Of Marks & Spencer’s 26 stores in Hong Kong, 24 of them stock wine. Trading manager Garry Brooking says M&S accounts for 5.7 per cent of the British wine market, with 10 per cent of that coming from champagne. M&S employs three in-house winemakers, who are responsible for assessing and blending wines for the company.
Hong Kong-based master of wine Debra Meiburg has determined that the “Hong Kong palate is more anglophile, and people do not want overwhelming styles of wine”. Brooking says, “The local M&S customer is younger than their UK counterpart and follows global trends.”
It is therefore of little surprise to discover Hong Kong and British wine trends are increasingly similar. Wines from France, Italy and Australia are the top choices. The Hong Kong alcohol market is diverse, with sales being taken up by wines, spirits and beers. Red wines dominate and account for about 45 per cent of the market, with whites comprising 25 per cent. In terms of wine style, M&S is following consumer trends and “dialling up the fruit” while “dialling back overt oaky flavours”, says Brooking.
Here are a few top summer wines.
Marks & Spencer Prosecco, Veneto, Italy Prosecco is still the top selling sparkling wine. A Vinexpo study predicts global sparkling wine consumption will reach 2.7 billion bottles by 2019, with prosecco accounting for the bulk of the market share. Brooking attributes its popularity to “lighter flavours and some residual sweetness making it more approachable”, and to being a popular choice for mid-week consumption.
Made from 100 per cent glera grapes from the northeastern Veneto region. Quite restrained on the nose with pear, grassy, citrus notes. Vibrant acidity, gentle bubbles, fruity, with an off-dry touch of residual sweetness. Approachable and easy. HK$138
Miraval Rosé 2015, Côtes de Provence, France Miraval needs no introduction as it is owned by Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Beneath the celebrity status, however, is a seriously delicious wine made by highly regarded producer Famille Perrin, of Château de Beaucastel fame.
Made from a blend of cinsault, grenache, syrah and rolle. Extremely translucent salmon colour. Lively summer fruits of strawberry and raspberry. Lighter bodied and elegant with refreshing acidity and a crisp finish. HK$159
Les Ruettes Sancerre 2014, Loire Valley, France For wine lovers tiring of the overwhelming flavours of New World sauvignon blanc, here is one wine that will help change your mind. It is the antithesis of the ubiquitous flamboyant, fruit-forward style and is discreet, subtle and elegant.
Mineral, grassy citrus notes. Elegant with crisp acidity, fruit intensity and medium long finish. HK$198