Decanter talks exclusively to Chilean wine pioneer and Montes Wines founder Aurelio Montes Snr about his involvement in the first Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter, which takes place at The Ritz Carlton in Shanghai on Saturday 29th November.
What are you looking forward to about the event?
Lots of things, including the fact that it’s an excellent opportunity to show Chinese consumers how Chile has become as a world class appellation for premium wines. At Montes, we’ve played a fundamental role in that for the last 25 years with our Montes Alpha and icon wines.
When did you first visit Shanghai?
Personally, I have been visiting Shanghai on a regular basis for the past seven years. But our commitment to the Chinese market goes right back to our beginnings when my late business partner Douglas Murray spend a lot of time developing the market in China.
How much has the wine scene changed since you started going there?
An incredible amount! When I first went, most of the wines were French and were only available in international venues. Nowadays, you can find wines from all around the world in many more places. So now France has much more competition on its hands from countries like Chile.
What do you most like about the city?
I like the dynamism and positive energy. There are always new places to explore and new people doing exciting new projects. The old American dream has become the new Chinese dream.
What is your favourite restaurant?
It depends on the type of food. For Chinese cuisine, Yi Long Court is an amazing Cantonese restaurant at the Peninsula Hotel where I will hold our next wine dinner around the Decanter Encounter. For western food, Jean Georges is hard to beat.
Which one has the best wine list?
Lately, I have been very pleasantly surprised by the list at Hakkasan. It’s a great and very different concept.
Apart from your own masterclass, which other sessions would you particularly recommend?
I think all of them are going to be terrific. But the Penfolds’ Grange masterclass stands out because it's just another example of how New World wines have become world class. And of course, the First Growth masterclass is also going to be both unique and fascinating. It’s part of wine history.
Aurelio Montes Snr will be presenting a special Meet the Producer: Montes seminar at the Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter on Saturday 29th of November.
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