Simon Tam, Senior Vice President and Head of Wine, Asia at Christie’s is responsible for developing Christie’s wine sales in Asia, with a particular focus on client relationships in Greater China. To this effect, Tam works closely with the company’s established wine teams in Amsterdam, Geneva, London, Paris and New York.
A pioneer educator, communicator and wine consultant in Greater China, Tam has over 20 years of experience developing and nurturing the Chinese wine market. His accolades and accomplishments are aplenty – he was voted “The Best Wine Consultant” by UK’s Wine Business International magazine and is the founder of the Independent Wine Centre in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Founding Chairman of the Greater China Wine Critics Association and co-founding director of Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Competition.
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In an exclusive interview with MW, Tam discusses the wines that’ll go big in 2019 and more. Read on.
What are the new wines to watch out for in 2019?
Basically, I think the wines made from 2018 vintage will come in the market in the latter half of 2019 and also 2020. 2018 in Europe is a pretty successful vintage so I think we’re going to be showered with a lot of lovely wines – both red and white.
Which wines are best suited for the festive season?
I think traditionally, it’s champagne and sparkling wine but I think that’s nice to get the conversation going. I think festive wine should be a high-quality wine and more importantly, it should pair with the food that’s going to be served on the table. I think most people tend to bring out the better bottles during the festive season because it is a celebration.
Simon Tam recommends –
The first country I’m going to go to is South Africa. I think there are a lot of amazing wines being made in South Africa and they’ve changed a lot over the last 20 to 30 years and nowadays, the South African wine industry is nothing like what it was in the old days. I would recommend the wines from Vilafonté in Stellenbosch.
Then, another favourite country of mine is New Zealand and they have one of my favourite grapes which is pinot noir – anything from New Zealand which is pinot noir is of great value and incredibly fruity. I think that the central Otago region of the southern part of the South Island produces some very fine examples and I don’t want to name a particular producer because the whole region has fantastic wines but if I have to, I would go for Rippon. They have amazing pinot noir.
Then, if we go to Australia, we have some amazing Terroir and one of the things that’d do very well is the Shiraz but for me, not the traditional and highly alcoholic shiraz. I prefer the cooler climate and as such, I’d like to recommend from the Canberra district the shiraz sauvignon blend which is very fragrant and almost French in style but definitely Australian.
Then, I think the white wine from Spain. The wine from the albariño grape is absolutely fantastic.