Sunday 30 April 2017

Wine of the Month - April 2017

While Masi makes a very dependable Amarone della Valpolicella Classico called Costasera, this is not that wine. Rather this is a duty-free exclusive made in the same mold but with a greater percentage of the Corvina grape. Corvina is considered the best grape for use in Amarone, contributing sour cherry flavours and a light, elegant structure. Amarone is one of Italy's signature wines, made using grapes that have been dried out, traditionally on straw mats. The drying process softens the tannins and activates flavour compounds, but also results in a loss of water, meaning that it takes a lot more grapes to make Amarone than other types of wine. Well-made Amarone is never cheap.

Wine: Masi "Nectar Costasera" Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC 2009

Tasting note: Throwing a thick sediment, this wine is drinking beautifully at the moment. It displays rich, concentrated flavours of fruitcake, raisins, chocolate and blackberry jam, cocooned in velvety tannins and a plush mouthfeel. This is a hedonist's dream, and beautifully balanced even at 15% alcohol. The freshness keeps it lively and it is all to easy to finish the whole bottle.

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Visiting Beaune - An Introduction

Is there any region that appears more deceptively simple than Burgundy? Along with Bordeaux it is one of the most famous wine regions of the world. The grape varieties are simple – Pinot Noir for the reds and Chardonnay for the whites (not counting the small quantities of Aligoté and Sauvignon Blanc, and the Gamay of Beaujolais). The wines of Burgundy frequently dominate wine auctions and certainly anyone who is even faintly interested in wine would have tried a bottle, if very lucky, perhaps even a grand cru.

Thursday 6 April 2017

The Changing Face of DFS

DFS (the travel retail group) really knows how to throw a party. The recently concluded Masters of Wines and Spirits was a free-flow extravaganza of luxury champagne, cru classé wines, smooth single malts and inspired cocktails. The event was held at Tras Street in Tanjong Pagar, an area populated by small startups and dodgy KTV bars a decade ago and in recent years has seen a profusion of hip restaurants and cafes. Musical entertainment was provided by pop-rock string quartet VOX while faux traffic wardens, looking as though they had just stepped out of a modelling catalogue, helped direct the flow of bemused car drivers passing through. Canapés at these events are usually not the main attraction, but I could not help gorging on a couple of the plump baby squids on offer at Sushi Mitsuya.

Saturday 1 April 2017

All about Gambero Rosso

Now in its 30th edition, the Gambero Rosso Vini d’Italia Wine Guide covers 2400 producers and 22000 wines, making it the most comprehensive guide to Italian wines. There is compact and relevant detail for each featured producer, but I found more interest in the preface for the guide. Of the 429 wines awarded the top rating of Tre Bicchieri, 80 hailed from Tuscany, 75 from Piedmont, and 38 from Veneto. Yet the top two still wines in this edition were from neither of these places. The top red is the Gioia del Colle Primitivo Muro Sant’Angelo Contrada Barbatto 2013 from Tenute Chiaromonte, while the top white is the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Misco 2015 from Tenuta di Tavignano. Side note – it boggles me that anyone would think that the longer the name the more impressive the wine. Surely wines such as Sassicaia, Margaux and Opus One have proven that consumers appreciate easy to remember labels? The key point here though is that these wines, from Puglia and Marche respectively, show that there is value to looking outside of the traditionally more famous wine regions of Italy.