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Going 10 Rounds with Retired NBA Star Yao Ming

Yao Family WinesWhat was the first good wine you ever drank? “The first great wine I drank was a Napa Valley Cabernet. I don’t remember the winery, but I remember the occasion. My friend Dikembe Mutombo and I used to go to dinner together when we were on the road with the Rockets. Dikembe always wanted steak. We shared a bottle of Napa Cabernet and I enjoyed it very much.”What’s your favorite wine-and-food pairing? “It started with Texas steakhouses dishes, but I actually really enjoy pairing Chinese food with wine.”Going 10 Rounds with Jess King, Star Peloton Instructor & Co-Host of Instagram Cooking Show ‘Ooo Mami!’ Going 10 Rounds With Actor & Wine Entrepreneur Kyle MacLachlanDo you have any tips for pairing the two? You recently teamed up with pioneering celebrity chef Martin Yan. “I like spicy food, which pairs nicely with Cabernet. The boldness of Cabernet goes very well with the spices and flavors of many different Chinese dishes. Shanghainese food often includes food pickled in wine. Some dishes like fish and crab pair very well with white wine, such as our Sauvignon Blanc. Martin Yan’s lambchops with Chinese five spice is great with red wine.”What wine region took you the longest to truly understand? “I’ve only really studied Napa. It’s been ten years and I’m still learning.” Yao Family Wines What do you always have in your home bar? “I save our Yao Family Wines Family Reserve for special occasions. I have a bottle of our first vintage (2009) that was released the same year our daughter Amy was born. I’m saving it for her wedding, which will be many years from now.”Red or white? “Red.”Were any of your Houston Rockets teammates into wine? “Dikembe Mutombo loves wine. Some of the coaches enjoyed wine as well.”Besides your own wine, what do you like to drink? “I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other great wines of Napa. On my first visit there, we went to some of the most well-known wineries and some small ones, too. I enjoyed meeting the winemakers and the owners, the artisans who make the wine and the businesspeople who own the wineries.”What kinds of wines are you cellaring? “I keep several bottles of each of our vintages, so I can taste them as they age. After ten years, the cellar is getting full!” Yao Family Wines How does your experience playing professional basketball inform the way you run your wine company? “Both are full-time, year-round jobs. Both require teamwork and vision. You need to trust your teammates and know that the victory comes from collaboration, preparation and hard work.” ­­­­­Interview has been condensed and edited.­­Christopher Kimball & the Grateful Dead School of BartendingThe Secret History of BourbonCan the Roaring Twenties Teach Us About Post-Pandemic Life?Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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