The Annual Sommelier Challenge

by Heidi Chan


















The 7th Annual 'Best Sommelier Great China'  competition staged by the Hong Kong Sommelier Association had concluded this week. Eight contestants, originally from Hong Kong and China, represented different entities in the hospitality industry had participated in this challenge. At the first of the three sessions, each of them was tasked to pair a wine with a course from a Chinese menu with the given wines. 

With all of the texture and flavour complexity of Chinese ingredients and preparation methods, these can sometimes be quite hard to pair with wine, especially when you wouldn't get to try the food. But yes the sommeliers were allowed to taste the wines before making the best guess - simply reflecting on the food knowledge and experiences of each individual. 

Fun night, and there are some challenging pairings that I would personally recommend. Here is a profile of the eight dishes and suggest matches:

  • The trio platter - Steamed abalone with sake; Salted egg york Bombay Duck fish; Vegetable goose (Sauvignon Blanc, Constantia, South Africa)
  • Prawn toast with rich crab paste (sparkling white, France). Nice one
  • Stir fried shark's fin with egg, sprouts and celery (Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux, France)
  • Braised roasted pork, fish fillet with beancurd stick and mushroom (Gamay + Pinot Noir)
  • Turnip to-fu chicken soup (Riesling, Eden Valley, Australia) Nice one
  • Rice wine soaked platinum duck (Merlot, Medoc, France)
  • Stir fried glutinous rice with Chinese preserved  pork (Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia)
  • The dessert - Steamed milk custard (Cognac, France)  Love it!