Monday, 10 October 2016

A Rosé Fit for Angels

Producer: Château d’Esclans

Is it time for rosés in Singapore to bloom? Statistics from the Vinexpo/IWSR market study this year revealed that sales of rosé wine here grew by 24.2% between 2019 and 2014. However this was from an extremely low base and rosé still represents a drop in the ocean compared with sales of white and red wine (an exception being in the sparkling wine category where rosé champagne is doing quite well). “People in Asia are maybe five to ten years late to rosé,” asserts Alex Diard, Brand Ambassador for Château d’Esclans. “Now in Europe, and even in UK and the US, rosé is everywhere. It’s insane how many people drink rosé now – not only women, everybody is drinking rosé.”

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The Largest Wine Region in Australia is One You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Region: Great Southern

Think of Western Australian wine, and perhaps the region that comes to mind first is Margaret River, a disproportionate source of fine wine (it produces nearly a quarter of the country’s premium wine from about 4% of its total crush), or maybe Swan Valley, the oldest wine region in Western Australia. But there is another region on the up-and-coming, a vast and remote hinterland of vinous possibilities. In recent years those in the wine trade have been whispering about the potential of the Great Southern wine region, located at the southernmost corner of Western Australia. This roughly rectangular region spans 150km north to south and 100km east to west, making it Australia’s largest wine growing region in terms of sheer size. Yet for all its immensity, there are only around 70 producers here (by comparison Margaret River has over double that number).

Friday, 16 September 2016

A Taste of Ronda

Region: Ronda

Have you heard the one about a German, an Argentinian and a Swiss? It’s not the beginning of a pub joke, but the story of how an obscure region is attracting winemakers from around the world. Usually when tasting wines from a region new to me, I look for a degree of commonality, whether it is a grape variety or flavour profile. At this tasting though, put together by online retailer Wines of Ronda, the list of grape varieties included Viognier, Lemberger, and Zweigelt. Hardly commonplace grapes, and one would be hard-pressed to identify a region planted with these varieties as being Spanish. “The new taste of Spanish wine” was the tagline of the tasting, and very apt it is. Even though Spain is part of the Old World, it has shown tremendous courage in challenging the status quo (hello Ferran Adrià). Imagine tasting a wine made from French grapes planted in Spanish soil by a German winemaker.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sub-regionality in Marlborough – Exploring the Southern Valleys with Auntsfield Estate

Producer: Auntsfield Estate

The feeling of déjà vu was strong at a recent tasting with Auntsfield Estate. Sub-regional characteristics in Marlborough – where had I heard that before? It was not until I examined the wine label that realisation dawned on me. The ‘A’ logo of Auntsfield Estate bears an uncanny resemblance to Astrolabe Wines, a winery also producing a range showcasing sub-regions within Marlborough. When I mention this to Auntsfield viticulturist Ben Cowley, he laughed that “Jason [the Managing Director of Astrolabe] stole it from us!”

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Stepping Up to the Michelin Standard

Last month was a big month for Singapore on the F&B scene. I’m speaking of course about the launch of the Michelin guide here, the first time a Southeast Asian nation has been included in the guide. Twenty two restaurants bagged a one star rating, a further six received two stars and the coveted three star rating was bestowed upon Joël Robuchon at Resorts World Sentosa. It’s a testament to the cosmopolitan mix of eateries in Singapore, and will undoubtedly boost tourism and fan interest in the dining scene. Already some of the restaurants are reporting increased bookings, and the two hawker stalls that received a one star rating have seen snaking queues. Even restaurants that did not make it into the guide are benefitting from a halo effect, a welcome reversal from the first half of this year where business was rather slow.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Wine of the Month - June 2016

This month's WOTM was taken from a recent tasting. Kaiken Wines is the Argentinian arm of Chilean-based Montes Wines, headed by winemakers Aurelio Montes Jr. and Rogelio Rabino. This was an interesting bottle because it was made entirely from Cabernet Franc, touted as the next big thing from Argentina. Total acreage is still low - according to a report from Decanter earlier this year only about 700 ha of the country's 200,000 ha of vineyards are planted with this variety. Aurelio Montes Jr. says that Cabernet Franc represents the "feminine side of Argentina". Compared to Malbec, it is more "refined and elegant, a little lighter in the mouth but with lots of complexity".

Wine: Kaiken Obertura 2014 

Tasting note: The second vintage of this wine produced by Kaiken. Deep ruby appearance with Mediterranean herbs, tobacco, a floral accent and light gaminess. Flavours on the palate reveal red cranberry and dark fruits, with perfect ripeness. It all adds up to an elegant tapestry of flavours and a very good showing for this variety.

Sustainability and future-proofing – A tasting with Aurelio Montes Jr.

Producer: Montes Wines, Kaiken Wines

When Aurelio Montes Jr. crossed the border from Chile to Argentina to manage Kaiken Wines, he thought that he would throw a barbeque with the aim of getting to know his new neighbours. So he budgeted according to a typical meal in his native country; with some empanadas, side dishes and 250gm of meat per person. Within half an hour of his guests arriving however, all the meat was gone, and that was when he learnt; “If you want to invite someone home, you have to prepare one kilo of meat per person. Doesn’t matter if it’s man, woman, or child. And forget about salad.”

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Wine of the Month - May 2016

The Hospices de Beaune is a hospital established in 1443 to treat the sick and poor funded by an annual wine charity sale that takes place on the third Sunday of each November. The wines are sold in barrel and aged by an appointed négociant. Each wine is dedicated to the benefactor who gifted the vineyard to the Hospices. This particular wine came from a barrel sold as the Pièce du Président, with proceeds going to the Carla  Bruni-Sarkozy Foundation and the idée Foundation which supports literacy and epileptic treatments respectively.

Wine: Hospices de Beaune Corton Grand Cru Charlotte Dumay 2012

Tasting note: Pinot Noir from Burgundy can often reach lofty heights, but this wine takes its place among the stars. Sublimely sleek, soft and perfumed, this wine flows around the palate with rounded acidity and a feather-light texture. The flavours are intense and energetic, showing spice, juicy redcurrants and sumptuous red cherries. Absolutely electrifying. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Cocktail Festival at Singapore Changi Airport

From now until 30th June, the DFS Cocktail Festival is taking place at the DFS Wines and Spirits Duplex at Changi Airport Terminal 3. Travellers flying out of that terminal can enjoy mini masterclasses, locally-inspired cocktails and flairing performances for free. Each weekend features a guest bartender from Singapore's vibrant bar scene who will be showcasing a cocktail exclusively created for the festival. These bespoke cocktails will only be available from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm during the two days the guest bartender is at the festival. The lineup is as follows:

Jigger & Pony featuring Christyne Lee: May 27 & 28
Manhattan featuring Philip Bischoff: June 10 & 11
The Library featuring Adam ‘Eddy’ Bursik: June 17 & 18
Smoke & Mirrors featuring Byron Tan: June 24 & 25

In addition, a party hosted by Veuve Clicquot will be held on June 3 & 4 showcasing cocktails made with Veuve Clicquot Rich, a sweeter-style champagne specifically made for mixing.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Proseccos from Villa Sandi

Producer: Villa Sandi

As the train rolled in to the next stop in Singapore, I noticed something peculiar. The electronic route map inside the train was indicating that we had arrived at Paya Lebar, while the station signs read Eunos. Meanwhile the automated announcement was assuring passengers that we had stopped at Tanah Merah. Later during the day, as I spoke with Laura Dassiè, I inwardly wondered if she too wished that she could be at several places at the same time. As the Export Area Manager for Villa Sandi, her travel schedule is physically demanding, and the mental effort required to be promoting wines the entire day no less punishing.