Pairing exquisite wine selections at the world's tallest hotel, internationally renowned French sommelier Jean-Marc Nolant brings his lifelong passion for wine to Park Hyatt Shanghai. Nolant joined the hotel last year when it opened and has since built from scratch the hotel's famed high quality wine program. Enriching it with wine flavors from around the globe, he has created a signature menu of black truffle infused goat milk ice cream paired with a decanted Dom Perignon 1959, or a mango tart Tatin served with Jamaican green pepper ice cream paired with Royal Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 1989.
His love for wine was cemented during his early teenage years, when he would spend his days in the fields scouring French vineyards for the ripest and more suitable grapes for winemaking. Nolant later became a respected wine connoisseur for London's popular restaurant The Square and America's trendy Savona restaurant before jet-setting around the globe to quench his thirst for foreign wines. After stops in places as far ranging as Egypt and Argentina, he chose to settle in Shanghai. Shanghai Star Weekend reporter Shi Yingying shared a glass with the 34-year-old wine guru to get the lowdown on the local market.
Q: The wine scene remains quite new to China, even in metropolitan Shanghai. As your purpose for globe-trotting is to delve further into foreign wines, what made you choose this city, which is still very much developing its wine market and industry?
A: Many factors made me consider Shanghai as my next professional destination. While the Chinese market in general remains in a developmental phase, it enables sommeliers and wine professionals the opportunity to dare and offer drastically innovative and truly opinionated wine selections. In many ways, newly emerging markets offer wider boundaries for progressive initiatives than established markets.