French & Spanish – By A Nose!

We’ll drink to this bit of news: In 2010, China imported 260 million litres of wine, a volume which would fill 690 swimming pools and a country that remains a top target for wineries.

China is also the largest importer of Bordeaux wines, but demand by those with a nose for it, they’re also looking at wines from Australia, parts of Europe and New Zealand.

So, it was with great interest that we attended the China Wine Awards in Hong Kong late last week.

This was where we witnessed one of the city’s largest blind wine-tasting events and where 40 vinophiles, sipped, gargled and spat out 1000 glasses of wine chosen from hundreds of wineries from 25 countries.

And the winners ? Bordeaux from France or Spain’s Rioja region which, said the vinophiles, produce wines best suited to Chinese palates when served with Chinese cuisine.

Each of the judge – wine wholesalers, retailers and restaurant managers- had the arduous task of tasting 35 wines over seven rounds in one day and rated each in terms of look, smell and taste and then matched them with the most suitable type of Chinese cuisine – Guangdong, Beijing and Szechuan dishes.

The various bottles of wine ranged between HK$110 to HK$3,300 per bottle and had their labels covered up.

Wines from France and Spain accounted for the highest number of wines tasted.

And reporting about this event for Hong Kong’s Morning Post was the appropriately -named Amy Nip.