Mooncakes are offered to friends or on family gathering during the mid-autumn festival / Mooncake/ The Chinese character on the mooncake represent "Double white" in English ()Mooncakes are offered to friends or on family gathering during the mid-autumn festival / Mooncake/ The Chinese character on the mooncake represent "Double white" in English (pic: iStock)
Asia Wine

Mid-Autumn wine pairing guide

Whether it's a dish steeped in Mid-Autumn festival tradition or holiday must-have mooncakes, Ronald Khoo picks out four classic pairings with wine.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is just around the corner (September 21) and it’s the season for lantern lighting, mooncake making and sharing, courtship and matchmaking, family gathering, family meals, visiting friends and relatives and gift giving.

People traditionally drink pu’er tea with the foods of this season and we would like to suggest some non traditional pairings with wine. Here are some interesting wine pairing options you could experiment with to make this year an even more special Mid-Autumn celebration.

Roasted braised duck with Antinori Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva Gran Selezione 2017, Tuscany, Italy

Roasted duck with Chianti Classical (pic: Vino Joy News)
Roasted duck with Antinori Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva Gran Selezione 2017 (pic: Vino Joy News)

This is a highly sought after and rated wine (James Suckling 95/100, Antonio Galloni 93/100, Wine Enthusiast 92/100) from one of the most prestigious wineries in Italy spanning 26 generations of winemaking.

Made from Sangiovese grapes, this wine will be the perfect pairing for your roasted braised duck dish. The duck eating tradition actually dates back to the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368),during the Mid-Autumn festival period, people used “eating duck” as a signal to take action together to revolt against the rulers and this became a Mid-Autumn tradition. On a more practical note, eating duck during this season conforms to traditional Chinese medicine theory on yin and yang.

Badia a Passignano has remarkable intensity: notes of ripe red fruit, cherries in alcohol and sour cherries delicately blend with soft balsamic notes and hints of aromatic herbs. Its bouquet is completed by spicy notes of cloves and chocolate. On the palate its rich entry gives way to well-integrated tannins, sustained by sappiness and excellent freshness.

Braised pork belly with Trapiche Iscay Syrah and Viognier 2015, Uco Valley, Argentina

Braised pork belly with Trapiche Iscay Syrah and Viognier 2015, Uco Valley, Argentina (pic: Vino Joy News)
Braised pork belly with Trapiche Iscay Syrah and Viognier 2015 (pic: Vino Joy News)

This is a high altitude (made at 1250m above sea level from vineyards in Los Arboles, Uco Valley) and highly rated wine (James Suckling 97/100), which brings amazing freshness to the smooth tannins you will encounter when you match this with another Mid-Autumn food favourite, braised pork belly either made in Cantonese or Shanghainese style.

There is 3% of Viognier that has been co-fermented with the Syrah that brings to the wine floral notes that come with a touch of pepper. On the palate, you will find that it’s elegant, fresh, with hints of sweet plums and red berries that end on elegantly refined tannins.

Snow skin Mooncake with Champagne AR Lenoble Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs “Mag 16”, France

Snow skin Mooncake with Champagne AR Lenoble Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs "Mag 16", France (pic: Vino Joy News)
Snow skin Mooncake with Champagne AR Lenoble Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs “Mag 16” (pic: Vino Joy News)

The celebration would not be complete without an assortment of mooncakes and it is becoming increasingly creative each year. We pair a couple of different mooncake styles with wine and wish you a great sweet finish to your Mid-Autumn celebrations.

A refreshing choice of a mung bean paste coated mooncake which has a chewy and fruit snow skin goes well with Champagne that is equally uplifting . Enjoy the Grand Cru Champagne exclusively planted in Chouilly with 100% Chardonnay grape. Experience a nice blend of aromas of white flowers with touches of citrus, slightly lemony and minty notes and a palate filled with mineral and very full-on citrus flavors such as lemon from Menton, clementine from Corsica with a hint of bergamot from southern Italy.

Lotus Seed Paste / Egg Custard Mooncake with Chateau Suduiraut 2010, Sauternes, France

Lotus Seed Paste / Egg Custard Mooncake with Chateau Suduiraut 2010, Sauternes, France (pic: Vino Joy News)
Lotus Seed Paste / Egg Custard Mooncake with Chateau Suduiraut 2010, Sauternes, France (pic: Vino Joy News)

This traditional lotus seed paste with egg or more contemporary custard mooncake which has soft creaminess and salted egg yolk that balances the sweetness with a savory punch would go well with a wine of similar calibre. The 2010 Suduiraut has a rich, botrytised bouquet with dried honey, pineapple, ripe mangoes and a hint of orange marmalade. The palate is well-balanced, with a viscous texture, demonstrating fine minerality and tautness. Dried mango, quince and spice all integrate well on a long desirable finish.

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