November 12, 2014

Macau tour 2014: still the best cellar in Asia

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Three years ago I was lucky enough to have visited what I believe to be the best wine cellar in Asia, which belongs to Hotel Lisboa.  The boys at QLI remembered my post, and during dinner last night they asked if a visit could be arranged.  Thankfully the hotel was extremely accommodating, and promptly arranged a tour for us this morning.

Initially I was rather less interested in another visit to the cellar, as I had already seen the scope and some of the gems before, but I tagged along anyway.  I would quickly realize what a good decision that was.

The collection has gotten bigger since my last visit, and now encompass more than half a million bottles with over 14,000 labels - which probably puts it among the top 3 restaurant cellars in the world and probably the largest in Asia.  They now have around 22 cellars of varying sizes spread throughout the complex - in addition to the racks placed at each of their fine dining restaurants - although only 6 of them are of considerable size.  They've built new ones and reorganized their collections, and the result was stunning.

We started with the first cellar I visited last time, but things have been moved around.  You've got some top Italians, Australians and Champagnes here, like this nice pile of Krug Clos d'Ambonnay and Clos de Mesnil.

Then we enter the inner sanctum - where the most treasured bottles are kept.  The first thing one notices is a section of old and rare Petrus and Lafite-Rothschild...  This is also where the oldest and rarest of German Trockenbeerenauslese are kept - some of which list for over USD 15,000.

This bottle of 1921 Staatlichen Weinbaudomäne Niederhäusen-Schloßböckelheim Schloßböckelheimer Kupfergrube TBA - with a nice little swaztika on the label - lists for MOP 65,000 or over USD 8,000.

They still got a not-inconsiderable collection of Henri Jayer - including the 1959 and 1962 Richebourg... and the '59 has now gone up from MOP 200,000 to 280,000 a pop.

The other treasures I saw from last time were still here - bottles like 1921 Yquem, 1961 Jaboulet La Chapelle, 1959 Romanée-Conti... Stuff that's on most wine geeks' "bucket list".

We moved on to one of the new cellars - which was seriously eye-opening in a different way.  There's a large round table in the middle of the room, which seem to be the perfect place to hold a wine tasting.  Radiating outwards are rows and rows of wine racks, and some of those racks consist entirely of wines from a single château or a domaine.  A few of these racks are easily identifiable by pictures of the architectural wine cabinets made by Viscount Linley which corresponds to the châteaux (the actual cabinets are on display at Robuchon au Dôme).

Here is the Latour and Lafite rack...

...and this rack of Yquem has a picture of the Yquem cabinet on the side.

No guesses for what's on this rack.

Finally, we were shown a third cellar which held only the Germans and US collections.  Hotel Lisboa quite possibly owns the most impressive collection of German wines anywhere on the planet - especially when it comes to high end wines like BAs and TBAs.  The listing for TBAs take up almost 50 pages of the wine list.

This led to a situation where, as one of the boys remarked, magnums of 2005 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling TBA Goldkapsel - which list for MOP 158,000 or USD 20,000 - are relegated to the "cheap section" instead of being in the room with all the treasures...

and yeah, every single box you see here holds Screagles.

That was some tour!  The people at the Lisboa probably figured they're dealing with a couple of guys who know something about wine, so we ended up with 3 people from the hotel (there were four on my last visit) following us the whole time.  No backpacks are allowed in the cellars, we were told... and if there were any bottles missing after our visit... IT WASN'T ME!

Many thanks to Mr. Lo for taking time out to show a couple of nobodies like us around...

P.S.  Later in the day we would spot these four bottles of Yquem - 1825, 1847, 1893 and 1921 - outside Robuchon au Dôme.  Three of those bottles list for a total of around MOP 419,000 or USD 52,000, while the 1847 was so valuable that no price was listed...

1 comment:

Derek Chung said...

That's a stunning collection. Probably worth a book of its own.

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