The beverage manager at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong shares some of his most memorable wines, his penchant for German riesling and the bottle he dreams of a guest ordering
Our By The Glass series sees sommeliers and wine experts share some vinous inspiration for your next pour.
Jonathan Moran counts a slew of Michelin-starred restaurants as part of his extensive sommelier experience, from Enoteca and Lasarte in Barcelona to 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana in Macau and The Oak Room Restaurant in County Limerick, Ireland. With oversight in his current role of an enviable cellar at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, he reveals some of the highlights that await guests, as well as his picks from a career drinking fine wine.
An early (in your career) wine that made you go ‘Wow! (I want to be a somm)’
Artadi Viña el Pisón 2004. I can’t describe with words how this wine made me feel the day that I tried it for the first time. What I love about my profession is having the opportunity to discover new wines and beverages for other people, and make them feel what I feel when I try these products. At the end of the day, the best wines in the world were created to be shared.
Most memorable pour
Working as a sommelier in many different fine dining restaurants around the world, I’ve had the opportunity to open and try a number of very rare and unique bottles. Still, I think my most memorable pour must be in Barcelona in 2016, opening several bottles of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1945. This vintage was produced shortly after the end of World War II, and is considered one of the greatest vintages in the history of Bordeaux. It is extremely difficult to find nowadays.
Tipple for a Tuesday
Riesling from Germany, and more specifically from Mosel. Fruity and fresh with a low level of alcohol, it's perfect for any moment of the day.
Sun, sea and …
Pinot noir from Sonoma County in California, a magical wine region that I have had the opportunity to visit several times. Drinking this kind of wine reminds me of one of the best summer trips of my life.
Wine of the moment
Terroir al Limit, Históric Blanc 2018, from Priorat and my beloved Cataluña—always keeping my home country Spain in my heart and mind.
What you wish a customer would order (so you can taste it—for taint, of course)
A bottle of DRC Romanée-Conti 1972, which is available in the wine cellar of The Ritz-Carlton Suite, our presidential suite located on the 117th floor. I’m dreaming of the day that my colleagues from in-room dining call me to go to the suite and open this bottle for our guests.
What you love to recommend to guests
I love to recommend wines that my guests have never tried before. I think the guests that visit any of the restaurants at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong are looking for a very unique experience, and letting them try new wines and new grapes will make them remember this day forever, and keep this special moment in their hearts.
Best from your ‘by-the-glass' list
Our “Récoltant-Manipulant” pairing at Tosca di Angelo—it's an amazing selection of three different Champagnes from exceptional grower-producers to pair with our menu. There is no better way to discover the diversity and uniqueness of the most important sparkling wine region in the world.
A special something
Vietti Barolo “Villero” Riserva 2004 (magnum). Only 100 bottles have been produced, and we still have one in our cellar at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. I'm looking forward to opening it and trying it one day in our restaurants.
Bottle to bring to a dinner party
Depends on the company, but something with bubbles to toast with family and friends is always good, such as a nice cava from Penedès. Gramona Enoteca is also one of the best ways to surprise and impress for any occasion.
What’s in your cellar?
I always have a small selection of German rieslings on hand, as they are very easy to pair with any kind of food. I also love to have a couple of options from California (cabernets and pinots) and some mature Bordeaux to open on special occasions. The number of bottles always depends on the time of year and how busy you are.
Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling TBA from an old vintage. Unfortunately, this is very rare and extremely expensive, so even if you have all the money in the world, it would still be very difficult to find.
If not wine, then what?
A great craft beer from a small and independent brewery. Or a good cider—Eric Bordelet, a former sommelier from Paris, has been doing amazing things in Normandy for many years now.