What happens when you put 200 dumpling wrappers, 10 girls, and 10 wines into a large Brooklyn Kitchen? One hell of a dinner party.
It gets even more interesting when you ask them to rate their wines against classics like shrimp shu-mai or pork pot stickers and then do the same with more daring options like Mac and Cheese wontons or Asian-slaw gyoza.
Voilà the filling results.
The Wine: Lanhoff 2011 Schloss Altenburg 2011 Gewurtzraminer
The Why: Delicately sweet and juicy shrimp were totally elevated by this aromatic and spicy Italian white. Floral, honeysuckle-esque aromas combined with a rich mouthfeel and hints of pepper to make these feel way fancier than a bag of Chinatown’s best.
The Dumpling: Combo!
The Wine: Recanati 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
The Why: The Combo was a fantastic invention combining pork, shrimp, cabbage, scallions and then some! The rich pork flavor stood up to this deep-hued and peppery Cabernet Sauvignon from Israel. Brooding black currant flavors and a healthy dose of tannins made this the red wine-lover’s dream combination.
The Wine: Banrock Station 2012 Sparkling Moscato (Runner Up: Biltmore Century Red)
The Why: Spicy pork sausage and fresh scallions met sweet pink bubbly in this surprisingly successful combination. The sugar in this Aussie juice tempered the spice in these vivacious homemade dumplings, and even the anti-Moscato crowd was satiated.
The Dumpling: Shrimp Sho Mai
The Wine: Bodegas Castro Martin 2012 Albariño
The Why: Oh Albariño, how your peachy/floral/salty flavors complement seafood. This Spanish grape is known for producing bright and lively whites with great flavors of citrus and clean minerality, and the Castro Martin was no exception. Delicious and wonderful without being overbearing, it was a great partner to succulent and flavorful sho-mai.
The Wine: Sterling Vineyards 2011 Chardonnay
The Why: Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce + Grilled Chicked + Wonton Wrappers = Holy Cow Amazing. The only thing that made these insanely good dumplings better was combining them with the rich and buttery Sterling Chardonnay from Napa. The wine’s richness complemented the sticky sweet BBQ sauce in a way that made the thought of leftovers simply laughable.
The Dumpling: Mac & Cheese
The Wine: Geyser Peak 2012 Sauvignon Blanc
The Why: Can you get more American than Mac and Cheese? We used the standard Blue Box version for this dumpling, and were pleasantly surprised! The gooey cheddar childhood favorite was mess-free in our hands, and the bright, zesty acidity of this Sauvignon Blanc kept the flavor flowing. (Fun Fact: 1 Box of Mac = Roughly 20 Dumplings)
The Wine: Biltmore Century Red
The Why: Wine and dessert pairings can be tricky since the sweetness level of the wine should be at least as sweet as the dessert. Our strawberry and chocolate dumplings used thin and crispy wonton wrappers, and the residual sugar in Biltmore’s Century Red Blend (a rare and berry-flavored wine from North Carolina) made the dessert completely decadent.
Quotes From the Venerable Dumpling Panel:
“I shouldn’t, but these are so damn good.”–on the Combo Dumpling
“I think these all pair pretty well with my mouth.”
“Please enjoy some of our mystery label.”
“At a certain point, cheese does become acceptable as a cracker for Mac and Cheese.”
Other Food-gasmic Combinations:
Asian Slaw + Albariño
Siracha Veggie + Dry Rosé
Fig and Cheddar + Chardonnay
Spinach Bun + Recanati
…AKA the possibilities are endless.