Lifestyle Eat

Macau’s master of wine

Written by The Panda
This article first appeared in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of World Gaming magazine.

The opening of Macau’s newest mega-resort Galaxy Macau was the Asian gaming scene’s most anticipated event of the year. Galaxy’s promise to Macau was to bring the best of everything. That meant more than just gaming and hotel accommodation. The fine dining scene in Macau is starting to mature and travellers to the region are flocking to feast at world-class restaurants. World Gaming normally sends The Panda to review restaurants. This issue, he jumped at the chance to share a bottle of pinot with the ace in Galaxy’s wine deck, Ms Jeannie Cho Lee.

Food, food, glorious food, but a bear cannot live on food alone. This bear is very partial to a glass or two of fine wine to help wash down a good meal. There might not be the climate nor the room for vineyards in Macau, but there is no shortage of quality wine imported from all corners of the globe. Selecting the correct wines to complement different menus is no easy task, so Galaxy have gone out and hired the best in the business.

Jeannie Cho Lee was the first Asian to pass the notoriously difficult Master of Wine examination. When asked why she chose to join the Galaxy team, Ms Lee was emphatic about her reasoning.

“I respected and agreed with Galaxy Macau’s platform on being a resort for people who appreciate Asian hospitality and sensibilities,” Ms Lee said. “From a food and beverage perspective, we have a philosophical synergy – their focus on Asian tastes is in line with what I’ve been researching and studying for years.”

Creating a wine list for multiple establishments might not sound that difficult, but it is a truly daunting task. Simply having a good palate when deciding which wines to stock is not enough. Because quality wines are snapped up quickly, building relationships with top international vineyards and securing sufficient quantities of selected vintages is a critical part of the job description.

Galaxy Macau executives said Ms Lee’s acumen as well as her Asian wine expertise and heritage clearly reflect the “World Class, Asian Heart” positioning of the property. Her appointment has reinforced the international caliber of Galaxy’s food and beverage offerings, while also cementing its position as a forerunner in Asian cuisine and wine pairing.

Galaxy Macau will place significant emphasis on Burgundy and red Pinot Noir wines. This grape makes a versatile wine considered perfect for Asian cuisine. Ms Lee has also chosen more than 20 Asian wines from countries such as China, India, Japan and Thailand. That number is expected to grow as Galaxy continues to support and develop the industry in this part of the world.

Galaxy has a VIP selection that excites even the most serious wine connoisseur. Blue chip Bordeaux from top vintages and special collectables from regions like California, Australia, Spain and Italy head the list.

In addition to directing the selection of wines for Galaxy Macau’s master and collectibles wine lists, Ms Lee’s involvement extends to a series of restaurant-based events, such as winemaker dinners, Asian food and wine pairing evenings, ladies-only functions, invitation-only wine appreciation events and tastings for wine enthusiasts of all backgrounds.

Ms Lee may already be known to readers through her regular wine columns and articles, which can be found in several noted publications including Wine Spectator and Revue du Vin. She also serves as Contributing Editor for Decanter UK. Impeccably credentialed for her new position, Ms Lee is also a consultant to Singapore Airlines, a frequent lecturer at highprofile wine events and expos, and a judge at competitions such as the Decanter World Wine Awards, the International Wine Challenge and the Royal Adelaide Wine Show.

Her passion for food and wine inspired her to write her first book, Asian Palate, which won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Food and Wine Pairing Book in the World. Asian Palate was also shortlisted as one of four books considered for the UK’s Andre Simon Award. Ms Lee is founder and director of a website that celebrates authentic Asian cuisine and wine together.