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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
5 Mar 2010
 

I hope that as this is published I am high above the Atlantic flying home after a whirlwind two-week tour of Japan, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing in mainland China, and northern California.

It was a delightful bonus to be able to travel with Nick, now that our youngest has - boo, hoo - left home. He spent the time researching restaurants and food people and this will be reflected in his articles to be published here.

I was made very aware of the huge reserves of wine knowledge that there are in all the places we visited.  Anyone who still classifies Asia as a place of substantial but ignorant spending power deludes themselves.

Hong Kong is, even more than ever, a centre of top-quality wine drinking. I pity those Master of Wine students trying to get to grips with 'ordinary wine' there because no-one drinks it. First and second growths rule.

In Japan are some of the world's most fastidious palates.

In China is a gaggle of well-informed wine writers, typically female, in their early 20s and, to judge from the questions they asked me, very anxious to know when I will retire - and wondering what it is like to have such a senior set of taste buds that I can surely not taste anything any more...

In San Francisco I enjoyed an evening with such highflown businessmen that I mistook their questions asking me for tips on the next big thing in wine for their wanting advice on which wines to buy. They wanted to know which wineries to buy. Ridge Vineyards' 50th anniversary was quite a contrast.

I am looking forward to being home on familiar ground with familiar assumptions, although I have to thank everyone I met on this wonderful trip for being so very kind, efficient and interesting.