Most California wines are generous, bold and assertive, somehow reflecting the US state’s identity, which is sun-filled, energetic and self-confident. So it’s fitting that California Wine Month takes place in the summer months of July and August.
Over 40 restaurants, retailers and online wine shops will be running special offers on California wines. Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View Hotel is taking it one step further to bring the Cali vibes to diners at all three of its F&B outlets, Café Renaissance, Mirage Bar & Restaurant and Dynasty, with hand-picked California wines and specially designed menus. The full list of participating outlets can be found here.
The highlight of California Wine Month is a pop-up retail store, Sips of Summer, at Fashion Walk in Causeway Bay in August (20–23 and 27–30). In addition to rotating wine merchants with exclusive offers, there is also a Discover California Wines tasting bar featuring a selection of special wineries – including some celebrity wines from Barnett Vineyards, Silenus Winery and Dierberg Vineyard.
California Wine Month coincides with Delicious USA, running from 16 July–16 August, where 25 restaurants are featuring creative dishes using US ingredients, from meat and seafood to fruits and nuts.
We recently had the first glimpse of what will be offered at Delicious USA when we were treated to a tasting menu consisting of eight dishes from seven restaurants, plus five wines. My favourite dish was the scallop tiradito from Mexican restaurant Te Quiero Mucho. It’s similar to carpaccio, with a distinctive acidity that will surely whet your appetite.
Another surprise was the chicken salad without rice kimbap from Kelly’s Cape Bop, a healthy Korean snack shop in Wanchai. The dried cranberries add an extra dimension of flavour.
Japanese-Brazilian street-food eatery Uma Nota uses both US short ribs and flour to create a mouth-watering short rib bao.
Amongst the five wines, I found the Frei Brothers Russian River Valley Chardonnay, with its fresh acidity and white fruit aroma, to be an excellent all-rounder that went well with all the dishes.
Three wines also caught my attention: Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier blend and Seghesio Zinfandel from Via Pacifica and Orin Swift Machete, a blend of Grenache, Petite Sirah and Shiraz, from Watson’s Wine. These wines have attractive aromas and layers of fruits supported by a firm structure. They are powerful but not heavy.
If the summer heat seems a bit too much for wine, why not try a refreshing wine cocktail such as a cucumber herb spritzer or raspberry frosé? You can download a free wine cocktail recipe book from the California Wine Institute here.
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