Thursday, June 27, 2013

Meet Florian!

Apologies for the lack of content over the past months.  It was not for lack of news, but rather lack of time!

Here's a brief recap of the past few months:

The beginning of May saw HOFWs at HOFEX which also marked the launch of our brand new product:

Truffle Coffee

50% Arabica 50% Robusta coffees blended with dried truffles
 The arrival of our newest wines from Alsace are more than welcome now that the sun has finally decided to make a resurgence.  Finally.  We have a lovely new range of Gewurtz, Rieslings, and Pinot Gris, all great ways to refresh the palate and the soul.  And perfect for some spicy Asian cuisine.  I smell Thai!

Sean and I traveled with our clients to Guangzhou for the Inter Wine fair at the end of May.  It was really interesting and eye opening to see first hand how the Chinese buy and view wine.  There was definitely a lot more glitz and glamour than I'm used to (even spotted some Hello Kitty Champagne!), and realized there is still a lot of work to do in China!  After spending three days in the festival tasting and talking, I totally got a feel for how far behind the Mainland is to Hong Kong in terms on wine knowledge.  It seems a fairly massive gap to bridge.

Our biggest news is that Julia has left to go back to France.  She originally came for a 6 months stint, and ended up extending to learn as much as she could with us.  We're so sad to see her go, but excited to welcome our newest member of the HOFWs team....

Meet our newest employee, Florian.  Florian just completed his Masters at the Bordeaux International Wine Institute and will fill Julia's role in Marketing.  Please stop in for a chat and help welcome him to Hong Kong!

Otherwise, we've been up to our ears in tastings.  Between our own private tastings and the plethora of events around town, we've not had much time to digest it all. 

What's your summer plan?  What's drinking well now?  I'm currently loving Gonzalez Byass' 'Apostoles.'  If you haven't tried it, you absolutely must.  MUST!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Press this Week

Thank you, Wine Times HK, for commenting on our favorite new bar in town!  The Pier Bar is located at Central Pier #3, and is the perfect after work hang out before heading home.

Not only are you on the water with delicious wines (and I should mention excellent beers) in hand, but they also have HOFWs goods in addition to cheese and bread from Classified.

Ahoy, off to DB we go!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Market Sunday!

Come to Island East Market this Sunday between 10 and 5pm for some of our famous truffles, foie gras, or world class wines. 
We'll be sampling all day!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Coffee Buzz

Yesterday morning found HOFWs down the street for a training seminar on all things coffee! Whilst exhibiting at the Island East Market, we came across Reeves, a coffee specialist for CENG.  After some chatting we were signed up for a crash course on all things surrounding the bean.

Throughout the entire morning we were all wowed by who similar wine and coffee are.  The whole experience of enjoying a cup of coffee is totally on par with the whole experience that surrounds a glass of wine. 

First we learned about differences in regions and the flavor profiles and textures they produce:

Ethiopian---> full of fruit, high acid, thin body
Colombian---> full body, nutty, caramel
Brazil-ian---> balanced flavor, full body, high acidity, some sweetness in the best
Indian---> spicy, medium body, some saltiness in high quality

Producing coffee is also similar to producing wines.  You have to make decisions about style, body, textures, flavors, etc,. albeit it's probably a lot less regulated than wine!  Darker roast doesn't necessarily mean better coffee (as I thought!), just as a fuller bodied wine doesn't necessarily make it great (hello Yellow Tail).

Then we learned a little about the terroir's effect on wine.  Apparently, similarly to wine, higher altitude with long sun exposure is great for producing high quality beans.  After bean are harvested they can be dried in several ways; mechanically or naturally in the sun to retain ~12% moisture.  They are then ready to be shipped out.

On to the brewing.  We used a method I have never seen and certainly never tried before.  The siphon is actually quite simple.  Boil water until it creates a vaccum and sucks up to the top flask, then add coffee, stir, let brew one minute (don't want to over extract here!), then turn the heat off so the coffee filters back to the bottle flask.  3 cups of coffee in a matter of minutes!


What's your favorite brew??





Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ranstad Wine Tasting

On Friday evening, we partnered with Randstad for an evening of gourmet food and charming wines.   We love doing tastings with Randstad because the guests are always so enthusiastic and participative, and this was no exception. 

On the table we offered the usual favorite; truffles and foie gras, in addition to some new favorites; Scottish salmon roll-ups, German stuffed peppers, and tuna toasts. 

We began the evening with a Cava toast where we discussed the differences between Cava, Champagne, and Prosecco.  I was surprised to see that 25 hands flew up when I asked if anyone liked Prosecco.  It seems Proseccos presence is well known in these parts.  I should mention a significant portion of the attendees hail from Australia.

Key differences:

Champagne- red and white grapes (Pinot Noir and Pinor Meunier for red, and Chardonnay white)
                     only from Champagne, France
                     must be aged 15 months on the lees before disgorgement
                     fermented using the traditional method

Cava-           white grapes only (Xarel-lo, Parellada, and Macabeo)
                     from anywhere in Spain
                    must be aged only 9 months on the lees before disgorgement
                     fermented using the traditional method

Prosecco-      only uses one grape, which is white (Glera)
                      only from Prosecco (Valdiobbedene DOCG being the more prestigious region in DOC Prosecco), Italy
                     no aging requirements and is best drunk young
                      fermented using the tank method

Next up, our representative from France, Thibaut, walked everyone through some basics about Burgundy, and then some information about our wine; Pouilly Fuisse AOC Burgundy. 
Pouilly and Cava


Pouilly Fuisse is in Southern Burgundy, where the appellation dates back to 1936
Produce 100% Chardonnay
Typical PF is full bodied, ripe, and elegant

Comments from the peanut gallery; 'I would like to be on the back of a boat with this wine.'

Onto the reds.  First of the reds was our Torremoron Joven 2011, 100% Tempranillo from the Ribera del Duero, Spain.  Robert Parker himself drank this wine.  He then awarded it 92 points and declared it the 'bargain of the century!'  This is always a crowd pleaser because it's easy, full of flavor, and delicious.
CdP, Montemercusio, and Torremoron.  And truffle breads.

Then back to Thibaut, and back to probably everyone's favorite of the evening; La Font du Loup Chateauneuf du Pape 2003.  This is 10 years old and still drinking beautifully!   Here is my personal tasting note:


Chateauneuf du Pape2003 Chateau de la Font du Loup  (Cotes du Rhone,France) Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault. A fine vintage that’s still drinking beautifully.  Balanced with aromas of vanilla and ripe redfruit, is dry, soft and has a liquorice spice finish.  Ideal with steak and soba, parmesan breadpudding with pancetta ham, and pork chops with squash and pumpkin.

Then we finished the evening with a powerful punch; Montemercurio 'Messeggaro' Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2007.  I love this wine.  It's got great power and strength but also retains some elegance and finsesse.

Did you know?

Montepulciano is a grape and a town
In this case, we're talking the town (grape is 100% Sangiovese)
It is the oldest and smallest of the Sangiovese producing regions. Can you name the other 2????

Chianti and Brunello.

So there you have it.  Wines.  Food.  Good times. And a bit of new info thrown in for good measure!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Indian Wine

When you think India, you don't tend to think wine.  In fact, I spent 5 weeks traveling through India and only had 2 bottles of wine.  Which, if you know me, is absurd.

India didn't grow up with wine like Europe did (although there was some to be found), and as such the cuisine isn't very wine friendly.  Indian food tends to involve layers and layers of spices, complex flavours, and different levels of depth.  Wine pairing is no easy task, my friend.

Last night we decided to pair some of our new wines with some of the fine food at our favorite Indian haunt; Corner 90.  Corner 90 is our go-to with out of town visitors or VIP guests.  The food is always spot on fantabulous, so we thought it would be fun to invite some of our friends along.  If you're in Kwun Tong, I highly recommend you pop in for some papadam!

Welcome drink:

Mercat Cava Brut

I love this Cava!  I was on a Prosecco kick, but this wine has turned me right round.  Crisp and lean with nice nice bubbles. 
Fist Course:

Fish Tikka/chicken Tikka/  Veg Samosa

The sparkling wine worked well, particularly with the samosa.  It was refreshing and palate cleansing given the grease and spice. 

The fish!  The chicken! The Samosa!  All really wonderful, and with a little dab of mint sauce, totally fresh and vibrant.
Wine Pairing:

AOC Pouilly Fuisse 2011

Pouilly Fuisse was fresh enough to match this course.  An oaky Chardonnay from Meursault, would not do, but this light wine cut through some of the oiliness and worked well with the spice on the chicken and fish.  And since the flavors were clean and light, there was no competition.  Food first!

choice of

Tandoori Lamb

I tried some of Julia and this was just wonderful.  Thick, juicy layers of tandoori spice!

Butter Chicken Masala
I tried Kirsty's to my left, and loved this!  You can't go wrong with butter chicken. Ever.

Tandoori Salmon
This was my main and it was taaaaasty.   Fish over parantha and onions with a mint dipping sauce.  Delicate seafood this was not.  I think a Meursault would have gone beautifully with this!

Wine Pairing:

La Font de Loup 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape

Everyone agreed that perhaps this wasn't the best pairing with the chicken or the fish.  With the lamb it worked, although not perfectly with all of the spice.

Being 10 years old, the tannins had softened, but fruit still remained, making this perfectly drinkable all on its own. 


Kesar Pista Kulfi (handmade Indian ice cream flavored wit saffron and pistachios)

LOVED LOVED LOVED this.  This was certainly a love it or hate it dish, but fortunately for me, I was in the former.

Wine Pairing:

Carlin de Paolo Moscato d'Asti

This wine works beautifully with anything.  Anything.  Always.  Give me a Carlin Moscato any day, with anything, and I can make it work. 

Easter Challenge- Moscato and Cadbury Cream Eggs.  Who's in??

Lessons learned
Indian food is hard to pair!

There's no one wine that will go with all Indian (which is probably true of all cuisines, eh?)

Chateauneuf du Pape isn't ideal

Fresh lively whites do well with a variety of dishes

(I should qualify; fact from Wikipedia)
Litres/year of consumption for adults +15 years old

Luxembourg drinks the most wine per capita of any country with 8.16
France comes in 2nds with 8.14
USA pales with only 1.36
and India's not even on the board with a mere 9 mm/year

There are 1.2 billion of them.....

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Hungarian 2 weeks ago.  Onto Bulgaria.  As told by Julia.

Last night with HOFW’s we went to a private Bulgarian truffle tasting which was held at the J Lounge in Wan Chai.

The Event was hosted by Intercuisine, a new company in Hong Kong that fuces on importing Bulgarian wines.   The director Tenio Latev was born in Bulgaria, travelled all around the world, and decided  to settle in Hong Kong with his family.

Despite that Bulgaria is a young country, the food history in this region goes back to times of the Thrace’s!  Wines were first cultivated 4,000 years ago, and in the 1980’s Bulgaria was second biggest wine producer in the world.

We had 3 white wines, unfortunately I can’t tell you the names as my keyboard doesn’t have the Cyrillic alphabet!  The grape varieties were:

  • ·         100% Riesling,
  • ·         Blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon,
  • ·         100% Chardonnay.

Then we enjoyed 5 different reds.  The overall opinion went in favor of the Cabernet Sauvignon, full of red fruit and lots of aromas. The second favorite was the Kotta 299 100% Merlot, aged in barrels plenty of tannins and full body.

Food pairing included:
  • o   Tomato and cheese from Bulgaria (similar to feta cheese)
  • o   Home made mashed potatoes
  • o   Garlic spaghetti’s
  • o   Grilled fish
  • o   Bulgarian salami
Thank you Tenio and Intercuisine for this wonderful evening!