Uncorked: Leo Au

Leo Au, chef sommelier of Café Gray Deluxe at The Upper House, is the winner of the Ruinart Sommeliers Challenge 2018. Having honed his skills working first as a bartender at The Peninsula, Au joined Swire Hotels’ The Upper House in 2014 as a sommelier. His passion for wine has taken him from Bordeaux and Verona to Napa Valley and Barossa Valley. He was a finalist in the Sud de France Sommelier Challenge 2016 and received a Scholarship of Barossa Master by The Barossa Wine School in 2017. In the interview, the Hong Kong sommelier talked about harvesting the 2012 vintage at Château Mouton Rothschild and a luscious Château Guiraud 2002 to be served at his funeral, which hopefully will help the guests hold back the tears. 

What vintage are you? 
1985, a beautiful year for vintage Port and Bordeaux reds.
 
What bottle sparked your love of wine? 
A vintage Champagne that I opened with my girlfriend (now my wife) for our first anniversary and it was phenomenal and unforgettable. 
 
What would you be as a wine? 
Chenin Blanc from Savennières, even better from Nicolas Joly. 
 
Where are you happiest? 
Whenever I am with my two daughters – four year old Charlotte and five month old Sherman.Their smiles melt my heart.
 
What’s your greatest vice? 
I have a sweet tooth, from chocolate to Sauternes.
 
Best advice you ever received? 
“Opportunity favours only the prepared mind,” said by Kevin Tsang, my food & beverage director when I was working at The Peninsula. 
 
Your cellar’s underwater, which bottle would you dive in and save? 
Château Mouton Rothschild 2012, very special for me since I was there, picking the grapes in the rain, even though it was just a single row of vines. 
 
What’s the best and worst thing about the wine business? 
The world of wine is fascinating and there’re so many things to learn. However, the more I learn, the less I realise I know.
 
What’s on your wine bucket list? 
Argentina. I have never been there before. 
 
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? 
I would not name anyone here (in case I missed someone). However, my family and my best friends will definitely be invited. 
 
Personal satisfaction (Parker points – out of 100)?
88. I love my job and family. I am lucky enough to have so many great people who have given me their greatest support over the years, including Yvonne Cheung, Bhatia Dheeraj. Last but not least, my lovely wife.
 
Which wine would you like served at your funeral?
I am afraid it is not something that I could worry about, maybe Château Guiraud 2002. Not sure if sweetness can hold back the tears, I hope yes. 

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