Quiet Friday afternoon in Hong Kong


I received an email on the Friday before Chinese New Year at around midday, from a very knowledgeable wine collecting friend here in HK, which just said: “Lunch?”

I was really busy trying to make sense of the Burgundy 2009 allocations so very conscientiously replied: “Cannot today sadly”. It was followed at 3.30pm by: “Am at Robluchon drinking Grand Rue, come over”. I again declined saying that I was deskbound and complained that allocating the 09s was a complete pain in the derriere.

I suddenly wondered what I was missing so popped him an email saying: “What vintage (Grand Rue)?” Reply came back: “01 Grand Rue, 95 Leflaive Pucelles, 96 Fontaine Gagnard Montrachet”. Mmm. I was sorely tempted but stuck to my guns.

The next email I got at around 4.00pm just said: “Going to the Wine Vault – Jayer on the agenda.” That was followed by: “Jayer Ech 91 – come over.” I said: “I wish, I wish”. Reply was: “Sorry its Cros Parantoux 91, don’t have any Ech.” This was accompanied by a photo of the open bottle! This was swiftly followed by “Jayer Cros P 89 and 91, Ponsot CdlR 90. All breathing now. 83 Ech also just opened.” My last email just read: “In taxi”. Well there are limits to my conscientiousness.


The 1983 Echezeaux was holding beautifully for what was a fairly tough vintage in Burgundy, plagued by rot. The master’s hand at work, always able to craft something truly superb despite indifferent climatic conditions.

The 1989 Cros Parantoux was very impressive, you could just feel the heat of the vintage but the wine was not in any way less interesting because of it. Sense of terroir and plenty of balance, not just heat here. Beautiful wine.

The 1991 Cros Parantoux was simply mind-blowing. A vintage that suited Jayer’s vision of crafting wines of terroir and purity. It was by some way the top wine of the Jayer flight. Will be a tough wine to beat in the coming Year of the Rabbit.

Finally, and why not? A stunningly youthful 1990 Ponsot Clos de la Roche. Very Pinot, very pure, long but pretty closed. I had sold the group this case so in fact it was just important after service quality control!

Feeling pretty relaxed one of the very generous crew decided we needed a glass of Champagne for the road. That turned out to be a delicious 1989 Billecart Salmon Cuvee Nicholas Francois.

I received the following email from my host a few days later: “Not that I had many Jayers before, but very often I found my past experience was met with disappointment from my lofty expectations. But the 3 bottles we had were all beautiful and the 91 Cros P simply breath-taking. Not some Supermodel claret that had one too many botox injection from the reverse osmosis machine. But just a genuine, honest and individualistic wine that speaks tons about the place, the maker and the vintage.”

Kung Hei Fat Choi.