Wolf Blass Wine Pairings‏ & Recipes

Wolf Blass wines celebrates Chinese New Year 2011 by teaming with esteemed chef, cookbook author and journalist Stephen Wong of Vancouver. He is an expert in Chinese cuisine, and has paired some delicious recipes with the right wines. Stephen points out that, “There’s a prevailing belief that a Chinese meal is difficult to pair with wine as multiple dishes with sometimes very diverse flavours are served together making it difficult to choose one or two wines that can handle it all. These three wines have proven that it can be done. They are three good reasons why ‘The Wolf and The Dragon’ are such fast friends“.

His recipes prove that making Chinese recipes can be easy, and when paired with a fine wine – you have yourself a relaxing and appetizing evening. This comes at the perfect time, since Valentine’s Day is coming close. If your city is like mine, reservations are hard to get and babysitters are expensive enough to make you want to rush a dinner – why not make a meal together and enjoy the holiday over a glass of Wolf Bass wine? I chose two such recipes that I want to try soon {see below}, they make me salivate just reading them!

“They are tasty, wine-friendly comforting dishes that are well-suited to holiday entertaining. Collectively, they make up a unique ready-to-serve Chinese-inspired holiday menu alternative complete with matching wine selections. I am pleased to introduce you to the Wolf and the Dragon!”

He worked with three leading Wolf Blass blends:
~ Yellow Label Sparkling Brut
~ Yellow Label Pinot Noir 2008
~ Red Label Shiraz Cabernet 2009

Peking-style Duck Rolls with Orange Hoisin Sauce

{Serves 8 to 10 as an appetizer}

Stephen’s notes: These are quick and easy to serve as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvres, or to bring along to a holiday potluck. Tortillas and naan are an easy substitute to the traditional flour “crepes”. Instead of green onions – which is classic – try using cucumbers, cored and cut into matchsticks for a lighter taste.

Orange Hoisin Sauce:
1 cup Hoisin sauce 250 mL
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 orange) 185 mL
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste 2 mL
1 barbecued duck
6 green onions, trimmed, cut lengthwise into 2-inch long matchsticks and soak in cold water for 20 minutes, spin dry before plating
12 6-inch flour tortillas

To Make:
In a small mixing bowl, combine all Orange Hoisin Sauce ingredients and mix well. Transfer to serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Carve meat from barbecued duck and slice into thin slices. Arrange on serving platter with slivered green onions and hoisin sauce.
In a dry skillet, briefly toast each tortilla until warm and serve with above for diners to make their own rolls as desired. To make rolls, place a tortilla on a plate, spread a scant tablespoon of orange hoisin sauce on the tortilla, top with some green onions and barbecued duck. Roll tortilla into a tight roll and enjoy.

Stephen’s Wine Pairing notes: This tasty treat matches perfectly with Wolf Blass Yellow Label Pinot Noir with the food bringing out the bright fruit in the wine. It is also well-matched with Wolf Blass Sparkling Brut; Yellow label Chardonnay; and the Red Label Shiraz Cabernet showcasing the affinity between the Wolf Blass house style – fruit-forward, soft tannins, balanced and focused – and Chinese food.

Prawn and Garlic Chive Dumplings

{Makes about 3 dozen dumplings}

Stephen’s notes: I chose Chinese flowering chives in this recipe because they have a nice garlicky flavour and a crunchy texture. If you can’t get them try substituting with chopped watercress. Dumplings freeze really well. Just line them up on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and put them in the freezer. After they are frozen you can transfer them into a plastic bag for more convenient storage. If you must have a dip, squeeze fresh lime juice into some sweet chili sauce.

1 lb fresh peeled prawns, coarsely chopped 454 g
1 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger 15 mL
1 Tbsp shaoxing wine, or dry sherry 15 mL
1 Tbsp fish sauce (nuoc mam) 15 mL
1 Tbsp chicken stock 15 mL
1 Tbsp cornstarch 15 mL
1 egg white
1 tsp sesame oil 5 mL
1/2 tsp salt 2.5 mL
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper 1.2 mL
1/2 cup finely diced Chinese flowering chives 125 mL
36 round flour Jiaozi dumpling wrappers

To Make:
Combine all the ingredients except the chives and the wrappers in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to coarsely chop the mixture. Be careful not to over process as the mixture should be a bit chunky. Fold in the chives and mix well. If you don’t have a food processor, chop the prawns by hand and mix in seasonings and chives.
To make dumplings: Place a heaping teaspoon of filling onto the centre of a dumpling wrapper. Brush the edge of the wrapper with some water. Fold the wrapper over the filling to form a half moon shape. Gently squeeze out all the air and pinch edges together to seal tightly. Repeat until filling is used up. Recipe makes about 35 dumplings.

To cook and serve dumplings “potsticker” style: Heat a non-stick skillet with a tight fitting lid over medium high heat. Add about 1 Tbsp of oil to hot skillet. Add dumplings and lightly fry them on one side for about 30 seconds. Add 2 to 3 Tbsp of water and cover and cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until water is evaporated. Shake the skillet and the potstickers should loosen from the bottom of pan. Transfer to serving platter and serve.

Stephen’s Wine Pairing notes: I like using dumplings to illustrate how different cooking methods can affect how they pair with wine. Dumplings can be boiled or steamed, pan-fried “potsticker”-style or deep-fried. Each way of cooking yields a different texture and flavour intensity in the dumpling and changes the way they react with wines.
In this case, when steamed, the prawn and chive dumplings are mild and light in flavour and well complemented by the fresh, crisp Wolf Blass Red Label Unoaked Chardonnay. Served potsticker-style, the lush tropical flavours of the Yellow Label Chardonnay matches well with the sea-sweetness in the dumpling. When deep-fried, the crispy texture of the dumpling plays well with the Yellow Label Sparkling Brut, and surprisingly, the richer, nutty flavours the dumpling takes on from being deep-fried are in sync with the Red Label Shiraz Cabernet and manage to bring out the sweet fruit in the wine.

Stephen’s Final Thoughts on the Wolf and the Dragon

The Red Label Shiraz Cabernet, the Yellow Label Chardonnay and the Sparkling Brut have all proven that they are very versatile when paired with Chinese food, especially some of the Northern style dishes I have created for your exotic yet easy holiday entertaining. The key is the bright fruit-forwardness and balance of the wines which shine through the salty caramelized richness of the sauces and preparations. These wines certainly pair well with specific dishes, but more importantly they also perform well across the range of dishes. There’s a prevailing belief that a Chinese meal is difficult to pair with wine as multiple dishes with sometimes very diverse flavours are served together making it difficult to choose one or two wines that can handle it all. These three wines have proven that it can be done. They are three good reasons why “The Wolf and The Dragon” are such fast friends.


Disclosure: I was provided with product to facilitate this post, opinions are my own.


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