Changyu Noble Dragon Cabernet Gernischt 2013
Changyu Noble Dragon Cabernet Gernischt 2013, China, 12%
Susie writes: This Saturday Kitchen wine is a particularly significant one – because it’s a glimpse into the future.
For a start, it’s from China. This vast nation now boasts the world’s second largest vineyard, and one that is growing fast. While much of that is used for table grapes, it is also the sixth largest producer of wine (and its fifth largest consumer).
In short, it seems inevitable that China is destined to be on our minds and in our glasses more than ever before in the coming years.
This particular Chinese wine is not the most complex or refined example but it’s great value, readily available and worked very well with Ken Hom’s chicken in black bean sauce with noodles, beansprouts and ham.
Apparently, this was the same dish Ken had cooked for his first television audition back in 1983 and, by his own admission, it hasn’t changed since. Its easy-going flavours work with all kinds of wines, from Provençal rosé to New World Pinot Noir. I was worried that this Chinese Cabernet might be too black-fruited and firm for Ken’s dish but it actually helped accentuate the darker, savoury elements of the dish like the dark soy, black beans and caramelized chicken. It also worked well served coolish.
Ken commented on how it had ‘a very interesting nose.’ Show host Donal Skehan noted how, ‘It stands up to the meatiness of the black beans’. Fellow chef Ching He Huang also liked the match saying, ‘I really enjoy this, it works really well together: a lovely combination’. Fitting harmony for Chinese New Year! (Susie, 6/10, Feb 2018)
On another note, and talking of the future, this wine marks a milestone in that it will be the last recommendation either Peter or I make on Saturday Kitchen.
It’s almost 12 years since we first started presenting on the show and now we’ve taken the decision to move on. Leaving is certainly tinged with sadness – it’s been an amazing adventure – but it’s time for new projects and to give other wine and drinks experts the opportunity to get involved.
Not too long ago, and to mark the show’s 400th consecutive episode, RadioTimes ran a piece describing Saturday Kitchen as the longest running Saturday morning show in UK TV history. We certainly know that it’s become one of the biggest cues to buy wine among all national media and that the wine recommendations regularly sell out.
In the same RadioTimes article, I was slightly embarrassed to be described as, ‘the show’s most successful matcher’. I’ve certainly enjoyed 12 years of cooking up the chefs’ dishes in advance to test them alongside a range of wines to find the right combination. Perhaps the most memorable moment came when one of my recommendations (Portuguese red Porta 6, which show host James Martin also particularly liked) famously crashed Majestic’s website in 2015 as it saw the busiest trading period in its history, with the wine selling out and reservations for 30,000 bottles placed over the weekend.
Peter and I have learnt so much over this time, what with cooking all the dishes and trying to agree on (ie arguing over…) which wine worked best. But this process has also, I hope, meant that each choice has proven a great match.
We’ve also loved appearing at the BBC Good Food Shows with Saturday Kitchen, and working both in live and pre-recorded formats with some of the world’s top chefs and celebrities. We’d like to thank the brilliant production team at Cactus TV who make the magic happen as well as the many stores and venues that have been so generous with their time and resources. Most importantly, we’d like to thank our wonderful and very loyal viewers, who have been (and continue to be) such tremendous company and fun.
We can’t comment on specifics about new adventures just yet, but we are really looking forward to doing so in due course.