As one of the judges for this year’s Annual Wines of Chile Awards (AWOCA), Fong Yee Walker from China shares with us her perspective on Chilean wine in an interview with Amanda Barnes. Having grown up in China and England, Fong Yee is a Wine Educator and has been an international judge for wine competitions in London, Hong Kong and Melbourne.
What has been interesting for you while tasting wine here in Chile?
The Syrah seems to be of very high standard. The Pinot Noirs have also been very good – nice fruit and good balance. When you look at the price compared to New Zealand, it was amazing. The Chardonnay has been very smart as well. It’s been a very nice surprise to get rid of the greenness in wines.
What is important to remember when marketing to China?
Be careful with your labeling, make sure you have a good chinese name and good chinese labeling. Use more words like refreshing or rich, words that don’t require a cultural context.
You were once crowned as ‘best blind taster’ at your university, what is your top tip for blind tasting wines?
Don’t do it!
Is it a natural born talent or can you train in taste?
You can train in it. It’s very rare to get students who can’t taste. It’s easier to train Chinese people than English people. Chinese beginners understand acid and sugar balance from the beginning.
What would be your ideal Chilean wine pairing with Chinese food?
The wine that impressed me and I’d like to take to Szechwan is the Casa Marin Riesling. That was bloody nice… A lot of Chinese food has high Umami content so you can’t pair it with tannic red. Chile’s Pinot Noir would be a great pairing too. Pinot Noir goes well with Chinese food.
Fong Yee Walker formed part of the judging panel for the Annual Wines of Chile Awards 2013. To see the results of trophy winners click here.