Wine and Mooncakes!

Wine and Mooncakes!

When I was asked to give an outsiders view of what would be the best wines to serve with Mooncakes, my reaction was, what is a Mooncake? About a week later the lovely round pastries arrived at my front door beautifully packaged and my wife Kim and I brought out the wines and had our own Mid-Autumn Tasting Festival!

The Mooncakes were delicious and it was easy to taste why they are so popular, finding the perfect wine pairing was not quite as easy. The Mooncakes immediately reminded me of another favorite desert of mine The Caneles de Bordeaux; made from the yolks of a million eggs that are separated from the egg whites and are used as the traditional fining method during the aging and racking process. As a point of reference at Ch. Lafite Rothschild alone they use anywhere between 6-10 thousand eggs a year and all the yolks go to the local bakers.

In my tasting I found numerous options that I was very comfortable with and paired very well with the yolks, and they were all white. Champagne was a natural of course and goes with all celebrations but Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay also paired well. But for me, the very best choice would be a nice glass of Sauternes! Ch. d’Yquem, Ch. Reiussec, Ch. Suduiraut, Ch. Guiraud or Ch. L’Avocat from Cerons would all be great choices.

Much to my surprise my wife Kim’s preference went the complete opposite direction. She said the sweetness of the Lotus bean paste had a red fruit-berry character and that she preferred a Zinfandel like Kokomo or Mantra to pair with the fruity-sweet element of the Mooncake. Also to my surprise she was right, it paired very nicely!

The end result is that once again, white or red, wine and food parings are the ultimate, subjective form of art, there is no right or wrong answers, and it’s all personal preference.

I wish all of you a great Mid-Autumn Mooncake Festival, and I wish I could be at Victoria Park on the 15thof September with you and see all the lanterns as it is my favorite place in Hong Kong.

Tour Highlights…

I just returned from my 15thtour of the Bordeaux region with my customers and the treatment from my friends in Bordeaux was just amazing. Here are a few of the highlights…Visits at Ch. d’Yquem, Ch. Margaux, Ch. Latour and Ch. Lafite Rothschild are always special but at Ch. Mouton Rothschild our tour was given by the director of all winemaking himself, Mr. Philippe Dhalluin and we enjoyed 2009 Ch. Clerc Milon and 1990 Ch. Mouton Rothschild out of magnum at lunch. Dinner at Ch. Cantemerle, with the 2005 and 2010. An amazing tasting before dinner of the 2015, 2010, and 2009 at Ch. Pichon Longueville Baron and with dinner 2005, 1990, 1962 and 1955 the last three I identified correctly blind. Ch. Palmer’s winemaker Thomas Doroux giving us a passionate tour of the vineyards. Lunch at Ch. Montrose with the fantastic 2005, 2009 and 2010. Dinner at Ch. Ducru Beaucaillou and the stunning 1982! At Ch. Pontet Canet the owner Alfred Tesseron himself gave the tour and at dinner served his 100 point 2009, as well as the 2005, 2003 and 1997 Ch. d’Yquem. Quick stops at Ch. L’Evangile, Ch. Cheval Blanc and Angelus. Great dinners at Ch. Smith Haut Lafitte, Ch. Haut-Bailly and Ch. Malartic Lagraviere and a fantastic lunch at the lovely Ch. Tour Saint Christophe.

It was a wonderful week in life! I hope you can join me next time.

All of these visits were a real treat but I have one more experience to share from California’s Napa Valley. As you know we represent Grgich Hills Estate at PrimeCellar and on a recent visit to taste the new releases the legend himself was there, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, 94 years old and still sharp! I first met Mike in 1982 to ask him to sell my company some of his great wine; he told me he

would think about and to come back in one year. I came back one year later and he sold us some wine; when I told him the story he said to me “you keep coming back!”

It was a wonderful week in life! I hope you can join me next time.

Ralph Sands

PrimeCellar Consultant

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Mr. Ralph Sands

Wine Consultant

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