Here's another story about how Hong Kong works.
I needed to outfit my new executive suite. My efforts to buy John Thain's office furniture on eBay were unsuccessful (maybe I bid too low, but I'm not a believer in antique toilets; I'm long progress) so I went out into Hong Kong in search of furniture. In general, the closer you get to the Chinese border, the better the deal. But I don't have time for bargain hunting. I'm a busy guy. Moving an oenology lab to a foreign country eats a lot of time.
So I went to Horizon Plaza.
Horizon Plaza is a non-descript office building in an industrial section of Ap Lei Chao (a small island connected to Hong Kong by a bridge). It caters mostly to locals and houses 28 levels of furniture stores. It's overwhelming. 28 floors of furniture! I find the place makes you physically dizzy. There is also a small appliance outlet (10th floor), an Italian delicatessen (6th floor) and an Armani outlet (22nd floor).
And on the 16th floor, wedged between a ceiling fan supplier and a custom mattress manufacturer, I discovered the finest collection of artisanal Champagnes I have ever seen in a single location.
Vouette et Sorbée.
Vilmart & Cie (nearly the full range!)
Bereche et Fils
David Leclapart (the full range!)
And more. That's just the short list.
I still have bruises from pinching myself.
Boutique Wines specializes in small producers from New Zealand and Australia. Their book features some outstanding producers, like Cullen from Margaret River and Felton Road from Central Otago. But there are few artisanal independents. No cult stars or natural wine freaks.
The Champagne list is another story. It's one of those lists that is easier to describe by who's not on it. When I suggested that I was a big fan of the wines of Benoit Tarlant, the Brut Zero in particular, Peter Nicholas, General Manager for BW, said, "We'll try to source those for you." How's that for service? I bet Peter knows how to get to the post office.
I have no idea why Boutique Wines is hidden amongst the sofas and dining sets of Horizon Plaza. And I don't care. I only hope the birds don't eat the trail of bread crumbs I left from the store to the doors of my office.
On the spot, I decided to spend the budget allocated for office wall sconces on Champagne. I've been looking for Leclapart's wines for at least 3 years. I'll drink them in the dark if I have to.
Oh, and there's one more thing about how things work in Hong Kong. Boutique Wines delivers your order to your house for no extra charge.