Abu Dhabi. Not a wine destination, but Hakkasan opens there in April, and I’m busy writing the list. Which is a funny way to put it, I suppose, as the writing part doesn’t actually happen until the last minute, just before the list gets printed. What I’m really doing is constructing the list, which means spreadsheets, a pile of importers’ catalogues, about a thousand emails going backwards and forwards and a great deal of frustration. Take today: it’s Friday, which is the weekend in Abu Dhabi. In fact their weekend starts on Thursday lunchtime, but as there’s a 4 hour time difference it might as well start on Wednesday. So no answers to my emails today, then. But looking on the bright side, the limitation of importing from a just a few suppliers means we’ll be working with some new wines, and that means some interesting samples to taste.
Christine Parkinson started her career in the kitchen, and moved into management after 3 years as Head Chef. Responsibility for 39 restaurants eventually convinced her to follow her passion and concentrate on wine. In 2001 Christine created the first wine list for Hakkasan, and later became Wine Buyer for the group, which includes the Michelin-starred restaurants Hakkasan and Yauatcha, with operations in London, Miami and (soon) Abu Dhabi. She has been called “one of the most creative wine buyers in the UK” by wine guru Jancis Robinson, and recently received the ‘Taste On-Trade Influencer Award, in association with Imbibe’. When not on the phone to suppliers, she is often out on a motorbike, and is therefore probably responsible for most of the UK’s bad weather.