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Perfect Pairings! Asia's Best Food and Wine Pairing Announced

Following an intensive week of judging in August, first round results of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition have been released at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s official pre-Fair Press Conference on 15 October, a preview of the highlights ahead at the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair. 

Announced by the Competition’s Founding Director, Debra Meiburg, Master of Wine, the competition’s always-anticipated Asian food and wine pairing awards were shared to the media and VIP wine trade representatives.   

The HK IWSC represents a true voice of Asia with 74 judges from nine Asian cities sipping, debating and deliberating their way through thousands of glasses of samples to ensure an authentic pan-Asian voice on the best very best international wines, sake and spirits for the Asian market. And, for the very first time, beer. 

A total of 58 trophies and 107 gold medals were awarded, along with a host of silver and bronze medals. As is the case each year, two VIP Judges joined the judging team to share their international wine and spirit-making expertise with the Asian judging panels. 2019 VIP International Wine Judge was Codórníu Group Winemaking Director, Mr Diego Pinilla, while 2019 VIP Spirits Judge was JiangXiaoBai Deputy Chief Distiller, Ms Wu Yi. 

Amongst the key awards,138 Asian food and wine pairing medals were awarded with one trophy given to the very top pairing in each category. 

Australia winery Pegeric from Victoria, one of the most successful wineries in this category in the last decade of the awards, wowed the judges once again with its Asian food-friendly wines, taking out three trophies in the 2019 Asian Food and Wine Pairing awards categories. Best Wine with Tempura Shrimp and Best Wine with Hai Nan Chicken Rice was won by Pegeric Riesling 2018, while Pegeric Pinot Noir Late Picked Sweet Style 2008 was deemed the ideal match for Coconut Layer Cake – the debut for a dessert dish in the competition. 

Proving again that native food and wine have an intrinsic ability to pair well, the Petit Garden, Rainbow Red 2018 from Ningxia China took out the trophy for Best Wine with Mutton Shashlik in Inner Mongolia Style. Wine entries from China saw a 100% increase in the 2019 competition, with 74% of those entries coming from China’s key region of Ningxia.

One of Asia’s most successful wineries in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition, GranMonte from Thailand was again successful, with its Spring Chenin Blanc 2019 from winning Best Wine with Tuna Sashimi (Chutoro).

Californian wines shone in these categories as well, with La Crema Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2016 taking out the Best Wine with Chinese Roasted Goose trophy, while Napa won the Best Wine with Steamed Rice Flour Pouch (Bánh Cuốn) trophy, with Trefethen Dry Riesling 2018. 

Often the trickiest pairing is with Indian curry, due to the complexity of spices and heat. Also a past winner in the Asian food and wine pairing awards, Richard Buller Cally Estate Grown Shiraz Rutherglen 2014 took the trophy for Best Wine with Indian Beef Curry.

Debra Meiburg MW said, “I was thrilled to announce these results today. Now in our 11th year, we know these pairings are a true guide to sommeliers and food and beverage directors around Asia seeking innovative and interesting pairings to offer to their guests. 

“Significant this year was the success of white wine pairings – particularly riesling. With white wine a much smaller portion of the consumption market – yet so highly suited to many Asian cuisines, we call on Asia’s wine professionals to share these results with their customers to encourage them to mix and match and find new wines to pair with these ever-popular Asian dishes. 

“We also applaud the success of the Asian wineries amongst the winners. We’ve seen a disproportionate level of success of Asian wineries in the Asian food and wine pairing awards in the past, and encourage consumers to try wines native to their countries, as quality has vastly improved over the past 5-10 years.”

Perfect Pairings! Asia's Best Food and Wine Pairing Announced