If you’ve had to bring wine to a friend’s house for dinner, you might have encountered something similar to this:
Me: “Ok so we should bring a bottle of red to go with the steak she’s cooking”
Partner: “Watson’s or Taste (PARKnSHOP)?”
Me: “err dunno, whichever is open I suppose”
15 minutes later at the Watson’s wine cellar.
Me: “ok so what should we get? By country or region or price?”
Partner: “Let me check my wine app…”
30 minutes later…… still at the Watson’s wine cellar….
Me: “decided yet?”
Partner: “let’s just go with the sticker that says it’s an award winning wine for 2016 and reviewer says it’s good.”
*SIGH*… very often the wine turns out to be pricier than we thought and tasting quite mediocre. I’m not convinced that a sticker is entirely trustworthy.
The antidote to this problem is to either have a sommelier friend who can quickly assess the budget-event-palate suitability or to have a knowledgeable wine shop owner walk you through their favourites.
In Wan Chai, the neighbourhood wine shop with the pre requisite chatty owner can be found on Stone Nullah Lane – Ross Wine. A little off the beaten track and hidden by the large logistic trucks parked there, you’ll need to look left to see the shop. It’s next to an independent art gallery and photography studio called the Wanchai Stallery.
We came across the shop last year while on a walk down from Wanchai Gap. I was very curious as to who had taken over the rather strange concept Chinese Timekeeper’s bespoke watch shop.
Curious, we went in for a look. Ross (the boss) was very welcoming and happy to introduce himself and his wines. We found him knowledgeable and enthusiastic. He started the business promoting wines from Australia’s Margaret River region but has expanded his footprint to include New Zealand, Italian and French wines. Rieslings or Pinot Noirs, you can see what you fancy.
Ross has the tasting notes printed and stuck on the shelves but agrees that these can be somewhat vague and misleading. He presents his own opinion on the wines and can suggest a bottle ( just tell him with whom or what you intend to consume with it).
He’s also got some tasty beers for sale from a few different small breweries.
We came away with a small selection of beers and wine. I liked the Waipara Springs Riesling which was gobbled down during Saturday’s Easter BBQ. It made a subsequent bottle of white wine brought by a friend taste like cheap plonk.
Ross promotes “every day wines” -no fancy chateaus here- just affordable drinkable wines which haven’t soured on the shelf. Most importantly, they are reliably decent and won’t embarrass you in the company of wine connoisseurs. Ross curates the wines himself and takes the stress away from the selection process. This makes it easy to buy a few more bottles with confidence.
Here’s our stash.
Find Ross Wine shop here.