ACES WINES is a company operating in France and Hong Kong which name is an acronym for the services it proposes: Authentication, Expertise, Consulting and Sourcing. Purchasing fine wines, it is imperative to dispose of an independent expertise on their authenticity and state of conservation so in order to protect their interests, we propose to our clients cellar management and authentication services following The Chai MethodTM developed by Maureen Downey and Etienne Paumier is a member of the Winefraud circle of experts.
ACES WINES has also developed an in-depth knowledge on implementing business solutions for the F&B industry and propose consulting services to hospitality operators. Benefiting from 10 years of experience in Hong Kong and Macau, we also help wine producers seeking to expand their export portfolio to new markets. As navigating the intricacies of the different legal frames and understanding customers' expectations can prove to be a challenging endeavour, we can represent their interests in the region to build sustainable growth.
VDP: Where and how did you get the wine bug?
Etienne Paumier: My grandfather was a small-town winemaker in the Loire Valley. The estate was sold when he retired but some of his passion must have sunk in and when I attended a Burgundy tasting while in business school in 2004, I was finally hooked for good.
VDP: Your first encounter with German wines?
Etienne Paumier: When I moved to Hong Kong, I had no knowledge of German wines at all (you rarely seen them around in France, a shame) but incidentally I started working for Egon Muller’s importer and when I first experienced these wines with their feathery balance and delicate aromatics, it was love at first taste. If Müller’s graceful wines still hold a special place in my heart, that sentiment quickly extended beyond the Mosel to the other regions of Germany.
VDP: What is your favourite story to tell about German/VDP.wine – did you have highly emotional experience with our wines / producers?
Etienne Paumier: I still remember the inquisitive eye of my father-in-law while pouring him a glass of one the wines my wife and I had chosen for the wedding. After briefly tasting and almost reluctantly enjoying the wine, he gave his verdict: “Damn, it’s really good.” My father-in-law is a peaceful and open-minded man yet it is not every day you hear an Alsatian born in 1943 praising a bottle of German Riesling. It was a 2007 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Kabinett and all our guests, whom had never tasted German wines, were very impressed. Obviously, we also served Loire Valley and Alsace wines on the day but curiously, there wasn’t any Riesling left at the end …
VDP: How many bottles of German wine/VDP.wines do you have in your cellar?
Etienne Paumier: Having lived in Hong Kong for many years were space is limited, I didn’t have a large cellar and since it is was very complicated to move wine back to France, I drunk many of my bottles in farewell dinners a couple of years ago including my oldest one, a JJ Prum Welhener Sonnenhur Auslese 1983. I am now working on recreating a cellar and now have about 24 bottles of selected wines from older vintages only. My latest acquisition is Dönnhoff Schloßböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Spätlese 2003.
VDP: What is your favourite vineyard in Germany – and why?
Etienne Paumier: That’s a tough one since there are so many amazing sites to choose from and I have already confessed my crush on the Scharzhofberg. So, I will go for one of the most picturesque vineyards in Germany that also makes beautifully distinctive wines: the Würzgarten in Ürzig. The slope is ridiculously steep as you’d expect in the Mosel but also scattered with impressive cliffs and since it is located at a curve of the river, it has an amphitheatre shape that is dramatic. Besides and more importantly perhaps, the slate here has a bright shade of red (due to the high iron content in the soil) that warms up the valley at dawn with a pinkish light reminiscent of the alpenglow. In the glass, the wines usually display a very tropical fruit profile that is quite distinctive in the region.
VDP: If it comes to German grape varieties, what is your favourite? Riesling, Spätburgunder or other?
Etienne Paumier: It has to be Riesling. I cannot think of any other varietal capable of such versatility yet always keeping a distinctive tessitura and conveying a sense of place. It can be feather-light and delicate, assertive and powerful, sharp as a blade or intensely sweet and achieve excellence in all styles. That being said, there are truly stunning Spätburgunders nowadays and the Silvaners from the best Franken vineyards deserve much more attention that they get.