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With Chinese New Year coming, many of us will soon face those tables loaded with a dozen or more dishes. For those interested in pairing them with wine, here are a few ideas:
1. See what the experts say. It might seem like I dismissed them earlier but only in terms of deference. Expert opinions can be a good starting point for determining your own preferences. With Peking duck, for example, most recommend Pinot Noir over Cabernet Sauvignon. See if you agree.
2. Order several different wines. If a big night is in the cards, you will drink plenty of bottles, so split them between a red and a white – or even more options if possible. That means more wines to try against all those dishes.
3. Experiment. I recently went for spicy hotpot with a small group. We had a wine typically recommended for spicy food, a semi-sweet German white wine, but also a half-dozen Napa reds. Our initial skepticism disappeared as the sense of sweetness from those fruit bombs, especially the Merlots, helped handle the heat.