Pairing Shanghainese Cuisine with Wine

A wine journalist based in one of China’s most iconic cities, Martin Hao is Editor-in-Chief of Wine Press magazine. A constant explorer of wine and Chinese cuisine pairing, today he gives us his exclusive recommendations for wine with Shanghainese signature dishes.

1) Shanghainese Xiaolongbao

Suggested Wine Style & Grape Variety
Still white, Viognier
Suggested Wine Regions Condrieu, Rhône Valley, France
Suggested Wine Producers & Wines 2008 Vidal-Fleury Condrieu
Comments on pairing The essence of Xiaolongbao is the meat juice contained within the dumpling. The umami-rich flavors and sumptuous mouthfeel of Xiaolongbao’s meat juice would pair perfectly with the perfumey wines from Condrieu. The refreshing acidity of wines from this region can also counteract any excess greasiness of this dish. Often a medium to full-bodied wine with velvety mouthfeel, Condrieu whites give a lot of spices on the palate, finished with a lightly bitter aftertaste. This flavour profile echoes well with the vinegar and shredded ginger dip that goes with Xiaolongbao.
Best Places for Shanghainese Xiaolongbao
Din Tai Fung (Xintiandi Branch), 2/F South Block Plaza, 123 Xingye Lu; Tel: 021-63858378

2) Red Braised Lion’s Head Meat Balls

Suggested Wine Style & Grape Variety
Still red, Pinot Noir
Suggested Wine Regions Martinborough, New Zealand
Suggested Wine Producers & Wines

2008 Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir

Comments on pairing Traditional Red Braised Lion’s Head is a dish that features sweet, succulent minced meatballs coated in a thick red sauce. A Pinot Noir from Martinborough carries a bouquet of red fruit: strawberries and black cherries, with hints of leather and roasted notes on the background, which echoes well with the aroma of the dish. The wine’s lively acidity enhances the overall savouriness of the dish, whilst silky tannins and elegant flavors go perfectly with its texture, rounding off this beautiful pairing.
Best Places for Red Braised Lion’s Head Meat Balls
 Lu Lu Restaurant, 5/F, Plaza 66, 1266 Nanjing (W) Road; Tel: 021-62881179 62883456

3) Drunken Chicken

Suggested Wine Style & Grape Variety
Still white, Palomino
Suggested Wine Regions Sherry, Jerez, Spain
Suggested Wine Producers & Wines

NV Lusau Light Fino “Jarana”

Comments on pairing Marinated in Shaoxing Yellow Wine, Drunken Chicken is traditionally served cold, allowing the alcoholic aroma of the dish and Sherry to mingle seamlessly. The excellent chewiness and rich aftertaste of the chicken meat entwined with the finish of the Sherry further rounds off the pairing in loving harmony.
Best Places for Drunken Chicken
 Hu Ting, 383 South Huangpi Road, Huangpu District; Tel: 021-63876387