Sunday, July 27, 2008

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Chardonnay 2006

While shopping at a local supermarket, came across a 375ml bottle of 2006 Koonunga Hill Chardonnay by Penfolds. It was a half-bottle and I felt adventurous so I went ahead and bought it.

It was cheap - less than HKD 50 - and turned out great! Like most chardonnay, this was very fruity and in particular, I can taste the peachy / vanilla flavours.

So I decided to check our Wine Review and see what the folks there have to say about this wine and sure enough: "Aromas of stone fruit and freshly crushed nectarine with a subtle spicy oak & honey character. A full flavoured wine with fruit of rockmelon and yellow peach & a vanilla & malt creaminess"

All in all, it was very smooth and goes down easy with a comfortable aftertaste.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bordeaux: The Other White Wine

By Robert Parker

It is no secret that the 2005 vintage produced extraordinarily long-lived, rich red wines that have become the darlings of speculators, investors, and wine consumers. Prices are already through the roof, and they will go only higher, as this year is considered by many to be a great, modern-day classic vintage for Bordeaux. Lost in all the hyperbole about the red wines is what remarkable progress Bordeaux has made with its dry whites, usually blends of sauvignon blanc and sémillon and perhaps a tiny quantity of fragrant, flamboyant muscadelle. The finest wines can age surprisingly well, and 2005 was a delicious vintage for these dry, crisp whites that often smell of fresh figs, white currants, crushed rocks, and tropical fruits. Here is a selection of my favorites in different price ranges.

91 points
2005 La Grande Clotte Bordeaux

Michel and Dany Rolland's beautiful generic Bordeaux admirably showcases their enviable talents. Lovely aromas of honeysuckle, wax, wheat thins, lemon oil, and pie crust-like scents emerge from this medium-bodied, fruity, well-delineated white. It should drink nicely for another four to five years. $35

91 points
2005 Reignac Bordeaux

As one might expect from proprietor Yves Vatelot, the 2005 Reignac is a superb effort exhibiting copious quantities of honeysuckle, citrus, lemon butter, and a touch of smoky oak. This serious, medium-bodied effort is meant to be consumed over the next four to five years. $35-$42

92 points
2005 De Fieuzal Pessac-Léognan

The 2005 Fieuzal offers up aromas of hazelnuts, lemon zest, white peaches, currants, and honeysuckle. Gorgeous acidity, a touch of creamy oak, and a full-bodied mouthfeel result in a Burgundian-style white Graves. Enjoy it over the next 20 years. $55-$65

92 points
2005 Malartic Lagravière Pessac-Léognan

Made in a beautiful, elegant, zesty style, the 2005 Malartic Lagravière offers copious quantities of honeyed grapefruit and other assorted citrus, crushed rock, spring flower, nectarine, and marmalade, as well as brilliant acidity and a bright, refreshing, mineral-dominated personality. It should evolve for 10 to 15 or more years. $50-$65

93 points
2005 Carbonnieux Pessac-Léognan

Beautiful aromas of white peaches, crushed rocks, candle wax, and lemon rind along with a touch of quince emerge from this medium-bodied, crisp, flavorful effort. Excellent acidity as well as a long finish suggest it will drink well for 10 to 15-plus years. $50

93 points
2005 Pavillon Blanc de Château Margaux Bordeaux

This stunningly rich 100% sauvignon blanc is drinking fabulously well at present, yet it has the potential to evolve for 15 to 20 more years. Waxy lemon oil, honeysuckle, nectarine, and subtle new oak characteristics are all present in this light gold-colored, long wine. $55-$60

95+ points
2005 Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Léognan

A stunningly rich, concentrated effort, the 2005 may be one of the finest whites Smith Haut-Lafitte has ever produced. It exhibits notes of honeyed oranges, honeysuckle, spring flowers, lemon grass, and melons. Gorgeous acidity, excellent concentration, and a beautiful texture result in an impressive, full-bodied wine to consume over the next two decades. $55-$70

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Heineken Bar Hong Kong

Not exactly a post about wine, but hey, its alcohol!

So I made a trip to AsiaWorld Expo today to attend an event, and on the way back to the city via the Airport Express, I decided to drop by Terminal 2 to visit the Heineken Bar. I've always wanted to visit the place, but every time I'm in HKIA, I'm either in a rush to leave the city, or in a rush to go home. Today seemed like the perfect time to make that visit.

Nothing is more descriptive than photos, so here goes:

A small pint of Heineken Extra Cold to accompany a book I'm reading at the moment - Alan Greenspan's The Age of Turbulence.

Big cushions!

This wouldn't fit into a wine blog if I didn't at least take a picture of the "wine list" they have there ... which isn't much - no surprise there.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

ASC Retail Wine Price List

Here's a price list I recently came across. I suppose it'd be a good place to start learning about the wine prices!

ASC Retail Wine Price List (March 7, 2008)

(Price in RMB / Yuan)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rationale Behind Wine Economics

“The value of wine is as much about the bottle as what is inside.”

I don’t remember where I heard that expression before, but there’s an ounce of truth to it.

Over the past 17 months, Hong Kong duties on wine has gone from a city with one of the highest wine duties in the world to duty-free - from 80% in early 2007, to 40% by March 2007 and to zero by late February of this year. Within 48 hours of the announcement by the local government, unspecified sources claimed that ~10 containers of rare wines were already headed for the HKSAR. Reservations for wine spaces at a local wine cellar sky-rocketed, which even prompted the owner to start planning transfer of wine to a new facility.

Think it’s time to join the bandwagon? I’ve been drinking wine since I was 13, but I could never quite tell the difference between country of origin and grape varieties, let alone the producer, appellation and year! If there’s anything I needed to be convinced to start studying wine, it’d be the current environment, as Hong Kong is already one of the world’s major hub for wine trading and it’s only going to get bigger. Why you ask? Well, it’s situated right next to China, where over 500 million of the middle class is only beginning to understand wine (think: ice in wine?!).

So what are the economics behind wine? Is wine really a good investment? For one thing, wine is so subjective. What RP rates as a 99 may not be the case for a lot of people, which is why there’s been so much debate over rating classifications. What about wine transporting? Often times, temperature inside reefers may not be adjusted correctly, which may cause wine to either freeze or expand due to extreme heat.

Yet, despite all of these risks, wine funds keep popping up. But don’t be fooled, the list you see on the right are the funds being offered right now. What you don’t see are funds, such as AWM Fine Wine Fund, Amphora Fine Wine Fund and Heritage Fine Wine Fund, that went bust!

The correlation between the price of a bottle of wine and its taste is weak. Unless you really enjoy wine, investing in such a commodity may be a risky proposition. Afterall, if the wine doesn’t meet your speculated return, then enjoy it yourself!

I'm know very little about the world of wine. I hope this blog will discipline myself to keep up with my anticipated learning curve. If you're a wine expert, please drop a line and leave some advice. If you want to learn about wine, I invite you to join me on this journey in search for your own rating system!