almost all seafood.

For red wines: Go for something more powerful. Especially with the soy and peanuts, you want something a bit spicy and high on tannins.

For sparkling wines: For me, any celebration calls for something sparkling! As always, there is no need to go big on expensive champagnes (see my recommendations of bubbly for every budget). You just need to know what to select…

Under $25: Caythorpe Sauvignon Blanc 2017

From: Marlborough, New Zealand
Price: $18.90 + international delivery charges (available at Glengarry)

Some people argue that the best Sauvignon Blanc is from Marlborough. It is characterised by a fruity nose, often with flavours of gooseberry. They also have great acidity and stone fruits, and are very refreshing. This bottle will go well with the raw fish in a typical lo hei (think salmon), as well as the salt of the sauce of the deep-fried flour crisps and crushed peanuts. Super!

Under $60: Fale Tellus Syrah 2014

From: Lazio, Italy
Price: $58 + $20 delivery charge (available at Vivino)

Spicy tones are what you want, if you plan to drink a red with your CNY feast. This wine has dark red fruits, hints of vanilla and other spices – exactly what a yu sheng needs, with it salty and sweet flavours to tone down the higher tannins.

Under $65: Pasqua – Prosecco Romeo & Juliet

From: Marlborough, New Zealand
Price: $46.30 + delivery charges (available at The Straits Wine Company)

The label of this delicious Prosecco is beautiful, inspired by the courtyard wall in the city of Verona (i.e., the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet). Every day visitors write personal love letters on the wall. And, the Prosecco itself is everything you need as aperitif or during the traditional festive season: zesty, refreshing and loaded with fruits.

Happy New Year!

About Daan Suijlen

Dutch expat Daan is a passionate home chef and certified sommelier. At the age of 5, he preferred to be in the kitchen watching his grandma cook – and that passion has never left him! Having studied wine following WSET, he now loves to combine the best of both worlds: amazing food with great wines. Follow him at Instagram at @wineandcooking.

By Daan Suijlen, January 2019 / Updated January 2020 

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EVERYTHING You Need to Know About Chinese New Year in Singapore

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