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Vinexpo opens in Hong Kong with Bordeaux to the fore

Vinexpo opened last night with a dinner for almost 500 people given by the St Emilion Jurade – the first time the ancient organisation has been in Asia.

While the Jurade ceremonially initiated new members – including Vinexpo president Robert Beynat and Decanter’s veteran advertising manager for France Michael Denton, guests at the Hyatt Regency Hotel drank a range of St Emilion vintages, include Chateau Couspaude 2004 and 2007, Chateau Pavie 2000, Angelus 2003, Canon La Gaffeliere 2004, Figeac 2001 and Cheval Blanc 1999.

The Jurade’s president, Hubert de Bouard of Chateau Angelus, said he was delighted that the the Right Bank had at last come to Hong Kong: ‘we have finally made it after six years,’ he said.

Decanter is a major presence at the Fair, now in its fourth edition in Hong Kong, showing 76 award-winning wines from the Decanter World Wine Awards.

These range from Regional Trophy winners like Domaine Pardon from Fleurie, and Silver medalists Andeluna Cellars Malbec from Mendoza, to Bordeaux, Champagne, sparkling Japanese, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and almost every other wine producing region.

Also on the Decanter stand at the bi-annual Asian wine trade fair is a sample of decanter.com’s Bordeaux 2009 section, translated into Chinese for the first time.

Vinexpo opens amid intense interest in the Asian wine market.

This is evidenced by the fact nearly a fifth of the stands here at the Hong Kong Convention Centre, 18%, are taken by Bordeaux companies, representing every level of production from the First Growths to top Graves properties like Malartic Lagraviere, to entry level wines.

Exhibiting at the fair are representatives of the Bordeaux elite such as Mouton winemaker Philippe Dhalluin, Philippe de Rothschild of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Philippe Casteja, negociant and owner of Pauillac’s Chateau Batailley, and other major negociants such as Yvon Mau, Joanne and Barton et Guestier.

International consultant Michel Rolland is also here: yesterday he gave a vertical tasting of six vintages of his own Pomerol property Chateau le Bon Pasteur for the Chinese trade, including senior sommeliers and buyers.

‘You will get the full spectrum of Bordeaux wines available,’ Thomas Jullien, Asia’s representative at the Bordeaux Wine Council (the CIVB) said.

The South China Morning Post reported this morning that ‘Hong Kong is regarded as the gateway to the booming Asian wine market, which amounted to US$6.94bn in 2008 and is projected to grow by 11.5% annually until 2013.’

Other premium regions are also out in force. Spain, an important region for Chinese buyers, is very well represented, as is Italy.

California, Oregon and Washington, whose top wines have a serious following in China, have a large presence.

As well as the Napa Valley Vintners group, including Viader, Cuvaison, Heitz Cellar, Rombauer, Shafer, Darioush, O’Shaughnessy, such renowned estates as Coppola, Ecole No 41, J Lhr, Seghesio, Ste Michele, now owner of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, are all exhibiting.

Bordeaux 2009: All the coverage

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Written by Adam Lechmere in Hong Kong

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