Cover Romain Loriot, Founder of ThinkWine (Photo: loriotromain/Instagram)

The seasoned sommelier behind Hong Kong wine destination ThinkWine shares some of his favourite bottles to bring to the table

Our By The Glass series sees sommeliers and wine experts share some vinous inspiration for your next pour.

At Romain Loriot’s ThinkWine in Central, not only will wine lovers discover a diversity of varietals and vintages from France, Australia, Italy, Spain and Germany, and selections from less-represented wine-producing nations such as Lebanon, Morocco, South Africa and China in the impressive cellar, but also a number of exclusive bottles.

ThinkWine is the sole establishment outside France to offer Château de Chambord, for example, which is made from vines replanted in the historic vineyard of Francois I (1518) by celebrated winemaker Henri Marionnet. It’s also the only place in Hong Kong that drinkers will find Chateau Cherubin, made by Bertrand Bourdil, former winemaker at Chateau Mouton Rothschild for 17 vintages. ThinkWine has also been granted a highly sought-after allocation of wines from Emmanuel Reynaud.

It’s an enviable selection, curated by Loriot, who sharpened his sommelier skills over the years working at Alain Ducasse establishments, first at The Dorchester in London and then at the acclaimed chef’s restaurants in Paris and Hong Kong, going on to work as group sommelier and wine buyer for Hong Kong’s Le Comptoir, whose restaurants include Écriture, Umi and Plume, before founding ThinkWine in 2019. Here, he shares some of his personal wine picks. 

An early (in your career) wine that made you go ‘Wow! (I want to be a somm)’

It was a wine I tried with my parents when I was 16. They love wine from Domaine Daumas and for my father’s birthday we opened a 1996, which by then was 11 years old.

Most memorable pour

My most memorable bottle was on New Year’s Eve in 2016, two months after I arrived in Hong Kong. I had the luck to open a Vosne-Romanee Cros-Parantoux Henri Jayer 1975 and my guest was kind enough to offer me a full glass of it.

Tipple for a Tuesday

When I only want to drink one glass of wine, I like to go with a light red like a Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon. This one is fruity and elegant with some complexity—always a safe choice.

Sun, sea and …

This depends on who I am with, but when on holiday with friends, I like to discover white wines. My last one was a Spanish wine from Muchada-Léclapart with minerality and peach aromas that mean you just can’t stop sipping it.

Wine of the moment

I’m one of the only people who gets a large allocation of Emmanuel Reynaud in Hong Kong direct from the Domaine. I’m very lucky and proud to have more than 200 bottles a year. From the Domaine des Tours to Pignan, they are all incredible. In two years, I will be granted my first allocation of Rayas and Fonsalette, which you have to wait three years of allocation to attain; I can’t wait!

What you wish a customer would order (so you can taste it—for taint, of course)

Last year I was waiting for a customer to open a Clos de Tart ‘75. But by 31 December, I couldn’t wait any more, so I opened it with my team. My goal this year is to open a Romanee-Saint-Vivant from Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron 2003.

What you love to recommend to guests

I like to recommend new winemakers that I import. This year from Burgundy I have Domaine Ami, Domaine Chapuis & Chapuis, Roger Belland, Domaine Dubois—all very good quality for their prices.

Best from your ‘by-the-glass' list

I change the wine by the glass every week, but so far this year the best was a Chateau de Tours 2005.

Bottle to bring to a dinner party

Champagne Bruno Paillard Dosage Zero.

What’s in your cellar?

I have a lot of wines in my cellar, but the one that means the most to me is a Dom Perignon P3 1988. I bought it the day my son was born. Of course, it’s not his vintage, but it was the last released vintage when he arrived and illuminated my life. I originally got a date with my now-wife because she had never tried P2, and she still hasn’t tasted the P3, so it’s a bottle that I will drink with my family when my boy turns 18.

Last glass

When that time comes, it will be a last bottle rather than a glass, and I will look at the collection in my cellar and open the most expensive bottle.

If not wine, then what?

I think I drink more beer than wine. But a special drink is Chartreuse—it reminds me of all my friends from when I was a sommelier at Alain Ducasse. I can’t wait to be able to travel to see my them and my family again.

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