Under the law of Hong Kong, intoxicating liquor must not be sold or supplied to a minor (under 18) in the course of business

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      The colour gives the first clue to character. White wines become more rich in colour as they age, from "lemon" to "straw", particularly if they have been oaked. Red wines, conversely, turn from purple to a "brick-red" with brown hues as they age. A vibrant red hue thus suggests youth, with the exception of Pinot Noir, which is pale and a little brown even in youth. Also detectable is the clarity of the wine, the absence or otherwise of bubbles or effervescence, and the presence of sediment.

    • NOSE

      It is said that 80% of the enjoyment of wine is when the aromas are released as the wine is swirled in the glass. The first thing to check is if the wine is in good condition. An oxidized wine smells like vinegar; a corked wine smells musty. A decent wine gives out fruit and floral aromas, combined with other compounds such as mineral, savoury, vegetal and oak. If a wine has been aged in oak, the fruit and oak flavours slowly integrate to give off variously cigar box, cedar, smoke, coffee and chocolate (red wines) and vanilla and butter (white wines).

    • PALATE

      Once the wine has been sipped, the tongue tastes it in the same way as food, picking up acidity, bitterness, saltiness and sweetness. The weight of the wine is also noted - from light- to full-bodied -as well as its texture (eg silky, velvety). Finally, its "length" is assessed - how long the flavours to linger in the mouth.

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