Why Renowned Wine Pundit Jeannie Cho-Lee Loves Her Wines With Food
Deciding on the wines we love best is a subjective matter. We all have our unique preferences, whether it’s a passion for Pinot Noir or a soft spot for New World Chardonnay, or perhaps anything full-bodied that’s driven by ripe fruits such as cherries and blackcurrants. But almost everyone can agree that pairing wines with the foods you love to indulge in is a great way to enjoy them even more. It’s also a great way to discover a taste for wines you’ve not dared to try on their own.
You might even be surprised by some of these pairings, just as South-Korean born Jeannie Cho-Lee, Asia’s first Master of Wine, was when she had oysters paired with a dessert wine from Bordeaux.
A successful author, TV host and editor based in Hong Kong, Cho-Lee is also a committee chair for one of the year’s most anticipated wine events—the inaugural Wine Pinnacle Awards Presented by Genting Singapore, that’ll be held at the Resorts World Convention Centre from 10 to 12 October 2019. This anticipated celebration comprises a gala dinner and awards ceremony on the first night and The Great Wine & Dine Festival that stretches across the three days. It’s a not-to-be-missed event that Cho-Lee duly notes celebrates wines voted by top wine professionals from around the globe. There are no entry fees or restrictions on the wine origin, which means deserving wine producers and wines that may otherwise fall under the radar have a fair chance to shine.
Her work, she shares, takes her across the globe in search of the finest wines, yet one of her favourite things to do is to have them with foods that are not necessarily from the same region or country as the wines. Closer to home, though, she adds that consumers are often limited by preconceived ideas about the challenges of pairing wine with Asian dishes, in particular, foods that are boldly flavourful and sometimes spicy—whether it’s Korean staples such as kimchi and Indian curries, or one of Cho-Lee's favourite Singapore dishes: nasi lemak "with lots of sambal".
“The reality is that there are wines that can pair with these,” she tells us. Wines like fino sherry or sparkling wines—cava, she declares, is beautiful with spicy foods. “You could even pair these foods with still white wines,” she adds. “With nasi lemak, I especially love a Riesling from Germany or Alsace, France, but you could also try something dryer, such as a Grüner Veltliner from Austria.” The idea, in this case, is to look for something refreshing.