Farr Vintners Asia Staff Dinner

Monday, 24 July 2017 by Stephen Chan

As Crystal Palace Football Team flew into HK for the Asia Premier League games, so did Stephen our Chairman – such a coincidence!  In between football fever we arranged a staff dinner on Friday night at a Shanghainese Restaurant – Lao Xue Yuan (Old Snow Garden). A recently opened cozy restaurant which is located near to our Hong Kong office in Causeway Bay.

The Hong Kong Team with Stephen Browett

All wines were served blind and we kicked off with two whites. Both wines showed so many similarities, however one was more forward, showing more expressive riper fruit notes (this being the 2015 Macon Pierreclos Tri de Chavigne) whilst the other showed slightly more minerality and acidity and was more reserved (the 2014 vintage of the same wine). Both vintages, whilst with their own differences in style, were equally liked by us – Farr’s has been a long term fan of Jean-Marie Guffens, whose wines really do get mistaken for top quality domaines but cost a fraction of the price. These two wines matched quite well with the traditional Shanghainese appetizers.

Wine 1: 2014 Macon Pierreclos Tri de Chavigne, Guffens-Heynen

Wine 2: 2015 Macon Pierreclos Tri de Chavigne, Guffens-Heynen

  • Drunken Pigeon
  • Sliced Pork with Bean Jelly in Garlic Sauce
  • Smoked Duck Egg
  • Pan-fried Pork Buns
  • Crispy Eels Shanghai Style

Next was a flight of three red wines  - all Bordeaux.  Our favourite of the three was the distinctive 2012 Chateau Batailley – it was precise, quite concentrated fruit aromas with layered mid palate with classy pure cassis fruit, fresh vanilla pods, light smoke and fine tannins all giving a lengthy finish.  This wine can age but equally is delicious to drink now with a bit of decanting, at GBP320 per case is terrific value. The Gloria 2012 showed its St Julien character well; it was pure, silky, ready to drink now and quite an elegant wine.  We were big fans of the 2007 Gloria which has sadly sold out, however the 2012 is going to be a great follow on vintage, again very reasonably priced at GBP270 per case. The other wine in the line up was 2012 Ch Figeac, this wine was the most backward of the three which should have great potential, it was showing more complex herbaceous notes from the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon components, but really needs a bit more time before popping its cork.

Wine 3: 2012 Chateau Gloria

Wine 4: 2012 Chateau Figeac

Wine 5: 2012 Chateau Batailley

  • Braised Boneless Fish Head with Crispy Rice
  • Braised Sweet and Sour Mandarin Fish
  • Tea Smoked Salted Duck

Finally we rounded the evening off with a wine from a different region.  With bright ripe red fruits, refreshing acidity and showing hints of maturity, it was expressing the characteristics of an Italian wine and sure enough it was, the Chianti Classico Giorgio Primo, Fattoria la Masa had lots of rich black fruits along with a little gamy character.  This wine offers more richness than you would normally expect from a Chianti but its fruit, tannin and acidity integrate together beautifully, at GBP240 per case this is another bargain (no wonder we only have a few cases left!)

Wine 6: 2000 Chianti Classico Giorgio Primo, Fattoria La Massa

  • Fried Prawns with Salty Eggs
  • Stewed Chicken with Basil in Wine Sauce
  • Tientsin Cabbage with Salted Pork and Bean Curd Slices
  • Deep fried Egg White Puff with Red Bean and Banana
the wines

It was a wonderful evening before the team meet again on the next day for the Crystal Palace football match (2017 Premier League Asia Trophy).



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