It's tough out east

Here in Hong Kong they tell me there's a recession on, but you'd hardly know it to judge from all the building, the ritziness and the wines that I encountered within 24 hours of landing at the spruce (and now efficiently functioning) new airport a good 30 – 40-minute drive from Hong Kong island.

They included two grand cru white burgundies, Salon 1982, Doisy Daene 1953, a remarkably good bottle of Beychevelle 1966 straight from Mahler Besse, a very creditable one of Gruaud Larose 1978, masses of Alsaces including Clos Ste Hune 1989 VT (still a baby cf the relatively evolved 1990), a 1990 Ponsot Latricières Chambertin, some Chinese rice wine (meant to be oxidised apparently, but still an acquired taste) and the following fascinating four 1971 red bordeaux.

Ch Eglise Clinet 1971 CB, with a Barrière slip label – very big and rather too much of a good thing, thick, slightly coarse and clumsy.

Ch Eglise Clinet 1971 Barrière (Bordeaux bottled) – very elegant, mid-weight, aromatic and well balanced (and it wasn't just me who thought that), wonder if this is a tribute to filtration?

Ch Cheval Blanc 1971 – gorgeous, lovely and opulent, very rich.

Ch Lafleur Petrus 1971 – More youthful, succulent, more acid but lovely too.

Beats a Safeway press tasting any day.

Now, must fly to a serious wine lunch...