WELCOME TO EDITION 756 of GRAPEVINE
Greetings from sunny Shanghai.
Yesterday, I was invited to be one of six judges of a Sommelier Cook-Off.
Six teams comprising three sommeliers each from throughout China created dishes to pair with Rioja reds.
The winning teams – 1st, 2nd & 3rd place – won RMB6,000, RMB4,500, and RMB3,000 respectively.
The remaining unplaced three teams did not go away empty-handed. Everyone was given a hong bao or red-packet.
I was mighty impressed by the sense of camaraderie of Chinese sommeliers, whether as part of the same team or competing against each other.
They swept us off our feet with their sense of fun, dedicated professionalism in speaking about the wineries and the wines, and culinary dexterity and accomplishment.
The person – or Pied Piper – keeping the rhythm humming away was LU Yang, China’s first MS or Master Sommelier and, amongst his many roles, a consultant to the Shangri-La Group where he was previously Director of Wine.
Lu is also one of China’s leading wine educator.
Yesterday was the fifth such annual Rioja cooking competition.
It was more than just a contest.
Yesterday was really a celebration of Chinese Sommelerie!
Wishing you A Very Good Week Ahead.