It’s wine o’clock!

After a stressful week, what better way to unwind than to chill with friends and family over a nice bottle of wine in the comfort of our own homes! With the sheer number of specialty wine stores that have sprung up in our neighbourhood, we are indeed spoilt for choice. So, we caught up with some of these stores to get to know the variety of wines they stock and some of their favourite picks and recommendations.

Premier Cru

Address: 15 High Street, G/F, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, Contact: +852 6599 1494, Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 11:00am – 10:00pm, Friday to Sunday 11:00am – 11:00pm

Home delivery: Yes. For orders over HKD 1,500, delivery is free

Wine tasting events: Held once or twice a month. They like to call it "wine sharing sessions”, as they are usually organized around selected winegrowers. Follow them (“PremierCruinHK”) on Facebook/Instagram or check out their website https://www.premiercru.hk for more details

USP: A French wine library specialized in Burgundy and Rhône Valley regions. They represent those wine-growers they know personally with a special emphasis on the traceability of the wines. Head to the store to get to know all the authentic stories “behind the labels” from their team of knowledgeable and passionate wine lovers!

Where are the wines from: A blend of “rising stars” (new generation of wine markers) but also “good value discovery wines” and “legendary wines”. The heart of their wine collection is the new generation of French wine makers from Provence, Jura, Savoie, Languedoc, Corsica or Rhône Valley.

Price range: Varies from HKD 138 to above HKD 5,000. Their main selection (~ 100 labels) is between HKD 138 and HKD 1,500.

Best seller: Pinot Noir from Burgundy and Syrah from Rhône-Valley, both are priced below HKD 300

Personal favourite: Givry 1er cru "Empreintes" from Domaine Joblot 2017, a Pinot Noir from Burgundy. It has complex aromas of red and black berries, floral, roses, with a suave and delicate long finish.

Recommended for a lazy Sunday afternoon: A juicy red wine ("Glou-Glou" in French), an easy wine you can serve a bit chilled (16 degrees):

  • Haute Côte de Beaune, Domaine Cornu Camus (Pinot Noir-Burgundy) - HKD 188

  • XB, Terrasses d’Elise (Syrah-Languedoc) - HKD 218

  • Crozes Hermitage Cuvée L, Domaine Combier (Syrah-Rhone Valley) - HKD 238

Tips for a novice: Taste different type of wines and let your palate evolve with time. Your palate will tell you which type of wines you like!

Winerack Stores

Address: 25A High Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, Contact: +852 2335 0518, Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 11:00am to 10.30pm, Friday to Sunday 11:00am to 11.00pm

Home delivery: Delivery is free on orders of 6 items or more. A delivery charge of HKD 100 will apply for orders of less than 6 items.

Wine tasting events: Every weekend. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram (“Winerack Stores”) for details. Also offer wine tastings for private and corporate events.

USP: Great wines at affordable prices. Passionate about the environment and have organic, biodynamic and sustainable wines too.

Where are the wines from: From all over the world - France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Portugal as well as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and Argentina.

Price range: Varies between HKD 60 to HKD 160 with their best-selling wines around the HKD 100 mark. Check out their website http://www.winerack.com.hk/store/ for more details.

Best seller: Russian Jack (HKD 75) - a textbook Marlborough Sauvignon. Aromas cut grass and gooseberry are met with a pallet of fresh lemon, grapefruit and a full of dose of passionfruit on the finish. The wine is terrific paired with shellfish, vegetables and goat cheese.

Personal favourite: Leza Garcia Rioja Reserva, the wine is made from 10% Red Grenache and 90% Tempranillo which is a rare and unique grape variety from Rioja in Spain.

Recommended for a celebration: Prosecco, has light hints of cream and a smooth mouthfeel.

Recommended for a lazy Sunday afternoon: Frey Riesling Semi Dry, Germany. It’s fully floral with an elegant nose and easy-going demeanor, vibrant and racy.

Tips for a novice: Start with easy drinking, fruity wine, not too much tanning and too oaky. A couple of good options of variety grapes could be Tempranillo or Primitivo/Zinfandel for red and semi dry Riesling or Pinot Gris for white.

French Flair

Address: 69 High Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, Contact: +852 6075 8917, Opening hours: Daily 12:00pm to 10:00pm

Home delivery: Yes. Delivery is free for orders over HKD 1,000.

Wine tasting events: Once or twice a month. Can also organize customized tasting for groups or private parties. For more information, check out their facebook page (“frenchflairhk) and www.frenchflair.hk.

USP: Focus on French wine while at the same time, keeping it diverse with Alsace, Jura, Savoie wines apart from Burgundy, Bordeaux and Loire. Friendly staff ready to give you suggestions on which wine to pick depending on the occasion, budget, taste etc.

Where are the wines from: Focus on small wineries in France and stock a variety of wines - red, white, rose, champagne, sparkling, organic, natural. And if they don’t have what you are looking for in the store, they can source it for you!

Price range: Varies between HKD 150 to a few thousand - they have good selections for every budget.

Best seller: During summer time, it is Cotes de Provence GRS, Domaine La Rouillere (HKD 198). It’s a rose, more on the dry side and really refreshing. In winter, people usually turn to red wine, such as Cotes du Rhone, Domaine Ogier (HKD 178) - a medium body wine, with nots of plum and dark berries and light white pepper finish.

Personal favourite: Chenas 2017, Dominique Piron. It’s a Beaujolais that tends to a medium body but still light, very enjoyable and with earthy notes. It’s even better slightly chilled and goes well on its own or with poultry/white meat.

Recommended for a celebration: Bubbles, like Champagne or Cremant - something like Ayala Brut NV (HKD 338).

Recommended for a lazy Sunday afternoon: If it is white wine that you like, pick either Sancerre 2017, Domaine Girault (Sauvignon Blanc, HKD 198) or a Saint-Veran 2016, Domaine Perraud (Chardonnay, HKD 188) which are light and dry whites but with a nice structure and long finish. If you are looking for a red, go for a Mercurey 2016, Domaine Brintet (Pinot Noir, HKD 248) for a light and typical Pinot Noir, or go for something heavier, like a Cotes du Rhone Marius 2017, Domaine Roche-Audran (Grenach/Syrah, Organic, HKD 188) which will bring a fruity yet not sweet palate and peppery finish.

Tips for a novice: Try wines from different regions to have a first idea of the region/varietals and then start to discover more from each region. Loving and knowing wine is all about trying different ones and trying to remember what we like in a wine.

Fine Wine experience

Address: Shop A, 165-166 Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, Contact: +852 2803 0753, Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10:00am to 7.30pm, Saturday and Sunday 12:00pm to 7.30pm, closed on public holidays

Home delivery: Free delivery for orders over HKD 5,000

Wine tasting events: Check their website www.finewineexperience.com for details

USP: A 7,000 sq ft store featuring a wine retail area, an event space, a fine wine room and a magnum room. Offer a wide selection of wines with over 3,500 labels.

Recommended for a celebration: 2004 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, 007’s choice (HKD 950).

Recommended for a lazy Sunday afternoon: 2016 Maximin Grünhäus - Herrenberg Kabinett (HKD 200). It is light and fresh with only around 8% alcohol content, and comes from one of the greatest Riesling vineyards and estates in the world.

Tips for a novice: Go to wine tasting events. You will get to try and compare a lot more wines at once, as well as discuss with people with different levels of experience, sometimes even the winemakers themselves!

Also check out:

L’Imperatrice, specialists in Burgundy wines

Address: Shop C, 56 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong Contact: +852 2881 8921, Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 12:00pm to 9:00pm

And Watson’s Wine.

They have several branches across HK including one at Infinitus Plaza

Address: Shop G06, G/F, Infinitus Plaza, 199 Des Voux Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, Contact: +852 3158 0624

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