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The Spirit of Rules in Sports

Some of you may already know that yours truly is very passionate about sports, in particular football, the very game the Americans refer to as soccer!!!

While the average football fans would like to see more goals, the purist would regard a 0-0 score being the perfect match as that’s when the defense for both teams are as good as the attack. Over the years though, football authorities have implemented various rule changes with the objective to increase goals per match. The late Jimmy Hill, for many just a football program presenter on English TVs, was a legendary figure for many reasons. He was at different times a player, a manager and the chairman of a football club too. But his biggest legacy is probably being the force behind a lot of new rules that have changed football forever. As examples, he was the advocate for scrapping the wage cap on players in the 60’s and then in the 70’s he proposed awarding 3 points to the winner (instead of 2 points) as a bigger incentive to attack and score goals. After various trials, FIFA finally adopted it universally in 1995. Does that lead to more goals? You could argue there is now also more incentive to defend to make the opposition NOT getting the 3 points. In any event, it seems that goals for the top flight leagues have remained fairly constant at an average of about three per match over the last few decades.

The latest rule change under consideration, one which will likely be implemented in the coming season, involves the definition of “offside”. Simply put, the thinking is that the attacking player will only be ruled offside if the whole of his/her body is in front of the second last defender at the time his/her teammate releases the ball to him/her (see figure above). Sure, that could lead to more goals but yours truly does not endorse the change as the new rule would further put the defender(s) in a disadvantageous position in a contest. The spirit of sports is about fair competition, not just between the two teams but between opposing players as well.

And on the subject of fairness, in the situation when two teams remain in a draw after the stipulated playing time, it often will have to resolve into a penalty shootout. Statistics show the teams that shoot first would become the winner on 60% of such occasions. The popular explanation is that players from the team not shooting first would be under more pressure in chasing. That may or may not be the only reason. But why not change the shootout rule to one similar to that for a tennis tie-breaker? That means team A will take the first penalty, then team B to take 2 penalties, then team A to take 2 penalties, then team B to take 2 penalties and so on, with team A taking the last 1 penalty i.e. each would have the chance to lead, making the opposition chasing. This is fairness to both teams and individual players!!!

Sorry to stay on football for so long and let’s go to a more interesting subject…wine. And see if you might like some of our latest additions:

2019 Willian Fevre Chablis Grand Cru le Clos Domaine (WA96 at HK$540/half) – No need to go anywhere when you want just a glass or two of good white as this grand cru in half bottle size by a reputable domaine offers mingling aromas of orange oil, confit citrus, green apple and notes of warm bread, white flowers, oyster shell in a complex bouquet. Full-bodied, layered and muscular, it is concentrated and with huge depth, concluding with a long, electric finish.

2010 Giscours (JS95 at HK$350/half) – If you are looking for a small bottle of red, this Bordeaux from the Margaux sub-region gives seductive aromas of black cherry, mulberry and plum reserve plus hints of cassis, pencil lead and dried herbs. Medium to full-bodied, the palate shows oak and slightly chewy tannins, ending with a long, fruity finish.

2018 Guillemot-Michel Vire-Clesse Quintaine (WA93 at HK$270/bottle) – Our continuous search for valued-price Burgundy leads to the discovery of this very good white from the Maconnais sub-region. The nose is a combination of green apple, honeycomb, orange oil, fresh bread and elderflowers. Medium bodied, layered and succulent, it is elegant and precise, with a charming core of fruit and a slightly saline finish.

2016 Domaine Bouchard Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru (WA94-96 at HK$2,600/bottle) – Everybody loves the grand crus from Puligny-Montrachet but what may be the prices one has to pay? This one from a popular domaine with such a respectable rating seems to be of great value to us. The wine is well balanced, sophisticated, and with a convincing finish.

2020 Envinate Palo Blanco (WA98 at HK$350/bottle) – When we offered the 2019 vintage of this white from the Canary Islands (Spain) a little over a month ago, all quantities were snapped up in no time and we are now re-stocking with the even better 2020 vintage. There is a smoky, spicy, flinty touch and a vibrant palate with a spark of acidity that makes the wine very long and tasty. Only around 1,000 cases have been produced.

2020 Envinate Migan (WA95 at HK$380/bottle) – And what about trying a red from the Canary Islands as well? The wine is out of the grape varietal Listan Negro planted at 600 metres above sea level. The palate is medium-bodied and expressive, with a nose that shows notes of peppercorn, rose petals, stones and volcanic ash.

2017 Hosanna (WA97+ at HK$990/bottle) – Of the more recent Bordeaux vintages, most will say 2020, 2018 and 2016 to be at the top. But 2017 is actually not far behind and certainly more approachable at this stage. Prices are also much more attractive. This estate with the same ownership as the legendary Petrus has always been our favourite, with this one jumping out of the glass, showing beautiful red rose and violet scents over a core of baked blueberry, mulberry and plum reserve plus wafts of vanilla and cinnamon notes. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has freshness and is packed with perfumed black and blue fruits, supported by ripe and round tannins, finishing long and fragrant.

2018 Domaine de l'Arlot NSG 1er Cru Clos des Forêts Saint Georges (WA93-95 HK$800/bottle) – This is a lovely Burgundy red in the making, wafting from the glass with aromas of cherries, wild berries, spices, licorice and smoked meats. On the palate, it is medium to full-bodied, fleshy and textural, with its muscular chassis of powdery tannin entirely cloaked in fruit, and concluding with a defined finish.

2014 Domaine de la Pousse d'Or Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru les Amoureusses (WA92-94 at HK$3,000/bottle) – This Burgundy red comes from the domaine’s handkerchief-sized 0.19-hectares vineyard. The wine is somewhat backward, showing traces of black cherry and touches of violet and concrete on the nose. The palate is nicely structured, harmonious and quite elegant, with fine tannin, a touch of spice and sea salt towards the lingering finish. It is a wine that will reward patience and in any event, we doubt one could find another les Amoureusses at this price level.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to go to our website to browse the full wine list. Purchases can be made through the website or by sending us an e-mail or simply WhatsApp 9195-7383. And stay safe as Typhoon Talim is approaching.


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