The second Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC)’s International Wine & Spirits Fair is well under way. There are 520 exhibitors from 34 countries and regions. The exhibitor total has more than doubled from the inaugural Fair which took place last year. France is the ‘partner country’ for this year’s fair and many of the activities and tastings organized have a strong ‘French’ theme to them. Sommelier India correspondent Harshal Shah reports from Hong Kong.
France’s foremost wine critic, Michel Bettane and his co-writer of ‘Le Grand Guide des Vins de France’ are bringing their well-respected master class-style tastings – called ‘Le Grand Tasting’ to the wine show. These impressive workshops are conducted by the two of them along with Simon Tam, probably Asia’s most respected wine trainer and wine consultant. Tasting highlights include a vertical of Château d’Yquem going back to 1962, a Prestige Champagne class, verticals of Château Prieuré-Lichine from Margaux going back to 1989 and a vertical of Lafite-Rothschild going back to 1990.
Check this page again for tasting notes of these tastings. The fact that such prestigious wines have been flown in shows the importance of Asia as an overall wine market and more importantly, showcases Hong Kong as the major hub for wine in this part of the world.
The highlight of the fair is the Cathay Pacific International Wine & Spirits Competition, which was held for the first time earlier this week. The fact that Cathay Pacific has opted to partner this competition lends some importance to the competition. Moreover, all the judges in this competition are from Asia and comprise some of the most distinguished palates from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Thailand and India.
The Chairman of judges is Dr. Tony Jordan, an international wine consultant who was the CEO and consultant to Moet Hennessy’s overseas Chandon operations as well as Cloudy Bay and Cape Mentelle wineries. Dr. Jordan now consults to wineries around the world including some in India and China. A unique category of the tasting included a full day of judging wine matches to everyday Chinese dishes such as Peking Duck, abalone and a variety of Dim Sum.
It will be interesting to see the response of the organizers of Vinexpo Hong Kong. Will there be an even bigger show next May to rival that of the HKTDC?
The writer was one of the judges at the Cathay Pacific International Wine & Spirits Competition