Chinese dumplings are typically made with pork, Baicai (Chinese/Napa cabbage), minced shallots and fresh ginger. They are also often accompanied by a dipping sauce, such as a blend of soy sauce, hot chilli, Jiaozi vinegar, and sesame oil. Light reds like Gamay and Pinot Noir, along with thirst-quenching whites, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Champagne, and Gewurztraminer pair best with this savoury treat.
Sauvignon Blanc & Dumpling Pairing
Sauvignon blanc is a bright white wine with a tart citrus flavour that dances across your tongue. Sauvignon Blanc, I find, can hold up to the pork and ginger flavours, while the acidity is a perfect foil to the saltiness of any soy sauce based dipping sauce you are using.
Dry Riesling & Dumpling Pairing
Dry Riesling is another acidic wine that can handle the saltiness of soy sauce used to dip your dumplings in. Full of apricot and apple notes, Riesling is an instant hit with dumplings stuffed with pork. The crisp flavours of Riesling are perfect for sweeping any pungent cabbage and ginger flavours away in between bites of delicious steamed dumplings.
Riesling is also excellent with Chicken stuffed dumplings.
Pinot Noir & Dumpling Pairing
With Dumplings, you need to stick to light and acidic reds with no tannin, as even though Dumplings have strong flavours, they won’t hold up to strong wines. Pinot Noir is light and full of bright fruit flavours like strawberry and cranberry that lift the dumpling flavours up even further. However, it also has a dark and earthy side, which makes it a perfect complement to the ginger, soy sauce, chilli sauce, or cabbage notes found in your dumplings.
Add half a star if your Dumplings contain mushrooms!
Gewurztraminer & Dumpling Pairing
Gewurztraminer is a full-bodied white wine with notes of apple and apricot, along with a delightful spice finish that pairs up perfectly with any ginger in your dumplings. I’d say a French Gewurztraminer is much too bold and robust for Chinese Dumplings (especially if they are steamed), however North American Gewurztraminer make for a perfect fit.
Champagne & Dumpling Pairing
Champagne, or sparkling wine is perfect for dumplings that are being dipped into a sauce containing a lot of vinegar. Champagne is high in acidity, so it has no issues holding up to the sharp vinegar bite of a dipping sauce. Meanwhile, the bubbly Champagne flavours wash the strong ginger, pork and cabbage flavours away with ease. Let’s not forget about that dumpling shell itself, where the faint bready aromas of Champagne complement the starchy dumpling shell.
For all of these wine pairings, we gave them four stars, as there is a lot of variety in Chinese dumplings, from what they are stuffed with, to the sauce they might be dipped in. In most instances, all of the wines mentioned above will make for great choices.