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Face to face meetings with Nelson Chow


Nelson Chow

After the success of the private tastings with Nelson Chow in June, SommelierS International renewed the event in last November. Prominent sommelier from Hong Kong Nelson Chow, president of the Hong Kong and China Sommelier Association, is a reference in the industry in Asia. After a long career in the most beautiful restaurants of Hong Kong and now settled as a consultant, he developed an acute knowledge about the wines from all over the world and of the markets in China and all Asia. Always ready for discoveries, Nelson Chow has carefully listened to the wine growers and the producers who came to meet him. The conversation mainly focused on whether the presented products could match the Chinese tastes as well as the pairings with regional gastronomy, and of course on the current market opportunities.


Sophie Holzberg

Château Franc Cardinal

“Wines from Francs Côtes de Bordeaux can be well received in China”

Château Franc Cardinal,
Francs Côtes de Bordeaux 2012

Young ruby-red colour. The viscosity is right and shows a medium to full body. A lot of fruit agents already, like young cherry, and a smoky character. The palate is really easy with round fruit agents, with at the same time the appropriate dryness of the tannins that give an excellent character in the back of the throat. The wine is really ready to drink now and I really appreciate it.

Francs Côtes de Bordeaux 2014

In the nose you find a lot of layers of fragrances already. Some charcoal, very powerful, strong fruit agents, and soft, mild spices in the back. In the palate the wine is much fuller, full of characters, and to me it has a very nice acidity backing it up. At the same time the powerfulness keeps the wine a long way. You can start appreciating it now after 20 mn airing. But you can also keep the wine for some years so you can see the evolution of this wine.

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Vignobles Galineau

“Two beautiful wines from the Entre-Deux-Mers area”

Mme et M. Galineau

Château Haut Favereau 2016 & Château Bellevue Favereau 2016,
Bordeaux Supérieur

The Bellevue Favereau has a lot of fresh berries and fruit agents coming in the nose. The Haut Favereau has a tiny hint of smokiness but the fruitiness is round and present. These two wines perform very well to offer you a daily drinking wine. Very present with a good quality fruit agents, roundness, and also a decent body. This wine goes very well with food in China like braised dishes, grilled beef, and also with Shanghainese cuisine because of the fruit agents that are beautiful and round in the mouth and the decent body.

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Alain Maufras et son fils

Château Pontac-Monplaisir

“A family-owned estate since 1900, in a region I love very much, Pessac-Léognan.”

Château Pontac Monplaisir blanc 2015, Pessac-Léognan

A great flint character comes right away to the nose as well as some apricot and yellow-fleshed fruits. In the palate, a great acidity and a beautiful mineral character run all around the mouth, yet round fruit characters come up as well. I think this wine needs to be served around 10°C. This wine matches really well with our Chinese seafood cuisine that has less cream, less cheese, and that goes very well with such mineral wines with a good acidity.

Château Pontac Monplaisir rouge 2015, Pessac-Léognan

In the nose a lot of cherry and young fruit characters, a bit of toastiness in the background. The bouquet is not very exhibitive yet but attractive. The palate is really fruit driven at the moment. You can really appreciate it in the upfront for its round fruitiness. But in the back, the layers of fragrances and the tannin structure, the body and the freshness by the acidity are all there. I think the wine has a great potential. Now it is too young to drink, but approachable already. Another 3 to 5 years and it will be perfect.

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Jean-Baptiste et Rémy Lacoque

Domaine Joël Lacoque

“Beaujolais wines are difficult to match with Chinese cuisine,
but are perfect with our fish hot pots.”


Domaine Joël Lacoque, Morgon Côte de Py, 2016

You have a lot of fruit agents like young cherry, and mild soft spices in the nose. It is really attractive. The palate is full, round; even though it is a 2016, it is really approachable, good for young drinking, the wine is really running in the mouth. Great acidity, nice round fruit character. It is really ready to drink. I would like to have this wine slightly chilled, I think the quality would come much better.

Domaine Joël Lacoque, Morgon Côte de Py, Cuvée Marie Jeanne, 2015

It is a 2015 but you have a lot of chocolatey, fruity agents (plum, cherries) coming in different layers. The wine is really round in the palate. At the moment, it shows all the fruit agents. But at the same time the tannin structure is really firm and tight. A great acidity while the fruitiness really runs around the mouth. The overall balance of the wine is really great but the wine is still very young. It can keep a little bit longer. I recommend to drink it at room temperature (20°C). You can even decant it.

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Arnaud Corty

Vignobles Moreux-Corty

“This family is in this area for 14 generations.”

Corty Artisans, Les Monts Damnés, Sancerre 2016

The wine shows a very nice bouquet already with grass, yellow fruits. A very nice freshness. In the palate the wine is really complete, the acidity, the fruitiness, the round body. I recommend to chill this wine at approx. 10°C to let it show all its characters. It goes very well with our Chinese cuisine particularly the seafood side thanks to its mineral character. Like steamed fish, simple big prawns, clams.

Corty Artisans, Pouilly Fumé 2016

This is a single vineyard. The wine is really open. In the nose, already all the yellow fruits, guava, unique characters are coming up, and also flint stone, smokiness. The nose is multi-layered and very pronounced. In the mouth, you have all the mineral characters, a great acidity all around. I really like the bouquet that exhibits already. This wine has a great potential. I think it can keep for many years.

Vignobles Moreux, La Loge Aux Moines Monopole, Pouilly Fumé 2015

The nose is quite subtle. A lot of fruits, particularly yellow and stone fruits, very subtle aromas of flint, slightly smoky. It is already 2 years old but all the aromas are still very delicate. On the palate the wine is complete, very rich, full and round. It has the right minerality, acidity, body structure. It gives you the overall potential in the palate. The aftertaste is really long and gives you a really savory character. This wine can go with a lot of Chinese cuisine: from fish, clams, lobster, to braised meat. This wine is really outstanding.


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Cave de Monségur

“One of the biggest cooperatives of Bordeaux
with an annual production of 12 million bottles.”


Valérie Gosselin Conche

M de Monségur 2015, Bordeaux rouge

This is a 100% Cabernet Franc which is really rare. 2015 is the second vintage that they have. You already get some savory characters in the nose as well as blueberry jam which all come together. Soft spices, round in the nose, and also some vegetal character in the end like asparagus. In the palate the wine is well-balanced. You have all the acidity, the body structure and all the fruit agents running around the mouth. I think this wine is ready to drink. And at the same time it has a great potential and you can keep it for a few years more. This wine can go very well with all the Chinese meat dishes like sautéed beef slices or Shanghainese cuisine like braised pork belly. It is really easy to handle. I love this wine.

Heritage 2014, Bordeaux rouge

This wine is aged in new oak barrels which is not easy for big cooperatives. In the first nose, I already have chocolatey and savory characters. But the chocolate and the coconut really come first. In the second nose, we have floral characters like rose, violet, then the fruits come up. Even if it is a 2014, the wine is still a bit closed. I think that because of the wood reserve, you need some more time to open it up. In the palate, the wine really shows its character. The structure, the fruit agents, everything is really strong and powerful. In the palate you really have a bite of it. You have this structure, this tannin and woodiness that blend together. The fruit agents are really round and soften it out. The wine lasts a little bit in the throat as well. I think the wine is really ready to drink and to be put on the market. This wine is particularly good for the Shanghainese cuisine with the braised dishes, the soya character; they can compensate and help each other.

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Pierre Courdurié

La Croix de Labrie

“One of the best garage wines”

Les Hauts de Croix de Labrie, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 2014

The nose exhibits a lot of fruits already, cherry, dark prunes, and toasty and mint characters in the background. A beautiful nose that gives a subtle, good and powerful structure. The mouth is totally different. It is fresh, it runs in the mouth, very enjoyable. The wine is beautiful to drink now. The freshness keeps the mouth really lively. Great fruit agents, medium body structure. This wine can match with many Chinese dishes like sautéed beef with oyster sauce, braised beef brisket.

Chapelle de Labrie, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 2015

In the nose, chocolatey, rose, powerful fruit aromas. When you nose again, you get the mint character as well. It is really beautiful. Truffle comes up also, spices, but it is really soft and elegant. The palate is really powerful, beautiful structure, a full-bodied wine with well-structured tannins. They are still a little bit tight but the great acidity refreshes it. After opening, the wine has to breathe for half an hour. It is a very complete wine. That would go with a very good piece of steak like entrecote.

Château Croix de Labrie, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 2015

The nose is really concentrated. A lot of mint and tea leaves, the liquorice gives you a very fresh character. The fruitiness is very concentrated, with aromas of cooked cherry. On the palate, the wine is really full. A lot of fruit agents, the tannins are tight at the moment. The wine deserves to be opened and decanted one hour in advance. But it has a great potential, you can keep it for many years as I think the vintage gives it a really delicate and also powerful structure. If you really want to enjoy it now, you can go for Shanghainese cuisine like braised pig cutlets, pork belly because the fruity, jammy, powerful character is absolutely gorgeous to compensate these dishes.


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Château d’Arche

“In China our palate tends to love sweetness
that is why Sauternes may have a great future in the long run.”


Stéphane Rouveyrol

Soleil d’Arche, Sauternes, 2014

The nose is beautiful, a lot of preserved apricot, orange marmalade. You find a kind of mineral nose as well with a hint of flint and a touch of smokiness. The wine is already exhibitive for a 2014. On the palate, the wine is not syrupy. Instead the wine is very fresh with a nice acidity, not too sweet. At the same time you find a lot of minerality. I think the wine therefore is really good for an aperitif but can also go with a lot of different types of cuisine like fish, salad. The wine is easy, you can open the bottle and enjoy it right away.

Château d’Arche, Sauternes, 2010

Here again you have the apricot but also the honey, the dried mango. It is mild and concentrated. As it the chateau wine, I think the density is stronger. You should keep the wine a little bit longer to let the bouquet develop more layers. On the palate the wine is full and rich. The sugar content is just right, not too syrupy, sweet or jammy. At the same time, great acidity and freshness. This wine definitely is an after-dinner drink. But the pairing with cheese would be an extraordinary choice. The beauty of this wine is that it is not too sweet but it actually gives the full palate of real Sauternes.

Whisky d’Arche, 5 ans

A 5 years old whisky from Scotland that aged in the Sauternes barrels just after they are cleared from wine. What is interesting is that when you nose it, [generally speaking, when you nose an alcohol you get punch in your nose,] is even you smell it deeply you find a kind of roundness, no sharpness, and of course a toasty character of the whisky, the mocha, kind of spices. 5 years old is not a very well-known age, but everything is quite well-married in the bouquet. On the palate, though it is 5 years, it is not sharp, no hard alcohol. Despite the 43° alcohol, you still find the roundness, the savory character. Yet, because of the alcohol, you get a clean and long-lasting palate. The mouth is quite interesting, this kind of whisky is something new and maybe it will become a trend in the future.

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Rhum Oksen

“I think flavoured rum, particularly handmade one, is really a first of its kind.
If we once find it on the Chinese market, it will be a bright product.”


Franck Oksen

Rhum Oksen, Ultra Premium Banane

The nose has a creamy character, spices, aroma like green banana to me, but even though high in alcohol, no sharpness. In the mouth, banana, full creaminess, roundness. The alcohol gives strength, it runs in the mouth, feels savoury, lovely, long aftertaste. Actually quite interesting. I think a lot of ladies will love this, particularly if you drink it alone.

Rhum Oksen, Ultra Premium Vanille

Being in hospitality for a long time, we know how vanilla really smells, but in a lot of vanilla products like ice cream you don’t have a real vanilla character. Here it is real vanilla. Straightforward vanilla in the nose yet it is not sharp. In the palate, I think it is the best balance; you have the strength of the alcohol that gives aggressiveness in your mouth, the vanilla aroma is just right, and the sweetness and dryness really compensate each other. This is a very good ‘digestif’ after a big meal. Serve in a small glass.

Rhum Oksen, Ultra Premium Cannelle

Not sharp but very powerful cinnamon in the nose, really concentrated in depth with cinnamon. It is really long lasting in the mouth. For those who love spices, spirits with strong characters, this one is perfect. You can use it as an after-dinner drink. Similar to the vanilla, the cinnamon is really good for someone who knows about spirits. You have a very long aftertaste because of the woody side of all the agents coming in. This one is really special. For someone who loves it, I would suggest it with a cigar.


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Julien Salles

Château Ripeau

“12 hectares, soon 16, lovingly grown by the Gregoire family.”

Tour de Ripeau, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 2015

The nose is very expressive. Cherry and nice jammy character. Soft spices round the nose. Tea leaves and toasty side. It is a 2015 performing very well. The palate is very open already with nice round fruit agents. At the same time, it has a great fresh acidity. The body is still firm and tight. But I think after one hour, it is much better. It is drinkable now but you can keep it for some years as well. This wine can go well with some of our Shanghainese cuisine, like braised dishes with soy sauce. The tannins and dryness can easily cut off all the fat.

Château Ripeau, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 2015

Very nice, very concentrated nose, very chocolatey, jammy cherry, cooked berries, sweet spices, lasts very long. On the palate, the wine is really powerful. Full bodied, structured, full of tannins. Fruitiness, acidity are there. Palate is backed by a very good balance. At the moment the wine is a little bit closed. Decant two hours in advance or keep the wine for a few years. At the moment you can go for any fatty dish, it will help the wine : braised pig, pork belly, all these top-class Chinese savoury dishes. Or simply a good piece of Wagyu beef.


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Laurent Vallet

Château Montifaud

“Family-owned for 6 generations at the very heart of the Petite Champagne area.”

Cognac XO, Petite Champagne

In the nose, pear and green apple. A bit of oak wood as well. The spirit really grows in the mouth which gives a mouthful character. But actually this one keeps a high caramel, sugary character that is why it is softer and rounder in the mouth. Personally I feel that this spirit already gives you a very strong character.

Cognac XO Majestic, Petite Champagne

The colour is really different from the XO, very amber. In the nose, a very solid, rich pear character, floral. The nose is really round and good already. Even if you deep nose it you will not feel the sharpness and the strong spices. You have a lot of spices, but soft ones. The palate is really round and growing in the mouth and at the same time very clean. This eau-de-vie is really nice with multiple layers of flavours. At the same time the spirit runs around the mouth so you get all the aromas everywhere. This a really high level XO with a unique character, with flavours lasting on the palate. This XO has excellent cognacs inside.


Gin Osmoz, Classic

This gin is very special as it is made with grapes. We still have the juniper character in the first nose. In the background you have the grape aromas. That is why to me this product is a mix of gin and good grappa. In a regular gin, when you deep nose it, you get all the punch of the alcohol; in this one, you feel it is savoury, easy-going. It is the first time I find a gin you can drink alone. You don’t need to blend it with tonic or whatever. It has a great savoury character in the mouth, round, not punchy at all although alcohol is 43° per vol. It is a really nice product. I think the gin market nowadays is diversifying, everybody is looking for a niche, and this gin is really something special.


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Stéphane Mordeles

Cave du Dragon Rouge

“A very special product resulting from the fermentation of honey and water.
Unique thanks to the ageing in oak barrels.”

Vieil Hydromel Chouchenn Sec (2 ans en fût de chêne)

In the nose like a manzanilla, a dry sherry. A savoury, floral character. Beautiful nose On the palate, dry, not sweet at all, easy to accept, cleans the palate. A kind of bitterness at first sip in the aftertaste, but it disappears afterwards. It prepares your palate to go with any kind of food, it is a very nice cleanser. I personally feel that this ‘wine’, for its dryness, can go very well with our Wuhanese cuisine (mid-northern China), that kind of sour spiciness. This beverage can kill the hot spices and at the same time clean the palate and make it ready for the next meal.

Vieil Hydromel Chouchenn Dragon Demi-sec (2 ans en fût de vin + 3 ans en fût de whisky)

The colour is darker. The nose carries oxidative characters; at the same time, pear, peach, fruits; no whisky but a bit like a Cognac finish. On the palate, not dry, like a demi-sec [sweet half dry], not sweet, not sirupy, not heavy, good, round, nicely wraps the palate. In the aftertaste, long character and a touch of wood, as well as roundness. Best to serve around 8°C to appreciate. Can come with some fruit salad, some cooked fruit cuisine. Cold food can also go.


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Krea Development

“We always try to discover something very unique, very small but very great.”

Château Pré La Lande, Sainte-Foy Côtes de Bordeaux

These two wines, a grey and an orange label, are exactly the same but in the end they are treated in different containers for maturation. One is kept in terracotta which is a kind of ceramic vat used in the ancient days to save wine. The other one is used in 300-litre barrel. They both aged for the same time, about 14 months.


Cuvée Terracotta 2015

Very strong fruit agents in the nose, preserved prunes, the dates, a lot of dark cherry, dark prune. Some kind of sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg. Easy and straightforward. On the palate, really full, rich. But at this time, because 2015, tannins a bit tight. The wine needs some breathe. Open it 45 mn or decant quickly to let the wine exhibit and soften the tannins. The acidity is running and the fruit agents cover the mouth.

Cuvée Diane 2015

Fruit agents, dark cherry, plum, at the same time the wood, mint, sharp peppery spices come up, also liquorice. The nose has a big profile but does not exhibit all yet because it is young. On the palate the wine is powerful, a lot of tannins (from the grape and a lot from the wood) define the mouth. The acidity is there but not exhibitive. The wine is really tight at the moment. Keep it for a few years or decant it (1 to 1.5 hour) to open up and soften the tannins.

Michel Baucé, Thomas Bulcke, Jean-Luc Butez.

Brasserie Historique de l’Abbaye de Cateau,
Bière Vivat Vieille Réserve

This beer aged for four years in the bottle. The bubbles are so fine, so delicate, even though I poured it for some minutes already. It underwent triple fermentation; like Champagne, they added sugar and yeast in the bottle where it ferments. The colour is beautiful, it is a good ale made in very traditional method. In the nose, fruity and yeasty characters and also a discreet toastiness. Lovely nose. In the palate it still sparkles, but with a very soft and elegant taste. This is a blond ale which brings you very savoury, round characters (contrary to brown ale that gives you toasty aromas). But you don’t feel the beer although it is 8.3% alcohol.

Sylvia van der Velden
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