Pairing Chinese dishes with wines can appear to some a daunting task. For one, the huge variety in cooking techniques and personalities of the 8 most influential styles, from the bold garlicky-peppery flavors characterizing Chuan (Sichuan) to the soupy, clear Min (Fujian) to the fresh softness of Zhe (Zhejiang), is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to summarize into a single “pairable” flavor profile. Furthermore, the diversity of ingredients and the resulting complexity in flavor of each dish in itself (with any combination of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami) make it challenging at times to match it to a single wine.
…Challenging but not impossible, which is exactly what Debra Meiburg, Master of Wine sets out to prove during her Certificate Program entitled “8 Treasures, Pairing wines with Chinese flavours” at Vinexpo 2012 Asia Pacific in Hong Kong. A celebrated wine journalist, Master of Wine, and longtime Hong Kong resident with a very refined palate for Asian cuisine, pairing Asian flavors to wines is truly Debra’s area of expertise. I caught her after the seminar to exchange a few words about how it went and about the feedback she’s gotten. Here is what she had to say: