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Meet the IWC Team
Tersina Shieh Lisa Parrotti-Brown MW Ned Goodwin MW Neal Martin Bettane & Desseauve
Tersina Shieh Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW Ned Goodwin MW Neal Martin Bettane & Desseauve

The Independent Wine Centre team combines technical qualifications, hands on practical experience and cultural awareness to provide an unmatched range, depth and quality of service: corporate events, seminars, tutored tastings, private functions and more. Email us for further discussion.

Meet the team

Flavour Colours Brown: Lamb brisket and dried bean curd skin in clay pot 枝竹羊腩煲

A robust and heavy dish that would overpower most Bordeaux, not to mention a delicate Burgundy. This dish requires a bold red that can stand up to the flavour intensity, such as a Priorat or a Salice Salentino Red. If you want to be adventurous, try it with a Vin Jaune or an Oloroso Sherry.

Check out this and more Chinese food and wine matches in Flavour Colours, our Chinese food and wine pairing iPhone/iPad App.

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Tersina ShiehFollowing its success during the last two years, the third annual Hong Kong Vintage Port Academy (VPA) workshops and tastings were held from 25th to 31st October, led by Nicolas Heath of Fladgate Partnership and Euan Mackay of Symington Family Estates. This year also saw the launch of the VPA in Shanghai.

The VPA workshops for hoteliers, sommeliers and other members of the trade in both Hong Kong and Shanghai were oversubscribed with just over 100 places available in all three of the trainings. At the end of the class, participants had to sit a short examination consisting of a series of multiple choice questions and a commentary on one of the wines. Students who passed the examination received an official VPA diploma certificate and a VPA pin. The top student from each class was also presented with a bottle of Graham's 2000 and Taylor's 2000 vintage port in a VPA wooden box. The VPA is pleased to announce that all students passed with over 30% achieving full marks on the multiple choice section. The top students wrote creative and persuasive commentaries, guiding potential customers on how to enjoy the wine. Here are some extracts from their answers:

Anobia Lam, Assistant F&B Manager, The Hong Kong Cricket Club:
A versatile wine for a special occasion with western or even oriental cuisine, especially Chinese cuisine from Sichuan and Shanghai, with its strong flavour and complex seasoning. 

Cindy Cheng, Director of Learning & Development, Hyatt Regency Shatin:
A pleasant glass of LBV Port wine enjoyable on any occasions. It is not dominating so it's very enjoyable on its own or with some nice cheese. To be more adventurous, try it with the Chinese treasure duck. You may find some nice surprise.

Rossie Huang, Manager, Cheers, Shanghai:
Good pair with black chocolate or cigar. It's a very elegant LBV Port, good to drink one glass after meal or before you go to sleep. Meanwhile, you can share it with your friends. 

To demonstrate the true versatility of port with food, the students were treated to a lunch featuring carefully selected Chinese and western dishes paired with different ports. The pairings that were preferred by the majority of the participants included Shanghai sweet and vinegar spare ribs (糖醋排骨) with Taylor's 2000 vintage Port, Cantonese roasted pork belly (燒腩肉) with Fonseca 10 Year Old Tawny and a 70% cocoa dark chocolate bonbon with Dow's Nirvana. In Shanghai, participants were also particularly impressed with the seasonal hairy crab and Peking duck pairings with the 10 year old Tawnies.

In addition to the workshops, three other events were hosted:

Annual trade tasting showcasing 12 vintage ports (vintage and single quinta vintage) from the six members of the Academy: Croft, Dow's, Fonseca, Graham's, Taylor's and Warre's.

KEE Club consumer tasting with six innovative pairings of ports and canapés, including Chinese savoury dishes and FRANCESCA dark chocolate. Not only were the guests treated to a rare Imperial (6 litre bottle) of Taylor's 2003 Vintage Port and a 4.5 litre bottle of Graham's 20 Year Old Tawny, but this year's tasting also incorporated a prize draw with two lucky winners taking home a bottle of Graham's 1969 Single Harvest valued at over HK$3,000, and a Taylor's 'Century of Port' four half bottle collection worth HK$2,500.

Aged tawny tasting for selected members of the press including 10, 20, 30 and 40 Year Old, followed by a style tasting of the six member houses 20 Year old tawny and a Chinese lunch. Aged tawnies is one of the fastest growing sectors of the port trade, and our foodie journalist friends agreed that it would gain further ground if more consumers discovered the perfect pairings between tawnies and Chinese cuisines, such as hairy crab, Peking duck and the like.

The aim of The Vintage Port Academy is to bring the understanding and enjoyment of Vintage Port, the knowledge of its rich and unique culture and history, to wine professionals and consumers in Asia and elsewhere through educational seminars.

The Vintage Port Academy will be back in Hong Kong and China next October. Please contact us if you want to secure a place in one of the workshops.

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Did you know?
Tersina ShiehBubbles
Bubbles in sparkling wine are one of the indications of quality. They are dissolved carbon dioxide formed during the secondary fermentation. Champagne and sparkling wine made by the traditional method is left undisturbed on lees in bottle for a period of time after secondary fermentation. The longer the time, the finer and more persistent the bubbles because of the interaction with mannoproteins in wine. Sparkling wine produced by this method has 5-6 bar pressure and more than 20 million bubbles in a bottle. By comparison, sparkling wine produced by the Charmat (or tank) method, such as Prosecco, usually has lower pressure of about 4 bar, with fewer and bigger bubbles.

Tersina has made wine in Portugal, South Africa and England. Follow her blog or email her for any wine queries.

Exploring Saperavi, Georgia's flagship grape

George Tezadze, Chairman Advisor of the National Wine Agency, Georgia, and a renowned wine expert, was in town recently to present the first ever Saperavi masterclass to members of the trade. Despite everyone's busy schedule, the masterclass was well attended by distributors who are looking to broaden their portfolios, sommeliers who want to source niche and quality wine, and journalists and educators eager to learn the history and diversity of Georgian wines.

Georgia, being the oldest winemaking region in the world with an 8,000 year history, is called the cradle of wine. Tucked in the Caucasus between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, Georgia has a continental climate, providing a long ripening season to make quality wine. There are 18 appellations, 14 of which are in the Kakheti region in the east. Georgia has over 500 indigenous grape varieties of which about 40 are commercially used for winemaking.

Attendees tasted 13 wines from sparkling to still and dry to fortified, representing the diversity of Georgian wine style. Participants were particularly interested in the traditional white wine made in qvevri from Alaverdi Monastery using the Kisi grape. The wine has expressive tannins balanced with aromas of herbs, spices and fruits.

The highlight was the tasting of the eight Saperavis. Saperavi is the grape to watch out for. Its high tannin and acidity provide the backbone for a wine with long ageing capability. It has black fruit and spicy characters rather like a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. With age, it develops a tertiary bouquet of chocolate, walnut and dried fruits. It is versatile and can be made in different styles: rosé, easy drinking and fruity reds, elegant and structured reds as well as fortified wine.

Quote from Jancis Robinson, 'Saperavi is undoubtedly a great grape ... just one of a fleet of fine Georgian wines we can add to our ever-expanding international range of wine experiences'

Prior to 2006, Georgia exported nearly 95% of its wine to Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Now, China and Asia has taken nearly 5% of its total export. Distributors who are interested in Georgian wine should contact the National Wine Agency. Read more

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The 4th Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition, broke the record again with over 1,800 entries. Winners celebrated the occasion at the Awards Ceremony held on 8th November at the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Fair, where trophy winners were presented with artistic hand-painted decanters. Here is the list of trophy winners. Please check the HKIWSC website for full results.

Trophy Winners Wine Contact
Best Argentine Red El Porveinir Red 2006 producer's email
Best Australian Shiraz Wolf Blass Platinum Label Shiraz 2007 producer's email
Best Bordeaux SCEA Pierre RIVERIE Clos des Menuts 2010 producer's email
Best Cabernet and Cabernet Blend Gatt Cabernet Sauvigon 2009 producer's email
Best Chardonnay Hardy's Heritage Reserve Bin Chardonnay 2010 producer's email
Best Italian Red Umberto Cesari Tauleto 2006 producer's email
Best Merlot SCEA du Château Brown Red 2009 producer's email
Best New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Sileni Estates Greyrock Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 producer's email
Best New World  Chardonnay Hardy's Heritage Reserve Bin Chardonnay 2010 producer's email
Best New World Pinot Noir Cobblestone Pinot Noir 2009 producer's email
Best New World Riesling Seifried Nelson Winemakers Collection "Sweet Agnes" Riesling 2012 producer's email
Best Other Reds Weingut Gunter & Regina Triebaumer Blaufränkisch Reserve 2009 producer's email
Best Other Whites Domaine Sigalas Santorini Barrel Assyrtico 2010 producer's email
Best Pinot Noir Cobblestone Pinot Noir 2009 producer's email
Best Riesling Seifried Nelson Winemakers Collection "Sweet Agnes" Riesling 2012 producer's email
Best South African Red Wine Spier Wines Naledi Caberet Sauvignon 2010 producer's email
Best Sauvignon Blanc Sileni Estates Greyrock Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 producer's email
Best Semillon McGuigan Vineyard Select Semillon 2005 producer's email
Best Shiraz/Syrah Wolf Blass Platinum Label Shiraz 2007 producer's email
Best Tempranillo and Tempranillo Blend Manuel Manzaneque Escena Red 2007 distributor's email
Best Sparkling Wine Piper-Heidsieck Rare Millesimé Sparkling Wine 2002 producer's email
Best Sweet White SCEA de Bastard Mademoiselle de Clos Dady 2009 producer's email
Best Wine from China Dynasty Merlot Series Gold Label 2002 distributor's email
Best Wine from Japan Château Mercian Katsunuma Koshu 2011 producer's email
Best Wine with Bubbles below HK$400 Anno Zero Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG NV producer's email
Best White Wine HK150 and under SCEA du Château Brown White 2010 producer's email
Best Red Wine below HK$200 Kindzmaraulis Marani Mukuzani 2009 producer's email
Best Wine with Beef Teppan-Yaki Elky Shiraz 2010 producer's email
Best wine with Braised Abalone Jacob's Creek Winemakers Selection Chardonnay 2012 producer's email
Best Wine with Cantonese Dim Sum Marisco The Ned Pinot Gris 2012 producer's email
Best Wine with Chicken Tikka Sottano Judas Malbec 2009 producer's email
Best Wine with Kung Pao Chicken Joaquin Rebolledo Godello 2011 producer's email
Best Wine with Pad Thai Pisa Range Estate Pinot Gris 2011 producer's email
Best Wine with Peking Duck Pegeric Pinot Noir 2007 producer's email
Best wine with Sashimi Château Mercian Sparkling Katsunuma no Awa 2011 producer's email
Best Wine with Tempura Shrimp Château Mercian Sparkling Katsunuma no Awa 2011 producer's email
Best Wine with Yakitori Grilled Chicken Château Mercian Sparkling Katsunuma no Awa 2011 producer's email
Best Single Malt Scotch Whisky 15 years and under Benromach Single Malt Scotch Whisky 10 YO producer's email
Best Single Malt Scotch Whisky over 15 Years Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky 21 YO distributor's email
Best Blended Scotch Whisky Cutty Sark Blended Scotch Whisky Tam O'Shanter 25 YO distributor's email
Best Cognac Bache Gabrielsen Serenite Extra Cognac Grande Champagne 35YO producer's email
Best Grape Brandy Oude Molen VOV producer's email
Best Mescal and Tequila Mezcal Jaral de Berrio producer's email
Best Gin Vickers London Dry Gin producer's email
Best Liqueur Original Radeberger Bitter producer's email
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Dennis Kerrison from Doolhof Wine Estate, Wellington, South Africa.
Taste This Space

The Roussillon is now producing ambitious, flavourful wines that are full of character, in the image of the Catalan people that make them. Their only weakness is in the sweet wine category, where sales have proven difficult, which is particularly worrying given that we believe that this is where you can find the most expressive wines of this wonderful region. It's up to you, the consumer, to save these complex wines, the loss of which would be irreplaceable.

Côtes du Roussillon and Côtes du Roussillon-Villages: very uneven quality but the best of the red wines are well-made and not overly heavy on alcohol. Thanks to a rich legacy of old Grenache and Carignan vines (left over from the days of sweet wine production) new producers soon manage to turn out wines with strong character. Wines on the rise include the white wines (driven by Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc) from the limestone vineyards of Fenouillèdes in the northern Pyrénées-Orientales region.

Collioure: red and rosé wines from the vineyards of Banyuls. The reds are nicely balanced and quite delicate (if a bit too dry at times) and continue to improve. Prices can be a bit steep, though.

Banyuls and Banyuls Grand Cru: outstanding Vins Doux Naturels, some of which can rival the finest Ports. They come in two styles: traditional Banyuls, with those amber tones and elegant notes of rancio that come from several years aging in large oak casks; and vintage Banyuls (or Rimatges), a more brightly-coloured wine with aromas of black-skinned fruits.

Rivesaltes: another AOC for Vins Doux Naturels, but larger and less consistent than Banyuls. That said, the best of the traditional Rivesaltes are excellent and a far cry from the low-quality Rivesaltes that are often sold in French supermarkets.

Muscat de Rivesaltes: when the wine retains a certain freshness on the palate, Muscat de Rivesaltes is a full-bodied, aromatic wine - ideal with fruit-based desserts.

Maury: Vins Doux Naturels from the foothills of the Pyrenees. More fiery in style than a Rivesaltes and less complex than a Banyuls. Three or four really good producers at most.


Click here for Bettane & Desseauve's ratings on 2010 Bordeaux.

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Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
Lisa Parrotti-Brown MW
Lisa, "Where I come from in Maine, USA, we have this saying: "March is in like a lion and out like a lamb," in reference to the weather – the harsh winter giving way to a gentle spring. In the southern hemisphere of course the phrase should be swapped, but wherever you are itʼs a time for change. So shake off your old tried and trusted wines styles and reach for something new! My tip: New Zealand aromatic varietals (Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer)...theyʼre really coming of age."

Ned Goodwin MW
Lisa Parrotti-Brown MW Ned, 'When drinking wine ask yourself if you would like another glass, or perhaps another. If one is naturally inclined to drink a third glass, it is proof that a wine is balanced and clearly, for me at least, delicious.ʼ
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NealIWC is delighted to introduce Hong Kong wine lovers to Neal Martin, an internationally acclaimed wine writer. We will feature Neal's humorous yet informative wine diary on our website. Here is an excerpt from the latest entry:

The Vines that stood their ground: Laville, Mission & Haut-Brion
In a somewhat solipsistic seaside town I enjoyed a blissful, parochial childhood, oblivious to anything much further than the A13. Like the toy-towns on TV, I grew up convinced that everything in Southend-on-Sea would remain the same, at least until the end of time. C&A at the entrance of the Victoria Shopping Centre, Tomassi's ice-cream parlour at the bottom, Keddies the grand department store its centre of gravity, the magical toy shop opposite Dixons and Lavelle's the stationers, where I would buy my weekly Beano with a packet of Pacers. I assumed that this conjugation of retail outlets had been in situ since time immemorial until one day, mum broke the news…"Lavelles is closing down," she told me casually. "That is why some of the shelves are empty." .... read more
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Get your friends and family together for a private tasting or wine course. IWC can tailor and personalise any tasting or course that suits your interest and schedule. Each session lasts for two hours and can accommodate a maximum of six people. Each tasting includes a minimum of eight wines. Some of our most popular themes are:

Introduction to Wine: HK$12,000
New World vs Old World Cabernet Sauvignon: HK$14,000
Bordeaux Masterclass: HK$18,000
Vintage Champagne Tasting: HK$15,000
Red Burgundy Masterclass: HK$22,000
Sweet wine of the World: HK$15,000

Call us to make a booking or discuss your favourite wine region.
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Last month's question was: “What is the capacity of this barrel? (Tip: over 3,000 litres)” Well, I have to say we are quite disappointed with the number of entries considering we had given this big tip; probably everybody was busy at the Hong Kong Wine Fair! Anyway, the answer is 4,000 litres. Winner this time is Nick Aleksich, Director of Mills Reef Winery in New Zealand. Well done Nick, you have won a mystery bottle from the IWC cellar. Please let me know when you are in town next.

This month's question:
"All these wines are from the same region. Which region is it?"

Prize: A bottle of wine from IWC's cellar (with all our global wine friends, you know you'll be in for a treat!)

Send Us Your Answer here!
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