Reeze Choi, an accomplished Hong Kong sommelier, has proven to be a good juggler of wine. After finishing at 16th of the World’s Best Sommelier Competition in Belgium last year, the talented sommelier went straight back to work, and has since taken on a few new projects: starting his own company Somm’s Philosophy, becoming Hong Kong ambassador for Star Wine List, as well as working as head sommelier at the newly opened Burgundy-centric restaurant Piin. In each new role, Choi proves to be a fierce advocate for wine service. Talking to vino-joy.com, Choi reveals the most tedious part about being a sommelier, why he – despite being an astute wine aficionado – refuses to buy a wine fridge for environmental reasons. Most importantly, the quick-witted sommelier might have found a more economical and perhaps more sodden option to build President Trump’s Wall.
How many years have you been aged so far?
31 years. My vintage is 1988.
What led you to wine?
I got my first job in the food and beverage industry ten years ago, and then I was included in a wine team three years later. My passion for wine has grown since then. I just got hooked, I never knew I would go this far with this career.
What’s your pet peeves about wine?
Inventory. This is a very important but also the most annoying chore for a sommelier. It is especially so for I work at a place housing over a thousand labels…
Describe what’s an alcohol-free day like for you?
It is actually fine for me, because I am not that “alcoholic.” I even think that it is good to stay sober most of the time. A cup of nice coffee makes a good day for me too.
What’s your secret passion?
I love playing computer and TV games! But I just can’t allow myself to indulge in them, as I know that once I get started, I couldn’t stop; I would desert my study.
What kind of wines are in your wine fridge/cellar?
I don’t have a wine fridge… because I want to help reducing greenhouse gas. You don’t want to see vineyards in North Pole, do you?
What’s the weirdest wine you’ve tasted so far that you actually liked?
I don’t want to say weird, but it was an unusual experience to taste a bottle of Retsina with my friends.
If you can recommend one wine to any leader in the world, who would it be and what would you recommend?
A bottle of “Great Wall” Cabernet Sauvignon from China to President Donald Trump. I think he will love it, and this “Wall” is more affordable.
If you can drink any wine in the world, which wine would you like to have?
Em…I am not picky so I would say All THE WINES! Especially 1978 Richebourg by Henri Jayer, 1959 Trockenbeerenauslese Schatzhofberger by Egon Müller, 1882 Ne Oublie Colheita by Graham’s, and some extremely old Madeira, etc.
If you are a wine, how would you imagine your tasting note would be like?
Tension, precise, finished with little bitterness. Takes time to develop.
What makes you happy?
Nature. More precisely, a bottle of beer with Bossa Nova next to the sea.
If you can only drink one wine for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I previously made my pick for this question. But I realized that I am too young to say yet! So I would like to keep exploring the world and find out the answer.