The open air Harbourfront venue was perfect for the event, especially when the sun set and washed the sky with a blush pink. There were areas of live entertainment, as well as quiet seating areas for sitting back and relaxing with your glass and tasty morsels. This festival is great if you want to try a lot of wines, although you may have difficulty deciding which ones to drink. There were so many to choose from. Wines from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Georgia, Australia, America and Chile just to name a few. On top of that, there was the Robert Parker Wine Advocate Pavillion and also a Riedel Tasting Theatre. Ample opportunity to let your inner wine geek free and sit in on some of the lessons held in these booths, or just go crazy with wine tasting.
You have the option to pay a HK$30 dollar entrance fee and buy your $20 tokens individually, or opt for the Wine Passes which includes a wine glass and a set amount of tokens and maybe even a pass to the Grand Wine Pavilion. The tokens operate by a very handy tap and go card, which can be topped up at stations scattered throughout the venue.
- Later in the evening is when the crowds show up in earnest. I would advise to go in the late afternoon to catch the sunset and enjoy the festival with lesser crowds earlier during the day.
- 400 booths is a lot to get through, so take a walk through all the different zones to get an idea of what you want to taste and make a game plan.
- Not all the wines cost 1 token each, the spirits and Grand Cru wines will cost 2 to 3 tokens, so take that in consideration and note where the top-up stations are.
- There are a lot of food stalls that will make perfect matches with the wines. Make sure to have some fun with food and wine parings.
My Wine & Dine Experience
So, what will a Classic Wine Pass get you? 8 Wine Tokens and 1 Stölze souvenir wine glass. Which in my mind is much better than tasting out of their standard entrance plastic cups. I decided to embark on a food and wine match excursion. Here are some of the wines that I tried and the foods that I paired them with, just to give you an idea of what this Festival offers,
Tenuta Iuzzolini, Maradea Riserva 2012, Varietal: Gaglioppo
Food: Parmesan pizza and herbed fennel sausages
Crushed macerated red berries on the nose that is followed by tobacco, vanilla and light baking spices. The palate was dry, with a medium plus acidity that is offset by nicely structured tannins. Paired off with a slice of Parmesan pizza and a lightly herbed pork sausage. The fat content and fennel of the grilled sausage went excellently with this Southern Italian wine.
Bodegas Gormaz, 12 Linajes Reserva 2011, Vareital: Tempranillo
Food: Iberian ham, green olives and cheese
Powerful blackberry and blackcurrant on the nose with a peppery and leathery, spiced oak character. What I most enjoyed about this wine was not only the ripe, velvety tannins but the long finish that was a combination of coffee and spicy oak notes. Paired with delicately sliced 48 month aged Iberian ham.
Chateau La Croix Montlabert, Saint-Émiliion Grand Cru 2013, Varietal: Cabernet Franc, Merlot
Food: Mini spicy pâté terrine baguette sandwich
This wine took a little while to open up, the first taste was very tight on the palate and the wine was a little too cold. Give it some time in the glass and out comes a beautiful aroma of ripe black fruits, cloves and leather. Nicely balanced medium acid and tannin structure with a smooth body. The mildly spicy pâté played with the fruit characters in the wine, whilst the fattiness counterbalanced the acid and tannin profile.
Yotsuboshi Daiginjo four-star sake
Food: Grilled Wagyu beef
A perfumed sake with floral and ripe nashi pear characters, it was light and dry in style and very smooth and easy drinking. Since in past experiences I’ve only had sake with Izakaya, I had my sake with juicy bites of wagyu beef.
Wine and Dine Festival was a well executed event that offered so many wines to taste and excellent opportunities to play around with food and wine pairings. The event space was spacious and well designed. I loved that it was outdoors, so that you could enjoy the autumn evening breeze. As night falls, the Hong Kong skyline provided a stunning backdrop for the festivities of all the winos and foodies that attended the event. I will definitely be back next year!