Decanter talks exclusively to Christophe Salin, president and CEO of Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), about his involvement in the first Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter, which takes place at The Ritz Carlton in Shanghai on Saturday 29th November.
When was your first visit to Shanghai and what do you most remember about it?
It was in the mid 90s. Back then there were more bicycles than cars. There were very few good international hotels and hardly anyone spoke English. Now all that has changed and it is one of the world’s great cities.
How do you relax in Shanghai?
This a fun place without question. I know there’s a fantastic nightlife scene here, but I’m not really a nightclub person and tend to go to bed not too late after dinner. If the opportunity presents itself, I love going to see opera at the Shanghai Grand Theatre, which is a wonderful piece of design by the French artchitect Jean-Marie Charpentier. And if I have any spare time during the day between meetings, I’ll try and take in a gallery or a museum. The other thing I always do is to spend some time at the ASC Wine Residence. It is a beautiful location and venue for wine lovers like me.
How do you recover from jetlag when you come to Shanghai from Europe?
I do a lot of reflexology, which enables me to get over it surprisingly quickly.
Which are your favourite hotels?
There are so many now including, of course, the Ritz Carlton, where I’ll be staying later this month. And I always make a point of getting a room where you can see the water.
What is your favourite part of the city?
Architecturally, Shanghai’s new skyline is stunning. But the part I like best is the traditional French Concession. It’s beautiful and evocative.
Where and what will you be eating?
I tend to eat in Chinese restaurants in Shanghai, especially Szechuan cuisine. This forthcoming trip is perfect timing as it’s one of my favourite seasons because of the stuffed soft shell crabs, which are at their best in November. It’s the only time to eat them.
What are you looking forward to at the Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter?
Obviously, I’m particularly looking forward to our unique First Growth Masterclass. It’s so important to be there in person in order to talk about the wines and engage with passionate aficionados. And with all five First Growths presenting, we can explain what we do that’s the same and what we do that’s different. It’s really going be fascinating. Plus I’m looking forward to meeting new people and seeing old friends at what will be a great occasion because Decanter always puts on a very enjoyable and professional event. Every time they ask me to do something, I always say yes.
Written by Decanter