Seasons of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

Experience a perfect evening- whether overlooking the glittering skyline of Hong Kong with friends, or a quiet evening at home with a loved one- a glass of wine is always welcome. Asian Palate now takes you on a journey through the quintessential fruits of the fall, proposing the ideal European wines to remind us of them and thus evoke a truly flawless autumnal flavour.

Persimmons in Chinese culture are symbolic of the transition of the bitterness of youth to the sweetness of maturity through life, making it the consummate fruit to represent autumn- the fresh tartness of summer melting into the heavier honeyed tones of winter.  A classic Merlot brings to mind this unique flavour best, with its deep crimson colour and moderate acidity and tannins, but it has a fleshier palate than a Cabernet Sauvignon.  Its Asian fruit character is the closest to persimmons- from the young hard, bright orange type to the ripened soft, dark orange gooey-textured ones.  The variety in flavour is reflected in the different production countries- from regions in France such as Pomerol and Saint-Emilion to California and Washington in the USA and Chile in South America.

The prefectural flower of Kochi, Japan, yangmei with its vibrant colour and sweet, tart flavour, is impossible to resist.  As the poet Pingkezheng described it in the Song dynasty, “the first taste is very precious/ the taste is better than Kesu grapes and the colour deeper than Lunan Lychee”.  This beautiful fruit was even presented as official tribute from the Yue province to the Empress Dowager Cixi.  To help conjure up this ideal fruit flavour, we selected the most elegant and feminine of the major red wine varieties: the Pinot Noir, which is lightly coloured and has seductive strawberry and yangmei flavours with delicate spices, medium body and silky tannins.  This can be found from Burgundy in France, New Zealand and Chile.

“Whenever you eat fruit, eat melon, because it is the fruit of Paradise and contains a thousand blessings and a thousand mercies.  The eating of it cures every disease.”  While the latter statement may be somewhat debatable, the prophet Muhammad certainly had the right idea.  Korean yellow melons and Japanese crown melons have a refreshing sweetness and purity of taste that cannot be replicated.  To help elicit this unique flavour, we chose the Chardonnay- from the light, crisp variety, to the full-bodied, oaky styles with tropical fruit flavours.  This international wine can be found from Burgundy in France, Australia and South Africa.

Across the whole of Asia, peaches are the fruit of happiness, riches, honours and longevity- and in China, are one of the ten immortal plants and animals.  Peaches can be seen through out innumerable paintings and poems throughout history, and were the favoured fruit of kings and emperors- and with good reason.  Saturn peaches, with its soft flesh and rich, delicious flavour is truly incomparable.  However, we finally conceded that the Riesling could indeed recall it- with its distinctive floral characteristics and wide range of styles, from dry to off-dry, medium and fully sweet, with or without botrytis influence. Places such as Rheinhessen and Pfalz, Washington in the USA and New Zealand produce this wonderfully diverse wine.

I hope that you have enjoyed this journey of flavours and sensations across Asia, and that you will be raising a glass up soon this autumn.  Santé!