Monday, 22 June 2015

Wine of the Month - June 2015

When I enthused about this bottle to wine expert Suzanne Brocklehurst (who blogs over at The Wine Narrative), she immediately recalled writing about the producer in an piece on art in wine. Every year Fattoria Nittardi engages an artist to design not just the label but also the wrapping paper for their Casanuova di Nittardi Chianti Classico. This month's WOTM is their IGT-level wine from the region of Maremma located 8 km from the sea. Despite the fact that it is an IGT wine, that should not be taken to mean that the wine is inferior in any way, as in Italy the DOC/DOCG regulations are not a reliable indicator of quality. The wine is a blend of  40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Syrah, 15 Petit Verdot and 5% of other, 'secret', varieties.

Wine: Fattoria Nittardi Nectar Dei 2008

Tasting note: Deep ruby colour. The nose exudes ripe, plush fruit with notes of toast, vanilla, black fruit, spice and licorice. Elegant, well-balanced and modern palate with integrated oak, vanillin sweetness and notes of sour cherry and earth. The finish is long and intense. Top drawer.

Distributor: Wine Exchange Asia


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Through Rosé Tinted Glasses


Looking through the articles on this blog, I see that coverage on rosé wines has been rather sparse.  This is due to two reasons, the first being that rosé wines are not that popular in Singapore, and also because I have not come across many particularly exciting wines of this ilk. Wine connoisseurs tend not to take rosé very seriously, regarding it as a simple thirst-quencher for the summer months. Considering that Singapore is perpetually swathed in hot and humid conditions, it is a head scratcher why we don’t drink more rosé locally. Too wimpy a drink to be seen with perhaps? The rosé-themed parties I have been to were well-attended, but the gender skew towards women was plain. Yet when opening a bottle rosé at private dinners, both sexes are up for a glass. It seems that men like drinking rosé too, they are just loathe to openly admit it.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Wine of the Month - May 2015

This month's WOTM is a rosé from champagne house Dom Pérignon. It comes with a hefty price tag, but is one of the greatest examples of sparkling rosé that you can get. The vintage was noted for its extreme conditions in France resulting in some unique, and in some cases uncharacteristic wines.


Wine: Dom Pérignon Rosé 2003

Tasting note: Made from south-facing vineyards in Hautvillers, Ay and Bouzy. The wine was aged for 10 years on its lees. Winemaker Richard Geoffroy has walked a tightrope with this difficult vintage, coaxing the Pinot Noir component of this wine to yield ripe, dazzling fruit without sacrificing poise and thrilling tension. Juicy Amaou strawberry, sweet pomegranate and a savoury line of just-popped toast linger on the palate, combining complexity with a welcoming accessibility. 

Distributors: Crystal Wines, Berry Bros. & Rudd

Dom Pérignon Unveils 2005 Vintage

Producer: Dom Pérignon


It was all glitz and glamour at the F1 Pit Building last month during the unveiling of Dom Pérignon’s latest vintage. Titled “The Three Faces of Dom Pérignon”, the event featured Dom Pérignon Vintage 2005, Dom Pérignon Vintage Rosé 2003 and Dom Pérignon P2 Vintage 1998. As usual with anything involving a brand under the Louis Vuitton conglomerate, it was a smoothly run operation with a twist designed to surprise and awe. The wines were initially concealed behind curtains that were pulled back to reveal three art installations purposefully designed around highlighting the main theme of each wine. I paused for a while to admire the evocative series of photos entitled “Fly for Me” by Yian Huang. Depicting dancers from Studio Harmonic in Paris in various jumps and poses, the exhibition was meant to convey the impression of Intensity associated with the Dom Pérignon P2 Vintage 1998.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Winemaking Hangs in the Balance in Mesmerising Cinque Terre

Region: Cinque Terre People: Luciano Capellini


There is a chill briskness in the air as I wander around the sleepy town of Monterosso in early March. At this time in the morning few people are about, mainly tradesmen in paint-splattered overalls heading off to work.  I tail one into a small shop above which hangs the sign Panificio Cerere and am rewarded with a freshly baked slice of focaccia. Simply made, with a crunchy bite that fills the mouth with flavours of salt and olive oil, it is so good I have to turn back for seconds.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Wine of the Month - April 2015

There are occasions where I come across wines which I feel either deliver immense pleasure, or represent something off the beaten track that is worth trying out. As a new service to readers of this blog, I have decided to add a section to Éclaircissage that will highlight a different wine each month, along with my own tasting note. Where possible, I will also list the Singapore distributor for this wine. If you feel that this is useful to you, or if you have suggestions on how this section can be improved, please feel free to leave a comment or use the "Contact Me" form.

Wine: Lucien Le Moine Corton Blanc 2008

Tasting note: Medium gold with a saline intensity and pronounced lemon, custard apple and yoghurt notes. Grippy acids balance the rich, exceptionally layered fruit flavours. At seven years this wine is still going strong and has the stuffing to gloriously evolve further. For wine lovers who have been disappointed by the inconsistency of white Burgundy, this wine serves as a reminder of the heights that region can attain.

Distributor: Wine Culture

Friday, 3 April 2015

Revealing Another Side of Bordeaux

Hubert de Boüard (left) sharing his opinions at a dinner organised by Crystal Wines

Mention Bordeaux, and what may come to mind is the image of grand châteaux presided over by aristocratic French millionaires who sell their wares to even richer collectors. For the latter group, who accumulate liquid treasures much as a dragon might hoard gold, the words Latour, Lafite, Margaux, Haut-Brion and Mouton may be the only vocabulary they need in the language of wine. But what about less exalted estates, those who did not have the fortune of being founded in appellations such as Pauillac or Margaux? Similarly, not everyone has the means to afford a cru classé, yet this should not be a barrier to enjoying what Bordeaux can offer.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Reviewing Bordeaux 2012


Two years back during the Bordeaux 2012 en primeur campaign a friend asked if I thought that it was worth buying into the futures, noting that the pricing seemed reasonable. My reply was that there was better value to be found elsewhere, and that prices only looked reasonable because they went up so high for the 2009 and 2010 vintages. Since then, prices for most wines from this vintage have either been stable or drifted lower. A notable exception is Château Angélus, and this can be explained by its promotion to Premier Grand Cru Classé “A” in September 2012, a perch on which only three other St-Émilion châteaux roost.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Do Second Wines Merit a Second Look?


At a recent dinner, I overheard two friends having a discussion. The first was lamenting that a product made by the company where friend #2 worked had continued to rise in price even though the raw material cost had been dropping. To which the second friend replied that the first law of economics was that supply and demand determine the price of a product, not its production cost.