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.”
- “Winning a silver medal in the HKIWSC has truly helped my product to achieve international credibility regarding its taste. This has positively affected
decisionmaking of several new merchants who now carry my product.”Kaustav BagchiOwner, Lamai Thai Spirits
- “Louis Royer Cognac has been entering the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition for many years. This competition is regarded as the most respected in Asian countries. Winning an award is a high honour for our brand and a further seal of quality for our multi-award winning Cognac.”Carol FrugierMarketing and Communications Manager, Louis Royer Cognac
- “Adding to our success over the past few years at the HKIWSC, winning a trophy means so much to us as we have just recently entered the Chinese market with our brandies. The Chinese market is unique, which makes it even more exciting to know that Oude Molen VOV Brandy is well accepted.”Kobus GelderblomBrandy Master, Oude Molen Distillery
- “It is a great honour for us to receive this award and we are very thankful about the reputation from wine enthusiasts in China. This award is a testament to the fact that our white wines not only match the traditional Austrian food but also matches perfectly with the Asian cuisine.”Katja PflogschWinemaker, Domäne Wachau
- “Having won three trophies in the last four years in different food & wine matching categories at HKIWSC has showcased Pegeric Pinot Noir and its suitability with Asian cuisines leading to its listing with one of Australia’s top restaurant – Melbourne’s iconic Flower Drum.”Chris CormackCEO, Pegeric Wines
- “To get recognition from such a prestigious panel is
veyrewarding indeed, and proves that our wines are made in a style that is truly food friendly. The HKIWSC has become one of the year’s most well-respected wine competitions globally. For us, the food match component is a fantastic chance to demonstrate how well our wines compliment so many different flavours. Moreover, it is a competition known and valued by our customers so a trophy can be hugely influential.””Susanna MayerWinemaker, Yealings
- “Awards and medals at the HKIWSC have been like a stamp of approval to the quality of our wines. Because it is an Asian-focused competition, I know that my wines are being judged and measured by the same yardstick as all the other wines, given our viticultural conditions are quite unique compared with the rest of the world. These medals give me and, more importantly, my consumers the confidence that my wines stand apart from the competition.”Kalash GurnaniWinemaker, York Winery
- “We are very proud of our results. One of our key focuses is the Asian market, so we really want to make our wines special and desirable for this market. That’s why we want to enter this competition and be evaluated by the expert judging panel.”Sofia Cajewski Winemaker, Cremaschi Furlotti
- “We at Yealands Estate Wines are proud to be
recognizedby the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition. The organizationis held in the highest regard and our success in the competitions has become a strong voice for our quality around the globe.”Avram DeitchGlobal Marketing Manager, Yealands Wine Group
- “Winning awards in reputable international wine shows such as the Cathay Pacific HKIWSC is one of the many ways of educating our consumers and giving them confidence in purchasing the Saint Clair brand. This enhances brand perception
increases sales across our entire portfolio of wines.”Maria EastonWinemaker, Saint Clair Family Estate anin turn