Rewards of patience

It usually pays off – especially when you leave wines with responsible friends overseas who remind you many years later, about your stash and then even offer one of theirs. The other day  we had a Coldstream Hills Pinot Reserve 2001 – I think it was from the harvest year that I worked there. How has the wine blossomed over the years! But maybe i am being sentimental. We got stewed prunes, plums, there were cherries, and quince and vegemite. An hour later it developed a hint of soy, sour cherries and sweet earth aromas. And it was elegant and smooth. Hours later, there were some sweet berry and cough medicine overtones – and throughout it was slightly bitter sweet in the long finish.  We enjoyed this wine with aged comte.

Then we had a Henschke Hill of Grace 1985. Brown red in colour. Strong bouquet incorporating Ribena, dried herbs, leather, cherries, sweet fruit and stewed cherries. Very smooth with lots of texture, reminiscent of  Burgundy. Perfect with Kalbi, and Kim chee brings out the fruit and nuttiness in the wine, even a little fig. (pic: We were at a holiday home so the closest thing to a decanter was the water jug)

And finally  a 1998 Noble One. Amber colour. Mandarins, kumquats nutty with a hint of bitterness. Scent of botrytis, good acidity. Perfect with coconut cake.

Boutique Beer – Estrella Damm Inedit

Tasted at the new Bilbao Tapas Bar and Restaurant (111 Somerset) – a truly refined beer with floral nuances, fruity and complex mid palate, elegant and long finished. Quite amazing.. and then was told that it was created by Ferran Adrià, his sommeliers and the brewmaster.

Best served in a bucket of ice, just like Champagne. Polished off two bottles with the Lobster Paella.

Sensual Sherries

Equipo Navazos has been launched in Singapore. Unlike the typical wine company, Equipo Navazos represents a group of sherry lovers who stumbled upon various stashes (rather, single butts or barrels) of old sherry. Yes its a Aladdin sort of story.  Although the drink is bottled privately some are available to the general public – and it is being brought in by Richfield but you can taste them at the new Taberna Wine Bar. If you notice the labels, they indicate successive numbered editions of dated releases – “the date of each saca or withdrawal has been precisely stated on the label so that aficionados can deliberately compare different editions of the same solera if they so desire”. I must say I was most impressed by the differences in the various bottles of say, the Manzanilla 16 vs. the Manzanilla 22. The former was floral, and fruity with unroasted nuts, umami, chocolate, resin and pomegranate on the back palate. The latter was a different wine  with apple juice overtones, cider, mushrooms with a nuttier overtone and dryer finish that was fresh and citrus. And you can check out their beautifully modern labels at www.equiponavazos.com/en/labels.htm

Chinese New Year Cakes

Nián gāo – a mochi like consistency, glutinous rice cake of Chinese origins. Kueh Lapis – Indonesian layered butter cake – this one in an amazing chessboard configuration; origin is the . Pineapple tarts – favourite festive cookie of Singaporeans, Malaysians and Indonesians.

White Burgundy!

The best wines tasted, and drunk (so good I didnt expel it) last month, turned out not to be red but white.

The first was a Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bourgogne Blanc 2006luxuriously soft and silky and round with citrus, vanilla peach, ripe, generous, concentrated, and a savoury undertone. This wine is actually Musigny Blanc Grand Cru (0.66ha) but goes under the humble classification of a Bourgogne Blanc.

Another wine was the Nicolas Potel Chevalier-Montrachet 2009 (cask sample) – toasty, smoky, lively, fleshy with oyster shells, broad with a hint of saline and sweet soft acids.

Then some Domaine Maroslavac-Leger, Puligny Montrachet “les Folatieres” 1er Cru, 2006 – stone fruit, dried tangerine peel, Anjou pear, grapefruit, wet stones and soft creamy acids.

And finally a bottle of Coche Dury Aligote, 2005 – biscuity, creamy yet still crisp and with preserved lemon flavours.

Toraya Cafe – wagashi for coffee

Visited the five centuries old Kyoto confectionary shop’s branch at Omotesando Hills, Tokyo and enjoyed a coffee and the famous azuki bean paste macaroon that was perfect with the coffee. The macaroon had bite, bounce and brought on a melt in your mouth bliss. And i don’t even like macaroons…  I am beginning to understand the appeal of Wagashi and the senses…

Deco – Japan

Deco is the Japanese love for decorating and personalising their objects, from bling on the name card holders to stickers on mobile phones and more.

This is one you can change daily on your Pentax camera, provided you have a box of Lego handy.