Best Wines For Lunar New Year Dining

Natasha Ciesielski
11th Feb 2024

With Lunar New Year just around the corner it’s time to start planning for your feast! Yes, you could enjoy Chinese food with beer or sake but how about wine?

Which wine to pair with Asian food can be overwhelming as Asian cuisine comprises of so many different flavour profiles from sweet, spicy, sour, salty, bitter to umami. And then there are the dishes that combine flavours!  

Below is a list of our top 4 wines to pair with your Chinese New Year meal, a whisky to enjoy post dinner and 1 more option for those who are after a booze-free choice.

1. Symphonia Fine Wines, Manseng 2022
Family owned and operated, Symphonia Fine Wines focuses on growing grapes considered unique and unusual.

Symphonia is in King Valley, Victoria and led by mother daughter duo Suzanne and Sophie. Working with winemaker Lilian Carter, together they champion cool climate, left-field European varieties not traditionally planted by Victorian wineries, such as Petit Manseng which originates from the South-West of France.

Taking a high quality and minimalist approach the grapes are handpicked. The white Manseng is the last variety in the vineyard to go through veraison. It is incredibly slow to ripen and often not harvested until mid-April, long after the rest of the vineyard.

The Manseng is a bold, voluptuous wine with a generous mouth-fill texture and ultra fine tannins giving a powerful edge.  

Pairing Guide: the Manseng will suit richer seafood like abalone, crayfish or scallops. It can also work well against dishes with spice or sweetness, and would complement the variety of flavours involved in a dim sum meal.

Available direct at:  RRP: $28

2. Gèrard Bertrand, Cote des Roses Pinot Noir 2020

Gèrard Bertrand is known for producing quality French wines. This 100% Pinot Noir from the Mediterranean coast, in the Languedoc region of France, being an excellent example.

Ruby red in colour, the Pinot Noir has aromas of cherry sweetness, wild strawberries, raspberries and spices. Medium-bodied, this wine is juicy with a lovely lingering finish. Best served at 15-16 degrees, so chill it just before serving. 

Side note: while the wine is delicious the bottle is just beautiful with its glass stopper and special rose-shaped bottom, modeled on a rose blossom.

Pairing Guide: consider savory, dark-sauced Chinese mushrooms dishes or hot and spicy Szechuan beef.

Available direct at: RRP: $23.95

3. Howard Park, Museum Release Riesling 2017

The Museum Release Riesling is made from an annual blend of the finest cut of free-run juice from select vineyard blocks growing on the Mount Barker, South Australia vineyard. Free-run juice refers to the liquid that runs freely from the harvested grapes, even before they are pressed. Free-run juice is considered to be higher quality than pressed wine as it has less bitter elements that come from pips, skins and stems.

The Museum Release is an aged Riesling with a portion of the wine cellared, then released after 5 to 7 years. The extra cellaring allows the wine to grow in complexity. The citrus and pear flavours have softened and developed to honeycomb, preserved lemon, apricot and baked apple, with hints of yuzu and grapefruit.

Pairing Guide: Riesling is one of the most versatile wines for pairing. Its high acidity will suit barbecued pork and being a sweeter wine, it’s ideal for spicy dishes such as rice vermicelli noodles.

Available at: RRP: $44

4. Château Tanunda, ‘Year of the Dragon’ Grand Barossa Shiraz 2022

For the last three years, Barossa Valley family winery Château Tanunda has released a special edition Lunar New Year magnum Shiraz. The highly anticipated collector’s item comes in an elegant red gift box, making it ideal for gifting or presenting at Lunar New Year celebrations.

The 1.5-litre bottle is decorated with an intricately designed gold dragon etched onto the bottle. The 2024 label celebrating the ‘Year of the Dragon’.

“In Asian Astrology, the Year of the Dragon symbolizes power, nobleness, honour, luck, and success,” says Managing Director of Château Tanunda, Michelle Geber.

Château Tanunda was established in 1890 and has some of the region's oldest vines.  

Made from 2022 Shiraz grapes, this reserve wine is from a selection of the best Shiraz across the Barossa. Blended and matured in French/American oak, the result is a dark red full-bodied wine with jammy flavours of blackberry, plum and black pepper.  

Pairing Guide: this wine is a prime example of over 130 years of fine winemaking presenting big and bold Barossa Valley Shiraz. The tannins in a Shiraz will soften with meatier dishes such as braised beef short rib, Chinese-style barbequed dried meat or beef in black bean sauce.  

Available at: RRP: $79

Post-dinner tipple

5. Glengoyne, 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Glengoyne has been in continuous operation producing Highland single malt whisky for over 175 years. The Scottish distillery is known for its whiskies with a distinct fruit-forward profile. Unlike many malt whiskies, Glengoyne does not use peat smoke to dry their barley but instead favours the use of warm air which contributes to the smooth and elegant nature of the whisky.

The award-winning smooth whisky brings notes of lemon rind, toffee apples, ginger, shortbread and a delicate hint of spice. The bourbon barrel gives it a creamy texture, rounded off with a nuttiness and complexity coming from the sherry cask. 

Available at: RRP: $99.99

And our alcoholic-free option...

Frekl Ginger Beer

If you’d like a non-alcoholic option try Frekl ginger beer. It’s Aussie made, with the ginger grown in Queensland. There are three flavours — classic ginger, finger lime ginger and chilli ginger. Super refreshing, Frekl is gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan friendly and has no preservatives.

Highly recommend the chilli ginger beer which has just a little more kick for that extra zing. 

Available at: RRP: $52 Note: Frekl is currently only available online in cartons of 16. There is a mixed case option.