Full On Wine Season

We are currently smack dab in the middle of the craziest, most indulgent & delicious time of the year (I would argue at least 2 x more than December), and although we all have panda eyes, we’re certainly not complaining.

Why, pray tell?  The grapes have been harvested.  The juice has been (at least mostly) fermented.  The wines have been put to rest in cask or are left on the lees in their tanks.  Tis the season for the winemaker to get out of the cuverie and out to promote their previous year’s achievements, and the season for the rest of us to revel in their (hopeful) success.

This is a long week, so settle in.

Part 1: Wine & Dine


200,000 people queued up to spend their weekend sipping on wines, beer, & whisky at the Central Harbourfront (why you would do this instead of quietly sitting with a bottle anywhere else is beyond me, but hey).  This was the first time Ginsberg+Chan participated and overall we found it to be a successful weekend.  The fair went on over 4 days so we split the days into 2 shifts.  I worked Friday day which was quite manageable given we were in the VIP tent and there was a $500 buy in. IMG_1803

But come 7pm and I was out of there for a winemaker dinner of sorts at Tung Po, which is arguably one of the most fun places in Hong Kong to have dinner.  Top right is Matt, winemaker of several bins of Penfold’s, including their Port.  Beth and I rounded up a motley crew of wine and sake (thanks, Tasty In!) lovers for a free for all of Cantonese cuisine. IMG_1805

This is a must for out of town visitors.  The food is tasty, cheap, and assorted (the drunken chicken & eggplant a must, the squid ink pasta is totally overrated) and there’s zero corkage.  Even if wine isn’t your thing there’s beer on hand and you can drink it out of a bowl.  What’s more fun than beer out of a bowl while sitting on a plastic stool in a wet market?  Exactly.
IMG_1806 Matt ❤ beer out of bowls. IMG_1812

And if that’s not enough the staff is running around singing and teaching valuable party tricks like how to open a beer with a chopstick.   It’s exactly as hard to do as it sounds.

In addition to the magnum of sake (perhaps not the wisest choice when tasked with working Wine & Dine the next day) I brought this delicious 2006 Sangiovese Montepulciano blend (Italy Small Vineyards).  It was full of red and black fruit, chocolate, and was rich without being heavy. Great stuff.

We continued on to Stone Nullah Tavern but that was pretty short lived, probably due to the sake shots throughout dinner…IMG_1841

Saturday’s Wine & Dine crowd was consistently more busy than Friday, but again, a good mix of people who were actually interested in wine and not just out to get hammered cheap.  And again made my way out by 7pm for another evening of wine & delicious food, this time at casa Mark & Simone.  This was part 1 of their 30 or so going away parties, and it set a pretty high bar.

Mark grilled up some of the most tender and juicy pork and steak and there was no shortage of interesting wines on hand; see Pierre Jouet above above & Bonny Doon rose above (Victoria Wines).  Got to love partying with wine people. IMG_1844

Hot right now and so delicious- Condrieu.  Viognier does not have a huge following, at least here in Asia, but pretty much anyone who is anyone can agree that Condrieu is pretty much the best thing ever. Fact.

This was probably 10 pm. IMG_1856

Went out to catch some of the rugby and ran into Doug at Pastis.  IMG_1858

And then very wisely went back to Simone’s for some more delicious wines.  Circe hails from the Morning Peninsula is Victoria, Australia.  Awesome Pinots & sparkling wine.  IMG_1859

Winos at 3 am.  Kim, me, Fifi, Frank, Tor, & chef extraordinaire Mark. IMG_1878

Sunday funday at the Office.  Boating and swimming at the end of October.  Thank you, Andy!IMG_1880

Drop off at Hebe Haven.  Kim, Andy, Dylan, Andre, & Stephanie.

And then back to Wine & Dine to wrap up the weekend.  Exhausting but so much fun.  Roberto, me & Rosanna. 

The girl on the left was hands down my favorite of the night.  She kept coming by and giving me more chocolate.  End of the day meant tasting everyone’s leftovers.

This 95 Chianti was especially savoury & drinking great now. IMG_1911

Monday was a bit rough with the DTs setting in.  Lucky for alcoholism there was no sobriety in sight for this week.  Michael organized a wine dinner to look at the wines of Gevrey Chambertin.  4 wines per flight.  3 flights & courses.  DTs cured. IMG_1913

The reds were tasty, although pretty young, but it was this white from Hubert Lamy that really stood out for me.  St. Aubin is totally underrated and as such proves great value.  IMG_1914

Given all of this wine-ing, running has taken a bit of a hiatus so I have been trying to eat a little more healthy.  An apple a day…

My WOTN was the 2009 Maison Roche de Bellene GC Les Cazetiers 1er Cru- elegant, round, with lovely concentration- this stood out as tops.   Close seconds were 2011 Benjamin Leroux’s Volnay & 2007 Fourrier GC.

So many wines la. IMG_1934

Tuesday: G+C tasting of the wines of Chateau Cos d’Estournel, St Estephe, Bordeaux.  Top nods for me went to 1996 with 1989 a close second. Both were showing perfectly right now- elegant & ethereal.

We opened the 1989 at 5 and the brand manager thought it quite oxidised so we opened another bottle. We came back to the first 3-4 hours later and it was absolutely singing.  Wine is alive and needs some time to come into its own.  Trust me when I say, never toss a bottle without giving it some breathing time.  It just may come back.

Wednesday: G+C tasting of Pomerol.   These Merlot dominate wines were all seductive and filled with red fruit, and 2001 L’Evangile won for me.  Again, it was pretty and just really well balanced.  The Le Gay was quite popular as well. IMG_1962

Cheers to Wednesday Sessions at Ginsberg+Chan.


Thursday lunch: The Pawn with Kavita & Hunter of Frankland Estate.  Holy deliciousness.  I hadn’t been to the Pawn for food since it’s reopened- it’s so much better than it used to be!  We started with some Great Southern Australia Rieslings & charcuterie.  So much charcuterie and better yet homemade ricottaIMG_1966

My favorite wine was the 2014 Frankland Estate Chardonnay.  Round and clean with nice texture and perfectly paired to tuna tartare.IMG_1968

Onto Shiraz & Cabernet Sauv with enough lamb & spicy chickpeas (oh. my. god) to feed everyone in Frankland Australia. IMG_1969

And if that wasn’t enough (it was) we finished with a brownie, pistachio, sour cherry, and vanilla ice cream and a delicious Olmos’ Reserve Cabernet Franc.  This was my fav of the reds and worked with the sour cherry.

Thursday evening: private party at G+C.  How nice is my office?IMG_1974

And more food… Delicious HK canapes. IMG_1976

An assortment of wines on the terrace.  The 2002 JM Boillot Puligny Montrachet is drinking fine now- quite honeyed with really cool bees waxy notes.  My kind of white. 

Friday: dinner with Andy and his customers at 121BC which is consistently fantastic.  This evening was particularly fine with some pork ragu (above).  The wines are always interesting and we had a mineral laden white from Sicily (Grillo maybe?), a super cloudy, natural, and alive Nerello Mascalese  from Sicily- really cool and kept evolving better and better as it opened, and a more traditional and appreciated Montepulciano.IMG_1987

The table preferred this, despite my championing the “weird” Sicilian, for its rich fruit and classic balance.  No chalky texture here.

And then I went blonde.  Super blonde!IMG_2001

Saturday day: BBQ on Peng Chau at Dylan & Andre’s.  It’s amazing how different you feel after a quick 30 minute ferry ride as you step off the boat onto a tiny island.  The air is fresher.  The pace is slower.  Tension seems to dissipate.  The lamb and magnum of The Chocolate Block didn’t hurt either.  Nor did the company, of course.

Looking back at this week I had lamb no less than 3 times.  When’s the last time you had lamb 3 times in the space of 3 days?  Yeah, the last time I was in the outer reaches of Mongolia, too (lie).


Followed by baby party at Christina and Ian’s.  I am loving the fact that my friends have these teeny tiny babies.  They’re cute, they sleep a lot, and when the parents are out they are so happy for the break.  Everyone wins.

And here we are on Sunday.  Finally after a totally gluttonous week + I managed to get in a 13k+ run, and despite the ridiculous charity walk on the Peak- is nothing sacred?- and it felt good.  Hair did, nails did, blog did, and Mexican for dinner.  Get better Sunday.

Next week is the International Wine & Spirits expo which means tastings, lunches, and dinners.  All. Week. Long.  Woot!


2 thoughts on “Full On Wine Season

  1. I am in equal parts insanely jealous of the lifestyle, amazed at your capacity (both drinking and eating) and bemused as to how you have the stamina to keep it up. Good work and great food shots. Keep plugging away, its a dirty job but someone has to do it 😉


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