With a view of the Hong Kong Club stretching in front of us, Bordeaux legend Bruno Prats remarked that his first visit was to Hong Kong was in 1972. He was advised, "Forget about the local wine market as only the British drink wine." Luckily, he followed his instincts and bucked the trend, continuing business here.
In 1998 Prats sold Cos d'Estournel, the family property where he had overseen more than 30 vintages, and asked himself whether there was life after Bordeaux. Setting himself a challenge, he decided to embark on producing wines around the world. He wanted to "search for great terroir where the opportunity has not being exploited by the locals".
His search has led to the establishment of wineries in Chile, Portugal, Spain and South Africa. While the wines are grown in diverse conditions, they all retain "drinkability and elegance with a soft finish". Prats says he eschews the use of excessive oak in order to allow the terroir to shine through.
Vina Aquitania Sol de Sol Chardonnay 2008, Chile
Prats and his partners were the first to plant vines in Maipo Valley, a region in southern Chile. The wine has restrained citrus and stony notes. Elegant, medium body. Taut acidity with a subtle touch of oak in the background and a long finish. The wine is Burgundian in style, owing to its emphasis on minerals and fruitiness. Can be opened and enjoyed immediately. HK$281
Prats & Symington Prazo de Roriz 2009, Portugal
Prats teamed up with esteemed port producer Symington to make dry red wines from tourigo nacional and touriga francesa varieties, resulting in a Chryseia blend. This particular wine is made from a mix of indigenous varieties: tinta barroca, tinta roriz and tinta francesa. Fresh, vibrant black fruit and cherry notes. Fuller body with ripe fruit, soft tannins. Approachable and perfect for drinking now. HK$159
Iberica Bruno Prats AIFYnal 2009, Spain
Named after the Latin word for "final", this is a product of Prats' last wine project. In the Alicante region of Spain, the wine is made from old 35- to 70-year-old monastrell bush vines (known as mourvédre in France). This is the first vintage released, and Prats believes this is the most complex wine that he makes. Powerful and intense dark fruit with spicy notes and firm tannins. Can be aged for a decade. HK$421
All available from asc-wines.hk