BB Cued: Merlot or Malbec with Cherry Popsicles?

Note: I’m still finishing my notes from the August 9 lectures at Beijing’s wine workshop (see the first three posts: China Wine 101, Shop ‘Til You Pop and Taste, with Chinese characteristics). I hope to have them up with a week.

China Radio International interviewed me earlier this year about – acquaintances in the wine sector gasp with horror! – wine. That’s right: Beijing Boyce, owner of a level-one Wine Spirits and Education Trust certificate, able to differentiate Champagne from Cabernet Sauvignon, and collector of corks (they make great mobiles!) dispensed wine wisdom to the masses. I thought it prudent to burst onto the national scene by making a revolutionary statement or three:

  •  Red wines match red foods, such as kimchi, watermelon and cherry Popsicles; white wines match white foods, such as Spanish onions, rice cakes and plain yoghurt; rose wines match pink foods, such as candy floss and Double Bubble gum;
  • Never, ever, ever add 7-Up or Sprite to wine – unless you have given the soda a proper chance to breathe.
  • Always eat the cork when drinking an “oaked” wine, as the two woods bring out each other’s flavors.

Of course, I’m kidding – except about the cherry Popsicles. The interview, with ‘Dapper Dude’ Mark Rybchuk was about “basics,” the kind of things one might learn in a WSET course or from Wine for Dummies. These include:

– Use proper-sized glasses that allow you to swirl the wine, hold its aromas,  and get a good smell.
– Serve wine at an appropriate tempature: whites should be about 10-12 degrees and reds around 16.
– The queen of wines is Chardonnay, the king is Cabernet Sauvignon – pay homage to them, and then move on.
Tannin makes your mouth feel dry in the same way that strong black tea does, while acidity makes your mouth water (to be on the safe side, always wear a bib).
Trash-talking Chinese wine because you had a bad experience with 28-kuai Great Wall or Dynasty is kind of like hating all American and European beers because you don’t like Budweiser and Carlsberg. Local wineries that use only Chinese grapes, such as Grace and Catai, deserve a chance.

By the way, we did this interview while I sipped Jack Daniels and Mark had a Qingdao at Shooters. What can I say, our original wine-relevant location was closed.

(This post previously appeared on

Content takes time and resources. And I don't have advertisers or sponsors. If you find Grape Wall useful, please help cover its costs via PayPal, WeChat or Alipay.

You can also sign up for my free newsletter here. Follow Grape Wall on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And see sibling sites World Marselan DayWorld Baijiu Day and Beijing Boyce. Reach Grape Wall via grapewallofchina (at)

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply