When New Zealand wines meet Chinese gourmet

Stephanie Y          (Original Chinese article please log onto: http://taiyangbao.ca/author/stephanieyuen/?variant=zh-hans)

One of the most memorable meals I had recently took place at Grand Dynasty Chinese Restaurant on Broadway (at Heather). Hosted by Sir George of Villa Maria Estate Winery all the way from New Zealand, this multi-coursed luncheon proved that when effort and attention are paid, pairing wine with Chinese cuisine can be as enjoyable as pairing with any other fine fare.

Anyone who’s attended a Chinese banquet knows the drill – when we say multi-courses, we’re talking about at least 10 or more.  Each course is cooked in different way and often involves complex flavoured-seasoning and wok technique, rendering various texture and umami.  To choose a wine to go with each dish is not only a challenge, it is not recommended since going through 10 or more different bottles of wines within few hours is not what savouring Chinese food or appreciating wines garners.   

Savvy wine-drinkers probably know that New Zealand’s wine quality and production volume are on the rise.  The current number of 698 wineries and 2.35 billion liters of wine is something British Columbia can only dream of.  Their Sauvignon Blanc has been receiving rave reviews.  New Zealand encompasses 1000 miles from North to South, a vast geographic and climatic spectrum grants different wine zones with regional characteristic, giving their wines their own structures and attributes.  As a result, their Chardonnay, Riesling, Shirah, Merlot and Pinot Noir have all been claiming global attention.       

Established in 1961, Villa Maria Estate Winery has been regarded as one of the pioneers in the nation, more can definitely be said of Sir George, the heart and soul behind what Villa Maria is and all the awards received.

The 7 wines we tried that day were their flagship wines, poured freely to allow guests to swirl, taste and sip with the beautifully prepared East meets West courses prepared by Executive Chef Sam Leung, served contemporary style.   

 1) Cellar Selection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011: The soft aroma of fresh fig and mild citrus wakes up the palate.

2) Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011: Fruity and lengthy with refreshing tropical flavour.   

3) Private Bin East Coast Pinot Gris 2011: The subtle sweetness of melon balances beautifully with the spicy note.

4) Private Bin Hawkes Bay Merlot 2011: Classic berries and ripened plum with a touch of smooth vanilla.

5) Marlborough Private Bin Pinot Noir 2010: Fruit forward sensation and complex body that lingers.

6) Marlborough Private Selection Pinot Noir 2009: Full-bodied and lengthy, the texture and flavour keep elevating the wow factor to higher levels. 

7) Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006:  Carefully selected de-stemmed grapes give this wine the smooth structure and a round tannin.

And now, some of Chef Leung's creative dishes.