Thursday, 1 October 2015

Weekend Winery Business with a Co-op

This post was contributed by Lucia Santoso, an avid wine lover, musician and traveller currently based in Germany.

Harald Weiss presents a selection of Schriesheim wines

Imagine you’ve inherited a hectare or two of vineyard. What do you do? Quit your day job and honour the family tradition by launching into the wine business? What would be the risks? Can you earn a living out of it?

First world problems, I see you roll your eyes… But in Germany this can be a real situation one would face, and there is a solution - keep your day job and run the wine business in the weekend, by joining a winemaker’s co-operative (Winzergenossenschaft), explained Harald Weiss, GM of the Schriesheim co-op.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Wine of the Month - September 2015

One of my favourite wine merchants in London is The Sampler in South Kensington. Not only do they have a wide range of wines available for sale, but what really draws me back time and again are their 80 wines on tap thanks to the Enomatic machine. Credit goes to them for maintaining such a cumbersome system, which requires regular maintenance and is prone to breaking down. It is a marvelous system for wine geeks such as myself who will while away an entire afternoon sampling wines from obscure appellations such as Bierzo and Jura. This month's WOTM was unearthed in their "Icons" cabinet, which is reserved for rare and usually mature wines.  

Wine: Domaine de Chevalier 1983

Tasting note: Hailing from the Graves region, Domaine de Chevalier is one of the rare Bordeaux producers that is noted for the quality of both its red and white wines. Recent vintages have displayed sumptuous fruit and pronounced freshness. This wine, from a vintage that yielded a large, high quality crop but was overshadowed by 1982, showed remarkable verve and definition. Pale ruby colour with an enchanting nose of tobacco, dried leaves and smoke. Fully mature yet in beautiful condition, showing flavours of dried leaves, prunes and cocoa nibs captured in a silky, ethereal frame. Finishes pure and long. 

Monday, 21 September 2015

On Franken’s Stein, Animal Parts and Charitable Causes

Producer: Weingut Juliusspital Würzburg

Comment ça va? My activities these past few months have had a markedly European slant, from a visit to Spain (sadly, no wines!), to a party celebrating French culture, and upcoming trips to Vienna and Bordeaux. In August, I was introduced to the wines of Juliusspital thanks to the good offices of Schmidt Vinothek, local distributor of German and Austrian wines. The tasting was held at Joël Robuchon at Resorts World Sentosa, which boasts a luxuriously decked out interior with black accents. This was my first time at Joël Robuchon and I was wondering why the smell of basil was so prominent until Chef Sommelier Kenneth Au pointed out the plants in the indoor garden. Apart from providing an attractive focus for diners, these herbs also act as air fresheners, cleaning up cigar smoke more effectively than any ioniser.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Wine of the Month - August 2015

I had a glass of Rioja next to a Cos D'Estournel 1986 at Praelum Wine Bistro and even though the latter was still alive and kicking I much preferred the Spanish red for its vibrancy and mouth-filling flavours. Doubtless the Rioja was much younger, but at nearly ten years it was no baby and considerably gentler on the wallet. The producer, R. Lopez de Heredia, is a top supplier of traditional Riojas with long aging in American oak. The wine is made primarily from Tempranillo with small additions of Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano, aged for five years in American oak barrels, well above the legislated minimum requirements.

Wine: R. López de Heredia Vina Bosconia Reserva 2006

Tasting note: Age has given this wine a patina of dried fruit and licorice overlaying the coconut and dark fruit flavours, but left its energy and grip intact. It is drinking beautifully now and shows no sign of slowing down.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Make Your Way to the Cellar, on the Kellerweg

This post was contributed by Lucia Santoso, an avid wine lover, musician and traveller currently based in Germany.

What would you do on a German Summer's eve? Why, go to a Weinfest, natürlich! How else would you celebrate summer by the Rhein?

Every single weekend from June to September is jam-packed with wine festivals, duly advertised by the public transport networks (read: no driving! :) ). This very one comes well recommended by my friend Sonja John, a native of Hessen and the owner of her own wine shop.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The One and Only Biondi Santi

Producer: Biondi Santi

It’s not often that the opportunity arises to taste with an estate that is responsible for developing one of Italy’s pre-eminent fine wines. There are hundreds of producers bottling Brunello di Montalcino today, but original credit goes to one Ferruccio Biondi Santi from Tenuta Il Greppo, who crafted a wine meant for long aging from a particular clone of Sangiovese known locally as Brunello. The first vintage of this wine, of which some bottles can still be found in the winery’s cellars, dates back to 1888 (how’s that for a lucky number?).

Monday, 10 August 2015

Great Southern Wine Tasting 22nd August

Mark your calendar! The Great Southern Wine Tasting comes to Singapore on the 22nd of August at the Conrad Centennial Hotel, featuring 48 regional wines. Registration is via email to

The Great Southern wine region is located at the southern tip of Western Australia, a large and remote area producing outstanding Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. The white grape varieties you are likely to find are Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Overshadowed at times by its more famous neighbour, the Margaret River wine region, the merits of this cool-climate region are starting to be appreciated, led by quality-minded producers such as Plantagenet, Frankland Estate, and Alkoomi.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Wine of the Month - July 2015

This year I've realised that Singapore does in fact have two seasons - hot and hotter. The past two months, continuing into July, my air-conditioning has been running nearly non-stop to provide some respite from the heat. Just how hot is it? It's so hot that Seng Choon eggs now only come hard-boiled. It's so hot that I saw a tree in Bishan Park chasing a dog. It's so hot that the Merlion jumped into the Singapore River.

In this weather, what we need are cool, refreshing wines, which is why for this month I have selected a Pinot Noir as the WOTM. Hailing from the small village of Aloxe-Corton, the wine is made from grapes that have been farmed as organically as possible, without the aid of herbicides or chemical fertilisers. Each parcel is hand-harvested, sorted and fermented in its own vat. Enjoy a glass of this chilled to around 16°C.

Wine: Domaine Follin-Arbelet Aloxe Corton 2012

Tasting note: Pale smudgy ruby. Fresh, intense and vibrant with a svelte body and attractively pure fruit marked by raspberry, cherry and herbal notes. Already approachable and deliciously thirst-quenching.

Distributor: Caveau

Sunday, 19 July 2015

A New Entrant to Singapore’s Burgeoning Wine Scene

Company: wanderwine

The wine events in Singapore tend to fall into two broad groups. The first are the trade and consumer tastings organised by various producers or promotional bodies. These have an educational slant and are attended by sommeliers, wine writers and wine aficionados. Then there are the new product or service launches, commonly executed with the assistance of a PR agency. The crowd at these events are highly diverse, counting among their number models, media professionals and CEOs united by their love of wine and a good party.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Tasting the Noughties with Château Pichon Baron

Producers: Château Pichon Baron, Château Petit-Village

What does the insurance business have to do with wine? Quite a bit, if you’re talking about AXA Millésimes, the subsidiary of French insurance giant AXA. For a risk-averse company to invest in wine with its unpredictable and cyclical nature would seem to be a pretty big gamble. However, the strategy of purchasing run-down, historic vineyards with established credentials and then turning them around has paid handsome dividends.