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Food & Drink


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Food & Drink


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Valley Views


Simon Field, a Master of Wine and a buyer for Berry Bros & Rudd, discusses the Rhône Valley’s excellent 2015 vintage

Valley Views


Simon Field, a Master of Wine and a buyer for Berry Bros & Rudd, discusses the Rhône Valley’s excellent 2015 vintage

Culture > Food & Drink



Valley Views

June 30, 2017 / by Simon Field

above illustration: ©Berry Bros & Rudd

The wines of 2015 are a gold-plated triumph for both ends of the Rhône Valley. Early plaudits favoured the north and reds over whites, but the empirical evidence has underlined a rare uniformity of excellence. The reds perhaps prevailed, but only because of a climate that was almost too benevolent and which, on occasion, undermined acidity levels (in Viognier, for example). This vintage is a rare coincidence of quality and quantity.

Indeed, despite the relatively small berries and impressively thick skins, the superb finesse of the tannins really marks out this vintage. When asked to compare, vignerons in the south cited 2007 and 2010, while in the north, the most common comparisons were 2009 and 2010, with the consensus praising a style somewhere in the middle. 

For the wines of the south, what one needs to avoid is too much of a good thing – too much sun and the danger of desiccated and sunburnt fruit, with alcohol levels creeping over 15 degrees and natural acidity that’s far too low. Such indulgence was avoided in 2015 as a result of two natural phenomena, both of which are often absent: first, the relatively wet spring, which topped up the water table; and, second, the unusually cool nights in the hottest part of the year, which delayed the process just enough to ensure physiological ripeness and sugar levels that weren’t excessive.

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The heat was actually more pronounced earlier in the summer, with late June and early July being particularly scorching, contributing to an average mean temperature over the total growing season that was higher even than 2003. However, the mitigating factors rehearsed above were sufficiently significant to change the profile of the 2015 vintage, thus ensuring a lengthy and – to borrow a word much in currency with the vignerons when describing 2015 – “easy” season.

Easy is as easy does, and few things are, in reality, that simple in modern winemaking. The philosophy of so-called “minimal intervention” is very hard to achieve, after all – like drawing a perfect circle, free-hand. What looked to be a late year was soon revised towards an early picking date and then, with the relatively mild August, a “normal” harvest date. The early whites were picked in the middle of September and the late grapes, significantly mourvèdre, were all brought in by the end of the first week of October.

It’s a good-to-very-good vintage for whites across the piece and an excellent vintage for reds, with Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage particularly successful in the north. The southern vineyards were uniformly impressive, from the higher sites in Gigondas and Vinsobres through to the Crau plateau of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Very few 2015s actually touched 15 degrees, even down here. Harmony and balance, a Socratic ideal – who could wish for more?

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The Joys of Rosé


Consulting oenologist and wine estate owner Michel Rolland crafts wines for more than 150 wineries in 14 countries. This includes France – where he works with Château l’Évangile, Château Figeac, Château La Conseillante and Château Pavie, to name a few – Italy, Spain, the United States (where his clients include Harlan Estate, Staglin and Screaming Eagle), South Africa, Argentina, Chile, India and China.  

In addition to this, the 10 oenologists working in Rolland’s Pomerol laboratory analyse wines for more than 400 French wine estates.  Just in time for summer, the Bordeaux-based “Flying Winemaker” shares the secrets of rosé.

The Joys of Rosé


Consulting oenologist and wine estate owner Michel Rolland crafts wines for more than 150 wineries in 14 countries. This includes France – where he works with Château l’Évangile, Château Figeac, Château La Conseillante and Château Pavie, to name a few – Italy, Spain, the United States (where his clients include Harlan Estate, Staglin and Screaming Eagle), South Africa, Argentina, Chile, India and China.  

In addition to this, the 10 oenologists working in Rolland’s Pomerol laboratory analyse wines for more than 400 French wine estates.  Just in time for summer, the Bordeaux-based “Flying Winemaker” shares the secrets of rosé.

Culture > Food & Drink


 

The Joys of Rosé

June 30, 2017 / by Pierre Godeau

Is rosé really the wine of summer? 

Definitely. Rosés are wines for the sun-filled weekends and summer holidays. But people are gradually realising that they’re a pleasure to drink all year round.

Are there different types of rosé? Which varietals are most commonly used?

There are numerous types of rosé. In France, Provence is the best-known region, with varietals like cinsault, rolle, grenache and syrah. But there are also rosés made from pinot, cabernet sauvignon and other types of grapes. 

Are there outstanding rosés in the same way that there are for reds and whites? What are the most famous rosé wines?

The quality of the Provence rosés has improved in the past few years, so they’ve acquired a reputation for excellence. In terms of name recognition, they dominate this market today.

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Are rosés good wines for laying down in a cellar? 

I don’t think rosés are made for that. Even so, everyone has come across a bottle that they had more or less forgotten about – and then greatly enjoyed drinking it. 

How do you choose a rosé? How is a quality rosé recognised?

That’s a difficult question. Rosés aren’t ranked the way grands crus are. You buy a rosé; it’s not that expensive; you drink it and find out if you like it. If you don’t, then you buy a different one next time.

As an oenologist, do you often create rosé wines for the estates you work with? 

Of course – rosés are in fashion, and besides that, I drink them myself. 

What’s special about a Bordeaux rosé and how is it different from a clairet?

Rosés used to be the byproducts of red wine production in Bordeaux. Now rosés are crafted – and they have become very good. Clairet has existed for a long time in Bordeaux – the historical legacy of the English presence in Aquitaine. Clairet de Quinsac is an institution.

Do the Chinese produce rosé? 

They have only just started to; I don’t have any good examples of Chinese rosé. But the varietals and the climate are genuinely favourable to producing rosé. 

What foods does rosé go well with?   

It goes well with almost all cuisines – that’s its great advantage. 

What are your five favourite rosés? 

I’m friends with all of the rosé producers – and I’d rather keep it that way!

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Shake it Up


“I’d like a cheeseburger, large fries and a Cosmo, please”

Shake it Up


“I’d like a cheeseburger, large fries and a Cosmo, please”

Culture > Food & Drink


 

Shake it Up

June 30, 2017 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

In the beloved TV series Sex and the City, protagonist Carrie Bradshaw famously paid tribute to her love of New York City and the Cosmopolitan cocktail. This summer, do her one better and try it yourself – it’s easy to look like a cocktail pro with our picks below. 

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Millefiori Jug, Karma Living

Pour juice or ice water from this pretty jug – it makes your fruit-based cocktails taste that much sweeter. Don’t believe it? Try making a piña colada, blue Hawaiian or mai tai.

Tropical Cocktail Kit, Sunnylife

Bring this colourful cocktail kit to your beach party and you’ll have everything you need to make some festive cocktails for six people: a shaker, six coasters, six watermelon-shaped ice cubes, six umbrellas, six straws, six stirrers and three drink recipes.

Floating Cooler, BigMouth Inc

Wonder how to keep your drinks close-by when you’re in the pool? This pink flamingo floating cooler helps to hold five drinks while you can also store more bottles and cans with ice in the central bucket.

The Shaker, Odeme

Experiment with your recipes using this glossy, gold-toned cocktail shaker – it’ll definitely make your drinks more stylish.

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Cocktail of Choice: The Aviation

2 oz gin liqueur
½ oz Maraschino
½ oz lemon juice
¼ oz crème de violette 

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You Scream, I Scream…
Ice Cream!


Summer is a season many of us love to hate. It’s blisteringly hot and leaves us covered in sweat, but it also lets us indulge our pleasures for the chilly, sweet wonder that is ice cream. Check out some of the coolest spots in town

You Scream, I Scream…
Ice Cream!


Summer is a season many of us love to hate. It’s blisteringly hot and leaves us covered in sweat, but it also lets us indulge our pleasures for the chilly, sweet wonder that is ice cream. Check out some of the coolest spots in town

Culture > Food & Drink


 

You Scream, I Scream… Ice Cream!

June 30, 2017 / by Wang Yuke

Tezukuri no Mise

Particularly popular with youngsters and with queues a common sight, Tezukuri no Mise is known for its low prices and hefty serving sizes. The scoop is satisfyingly big at no more than HK$20, and the texture and taste are almost as good as premium ice creams, if you aren’t a hyper-critical connoisseur. The Japanese green tea, black sesame and chocolate chip flavours are recommended. You can also venture to try the tofu flavour, which could be an acquired taste for some – but we’d guess you’ll take to this soy milk-like treat. 

Where to eat

Numerous branches, including 11/F, Langham Place, 8 Argyle Street, Mong Kok


Passion by Gerard Dubois 

You’ll be naturally drawn in by the cabinet display of colourful gelato at Passion by Gerard Dubois. The numerous flavour choices include some rare ones, such as Toblerone chocolate, Snickers candy bar and avocado. For those struggling to choose, the hazelnut and cookie flavours are the go-to options. The former has a strong fragrance of hazelnuts, which tastes natural and not artificial, while the latter will please you with its crunches of Oreo cookie crumbs generously embedded within.  

Where to eat

Numerous branches, including Shop G12, G/F, Lee Garden One, 33 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay

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2/3 Dolci

The sea salt caramel ice cream offered by 2/3 Dolci may bring you to the shocking realisation that ice cream can be salty – and that the saltiness makes the ice cream even creamier. The caramel is rich and creamy, while the salty note running through the first bite to the finish intensifies the flavours, making the scoop that much more buttery. You’ll be reminded of lounging on the beach and breathing in the briny air. 

Where to eat

Shop 110, L1, Pacific Place, Admiralty


Yo Mama

If you dread putting extra fat on your waistline but still want a chilly fix, nothing’s better than yoghurt ice cream or frozen yoghurt. You can create your own yoghurt tub by choosing the size, flavours and toppings. Dozens of toppings are available, including fresh fruit slices; colourful embellishments such as gummy bears, fruity poppers and mochi; and crunchy treats such as nuts, candied cereals and chocolate M&Ms. The iced yoghurt is light and refreshing, quenching your thirst as well as your craving for dessert. 

Where to eat

Numerous branches, including Shop 1061, IFC Mall, Podium Level 1, Central


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Detox for Summer


Prepare a detox water bottle according to our tasty recipes – they’re easy to make, deliciously healthy and oh-so photogenic

Detox for Summer


Prepare a detox water bottle according to our tasty recipes – they’re easy to make, deliciously healthy and oh-so photogenic

Culture > Food & Drink


 

Detox for Summer

June 30, 2017 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Instead of drinking plain old water, “detox water” can get you all the good stuff from H2O for your body and a lot more – and it’ll be super-tasty, too. Used as part of your daily regimen or as a method of nutrition replenishment during a detox session, what are you waiting for? But before you jump into it, there’s an unmissable pre-step. Get a beautiful glass bottle or pitcher and you’ll have that much more motivation to stick to your routine. 

Steps

Step 1 – Select the fruit(s).

Recommendations: 

Strong

Lemon/lime
Orange
Grapefruit
Pineapple
Cucumber

Mild

Watermelon
Strawberry
Kiwi

Step 2 – Select the herbs or other side ingredients to add flavour.

Recommendations: 

Mint leaves
Parsley
Cinnamon sticks
Ginger root
Honey
Himalayan salt

Step 3 – Add the fluid(s).

Water

Other recommendations:

Green tea
Coconut water
Apple cider vinegar (diluted with water)

 

Step 4 – Refrigerate.

Refrigerate your pitcher with all the selected ingredients for anywhere from three hours to overnight, depending on how strong you want the flavours to be.

Our Recipes

Pineapple Lime Detox Water

A bowl of pineapple wedges and a lemon cut into wedges
Juice of 2 whole limes
Some fresh parsley leaves
Water 


Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Drink

 Juice of half a lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon of honey
2 teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar (diluted in water)


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South Asian Treats


Three Indian-inspired recipes based on yoghurt and spices

South Asian Treats


Three Indian-inspired recipes based on yoghurt and spices

Culture > Food & Drink


 

South Asian Treats

June 30, 2017 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

A great cooling food for the summer, live yoghurt is extremely nutritious and helps keep your gut bacteria healthy. Recent research from Osteoporosis International has also concluded that the habitual consumption of yoghurt could lead to stronger bones. But if you want to try something besides eating directly out of the container, check out our Indian-inspired recipes for some tasty ideas. 

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Raita

This mint and cucumber raita recipe is a classic. Simply mix all the ingredients together; you can eat it on its own, or serve it with breads and various other dishes. 

1 cup natural yoghurt
½ cup cucumber, grated or chopped
3 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped green onions
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of salt (season to taste)


Lassi

A blended drink of yoghurt, milk, fruit and some light spices, the mango cardamom lassi delivers natural sweetness. Mix all the ingredients with a spoon or in a blender to achieve a smoother texture.

1 cup natural yoghurt
1 cup chopped ripe mango
½ cup milk
Pinch of ground cardamom
1 to 2 teaspoons honey
Some ice (optional) 


Chaas

Also known as “Indian buttermilk”, this masala chaas has a stronger taste with various spices added; it’s also good for digestion due to the addition of kala namak (Himalayan black salt). 

1 cup natural yoghurt
¾ teaspoon kala namak (black salt)
¾ teaspoon chaat masala (spice blend)
3 teaspoons fresh mint leaves
2 cups chilled water
1 small green chilli, chopped (optional)


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Summer Gastronomy


With two Michelin stars under his belt, Fabrice Vulin has just taken over as executive chef at top French restaurant The Tasting Room in Macau. He shares his recipe for a summer favourite

Summer Gastronomy


With two Michelin stars under his belt, Fabrice Vulin has just taken over as executive chef at top French restaurant The Tasting Room in Macau. He shares his recipe for a summer favourite

Culture > Food & Drink


 

Summer Cuisine

May 26, 2017 / by Louis-Marie Delmas

What summer ingredients do you use most? 

Courgettes and tomatoes. You can deep-fry flowering courgettes in batter, bake, sauté, purée, chop them in a salad with mint – so many possible combinations. Likewise, there are so many things you can do with tomatoes: mousses, jellies, cold in a salad or cooked. 

What’s today’s recipe? 

Razor clams and cockles. You can serve this as a light first course or before dinner with drinks – it goes well with a glass of rosé, for example.

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Ingredients

Razor clams and cockles on a leaf of soy-lime jelly

 

For the jelly:

20cl sweet soy sauce, 1 unwaxed lime, 2g agar-agar

For the shellfish topping:

1kg cockles, 1kg razor clams

For assembly and garnish:

1 unwaxed orange, 5cl olive oil, 150g coarse salt, a few sprigs of chervil and Thai basil, dill

 

Recipe

To make the jelly

Put the soy sauce, 5cl of water, the zest of the lime and half of its juice in a saucepan. Add the agar-agar. Bring to a boil over low heat, whisking. Pour the hot jelly onto a tray lined with cling film, spreading it to a thickness of about 2mm. Refrigerate. 

To make the shellfish topping

Clean the cockles in several changes of cold water. Heat a pot (no oil) and arrange the cockles in it. Allow them to open naturally, stirring with a spoon. Spread out on a tray, remove the flesh and refrigerate. Do the same with the razor clams, keeping only the firm white flesh. Save 12 shells after cleaning them to remove all grit and sand. 

To assemble

Cut the soy-lime jelly into strips the same size as the razor clam shells and line each shell with a strip of jelly. On each shell, delicately alternate pieces of razor clam meat and cockle meat, covering the shell completely. Grate the orange zest into the olive oil and garnish each assembled razor clam with a few drops. Decorate each one with the sprigs of chervil and basil, and add a generous grinding of pepper.

Dampen the coarse salt with a little water, add a bit of chopped dill and cut out four little round bases (diameter approximately the length of a razor clam shell). Place three of the assembled razor clams on each base. Chill and serve.

A tip from the chef:

Different types of shellfish can be added according to the season: littleneck clams, cherrystone clams, mussels or scallops.

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New World Order


The Land Down Under isn’t necessarily associated with dainty wines – or character. Berry Bros & Rudd buyer Catriona Felstead, a Master of Wine, explains that’s there’s much more than oak-laden chardonnay and shiraz coming out of the country today, with a new generation of artisanal producers seeking to redefine Australian wine

New World Order


The Land Down Under isn’t necessarily associated with dainty wines – or character. Berry Bros & Rudd buyer Catriona Felstead, a Master of Wine, explains that’s there’s much more than oak-laden chardonnay and shiraz coming out of the country today, with a new generation of artisanal producers seeking to redefine Australian wine

Culture > Food & Drink


 

New World Order

above illustration: © : ©Berry Bros & Rudd

May 26, 2017 / by Catriona Felstead

 

There was a time when the prospect of attending a trade tasting of Australian wines mightn’t have gladdened the hearts of those in the wine trade. Despite dominating mass-market, high-volume sales in the UK for a number of years, it’s fair to say that Australia has struggled with the image of its premium wines. That’s not to say that there was anything wrong with them at all; rather, Australia has always been at the forefront of technically correct, scientifically advantaged wines. However, what was lacking was excitement.

Weighed down by memories of the heavily oaked chardonnays of the past, consumers’ thoughts weren’t of Australian white wines at the premium level. Sommeliers – the movers and shakers of many local wine trends – have seen such chardonnays veer completely to the other extreme: lean and austere wines, which are equally unpalatable. Red wines were often rich and thick in style, the joke being that one would need a knife and fork to tackle them. While this appealed to some, many in the wine trade have historically found these styles just a bit too predictable to shout about.

Fortunately, times are a-changing and Australia is, at last, becoming cool again. There have always been some maverick winemakers, but a new generation is coming through that’s focusing this natural flair into some exceptionally well-made yet truly interesting wines. 

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The range of styles is vast. This spans seriously delicate, elegant and complex (almost old-world) pinot noir to exciting blends with Italian, Spanish and Portugese varietals – including tempranillo (famously found in Rioja), touriga nacional (the backbone of high-quality port) and even rosé made from the obscure bastardo variety (apologies for any offence caused, but that is actually the name of the grape).

Such artisans have reinvigorated the Australian wine scene, driving interest from the top down. While most consumers will still associate this great country with chardonnay and shiraz for some time yet, there’s so much more to discover in Australian wine. Hopefully, such wines will gradually achieve wider recognition as Australia rightfully retakes its place as one of the most fascinating wine countries in the world.

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Bubbling Over with Joy


Perrier-Jouët, owned by the Pernod Ricard group, produced 3.5 million bottles of champagne in 2016 – approximately 1% of global champagne production. For the launch of its non-vintage Cuvée Blanc de Blancs, the brand chose Hong Kong – it took cellar master Hervé Deschamps five years to develop a drink that matched the brand’s identity and the needs of the market

Bubbling Over with Joy


Perrier-Jouët, owned by the Pernod Ricard group, produced 3.5 million bottles of champagne in 2016 – approximately 1% of global champagne production. For the launch of its non-vintage Cuvée Blanc de Blancs, the brand chose Hong Kong – it took cellar master Hervé Deschamps five years to develop a drink that matched the brand’s identity and the needs of the market

Culture > Food & Drink


 

 

Bubbling Over with Joy

April 28, 2017 / by Pierre Godeau

Why did you wait so long to create this cuvée, and what distinguishes this blanc de blancs from its famous competitor Ruinart, made by the LVMH group, or from those made by the champagnes de vignerons?

It’s my responsibility to create something consistent with Perrier-Jouët without adversely affecting existing cuvées. As chardonnay is the rarest and most expensive champagne grape, I had to find new sources in small villages. I started working on this cuvée five years ago, not wanting to copy any other champagne house while remaining faithful to the Perrier-Jouët style as I have been doing for 34 years. 

This cuvée is elegant and sophisticated, with a springtime floral aspect of delicate white blossoms like elderflower, acacia and honeysuckle that give off a subtle, lingering fragrance. It has fine bubbles from three years in the cellar and a pleasing, long finish that makes you want to pour another glass. There are some lovely blanc de blancs among the champagnes de vignerons, but the approach is very fragmented and the quantities are small.

What’s the right way to remove the cork from a champagne bottle and what’s the ideal temperature at which to serve it? 

To open a bottle, tilt it slightly and grasp the cork while turning the bottle to release the cork. You have to let the gas gently push the cork out while maintaining control. Opened correctly, the champagne doesn’t make a big “pop” but just a little “fizz” as a small amount of gas escapes. 

Then, you should taste it to make sure it’s at the right temperature – there’s nothing worse than serving champagne too cold. The ideal temperature is between 8 and 12 degrees. Preferably, you should fill the flute half-full when you open the bottle and then add more to cool the wine down again – don’t forget that champagne is a wine. 

Can this blanc de blancs be drunk throughout an entire meal? What would the ideal pairing menu be?

This blanc de blancs can definitely be drunk throughout a seafood meal – oysters, scallops, shellfish such as crab, a steamed fish served with vegetables. With the creamy aspect and its orange and lemon blossom fragrances, I can also imagine a very light dessert flavoured with orange blossom water.

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Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's 1929


Jasper Morris, a Master of Wine and Berry Bros & Rudd’s Burgundy Director, shares his insights on the 2015 Burgundy vintage

Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's 1929


Jasper Morris, a Master of Wine and Berry Bros & Rudd’s Burgundy Director, shares his insights on the 2015 Burgundy vintage

Culture > Food & Drink


 

 

Tonight We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 1929

April 28, 2017 / by Jasper Morris

Every so often, the Big One comes along – a great vintage of Burgundy or Bordeaux that feels like a future legend, even while the grapes are being picked. That’s the story with the 2015 Burgundy vintage, which is just being released to an eager world at the moment.

Why is it so good? There’s nothing to beat a hot, dry summer for making great wine, as long as it’s not too hot, nor too dry. It looked as though 2015 may have been a touch too much of both, but fortunately a well-filled water table at the start of the season and showers at the right time in August avoided any problems – and the heat was a steady glow rather than an intermittent furnace. 

In fact, it was a relatively carefree growing season after difficult years from 2012 to 2014. There was no frost damage and only one major hailstorm (in Chablis) on the eve of the harvest. The flowering was early and took place rapidly in good weather conditions, though a naturally small bunch set, coupled with the dry conditions throughout most of the summer, limited the size of the harvest.

Picking began in late August, a date that used to be considered exceptionally early; there was only the very occasional August harvest in past centuries (such as 1893 and 1976). However, so far there have been four since the turn of the millennium (2003, ’07, ’11 and ’15) – and that’s certainly a statistic to support the theory of global warming. 

Of these four precocious years, 2015 is the best – and probably the best in a generation, apart from the inimitable 2005. One feature of 2015 summer that may well have had a positive effect on the wines was the extraordinary luminosity: consistently clear, bright skies, rather than the heavy, lowering heat.

Chardonnay grapes were first to be picked; growers reported golden bunches that tasted ripe, with adequate sugars and lowish acidities. While first thoughts were that this would be a red wine vintage (which it certainly is), the whites are turning out far superior to what might have been, given the long, hot summer. Whereas in 2009 there are some great wines from the small proportion of producers who picked early enough, in 2015 the great majority made the right call – so there aren’t many clumsy wines. They’re full of fruit and flesh, yet with adequate acidity; most have a fine, fresh feel.

And what can we say about the reds? They’re fabulous. In many ways, they marry the concentration of 2005 with the juicy charm of 2010 – a combination that works very nicely in mathematical terms. The wines seem consistently successful across the range, with best value being delivered by the humbler appellations that haven’t suffered the price inflation of the grands crus. It’s never easy to equate one vintage with another, but veteran vigneron Michel Lafarge has the answer for 2015: it’s 1929 all over again!

Illustration: ©Berry Bros & Rudd

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Easter Eggs


Easter Eggs


Culture > Food & Drink


 

Easter Eggs

March 31, 2017 / by Pierre Godeau

Maître chocolatier and “chocolate composer” Christian Constant has gathered Central America’s finest cacao for his 2017 Easter egg collection. Measuring an impressive 130cm to 190cm, you can discover these scrumptious works of art at his new Paris shop at 40 Rue des Écoles. (maisonconstant.com)

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Caveat Emptor


Philip Moulin, Berry Bros & Rudd’s fine wine quality and authentication manager, says that avoiding fakes in the market is a matter of determining their provenance

Caveat Emptor


Philip Moulin, Berry Bros & Rudd’s fine wine quality and authentication manager, says that avoiding fakes in the market is a matter of determining their provenance

Culture > Food & Drink


 

Caveat Emptor

March 31, 2017 / by Philip Moulin

In December 2013, the foundations of the global fine wine market were rocked to the core when a young Indonesian-Chinese wine collector, Rudy Kurniawan (born Zhen Wang Huang), was sentenced by a New York courthouse to ten years in prison for what the US legal system described as “mail and wire fraud”. In short, his crime was the selling of an estimated US$100 million worth of counterfeit wine between 2002 and 2012, when he was ultimately arrested at his home in Los Angeles. 

Given that Kurniawan was essentially operating a cottage industry from his house, the scale of his crime is breathtaking. His fakes took several different forms, with the most basic technique involving the refills of genuine old bottles (often recovered from rubbish bins after grand tastings) with his own blends of cheaper wines, designed to mimic the real thing. As he became more confident, he took to counterfeiting labels of old, rare wines and sticking them on far inferior, younger bottles. 

Kurniawan’s early fakes, while initially convincing, were often prone to spelling mistakes or simple errors in labelling law, which made them stand out. As his own knowledge of the subject grew, however, his labels became harder to tell apart from the real thing. His main route to market was through high-profile wine auctions, the two largest of which sold more than 16,000 bottles in 2006, worth some US$22 million in total. 

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If that one-man operation wasn’t scary enough, consider the potential scale of the fake wine problem in China. Between 2010 and 2014, an intrepid lawyer, Nick Bartman, travelled the length of the country to get an idea of the scale of counterfeit wine in what’s now the world’s fifth-largest wine importer. Bartman’s discoveries were remarkable, ranging from a PR company offering advice to counterfeiters on label reproduction to entire bottling plants churning out huge amounts of cheap swill that bore fake labels of more illustrious wines, usually from France. 

So how does the everyday buyer and consumer avoid falling prey to forgers? Much the same as what merchants must also do to avoid the same fate, it’s crucial to make certain, as far as you possibly can, exactly where your wine is coming from. Buying at auction is fine, but a little research is vital – and only trust the best auction houses. As a general rule, those merchants and auctioneers with the oldest names don’t want to jeopardise their long-held reputations for the sake of a quick buck. 

Forgers have long relied on the collector’s inability to see warning flags as they pursue their next trophy with myopic fervour. Don’t be too greedy – and be prepared to walk away. If that old bottle of burgundy you’re after has an unusually clean label for its age, be suspicious. You know the old saying: if it looks too good to be true…

Illustration: ©Berry Bros & Rudd

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Trip to Tiramisu World


While Hong Kong isn’t short on local sweets, the city’s food lovers have a particular penchant for a fine Italian dessert – specifically, tiramisu. Local diners regularly order it in cake form, as an ice cream or just about anything else tiramisu-flavoured to properly round off a meal. Join us on a journey to the fantastical land of Tiramisu World… 

Trip to Tiramisu World


While Hong Kong isn’t short on local sweets, the city’s food lovers have a particular penchant for a fine Italian dessert – specifically, tiramisu. Local diners regularly order it in cake form, as an ice cream or just about anything else tiramisu-flavoured to properly round off a meal. Join us on a journey to the fantastical land of Tiramisu World… 

Culture > Food & Drink



Trip to Tiramisu World

February 24, 2017 / by Wang Yuke


Korean dessert brand Kiss the Tiramisu gives this Italian classic a chilly twist – as an ice cream. Experience a variety of flavours and textures as you tuck in, layer by layer. Topped with a coating of shaved chocolate chips and cocoa powder, the snowy ice cream isn’t overly frozen and almost melts in your mouth. Halfway through, you’ll be teased by a smattering of powdered crunchy cookies. The kicker is the mascarpone cheese-flavoured cream underneath, which is aromatically rich.

Price: HK$43
Where to eat: Kiss the Tiramisu, Shop 15, R/F, Citylink, Sha Tin
Kiss the Tiramisu, Shop 1001A, 1/F, Phase 1, Tuen Mun Town Plaza, Tuen Mun


Passion by Gérard Dubois serves up a more sophisticated version that caters to serious tiramisu lovers. The ladyfinger base seems to be heavily soaked in rum and coffee, as the subtle aftertaste of espresso tends to linger on the tongue. Notably, the well-soaked base isn’t soggy, which is considered a key factor when gauging a well-composed tiramisu. The mascarpone custard in the middle layer is rich, but neither too heavy nor too sweet.

Price: HK$43
Where to eat: Passion by Gérard Dubois, Shop 11, Level 4, Langham Place, Mong Kok
Passion by Gérard Dubois, Shop G12, Lee Garden One, Causeway Bay


From the chocolate speciality shop Lucullus, the Tiramisu Deluxe Cup is a refreshing delight on your palate. Under a thin sprinkling of cocoa powder, the cream-rich custard is giddily soft and light – and as smooth as a baby’s skin. Although normally served as a dessert, it can also serve as a palate cleanser during a heavy meal. One note: the traditional coffee-soaked ladyfinger is replaced by a thin layer of coffee-flavoured sponge cake, which would be better if the Marsala wine was stronger in the custard.

Price: HK$39
Where to eat: Lucullus, Shop 6, Basement 2, Langham Place, Mong Kok
Lucullus, Shop 4B, Level LG, iSquare, Tsim Sha Tsui


Images: Wang Yuke

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Caviar Creations


Sturia’s You & Me is a romantic match with a lovely Sauternes

Caviar Creations


Sturia’s You & Me is a romantic match with a lovely Sauternes

Culture > Food & Drink


 


Trip to Tiramisu World

February 24, 2017

Top French caviar producer Sturia has a treat for two: You & Me, a Siberian sturgeon caviar farmed in Aquitaine. With its sensual aromas, You & Me is a delicious declaration of romance as its firm grains roll and burst in the mouth, releasing surprisingly delightful hazelnut flavours. Keep it in Bordeaux and savour this caviar with a Sauternes such as Promesse de Rabaud-Promis – the caviar’s salty, iodine flavours harmonise impeccably with the sweetness of this liqueur-like wine, while its hazelnut notes strike a perfect balance with the wine’s citrus notes. You & Me and Promesse de Rabaud-Promis – an ideal marriage.

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Springtime in the Kitchen


Four questions for Jacky Tauvry, the chef de cuisine at Pierre, the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong’s two Michelin-starred restaurant

Springtime in the Kitchen


Four questions for Jacky Tauvry, the chef de cuisine at Pierre, the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong’s two Michelin-starred restaurant

Culture > Food & Drink


 

Springtime in the Kitchen

February 24, 2017 / by Louis-Marie Delmas

Is spring truly a time of anticipation for chefs?

Cooks always love springtime because it’s the season of new vegetables, herbs, flowers and the first mushrooms. 

What are the star foods of springtime and how do you prepare them? 

Asparagus, morel mushrooms and new ratte potatoes from Noirmoutier are the queens of springtime. Then there are the miniature leeks and miniature carrots – all those little things that are so tasty and so pretty, and that bring such colour and freshness to dishes. The three main asparagus varieties are green, white and purple. This year, we’re serving green asparagus with a piece of sea bream cooked slowly in citrus butter, and a salad made with fresh spring herbs like burnet, chervil, parsley and lemon balm. We also do a cream of Noirmoutier potatoes with a grapefruit reduction that we serve with poultry or fish. We cook morels in cream with all the new vegetables – it’s very refreshing. 

What are your criteria when selecting your ingredients? 

We’re a French restaurant, so we work only with small French producers we know, who respect the product and the environment. For example, we select asparagus from growers in Touraine or Pertuis, which are France’s asparagus capitals. The asparagus has a unique, delicately sweet taste. It’s important because most of the asparagus you find in supermarkets here is industrially produced – the quality is totally different.

Have you got an asparagus recipe to share with our readers?

A very simple recipe is to peel some green asparagus stalks, cook them for five minutes in boiling water and then cool them in ice water. Arrange thin slices of comté on top and brown under the grill of your oven – delicious.

Photo: Philippe Dova

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Top Dollar


Jasper Morris, a Master of Wine and Berry Bros & Rudd’s director of Burgundy, explores why some wines are worth paying extra for

Top Dollar


Jasper Morris, a Master of Wine and Berry Bros & Rudd’s director of Burgundy, explores why some wines are worth paying extra for

Culture > Food & Drink



Top Dollar

above illustration: © Berry Bros.

December 9, 2016 / by Jasper Morris / Illustration: Billy Wong

There have been quasi-academic studies that appear to prove
that most people can’t tell the difference between a cheap bottle of wine and an expensive one; indeed, they frequently prefer the less expensive option.

There’s a reason for that – and it’s most easily expressed as the difference between a branded wine and a destination. Branded wines are made to a specific price and style, and those responsible know what works in the market. There’s no need for wines of this sort to have any discernible link with a place of origin, though the imprint of a particular grape variety is usually required.

At this point, wine is an alcoholic beverage performing a social function; it may or may not be a pleasure in its own right. Psychologically, once we start paying more for a bottle of wine, we should expect something more in return – a flavour profile that drives a specific sense of enjoyment and perhaps a link to a particular place. It’s not just that we have discovered over the years that great pinot noir and chardonnay are made in Burgundy, cabernet and merlot blends in Bordeaux, shiraz in Barossa, sauvignon blanc in Marlborough and so on – when we taste one of these excellent wines, there’s that magical sense of recognition when it delivers exactly what we expect.

So the elegant red fruit notes combined with violets is not just a delightful taste, but the essence of Chambolle-Musigny in Burgundy. Cedarwood and cigar boxes have been the olfactory triggers for the wines of Bordeaux’s Pauillac for generations of drinkers. As soon as you put your nose in the glass, you start to smile.

However, this all depends on drinking the wine at the right time. The inexpensive branded bottle is going to be purchased and drunk within days (or possibly hours) of going on sale, shortly after bottling – either way, it’ll be ready for its fate. 

But a finely crafted bottle from a famous region needs time in bottle for its full expression to mature, for the tannins or acidity to fade, for the complexity of its bouquet and the nuances of texture to emerge. These are the things we really care about. Great vintages often take longer to come round than lesser ones, so a fine wine drunk at the wrong time can certainly disappoint.

Then we get to the seriously expensive fine and rare wines. Those two adjectives, “fine” and “rare”, are often used in tandem – and they tell a significant part of the story. Clearly a very expensive wine needs to be very fine, but there is also a cachet to its rarity. Being the owner of a rare bottle to which other people cannot aspire may be a considerable source of status and satisfaction, but it’s a pleasure that will be paid for. The fact that only one barrel (of 300 bottles) of Christophe Roumier’s Le Musigny is produced each year doesn’t make it intrinsically a better wine – just a more expensive one.

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Bubbling Over


Champagne Nicolas Deneux is the world’s first sommelier-branded champagne

Bubbling Over


Champagne Nicolas Deneux is the world’s first sommelier-branded champagne

Culture > Food & Drink


 

Bubbling Over

December 9, 2016 / by Pierre Godeau

Serving as a sommelier from the age of 19, Nicolas Deneux worked in some of the finest restaurants in Paris (including La Tour d’Argent,
Le Meurice and Plaza Athénée) before coming to Hong Kong in 2009. Today, he’s the director of wine at Nomad Dining and a partner in the group. One of the city’s top sommeliers, he has worked ceaselessly to promote champagnes produced by the winegrowers themselves – known as “champagnes de vignerons”. At age 31, he has also launched an eponymous champagne brand.

As his mother lived just 45 minutes from the first-growth vineyards of Champagne, Deneux frequently explored the region, ultimately falling in love with its champagnes de vignerons. “I’m not the kind of sommelier who learns everything from books,” he explains. “My idea was to go out to the vineyards as often as possible – and the Parisian establishments where I worked were closed on weekends, so I used the opportunity to explore.”

Hired in 2009 as the chief sommelier at Spoon by Alain Ducasse in the InterContinental Hong Kong, Deneux quickly added champagnes de vignerons by the glass to the menu. “Eight years ago, champagne was a taboo subject,” he recalls. “Only a few big brands were known and when I served obscure brands, customers reacted badly because there was still a need for label recognition. However, today, it’s exactly the opposite.” 

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During a tasting with winegrower Erick de Sousa, the duo decided to create a champagne for Asian markets. Their mission was to create an accessible bottle in terms of taste and price. “Above all, I didn’t want to make a wine that was by sommeliers, for sommeliers – meaning one that was expensive, technical, complicated and not necessarily drinkable,” explains Deneux. “We developed a wine with a low sugar content – seven grams per bottle – to bring out something fresh and with the notion of the Chardonnay terroir.”

For the first blend, 3,000 bottles were produced. The understated design features a fun logo of a little orange ewe. “The ewe was a joking reference to my origins, both to the terroir and to the family farm in the Lot, where we raise ewes and where I spent my childhood. Also, it’s one of the few French words my girlfriend knows,” says Deneux.

Champagne Nicolas Deneux Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru is currently available in Hong Kong and South China, with plans to launch in 2017 in France, Australia, the US and Hungary. A rosé blend will soon be added to the range, while in 2019 there are plans to release the 2015 vintage, already known to be an exceptional year.

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