Uncorked: Eric Chan

Born in Hong Kong and growing up in Vancouver’s ‘Hong Kong suburb of Richmond’, Eric Chan returned to Hong Kong seven years ago and now heads up the newly reopened Continental’s wine list. He sits down with dbHK and reveals his fondness of Recioto and d’Yquem, relaxing in Phuket with a G&T and street food.

Eric ChanWhat vintage are you?

1983. Overshadowed by the 1982s. It’s not fair. At least the year is good for d’YQuem – I have this over all others!

What bottle sparked your love of wine?

Two types of wine. Champagne and sweet wine. I love sweet wine a little bit more but Champagne fascinates me. Why does it taste so good?! It’s technical yet interesting at the same time. And I love good sweet wine. People think they don’t like sweet wine but it’s because they’ve never had a good one. A good one should always have mouth-watering acidity. And it’s all made naturally. Recioto I have a weakness for.

What would you be as a wine?

I probably would be Champagne. I’m quite exuberant and I like making people happy. I also hope I age as well as Champagne!

Where are you happiest?

Because I’m in the industry I try and step away from it completely when I’m off. I like the beach and sun in Phuket, street food and a G&T. Just enjoying my day. Or I might bring my own rum over from Hong Kong!

What’s your greatest vice?

It’s more of a peeve! Glassware. I only like drinking out of the Riedel Riesling glass. I always have to check the glassware before I sit down at a table. It’s like a sickness.

Best advice you ever got?

From Yvonne Cheung, Swire Hotels director of wine. Always be humble, there’s always more to learn. Don’t assume your guests know nothing but at the same time, if they do need help then be courteous.

Your cellar’s underwater, which bottle would you dive in and save?

I wouldn’t. I’m hoping it would age! But if I really had to, I would save a bottle of 2001 Tignanello signed by Marchesi Antinori. It’s one of my favourite vintages and one of my favourite reds.  Everything else is replaceable.

What’s the best & worst thing about the wine business?

The best thing is I can try a lot of wines and share information. Wine connects people. The worst thing is sometimes I can’t get my mind off work! I’m always critiquing wine when I should just enjoy it. I drink rose for that reason. It’s fresh and uncomplicated.

What’s on your wine bucket list?

I want to try 1961 Bordeaux that people keep talking about. Older d’YQuem – over 100 years old would be good too.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Robert Mondavi. I want to see how he embraced French wine and brought that style over to California. Jancis Robinson because she is so nice. Yvonne Cheung so I feel less scared by all these people and then my girlfriend. I’d also ask everyone to bring a friend of their own and their own magnum. I wouldn’t dare suggest wines to Jancis, she does the wine list for the Queen!

Personal satisfaction (Parker points – out of 100)

In general 95 or 96. At the moment I’m having huge fun doing the wine list and I love my job.

Which wine would you like served at your funeral?

An 1985 Alzero from Quintarelli.

Read more: HK’s Continental reveals new look

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