The Vinexpo Hong Kong 2018 held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre at the end of May, was completed with a successful 20th anniversary edition. More than 1,400 exhibitors from 50 countries joined the expo. It is expected that by 2020, wine sales volume will increase by more than 10% in Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.
今年新舊世界葡萄酒仍各領風騷，當中有不少性價比高又很特別的，其中有兩個品牌印象特別深刻；其一是西班牙赫雷斯地區的老牌酒莊、González Byass家族釀製的高品質雪利酒。這個家族也釀白蘭地、葡萄酒甚至橄欖油及醋。創於1835 年，González Byass家族的釀酒手法與傳銷技巧同樣高超，不少名人包括多任西班牙國王、甚至日皇都曾經走訪他們家族的酒窖。我最愛他們其中一支以百分百Pedro Ximénez白葡萄釀製的雪利酒“ Néctar Pedro Ximénez ”，甜度極高，柔滑如絲，散發着濃郁的杏甫、無花果等乾果香味，蜜香撲鼻卻又沒有冰酒的濃稠，用來配送干酪、冰淇淋、巧克力更是無懈可擊，酒莊甚至建議把酒倒入冰淇淋中同吃，嗜甜朋友必試！
另一款令筆者難忘的酒，是我已喝了15年的品牌——智利蒙帝斯阿法。還記得當初是香港屈臣氏酒窖總經理介紹我喝的，一入口即覺驚喜萬分﹕平衡感極佳、酒體濃厚，透發着燒烤、黑醬果及咖啡之味，最重要是價錢便宜得令人偷笑！他們莊主兼總釀酒師Aurelio Montes近年再率領團隊研發出新的“ 蒙帝斯阿法精釀系列”；特色是盡量不灌溉葡萄樹，使得醬果風味更濃縮，葡萄全數人工摘採、瓶中陳放的時間比一般的蒙帝斯阿法系列多出近3倍，以增加酒體的複雜度， 而酒體亦要比一般系列更濃厚，用來配牛排、豬扒甚至是東坡肉及野味均極相適。
另一個令我驚歎的是法國南部地區的特級名酒莊多瑪士嘉薩。這個酒莊在短短的四十年內已升格為“ 南法特級酒莊” 以及只授予少數出色酒莊的“ 膜拜酒”頭銜。我一口氣試過他們的紅白酒及桃紅酒，特質都是高雅、幼細而平衡，適宜配一些貝類、魚、海產及沙拉，甚至是水果甜品。
This year, New World and Old World wines both continue to shine in the market, some of which offer high quality with reasonable price, delivering unexpected pleasures for wine-lovers. There are two brands that stand out from the crowd. The first one is Sherry produced by González Byass, the most renowned winery from Jerez, Spain. Founded in 1835, González Byass’ historic wine cellar has welcomed many royals such as the King of Spain and the Emperor of Japan. As to their famous Sherry wines, my personal favorite is Néctar Pedro Ximénez, a dessert Sherry made 100% of PX grapes and jam-packed with sweetness. The silky wine has an intense blend of aromas of plums, figs and nuts. It pairs perfectly with ice cream, chocolate and cheese.
The other wine brand that has captivated me for 15 years is Montes Alpha from Chile. I fell in love with this wine at first sip: it’s well balanced, elegant with very heavy body, showing aromas of fruits, cassis and coffee. And of course, what delights me the most is its fair price. In recent years, the owner and chief winemaker of Montes, Aurelio Montes launched Montes Alpha Special Cuvée. The vineyards are managed with as little irrigation as possible to strengthen the berry flavor. The grapes are hand-harvested, and the wines are kept in vintage bottles for a long time (3 times longer than other Montes Alpha series) to add complexity in the body. The wine pairs best with steaks and pork chops.
The legendary Mas de Daumas Gassac in southern France is another domain that makes me sit in awe. It was named as the Grand Cru in southern France, while its wines have reached the rare status of “cult wines”. I have tried their rouge, blanc and rosé, all of which are velvety and well balanced, pairing best with fish, seafood, fruits and desserts.
The final destination of my dream tour would be the Rhône wine region of France. Any wine connoisseur would agree that wines from Rhône valley, be it northern or southern sub-region, are no lack of uniqueness. The northern sub-region is famous for red wine varietals, while the southern region produce blends containing several varieties of grapes. Wines from this legendary region are definitely not to be missed.