This week Gary Vaynerchuk looked at what wines go best with hot dogs! (What Wines Pair with a Hot Dog? Episode #944, Wine Library TV, 3 November 2010)

Recently Wine Spectator’s New World Wine Experience brought four of the best chefs in the world together, Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck and Charlie Trotter, to work with Wine Spectator’s Executive Editor Thomas Matthews on pairing the right wine to their dishes. (2010 New World Wine Experience: The Four Chefs Food and Wine Match by Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, 2 November 2010)

But the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Competition, the largest wine competition in Asia, has taken food and wine pairing to a whole new level. It has included a world-first Chinese food and wine pairing category in the competition, and it’s proving very popular with both wineries and the public!

Everywhere you look people seem to be getting serious about matching the right wines with the right foods!

And why not? A great meal can become a transcendental experience when married with perfect wine choice. James Halliday gave a wonderful description on his Australian Wine Companion blog of the wine/food pairings at the Annual Clonakilla Dinner at Attica, 28 October 2010. Here’s a sample:

The Grosset (Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 2010) was accompanied by ‘snow crab’, one of those dishes that only Shewry (ie. Ben Shewry, co-owner and chef at Attica) could conceive of and execute, in no way derivative, simply coming out of his imagination (and a fair bit of trial and error in the kitchen in the development phase, no doubt). The presentation alluded to a snow-capped mountain, the snow on the outside of the mini-mountain on the plate a profusion of other textures and flavours hidden underneath. A perfect match with the riesling.

Incidentally, Tom Matthews paired Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois Hot Pot with Beef Tongue and Beef Cheek, Star Anise and Chinese Five Spice Powder with Betts & Scholl Grenache Barossa Valley The Chronique 2007 (WS 91 points). It was in good company! Charlie Trotter’s choice for the same dish was the Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Meredith Estate Méthode à l’Ancienne 2006 (WS 88 points). Merry Edwards is a legend in the California wine industry!

Braised Abalone, Dim Sum, Kung Pao Chicken, Peking Duck and Sashimi were the dishes the five member judging panel were asked to pair against wine presented ‘blind’ at the International Wine and Spirits Competition. Of course, as I mentioned in my previous post, The Two Speed Wine Market! 19 October 2010, the wine culture in China is very young and most Chinese are still getting used to the idea of having wine with meals, so pairing wine with dishes familiar to the Chinese taste makes a lot of sense!

Only two Australian wines were awarded Gold Medals in the wine and food category, and interestingly both wines were paired with the Peking Duck: Eagle Vale Cabernet Merlot 2007 and the Gibson Barossavale Wilfreda Blend 2005. They shared the stage with wines from New Zealand, Italy, Argentina and Greece. The only white wine choice for Peking Duck was New Zealand’s The Ned Pinot Grigio (Gris) 2010, and the trophy in this category went to Greece’s Monemvasia St George Regional Red Dry Wine 2006.

With the popularity of Australia’s Master Chef and cooking shows in general a late night food and wine pairing show is probably in the making!

Photo Credit: Entertaining WF