Thursday, 3 August 2017

Margaret River Wine 50th Anniversary Tasting


The Margaret River wine region celebrates 50 years of commercial wine-making this year. The first planting was in 1967 at Vasse Felix by Dr Tom Cullity who was heavily influenced by a research paper by Dr John Gladstones showing the suitability of the region for wine.

Singapore being a hop, skip and jump away will also be joining in the festivities with a tasting featuring some of the top estates from Margaret River. Details as follows:

Date/Time: 
Thursday, 31 August 2017, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Venue:
 Equinox
69th Floor
Swissotel The Stamford
2 Stamford Road, 178882

Tickets cost SGD52.50 and are available at this link.

Separately, there will also be a dinner featuring 11 iconic wines paired with a 5 course degustation menu at Salt Grill & Sky Bar on Wednesday 30th August at 7:00 pm. Tickets available for SGD250 per person from Salt Grill & Sky Bar at +65 9769 9050 or email charmaine_a@pj-partners.com.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Small, Medium and Large in Napa Valley


Look no further than the Napa Valley if you want to see an example of wine tourism at its finest. This corner of California is a well-oiled machine of tasting rooms, tourist accommodation and world-class restaurants. The French Laundry, Thomas Keller’s temple of fine dining, is located here, as are cult wineries Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle. But you should discard any notion you may have of an intimate tête-à-tête with folksy winemakers. Throngs of people pack the tasting rooms, and even though I was there on a weekday there was still a fair bit of traffic along the main thoroughfare, Highway 29. The Silverado Trail, a smaller road that runs parallel to Highway 29, was similarly congested, if not more so. The winery tours are well-managed however, with generous pourings and a relaxed vibe.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Wine of the Month - July 2017

If you're looking for a crisp, flavoursome white at an affordable price point, then this is the wine for you. Grüner Veltliner is Austria's vinous gift to the world, a grape that takes to the unique loess soil like a fish to water. Usually unoaked, Grüner is capable of aging well when yields are restricted. The producer Gruber Röschitz is based in the Weinvertel region and is run by three siblings. A combination of warm days and cool nights produce wines of finesse and balance.

Wine: Gruber Röschitz Reipersberg Grüner Veltliner 2015

Tasting note: This wine comes from a single, south-facing terraced vineyard and is matured in stainless steel. It opens clean as a whistle, with unadulterated flavours of pear, grilled nuts and the signature white pepper so typical of Grüner Veltliner. The palate is fresh and vivacious while showing a lovely rounded texture. A clear sense of place to this groovy bottle.

Distributor: Ampelia Fine Wines

Friday, 7 July 2017

Languedoc Greatness

Producer: Mas de Daumas Gassac


This week I tasted a Cabernet blend from the 1982 vintage that was in perfect condition and showing all of the weathered complexity that only age can deliver. It’s like looking into a careworn face and appreciating every crease the years have bestowed. From that statement you may be tempted to guess that it was a great Bordeaux, perhaps even a first growth, but this wine was in fact made in the humble Languedoc region in the south of France. Narrowing down the producer is an easier task. There is only one that makes such long-lived Cabernet – Mas de Daumas Gassac, sometimes referred to as the Grand Cru of the Languedoc.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Passel Estate – A New Name in Margaret River

Producer: Passel Estate

Owners Barry and Wendy Stimpson

After a spirited and educational afternoon evaluating some wines from the Barossa Valley, the organiser of the session asked if we would like to stay back for a few minutes to meet the owners of a small winery in Margaret River. I had initially planned to rush off to the next appointment, but as they were already there I decided it would be churlish not to at least taste the wines. I am glad I did. Barry and Wendy Stimpson are Singapore residents with high-powered careers in the fields of law and strategic consultancy, but they were bitten by the wine bug when visiting Margaret River. In 2011 they purchased the land that was to become Passel Estate. The inspiration for the name came when they volunteered part of the area as a refuge for endangered western ringtail possums (passel is the term for a group of possums). As it turns out, the peppermint trees ringing the vineyard provide the ideal shelter and food source for the tree dwellers. Plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz date back to 1994, now augmented with a parcel of Chardonnay.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Different Shades of Pink


Eight years ago, a group of us were at the Barton & Guestier Wine School in Bordeaux, where the facilitator presented us three glasses of wine to taste. The twist being that these wines were served in opaque black glasses so as to remove any preconceptions that colour might give. While most of us were able to pick out the red wine, a surprise was that most of us mistook the rosé for a white. Did this suggest that taste-wise there was very little difference between a rosé and a white wine? Would our tasting notes have been different had we been able to see the colour? Research certainly indicates so. A study by Frederic Brochet and Denis Dubourdieu in 2001 found that tasters perceived a white wine as having the odour of a red wine when coloured red.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Visiting Beaune - Maison Joseph Drouhin


The thing that impressed me most when visiting Maison Joseph Drouhin was their labyrinth pre-war cellar, but it is appropriate to provide some background first. The founder, Joseph Drouhin, established the namesake négociant in 1880 at the young age of 22. It is still a family-run company, now run by the fourth generation and headed by Frédéric Drouhin who plays the role of company president. He is aided by his siblings Véronique Drouhin-Boss (Head Winemaker), Philippe Drouhin (Estates Manager) and Laurent Drouhin (U.S. Director). Philippe was instrumental in converting the domaine over to biodynamics, a practice that came about because he found that conventional agriculture did not address the question of the long term effects of chemical use in the vineyard. Soil specialist Claude Bourguignon once shocked the winemakers of Burgundy by declaring that the soils of the region had less microbial life than the Sahara desert. Today Maison Joseph Drouhin comprises 73 hectares, the majority of which is in Chablis (38 ha), and 32 ha of mostly premier cru and grand cru vineyards in the Côte d’Or.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Visiting Beaune - Maison Louis Jadot


On this trip I was in Beaune for only a day, so selecting the wineries to visit was based on which producers could provide the greatest overview of Burgundy. I was thrilled to be able to visit Louis Jadot, a venerable business that has been operating since 1859. The founder, Louis Henry Denis Jadot initially focused on the Northern Europe market as he was from Belgium and familiar with the area. His grandson, Louis Auguste Jadot, further expanded to the Americas, Great Britain and New Zealand. In 1985, Maison Louis Jadot was purchased by the Kopf family who also own Kobrand Corporation, the sole importers of Jadot Burgundies in the United States. The company is currently run by Pierre-Henry Gagey, whose father André Gagey was Louis Auguste Jadot’s deputy.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Rosé Revolution is Back

The fourth edition of the Rosé Revolution takes place on Sunday, May 14th at Hotel Fort Canning from 2pm to 7pm. Tickets are available through Ticketflap or Peatix. Organised by Eddie McDougall, AKA The Flying Winemaker, highlights of the event include over 20 of the world's finest rosés accompanied by food and entertainment. For those wanting to go the whole hog, there is also a four-course rosé pairing menu on the 11th of May from 7pm to 10pm, and a VIP area with lucky draws and goodie bags. The list of featured wines and dinner menu are at the bottom of this post.

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.