Our By The Glass series sees sommeliers and wine experts share some vinous inspiration for your next pour.
King Mak looks after a cellar bursting with more than 1,600 champagnes, wines and sakes. These make up the impressive drinks menu at wine and sake-forward European restaurant Somm in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental.
Mak has spent most of his career at the hotel, starting in 2015 as a server and rising through the ranks to sommelier at Amber, during which time he was crowned champion of the Young Sommelier Competition 2017 co-hosted by the Hong Kong Sommelier Association and Restaurant and Bar Hong Kong, before taking on the role of restaurant manager at Somm. Here, he shares some wine selections, both from the cellars at Somm and from further afield.
An early (in your career) wine that made you go 'Wow! (I want to be a somm)'
I studied Hotel Management at university and found my passion for wine during an internship. At that time, Australian wines were the fashion in Hong Kong and I could feel the power and vitality inside those wines, which made me go 'Wow!'.
Most memorable pour
1990 Jean Louis Chave Hermitage.
Tipple for a Tuesday
Sauvignon blanc from Sancerre in France.
Sun, sea and …
An off dry style German riesling: there's a touch of sweetness, but it's balanced by beautiful acidity.
Wine of the moment
I am drinking a white wine from Chateau Olivier: crispy and refreshing and goes nicely with my favourite cold cut.
What you wish a customer would order (so you can taste it—for taint, of course)
1947 Chateau Cheval Blanc—one of my dream wines to try.
What you love to recommend to guests
Something from small producers or lesser-known regions, for example wine from Eastern Europe.
Best from your by-the-glass list
The Mascot by Harlan Estate 2015.
A special something
2011 Marko Fon Riserva Kras from Slovenia. This is an orange wine with beautiful aromas and a long finish. Available by glass at Somm.
Bottle to bring to a dinner party
Champagne is always a winner.
One for the cellar
Torbreck Runrig 2004.
Jacques Selosse Rosé Champagne.
If not wine, then what?
Sake—the craftsmanship behind the product is fascinating.