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by Guy Ruston (Managing Director Asia Pacific)

All of humanity’s greatest achievements have involved a dog:

  • The first living creature to orbit the earth; Laika the Soviet Space Pooch
  • Led Zeppelin’s rock ‘n’ roll magnum opus ‘Black Dog’
  • Mark Haddon’s award-winning novel  ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’
  • The geniusly named ‘Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band’- they really should have been bigger than The Beatles
  • And of course the Hollywood masterpiece that is ‘Turner and Hooch’; Tom Hanks’ finest movie.

Ok, maybe not all of our greatest, but ‘man’s best friend’, unconditionally by our side during the best of times, is surely an auspicious sign ahead for the Chinese Lunar New Year, which you guessed it, will be the year of the dog. Who knows what humanity can achieve over the next 12 months? Let’s face it, the bar has been set pretty low in recent times, or maybe that’s just #fakenews. One thing’s for sure, in Hong Kong we shall be celebrating over the coming days with plenty of eating, drinking and merriment with our loved ones.    

Last night was a barn-storming evening of exceptional hooch that could raise a smile from even the droopiest of droopy-looking Basset Hounds.

*warning, there will be more dog references ahead

2004 Eric Rodez ‘Empreinte de Terroir Pinot Noir’

The Mayor of Ambonnay is making some damn fine Champagne these days. Beautiful colour; rich honeyed looking gold with an ever-so-slight pinkish hue. The power on the nose alone is extraordinary, brimming with red fruits and candy apple. So intense on the palate, mouth-filling, huge but with 2004’s tell-tale round, seductiveness. Fine stuff indeed. 95pts

2004 Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, Dauvissat

I do love me some Dauvissat. Grand Cru Chablis remains a bastion of value within Burgundy’s world of sky-rocketing prices. Classic with a capital ‘C’, the nose is all oyster shell, wet stones with a lick of citrus. Pretty ripe and round on the palate with a delicious pang of acidity. This has plenty of development ahead of it but is irresistable now. 95+pts

2004 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc

Much like a Labrador or Golden Retriever (I did warn you), Domaine de Chevalier Blanc is one of the most depenable wines out there. There are no ‘off-vintages’, it is always either good or very, very good. Much like Grand Cru Chablis, dry-white Bordeaux (with the exception of Haut Brion and La Mission) is a hot bed of great value and an increasingly diverse array of wines to boot. This ’04 is a beauty. Gorgeous pear-drop aromas that follow through well onto the palate. Lovely minerality too, with an extraordinary length. If you plan on gorging yourself on seafood over CNY, then do yourself a favour and pop a bottle or two of ‘Dom Chev Blanc’ in the ice bucket. Bon vin. 95pts

1996 San Leonardo

The subject of a cracking recent-article by Jancis Robinson (well worth a read), this historic estate in Italy’s Trentino region, has been producing exceptional wines since the early 1980s, yet is perhaps unknown to a lot of folk. Regarded by some, as an important icon of Italian wine as Sassicia, San Leonardo produce beautiful wines from Bordeaux varietals albeit in a more ‘low-key’ way. This ’96 is singing. A soaring nose of black cherries, menthol and a slight hint of eucalyptus. Soft and charming on the palate, the cooler nature of the ’96 vintage is evident. There is such an easy-going charm to this wine, like an old English Sheep dog. 94pts

1985 Haut Brion

A wine I am very fortunate to say that I know well, his is my fourth or fifth encounter with the ’85 and perhaps the best bottle I’ve had yet. A really elegant nose of damsons, cigar box and some beautiful savoury notes. Possibly at or nearing its peak, the palate is still so rich and slick, with layers of plum, black cherry, girolles and a hint of white pepper. Epic length too. One of my all-time favourites. 96pts

1982 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle

This would have been harvested during a year of the dog and though perhaps just starting to tire a little now, thirty-odd years on, there is still something quite spritely with the sweet black fruits on show here. I love the seared bacon-fat notes you get with aged La Chapelle and this ’82 has it in spades. With Caroline Frey now at the helm, the future for this iconic wine is bright indeed but 1961 and 1978 aside, for me, much like the greatest era for British pop music, the 1980s was the decade for La Chapelle. ’82, ’83, ’85, ’88 and ’89 are all rock stars. Autumn in a glass. 94pts

A cracking evening all round with plenty of wine and musical banter.

From everyone at BI, we would like to wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead.

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

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