On the Grapevine
A harvest heist, a Lalique launch, Chile’s earthquake, and Great Wines of Italy make James Suckling’s news round-up
Smooth as GLASS
Luxury French glassmaker Lalique has opened a premium hotel and restaurant in Wingen-sur-moder, Alsace, close to the company’s factory and about 40 minutes from Strasbourg. Villa René Lalique boasts an impressive cellar with 20,000 bottles, including old vintages from the family cellar of CEO Silvio Denz. The restaurant is helmed by Jean-georges Klein, who left threemichelin-starred Arnsbourg to take on the role, and the wine is curated by Romain Iltis, also formerly of Arnsbourg, who was named Best Somelier of France in 2012. The hotel and restaurant offer six bedrooms and 40 covers, and they also double as a showroom for Lalique products, including the wine glasses and decanters of Lalique 100 points by James Suckling.
The powerful earthquake that rocked Chile in mid-september, whose epicentre was near the coastal town of Coquimbo, caused minimal damage to wineries in the region, according to the country’s trade association, Wines of Chile. Estates in La Serena, which is close to the epicentre, and those to the south told the association the damage was limited to some cracks in tanks and buckled tank legs. Wineries have resumed work in the vineyards and cellars, and the trade group credited the high standard of construction and technology, especially since the devastating earthquake of 2010, for mitigating the latest quake.
When in early September the Etienne Guigal team went to harvest the grapes to make Luminescence, a rare cuvée of Condrieu in the Rhône Valley, they discovered someone had already picked a third of the grapes. The remaining two-thirds were, however, in perfect condition—2015 has been one of the best growing seasons in years—and the winery has decided to produce the Luminescence, which it has only made in 1999 and 2003, in spite of the theft. Guigal is famous for its single vineyard Côte-rôties, such as La Mouline and La Landonne.
Great Wines of Italy, the largest premium consumer wine event for Italian wines in Asia, returns to Bangkok on November 29 and 30, followed by Hong Kong on December 2 and 3. More than 80 wineries are participating, including such greats as Aldo Conterno, Allegrini, Antinori, Frescobaldi, Castello di Ama, Ceretto, Cordero di Montezemolo, Livio Sassetti, Mazzei, Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia), Petrolo, Pio Cesare, Sette Ponti, Siro Pacenti and Vietti. The event includes a walk-around tasting and masterclasses as well as a collectors’ dinner featuring the food of Piedmont’s Ristorante La Gallina (Villa Sparina Resort), which possesses a Michelin star. The Bangkok edition takes place at the Grand Hyatt Erawan, with early-bird tickets at 999 baht available until November 13. The Hong Kong edition takes place at the Four Seasons, with early-bird tickets starting at HK$699. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org