A Wine for Chinese Food

A wine from Mendoza is the best in the world for pairing with Chinese food. Among 1,289 samples participating from 23 countries, the Judas Malbec from Bodega Sottano was chosen as the ideal wine to accompany "Peking Duck."

The Sottanos are heirs to a family tradition which began in 1890 with their grandfather Fioravantti. A stroke of luck or the result of hard work, dedication and commitment to quality: The secret to success is almost always explained by a mixture of all these things. And "Judas," a red wine from Bodega Sottano of Mendoza, is the best wine in the world to accompany roast duck or Peking Duck, a Chinese cuisine icon, according to an Asian jury that awarded the prize at the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, held between 3 and 6 November.

"Judas," a 100% Malbec wine from Lujan de Cuyo, was chosen from among 1,289 wines from 23 countries, including China, as the world's best to go with "Peking Duck," the Chinese equivalent of Argentine asado (barbecue) or beef sausages. "If our flagship wine has the personality to accompany this traditional dish, it means that the Asian palate will be prepared to interpret what we want Judas and the rest of our wines to give that consumer," said Sebastian Olalla, commercial emissary of the winery.

To Mendoza the news arrived quickly. "We are very pleased; it's like winning a competition for the best wine to accompany the traditional asado [barbecue] in Argentina. Importers will run to ask for it, but it is a limited edition wine with only about 8,000 bottles a year. We expect them to understand this and to help us to enter this market with our other wine lines (they have 9)," said Pablo Sottano, one of the brothers who own the winery that was started in 2002 and today produces no more than 200,000 bottles a year. Achieving this award is even more impressive if you consider that this is only the second time that representatives of this Mendoza winery have gone to China. Moreover, this trip to the Hong Kong Fair was made without a set agenda.

"From Mendoza, we had made a number of contacts there, and we went there to try our luck, and we decided to send a sample to the Fair along with participating in other events," recalled Pablo Sottano. Moreover, the winery has never exported its wines to Asia (currently, it only sells in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and countries in Central America). "Now they will grab the wine out of our hands," enthused the businessman, who leads the company together with his brothers Diego and Mauricio.

Argentina exported wines to Hong Kong with a value of USD $1.68 million in 2008, said Andrew Maidment, manager for the UK and Asia at Wines of Argentina. Meanwhile, in the first nine months of 2009, wine sales totalled USD $1.78 million, with a projection to reach USD $2.5 million in 2010. This is in addition to the USD $4.4 million in wine that Argentina hopes to sell in China this year.

At the Fair in Hong Kong, 21 Argentine wineries were represented and 37 Argentine wines were given medals and awards by Asian judges. The hallmark of this Fair is that besides holding classic tasting contests and awarding medals and prizes, it seeks to spread the culture of wine in Asian countries by associating it with their foods and dishes. Hence the importance of this award not only for the wine but for the entire Mendoza wine production industry, since the Malbec is now linked not only to tango or to [red] meat. It is also ideal for Peking Chicken [Duck].

  • Federico Manrique

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