Gamberro Rosso 2014

 

Sixty-three producers gathered at the Chijmes Singapore this year, bringing with them wines from all over Italy. This is the 3rd time Gamberro Rosso has brought the roadshow to Singapore and again, wine lovers, the hotel and restaurant professionals and wine trade members got to taste extraordinary wines (3 bicchieri), very good wines (2 bicchieri) and good wines.

Last year during Gamberro Rosso’s 2nd visit, I was given a tour by Mr. Lorenzo Ruggeri, International Wine editor of Gambero Rosso. I tasted and discovered the many faces of Vermentino. They ranged from late harvested Sardinian Vermentino (Carpichera Vigna’ngena) with upfront notes of orange, red apple and ripe fruit and saline notes to a Vermentino from Liguria included a  zesty, wildflower nuanced wine (Cantine Lunae Bosoni, Colli di Luni Vermentino). Not only that a red wine Fattoria Poggio di Sotto, Rosso di Montalcino, became the most memorable I tasted at Gamberro Rosso 2013.

So with high expectations of more discoveries and the anticipation of tasting even more stunning wines, I attended Gamberro Rosso 2014 – and i was not disappointed!

Amongst the many impressive wines for me this year were Cantina Tollo’s fragrant Trebbiano d’Abruzzo C’Incanta 2010, the organic producer Di Majo Norante’s Molise Falanghina Rami 2012, Otella’s aromatic and floral Lugana Sup. Molceo 2011, Cantina Due Palme’s Salice Salentino Rosso Selvarossa Ris 2010, all plum spicy and robust and Tenuta Ulisse’s trio of Montepulciano d’Abruzzos – the Unico, the Amaranta and the Nativae. Each Montepulciano d’Abruzzo was made (fermented) differently – in stainless steel, in oak and in concrete – and each showed different characters due to the respective enological treatment. Additionally Volpe Pasini’s COF Merlot Focus Zuc di Volpe 2006 was impressive with its complex flavours and length whilst Tenuta Carretta’s Barbera d’Asti Sup. Nizza Mora di Sassi 2011 was redolent of small fruit and had a lively nature. These were just some of the amazing wines on show.  There were too many great wines to report on and the omission does not reflect the standard of the wine. And just like in the previous year, I left with the taste of my favourite wine, lingering in my mouth – the Nals Margreid A.A. Sauvignon Mantele 2012 – complex, layered and long finished.

 

Take A Deep Breath

published in Jetstar, Nov 2013; with photo of Ai by Aaron Wong

“What foolhardy situation have I gotten myself into now?” I thought as I clung nervously to the bobbing float that had been set up in the middle of the Banda Sea. I shuddered, not from cold – the water was a comfortably warm 28ºC; but from the prospect that I might die.

An hour earlier, in a gung-ho mood, I had signed up for freediving at the Wakatobi Dive Resort, on a remote island off Sulawesi. Whilst scuba diving over several days, I had watched with fascination and envy, a lone freediver, unencumbered by clunky equipment, manoeuvering amongst the myriad of coral and fishes.

In Besson’s movie, The Big Blue, professional ‘No-Limit’ competitive divers, used a weighted sled, accelerating rapidly down hundreds of metres and then inflated a balloon to propel themselves back to the surface.

Ai Futaki, my instructor assured me that with no records to break in recreational freediving or ‘Free Immersion Apnea’, all I had to learn was effortless breath holding. I would to pull myself down a rope. I was in good hands, after all, Ai is a Guinness Book of Record holder for “The Longest distance swam in a cave with one breath, with fins for 100m and without fins for 90m.” Tanned and diminutive, Ai radiated calm and confidence. But why did I have doubts?

I thought of mountaineers who related that getting to the summit was only half the journey. If I were to make my goal of 10 meters down, would I have enough air and composure to resurface?

“Forget your ego!”, Ai snapped me out of my doomsday thoughts. “Breath holding is only about 60 seconds. Besides, I will be alongside you all the way”.

Clinging onto the float, I begin the yoga breathing that Ai taught me – to maximize my lung capacity and also quiet my mind. I descend. First attempt – my low density mask fills with water. Second attempt – I forget to equalize. Third attempt – I want out, before I drown. On my fifth attempt, with slow pulls down the line, I make it to the bottom.

Exhilarated, I notice the unearthly quiet of my darkened surroundings with sun rays streaming through the water. Batfish swim by nonchalantly. I even forget I’m holding my breath. Too soon, Ai signals for me to ascend. I obey.

Back on the bobbing float, I’ve never felt more alive. So close to death.

Where to do it
www.ai-futaki.com/en/

 

Rich Pickings in Apulia

Apulia, in Southern Italy, is far off the tourist radar but has rich pickings for the inquisitive wine lover

WITH scorching days and cool breezy nights, Italy’s Apulia region is famous for its fruits of the land. Three-quarters of Italy’s pasta are produced from durum wheat grown in the rolling fields scattered across the land. Abundant olive trees provide for a third of Italy’s olive oil. And here too, you’ll find the country’s prolific wines.

Primitivo, Italy’s 12th most planted variety is Apulia’s most famous grape. Historically used to produce bulk wine, the region consequently became known for its mass-produced wines, good only for blending.

Of late, however, producers have discovered the untapped bounty of Primitivo. With its attractive fruit flavours and smooth tannins, talented winemakers have decided to go upmarket – turning grapes made for bulk into boutique wines.

To witness this remarkable transformation, I travelled into the heart of Apulia – 40km inland and south of Bari, Apulia’s capital, to the little hillside town of Gioia del Colle.

To look into the future, I first had to understand the past.

It was here in the late 1700s that Primitivo grapes came to being. A priest in Apulia began looking for an early ripening grapevine for propagating, the reason being that spring frosts usually occur late in the region and would damage new buds (which would grow into fruit). If the priest could find vines with a shorter vegetative cycle (faster growing vines), new buds would sprout after the debilitating frost and yet grow quickly enough to produce ripe fruit before the detrimental autumn rains. Happily, the priest did find such a vine in Gioia del Colle. He made cuttings and named the “new” vines Primativo, meaning “early ripening”.

Vincenzo Verrastro, an agronomist, took me for a walk around his small town of 28,000 inhabitants.

Vincenzo Verrastro

“We are in the real country here; every resident is a farmer.” Vincenzo explained that every home has wine cellars – whether banker, baker or babysitter, every resident makes wine in one form or another.

Wine cellar of a typical home

My next stop was the vineyard of Cantina Polvanera. Standing on the rich red soil among the old bush vines of Primitivo, its affable owner Filippo Cassano explained that many styles of wine can be made from the Primitivo grape.

Fillippo Cassano, relaxing

 

“Taste a Primitivo and you will be seduced by the flavours of berries, prunes and herbs. Not only that, the wine takes on different characters depending on the soil the vines grow on.”

Cassano handed me a wine called “16”. Made from vines planted on dark rocky but iron-rich soils, I detected dark fruit flavours in a rich wine with medium tannins. In contrast, another wine called “17”, made from vines growing on limestone-loam soils, exhibited finer-structured tannins with a lovely texture.

“Primitivo also comes in different styles,” explained Cassano proudly as he poured me three other wines.

One was a sweet, light-red Primitivo called “21”; another was a sparkling pink, which was bubbly and refreshing. The last wine was a Rosato (Primitivo blended with other varietals) with red fruit notes. I was delighted to have been introduced to the many facets of Primitivo.

Mariangela Plantamura, in town

 

At another vineyard, Plantamura, I met its owner, the petite and charming Mariangela Plantamura. Originally a city slicker, she moved to the countryside to be closer to her first love – growing Primitivo and making wine.

Whilst strolling in her fields, where herbs such as wild mint, thyme and lavender grow abundantly alongside vines, she reached down and picked some.

Herbs grow alongside vines

 

“Wines take on the subtle aromas of the herbs and flowers that the vines grew with. Smell these herbs and then tell me if you can detect the same in my wine,” she said with a twinkle in her eye.

Sure enough, a Plantamura Primitivo 2009 had pronounced red berry aromas accompanied by a beguiling scent of flowers and herbs. Additionally, Primitivo responds to growing conditions. Being from a hot and dry year, Plantamura’s 2011 wine was resplendent with black fruit and black cherry flavours.

A true great wine will stand the test of time. You may wonder how these former mass-market wines compare to some of the famous wines of the world.

Vertical of Fatalone

At Cantina Fatalone, I tasted some mature versions of Primitivo, dating back more than a decade. The Fatalone Primitivo of 2005 had hints of farmyard, bovril and a tinge of iodine – it reminded me of an old Bordeaux. The 2003 with its chocolates, red fruit, soy, earth and silky overtones was reminiscent of a Burgundy.

The 2001 had a Barbaresco-like camphor-mint leather bouquet. I declared that the 2000, with its balsam, meat, stewed fruit hints and a dry finish, was in a class of its own.

The successful evolution of the Primitivo grape is truly something to celebrate – it is no longer a bulk wine but one to collect, savour and cherish. And it is still surprisingly easy on the wallet.

 

Marianna Annio of Pietraventosa

Impressive Wines from Gioia del Colle

Guiliani Primitivo Riserva 2008 – Forest fruits, cherry, hint of mocha, tobacco and soy with a sweet core and a satin texture. Higher altitude vines at 500m; wine aged in big casks as well as barriques.

Guiliani Primitivo Riserva 2007 – Forest fruit, with a sweet fruit core, cotton-satin textures and firm finish.

Guiliani Primitivo ‘1922’ Vino da Meditazione – Intense red, with savoury sweet flavours, honeyed yet with a dry firm finish. Late harvest wine.

Tenuta Chiaramonte “Muro Sant’Angelo” Primitivo 2008 – Full-bodied with extract, pomegranate, small red fruits and an intense sweet tangy finish. From 60-year-old vines and low yields.

Tenute Chiaramonte Primitivo Riserva 2006 – Sweet-sour fruit, tobacco, minerals, leather and fine sticky tannins.

Pietraventosa “Ossimoro” 2007 – Smoke, sweet core of fruit, minerals, velvety, complex and long. Primitivo blend with 30% Aglianico.

Pietraventosa Primitivo 2007 – Soft and silky, melt in the mouth wine with succulent fruit, berries and spice

Pietraventosa “Allegoria” Primitivo 2008 – Intense ripe fruit, hint of biscuits, velvety, soft with a saline finish. Stainless steel ageing only.

Pietraventosa Riserva 2008 – Mixed berries, spice, fresh soft, silky and long. Unwooded.

Tenuta Viglione “Johe” 2008 – Fragrant wine with fresh cherries, strawberries, pepper spice and orange peel. Primitivo blend with 50% Aleatico.

Tenuta Viglione “Marpione” Primitivo Riserva 2008 – Perfumed and intense with nuances of leather. From 78-year-old vines, aged in big casks and stainless steel tanks.

Tenuta Viglione Primitivo 2005 – Mixed fruit, green plums, subtle leather notes, balanced

Tenuta Viglione Rupestre IGT 2008 -Nutty with red fruit, chocolate and old leather. Lovely acids, long finished. Primitivo-Merlot blend.

Plantamura (red label) 2010– Floral nose with basket of red fruits. balanced, elegant and with sticky tannins. Long.

Plantamura Riserva (white label) 2008Forest fruits, sour cherries, vanilla, intense and structured. For long ageing. 

Plantamura (black label) 2009 – Red and black fruits, herbs, florals and balsam notes; structured and elegant.

Fatalone Primitivo Riserva 2009 – Intense with red and black fruits, coffee nuances and tight tannins (tank sample)

Fatalone Primitivo Riserva 2008 – Balsam n0tes, sour cherries and with a sweet balance (tank sample)

Fatalone Primitivo Riserva 2007 – Black plums, blackcurrants, silky texture, touch of sweetness in the finish (tank sample)

Fatalone Primitivo Riserva 2006 – Sweet fruit nose with pepper, florals and vanilla, balanced.

Fatalone Primitivo Riserva 2004 – Mocha, chocolate, Alacantra leather, stewed fruit, vanilla, lively acids and medium long finish.

Tried & Tested: Wines for Asian cuisine

Cantonese, Thai, Indian, Japanese….(unedited notes from a series of tastings conducted with Peak- G Magazine in 2011)

 

Modern Cantonese Cuisine

Panelists:Michael Tay, Carrie Chen, Tan Kah Hin and Edwin Soon

Task: Taste 23 wines and determine their suitability to Cantonese cuisine; identify a best overall wine for such a cuisine.
Venue: Majestic Restaurant was chosen for it’s fine interpretation of food from the semi-tropical region of China, so rich in seafood, livestock and vegetables. Tradition dictates that food should be prepared steamed, poached, or undergo a quick stir-fry to best bring out the freshness of the raw ingredients.
The first dish to emerge from the kitchen turned out to be a combination of three starters. Early on, we had our work cut out for us. For oysters encased in a crispy batter, few red wines made the match. The high iron content in the red wine interacted with the seafood and brought out a not-so pleasant metallic taste. That said however, a Russian sparkling wine, the Abrau Durso ‘Imperial Collection’ Brut, with its tangy acidity contrasted the salt of the oysters whilst the wines bubbly consistency was a foil to the crunchy robe of the oyster. Finally we found our match!  For the beancurd roll and prawns with slivers of fresh mango, Argentinan Chardonnay from Bodegas Y Vinedos Graffigna with it’s citrus flavours were the perfect foil for the prawns. The wine mirrored the mango flavours decadently whilst its texture was a welcome contrast to the crisp and soft beancurd.
Vegetables can always be a challenge for wine pairings simply because of their chlorophyll and fresh green flavours. Fortunately, the next dish, a sauteed kai lan on a crispy nest came with a trio of mushrooms and macadamia nuts. The nuts served as the first bridging ingredient with wine. The wok hei-infused mushrooms and garlic brimmed with umami. These earthy, nutty and umami flavours called out for wines with fine tannins and flavours of forest fruit and earth. The trio of fine German wines submitted for this tasting – Rudolf Furst, Jean Stodden, Friedrich Becker rose to the occasion. New Zealand Pinot Noirs (Nautilus Estate, Brancott and Mt. Riley) didn’t fare to badly either.
Next came a seared Wagyu ribeye, lightly marinated in soy, honey, coriander and yellow bean. The pillows of sweet meat paired tastefully with the lightly sweet Mt. Riley Pinot Noir. But what if one insisted on imbibing the kim chee that came served with the ribeye? The wine of choice would once again be the Russian sparkling wine.

Roast suckling pig with fragrant glutinous rice and hoisin sauce presented a predicament.
Logic tells us that the sweet hoisin sauce can only be matched with a wine that is equally sweet. The meat we knew would be best matched with dry wines.
A spatlese was found to be too tangy so it was finally down to a pair of Italian Moscato d’Asti’s –from Marchesi di Barolo and from Michele Chiarlo. The panelists felt that the dish was no less delicious if one left out the sauce. In such a case, the Capanelle Chardonnay and the Louis Jadot Montrachet complimented the dish but it was Simon – Buerule, Auerbacher Hoellberg Chardonnay from Germany that made the match.
Recommendations – Moscato is the easiest choice for Chinese food. Then again, you can’t go far wrong with Chardonnay either. The clean, dry, soft and well-defined wine is always a winner with pork dishes, a key meat dish in Cantonese cuisine.
The ultimate wine for Cantonese cuisine must certainly be a Pinot Noir. Sure, complex and expensive Pinot Noirs will be very enjoyable but a simple, inexpensive Pinot Noir such as Mt Riley will do just as well. Thanks to the wine’s affinity to ginger, garlic and soy.

 

North Indian Cuisine
Complexity: The cuisine of India, country of countries, is diverse – from Mughal pullaos to Goan seafood. One commonality that all Indian cuisine shares is its plethora of spices – for seasoning, enhancing, and flavouring food.

Panelists:  Sarah Mayo, Tan Su Yen, Tan Kah Hin, Daniel Chia and Edwin Soon went about to discover just what wines would make the cut with Punjab cuisine.

Venue: The newly opened Punjab Grill at Marina Bay Sands played host to our pairing quest. Some 20 wines (including Australian Shiraz, Chilean Cabernet, Portuguese rosé and American Merlot) were uncorked for the exercise.
For starters, a Tandoori Guchchi Salad composed of char grilled goats cheese and morel mushrooms with a Burrhani salad dressing were presented. Two wines stood out for their ability to enhance the dish.
A Bisol Crede Prosecco di Valdobbiaidene DOC, a sparkling white wine, mirrored the tanginess of the goat’s cheese and brought out a lingering nutty flavour in the mouth.
A Valduero Crianza red went one step further. The soft tannins and vanilla nuances perfectly set off the char grill flavours of the cheese. The longer one enjoyed this wine, the more apparent the savouriness of the dish became. To confirm both wines suitability for oven baked meats, Tandoori chicken was ordered up and indeed both wines passed with flying colours.
A Spatlese Riesling from Dr. H Thanisch (Muller – Burggraef) was just what the next dish – dill-flavoured Norwegian Salmon Tikka, needed. The wine’s touch of sweetness provided a lovely balance for the savory-tasting fish.
If red is what you prefer, might we suggest Lucbaudet-Mas-Neuf Armonio, a Grenache/ Merlot/Cabernet blend. The wine’s soft tannins works well to eliminate any bitter spice reactions in the food.
The traditional lamb mince of Raunaqeen Seekhan was given an extraordinary play of tastes at the Punjab Grill – with a filling of Chevre cheese.
Served with coriander, mint and spring onions, it called out for a wine with good sweetness to counter this complex medley of tastes which included some piquant chilli. Here a Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache fit the bill, as did the Valduero Crianza.
An aromatic basmati rice dish – a Samundari Pilaf on dum arrived on our table served with a perfectly-prepared sea bass, succulent tiger prawns and sweet green mussels. Alongside was a palak paneer. Grenaches, Merlots, Syrahs and even Nero d’Avolas weren’t a bad match but ultimately it was a Spanish red wine that come up tops for us. Valduero Crianza, proved once again, to be the all-rounder. The wine brought out the delightful flavours in the dish but still managed to keep the piquant heat at bay.
For sweet endings, a dessert rice soufflé called Phirni was presented. As always, sweet matches sweet and a Spatlese Riesling played its role perfectly.
Findings – With Indian fare, you need fruity low tannin reds or any wine with residual sweetness to counter any piquant spice in the food. If unsure, serve both a soft red and a lightly sweet white wine. Beware of wines with high alcohol as the alcohol will tend to build on the chilli spice and you might end up feeling like a blowtorch has been applied to your mouth. Other wines to try with northern Indian cuisine, are Pinot Grigios, Viogniers, Gruner Veltliners , Chateauneuf du Papes and aged Tuscan Sangiovese based wines.
The best overall wine for Punjab cuisine is the Valduero Crianza from Ribera del Duero. With its soft tannins, broad spectrum of flavours, it is the wine to accompany different tangents and spices found in Northern Indian food.

 

 
Thai Cuisine

Cuisine: Whether it’s a meat, seafood or vegetable dish, it’s the bright, zesty herbs – lime leaf, basil and lemongrass – that set Thai food apart from other Asian cuisines. Tangy turmeric, mint, nutmeg, ginger, garlic, cloves, coriander, peppercorns, sweet shallots, spring onions and chilli complete the plethora of flavourings. For texture and taste there is salty fish sauce and silky-textured coconut milk. Thai cuisine, harmoniously combines disparate flavours and delivers more than the searing piquancy of chilli. In essence, it’s a balance of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and hot tastes – with the sweet predominating in Royal Thai cuisine.

Venue & Panelists: So, onto wines. And it was at the Kha restaurant that panelists Stephanie Rigourd, Janice Koh, Tan Su Yen, Michael Tay, Gerald Lu and Edwin Soon were tasked to determine the best overall wine for Thai cuisine. But first – the best matches for each dish.

For a duo of starters – Tod Man Pla and Grilled Red Curry Rubbed Wagyu Beef, a wine had to be characterful enough to stand up to the Kaffir lime, nuts and raw sweet onions served with the fish cake. Moreover, it also had to be creamy enough to match the texture of the beef yet crisp enough to cut through the fat of the meat. Lo and behold, Gewurztraminers turned out to be the ideal wines here. The Bott-Geyl Gewurztraminer from France and the Italian Gewurztraminer, from Elena Walch, made the best matches for the starters.
Additionally, the highly aromatic Schloss Castell, a Gewurtzraminer-Silvaner blend from Germany went a step further. It enhanced the herbal flavours of the Tod Man Pla.
Pairing wines with soups is no mean feat. Tom Yum Goong is no exception. This dish features prawns, lemongrass and is hot and sour to taste. The deLoach Zinfandel, with its vanilla flavours, initially seemed a possible match but soon found difficulties with the lemongrass. The Elena Walch Gewurztraminer prolonged the aromatics of the soup and brought out a freshness in the pairing. The Gewurztraminer-Silvaner had the effect of quelling the piquancy in the soup. A Pinot Gris from Johanninger brought out a delicious sweetness in the prawns, and also cleansed the palate with every sip, entreating one to take more spoonfuls of soup.
The same Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminers complimented equally the next dishes of Kheaw Wan Gai, Wok Fried Tiger Prawns with Crispy Quail Eggs. The former wine was a refreshing contrast to the Green Curry but it was the Gewurztraminer that had enough acidity and sweetness to cool down the spice and prolong the flavour. To finish, a rich Pad Thai found a character match with a equally rich and full-bodied French Gewurztraminer.
A caramel Ma Muang Suk was served last at Kha. A Beni di Batasiolo Moscato di Asti, furnished by the restaurant was a refreshing partner to the end of a lovely meal.
For Thai food, wine recommendations are to pick a neutral wine that helps to cleanse the palate and tame the chilli. Alternatively, choose a wine with a strong personality but one that adds pleasant tastes to the food flavours. Pinot Gris from Germany and Gewurztraminer from Italy are the best pics. All other wines including Soave, dry Furmint, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, and even a Merlot, make good matches but the Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer made heavenly pairings.

 

 
Japanese Cuisine
Cuisine: Unlike other Asian cuisines that involve blends of sauces, herbs and spices to create flavorsome dishes, Japanese food celebrates the taste of one main ingredient. Each dish is created through measured portions, meticulous preparation, and a juxtaposition of textures, shapes and colors. With such meticulous detail and discipline, any wine called to match would also have to serve several requirements – to be crisp and pointed enough to pair with raw and cooked seafood; to be savoury enough to marry the salty tastes of soy, teriyaki and sesame; and to be quiet enough so as not to interfere with the pure flavours of each dish.

Panelists & Venue: Carrie Chen, Lam Fook Ping, Tan Ying Hsienand Edwin Soon challenged themselves to the finer point of Japanese food and wine matching at Nadaman Resturant.

For the assorted summer appetizers of boiled Matsutake mushroom, scallop and lettuce; Salty squid, prawn with caviar, lotus roots, asparagus and Enoki mushroom, cucumber, white radish with vinegar – two wines were shortlisted. The Duval-Leroy Champagne served as a good palate cleanser but it was a Pierre Peters Grand Gru Blanc de Blancs that made the best match. This champagne contrasted with the fried salty asparagus yet had good acids to handle the squid and vinegar. It stood its ground with complex with toasty notes and did not interfere with the flavours of the dishes.
Raw fish found many friendly consorts. Chardonnays added a smoky edge to the pairing of sashimi of flat fish, yellow tail and red tuna. Dry white wines with tangy citrus flavours worked like a squeeze of lemon on white fish. Champagnes had the same effect but also highlighted the textures in the fish. With the sushi of prime tuna, salmon and sea bream, a Gevrey Chambertin by Rossignol-Trapet highlighted the creaminess of the sushi. Shiso leaf paired well with spicy red Burgundies. Both were a match for each other in flavour and taste intensities.
Given the pure and pristine tastes of the seafood, the best wine to match turned out to be a Grand Cru Clos de Vougeot by Thibault Liger-Belair. The complex tasting wine was enhanced by the various food tastes whilst the wine itself highlighted the various textures of the sushi and sashimi.

Next came a Japanese rolled omelette with grilled eel that had a smoky edge. A lightly sweet Spatlese Riesling from Von Hovel (the panelist’s safe option) enveloped all the flavours and added some sweetness to the dish. The Clos de Vougeot however, combined effortlessly with the food. It not only bound all the flavours of the dish, making the dish more complete, but also matched well the sides of seaweed, abalone and mushrooms.

For fried battered dishes like Tempura prawn, rolled white meat fish with shiso leaf eggplant, sweet potato and sweet green pepper, champagnes were found to be too assertive. Chardonnay did work but it was a white burgundy, a Roux Pere and Fils Saint Aubin that made fast found friends with fish, prawn and vegetables. The Clos de Vougeot red was also a winner.

Finally, at end, came some Australian Wagyu beef “Sukiyaki” style. Any wine would be tasked to stand up to the sweet soy sauce. Panelists tried the Von Hovel Spatlese Riesling and nodded approvingly but the surprise was that although none of the dry wines worked, a Mumm Cordon Rouge bucked the trend. It handled the salty sweet soy tastes and the beef flavours like everything had been predestined. This is the perfect wine for this dish.

For Japanese cuisine the favourite wine was unanimously the Clos de Vougeot grand Cru red Burgundy from Thibault Liger-Belair. Having a dry white wine as an alternative is recommended when serving Japanese cuisine.

 

 
Singapore Hawker Fare
Food: Hawker food is a mixed bag of dishes, with different origins, cooking methods and ingredients. If there is one unifying theme of hawker food is that flavours are bold. Should a wine take the secondary role as a thirst quencher or could a wine add to a dish’s flavours when a food-wine matching is attempted?

Panelists : Janice Koh, Gerald Lu, Lam Fook Ping and Tan Ying Hsien
Satay – Grilled turmeric-marinated meat, dipped into a spicy sweet peanut sauce calls out for smooth, sweet white wines. After considering wines such as Malbecs, Chateauneuf du Papes and even an Auslese Riesling, it was a C.H. Berres Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese, with it slightly sweet taste that worked best with the sauce and also stronger tasting meats such as the mutton satay.
Laksa features the use of strong tasting ingredients – shrimp paste, coriander, coconut milk and laksa leaf. An Anne Gros et Jean-Paul Tollot Minervois (Grenache, Syrah, Carigan, Cinsault) brought soft tannins and dark fruit flavours to the pairing. A Zaccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Cerasuolo also made a good match but panelists opted for a white wine that intensified the spiciness of the Laksa – the Domaine Long Depaquit Chablis Premier Cru – Les Vaucopins.
Carrot Cake is oily, with smoky flavours, savoury tastes and a chewy texture. The best wine for this dish was the blended wine from the Minervois.
Rojak, with pungent flavours of black prawn paste, lime, peanuts, ginger flower, sugar and tamarind, needs a wine that can stand up to big flavours. The Bodegas Y Vinedos Graffigna Malbec made the grade but in the end it was the C.H. Berres Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese that came out tops. It had the sweetness and acidity to blend in with the dish.
Hokkien Mee is a robust flavoured dish of egg, lard, seafood, deep-fried shallots, spring onions, soy, sambal and fresh lime. Wines like the Vina Maipo Limited Edition Syrah and the Minervois made reasonable matches. However, the best match was the Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec as it simply paired well with the seafood, matched beautifully with the wok hei in this exuberant dish.
Conclusion – no one wine works best with hawker food since the range of dishes is wide. Sweet wines work with most dishes that feature chilli since the sweetness in the wine tends to quell any of the piquant burn of chilli. Avoid high alcohol wines that tend to accentuate the chilli burn. Also keep away from high tannin red wines – the friendly red wines will have some sweet dark or red fruit that brings to the match nice flavours.

SUMMARY – Best wines for Asian Cuisine
Singapore Hawker dishes: Sweet wines and soft tannin, low alcohol red wines, preferably chilled should make reasonable pairings for most dishes.
Indian Punjab cuisine: Choose any low tannin or smooth tannin red wine with juicy characters, such as a Grenache or a Spanish red (Tempranillo). White wines that are lightly sweet will tame any spice and heat but may not pair well with all dishes.
Chinese Cantonese Cuisine: You can’t go wrong with lightly sweet Moscatos but a better match is found in a New World Pinot Noir.
Thai cuisine: Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer make excellent wine pairings. Pinot Gris tends to refresh whilst Gewurztraminer tends to cool down the spice and add some sweetness to the dish.
Japanese Cuisine: Having a red and a white Burgundy at the table will ensure that most food and wine matches will work. The better the wine, the better the pairing.

Top wines 2011/2010 (Peak Challenge- Spring & Winter)

Life is too short to drink the bad wines –  we are told time and again. So here are some wines that have been tasted (over 700 wines were tasted; many were rejected) and that were highly recommended by as many as a dozen panelists – some from industry, others from trade and even collectors and experts – at the Peak G wine tastings, which I organised.  You can’t go far wrong with these wines.

Luetzuendorf, Karsdorfer Hohe Gräte “Grosses Gewachs” 2007 Silvaner $78, Germany, Magma Trade and Consult Pte Ltd

Deep yellow colour, brimming with aromas of tropical fruits, red apples, nectarine, pear, lemons, floral, honeysuckle, nuances of lychee, lemon zest and orange. Sweet nose balanced by excellent balance, texture and finish. This is a stunning wine from the unique vineyard of Karsdorfer Hohe Gräte, that lies in the former German Democratic Republic. The microclimate of the site is low in rainfall with relatively warm summers and mild winters – but uniquely, the growing season here is about a week longer than the regional average – the result is wine with depth of flavour and fine-grained acidity.

Van Volxem, Altenberg Alte Reben (old vines), Riesling 2008, $150, Germany, Wein & Vin Pte Ltd

Subtle yet complex nose incorporating stone fruit, flowers, orange blossom, citrus, spice and a touch of toast. Fleshy with a good structure and acidity. Balanced, weighty and quite rich. Excellent minerality. Honeyed texture, tightly woven, powerful and with an ultra long, racy finish. Will improve over the next decade. Benefits from decanting/aerating prior to drinking.

Domaine Maroslavac-Leger, Puligny Montrachet “les Folatieres” 1er Cru, 2006, $95, France, Vino Cave

Intense nose of stone fruit, dried tangerine peel, Anjou pear, grapefruit and wet stones. Some notes of yellow apple in the mid palate leading up to steely minerals. Zippy and zesty, yet acids are quite soft. Creamy, light lanolin texture, precise and with a long finish. Enjoy with roast chicken or dishes featuring white/butter sauces.

Capannelle, Solare IGT 2004, $112.20, Italy, Hermitage Wines Pte Ltd

Saturated, medium-dark red. Serious nose with loads of depth, cherry, peach pit, currants. Nuances of tobacco and meat reveal good bottle ageing. Medium plus acidity in the tart red fruit flavours, with a sweet core of fruit allied with good structure and fine grained tannins. Medium bodied. Finish is bright and long with the lingering taste of fresh red fruit. A Sangiovese-Malvasia Nera blend.

Thibault Liger Belair, Clos De Vougeot Grand Cru, 2006, $171.20, France, Vinum Fine Wines

Ruby centre with bright red rim. Aromas of black fruits, plums, raspberries and maraschino cherries. Dry with finely grained tannins. Flavours of sour red plums, haw flakes, eucalyptus, cloves and black pepper. Tight, youthful, well-balanced and stylish. Excellent example of a Clos de Vougeot. Drinking well now.

Osmose Vins, Gigondas AOC 2007, $58, France, Top Wines Pte Ltd

Complex nose of sun ripened fruit, cherries, raspberries, pepper and a hint of animal aromas. Good balance, with a touch of tannins, soft and smooth texture, medium bodied and a medium finish. Easy drinking wine suited for roasts and cold meats.

Ramey, Shanel Vineyard Syrah, 2006, $124, USA,Water & Wine (S) Pte Ltd

Deep red-black centre, bright red rim. Incredibly complex with red and black fruits, figs, leather, earth, vanilla, coconut, violets, milk chocolate, hawthorne and sweet plum. Pure and vibrant fruit. Big and bold, supple and smooth, dense and layered with chewy tannins and a sweetish finish. The Rhône has a rival in this cool-climate, coastal California Syrah. Best cellared for at least five more years.

Doña Paula, Malbec, Seleccion De Bodega 2006, $83, Argentina, Crystal Wines Pte Ltd

Intense violet colour with a bright red rim. Perfumed and slightly spicy, with powerful flavours of dark plums, red berries, baked red fruits, and boiled sweets. Dry finish, with the lingering taste of red fruits, blueberries, mocha and dark cherries. All presented in a concentrated form yet makes for easy drinking. Formidable tannins, rich and memorable, this is one of Argentina’s icon wines and it is only made in exceptional years.

 

Wairau River, Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, 2009, $40, New Zealand, Austral Pacific Wine Merchant

Light bright yellow. Aromatic and exuberant. Gorgeous melange of flowers, herbs, pears, passionfruit, lemon and soft green fruits. Soaring notes of candy, exotic fruits and stonefruit. Complex yet not intellectual. Good balance, medium high acidity, medium long finish. Delicious and sensational value. For immediate enjoyment – best with mussel dishes, creamy cheese and cold seafood.

Tenuta SantAntonio, Amarone Valpolicella Campo Del Gigli DOC, 2004, $158, Italy, Water & Wine (S) Pte Ltd

Deep and dense with red black centre and bright ruby rim. Mix of dark fruit and florals on the nose. Unbelievable flavour intensity, consisting dark fruit, tea, toffee, currants, earth and dried plums. Full bodied and dry, yet juicy with smooth tannins and a lingering finish. A luscious wine. Carpineto Farnito Vin Santo, 1992 Italy, Monopole Pte Ltd, $98 Light amber in colour, smoky caramel, rancio notes with hints of straw on the nose. Sweet with flavours of caramelised fruit, hazelnut, Gula Melaka and coconut (grated), lovely chocolate and bright acids. Medium length.

Oremus, Aszu 6 Puttonyos Tokaji, 2000, Hungary, Vinum Fine Wines, $116 Light amber. Aromas of fruitcake, tangerine, Chinese dates and “Nian gao”. Really rich with inviting flavours of dried longan, orange peel preserved plum, apricot, biscotti, hazelnut and watercress.  Luscious, long and memorable.

Chateau Doisy Daene, Sauternes 2006, France, Wein & Vin, $65 Bright amber with gold, high viscosity. Perfumed with a lovely mix of caramel, smoke, sweetened apples, bittersweet almond cake, botrytis, peach, lychee, roasted nuts and orange rind. Some minerality and with a rich texture.

Bruno Paillard, Blanc De Blanc Reserve Privee MV, Champagne, France, Vinum Fine Wines, $121 Straw gold, hint of minerals, bread and toasted barley. Flavours of limes, broad mid palate and a medium long finish. Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale Brut 1999, Champagne, France, Hai Choo Wines & Spirits, $135 Dark gold and perfumed with a mix of flowers, dried apricots and toast. Fruity in the mouth, integrated and balanced. Beautifully presented given the follow through and long finish.

Duval Leroy, Vintage 1999 Blanc de Chardonnay, Champagne, France, Top Wines Pte Ltd, $145 Medium gold, soft mousse. Aromas of red apples, minerals, yeast and hint of petroleum.  Dry with a lingering taste of apricots.

Domaine Charbay, Port Release III, USA, Water & Wine (S) Pte Ltd, $102 Tawny with a brick red border. Aromas of bark, cherries, dried tea-leaf and flowers. Flavours of vanilla, herbs, liquor chocolate, dried red fruit, spice, toffee, pepper, mocha and caramel. Balanced with a warm, clean medium dry finish and a hint of oak. The ideal Christmas pudding wine.

Quartz Reef, Methode Traditionnelle 2006, Central Otago, NZ, The Cellar Door Pty Ltd, $52 Persistent bubbles, straw yellow with golden hues. Complex with toast, bread, yeast, biscuits, red apples, nougat and honey. Rich and complex yet balanced and refreshing. Perfect for aperitif and crudités.

Jansz Tasmania Vintage Cuvee 2005, Australia, Monopole Pte Ltd, $61 Medium gold with a fine mousse. Rich nose of red apples, Chinese pear, green apple and hazelnuts. Good palate weight. Quite complex and refined. Ideal wine for tim sum or as a party welcome drink.

Philipponnat Millesime Sec Sublime Reserve 2000, Champagne, France, Indoguna Singapore Pte Ltd, $115 Dark gold. Good mousse and aromas of shitake mushrooms, forest floor, with straw, minerals and pears.  Round and smooth on palate, good acidity and mild sweetness, balanced with a long clean finish

De Bortoli ‘Old Boys’ Tawny Port, Australia $78, Crystal Wines Retail Australia’s top sweet white wine producer excels again with this port-style wine. Dark with an orange rim, this wine has aromas of nutmeg, mint, caramel, spice, milk chocolate leather and spice.  Palate –wise, this is abig voluminous concentrated wine with well-integrated and refreshing acids and good length.

Kaesler Touriga Nacional NV ‘Port-style’Australia, $43, Straits Wine Company Outlets Opaque crimson with vibrant pink rim. Woody, with black brambly fruit, rose petals, prune jam, raisins and bitter-sweet cherries. Medium bodied with uplifted tannins and warm long finish.  Lighter style fortified wine from the Barossa straddling the styles of a big dry red wine and a vintage-port.

Valdespino Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Pedro Ximenez El Candado (NV) Spain $53, Straits Wine Company Outlets 13th Century, Spanish knight, Alonso Valdespino, did well with the land given by the king. Today, this bodega is acknowledged as the oldest sherry house in Spain. Offerings range from Fino to this decadant ‘PX’ that is deep mahogany in colour, brimming over with flavours of rum and raisin, coffee and chocolate, sultanas, soy, pecan pie, molasses and nuts. Good acidity to balance and delicious finish.

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne NV, France $118 Isetan, Meidiya, Carrefour The revived ‘Champagne Charlie’ of NY high society. It’s light gold with a toasty, almost oaky-nutty nose. Medium bodied, concentrated, intense and oxidative characters and layers of flavours including walnuts, minerals and baked apple. Dry with excellent acid backbone/texture and medium length. Complete.

Perrier-Jouët ‘Belle Epoque’ Champagne 2002, France, $330 Le Rouge Together with the rosé and Blancs de Blancs this Brut style wine is the house’s flagship. Subtle nose of biscuits, citrus fruits, pear, apple and minerals. Subtle hints of pineapple, grapefruit and lime.  Fine mousse, elegant, soft, light texture yet with a good structure, balance and finesse – the essence of a true Prestige cuvée. Long finished and memorable.

Henriot, ‘Cuvee des Enchanteleurs’ 1996, France $ 299, Booze Wine Shop Raffles Place, Booze Wine Shop Jalan Besar, Taste Fine Wine Merchant Aromas of burnt butter, Brazil nut and caramel lead into floral scents of Hibiscus and Peonies. Aromas of evolution – mushrooms, earth are evident and are supported by savoury flavours including mocha and toast. Yet the wine finish is dry and long, thanks to some citrus flavours and a good acid backbone. A Prestige cuvée that is ready for enjoyment.

Joseph Perrier ‘Cuvée Josephine’ 2002, France $320, Oaks Cellars, Bacchus, The Momba Wineshop Cuvée Josephine, named for the owner’s daughter is exactly that – Golden colour, discreet bubbles but with delightful aromas of toast, biscuits and fruit. It is also well structured and with a good balance, and with the lingering taste of minerals.

Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt, Majorat Brut Riesling 2007, Germany $70, Wein & Vin Light yellow. Aromas of peach, lemongrass, lemon, honey and mint with a hint of biscuits and petroleum. High acidity, low volume. Makes this a serious wine style. Delicious though. The wine came to being when the Von Kesselstatt family purchased disused monasteries, complete with vineyards in the 19th Century.

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava, Spain Made from Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo grapes grown in the renowned Alt Penedès region this blend of reserve and non-vintage wines, is clean and delicate, yet rich in flavour. It has a pale green tinge and citrus aromas are lifted. Light bodied and steely dry with green apples, Lemongrass, mint, and grapefruits. Clean tidy finish.

Rene Bezemer, Ninth Island sparkling wine 2003 Australia $63 The Butcher, Le Vigne Wines, World of Wines One of Tasmania’s and Australia’s best sparkling wines shows well here with a watery pale yellow colour and a green hue. There’s lemon curd and toasty characters as well as marzipan, pear, peach and pineapple – deeming it very attractive. A lively mid palate freshness and concentration with a mid-length finish completes this wine

Schramsberg Vineyards, Blanc de Blanc Calistoga  2006, USA, Morton’s of Chicago, Krish the Restaurant, The Standish A truly complex wine with a gold highlights and complex nose of lemon-lime, bread and autolysis characters.  Good bead, velvety texture, and a minerally, tangy finish. For an even more complex version, indistinguishable from Champagne, try the J Schram Methode Traditionelle 2001, available only via private on line retail.

Ca’del Bosco Cuvee Prestige NV Italy, $84, Crystal Wines Pte Ltd
Pale golden yellow. Slight medicinal, almost herbal notes with bread and toasty notes. Very dry palate with abundant bubbles, soft texture, medium length with flavours of lime on the finish. A food wine.

Schloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner 2007, Indoguna Singapore
Schloss Gobelsburg is a historic winery, owned by a Cistercian monastery with vineyards in the Kamptal region of Austria. Peach, pear nose giving way to some earth and lightly fried pork with herbs. Full, ripe, round, herbal, floral, with tingling spice. Long and very good.

Domaine de Roches Neuves, Saumur Blanc l’Insolite,  2007, Alfa International Pte Ltd
Bordelaise Thierry Germain moved to the Loire to make wine. This barrel fermented Chenin Blanc from 75 year-old vines. Refined nose of ripe Chanticleer pears, apples, peach peel and some baked fruit. On the palate it is rounded with a hint of sweetness; finishes long.

Quinta Do Zambujeiro, Terra Do Zambujeiro 2004, VINHO! Pte Ltd
From Portugal’s Alentejo region; this quinta was purchased by a Swiss wine lover in 1998.  Look out also for the flagship Zambujeiro wine. Nose of ripe raspberry, violets, caramel, toffee, vanilla and some white pepper. Med-full, ripe, dry entry, good balance, supple tannins. One of the most exciting wine finds.

Montes Purple Angel 2006, Crystal Wines Pte Ltd
After creating creating super-premium Chilean wine, the Montes Alpha M (Cabernet blend), Aurelio Montes turned to making a super-premium Carmenère. Dense opaque, dark red in colour,  juicy with plums, blackcurrants,  toasty oak, coffee, spice, with a hint of vanilla.  Full bodied, big, chunky tannins and long finish. Outstanding.

Catena Zapata, Alta Malbec 2005, Pinnacle Wines & Spirits Pte Ltd
Catena Zapata (although not officially), is referred by wine cognoscenti as Argentina’s Grand Cru estate. Nose of sweet, ripe red fruit with black berries and violets.  Flavours of blue berries, black berries, with supple fine-grained tannins. Impressive.

 

Chateau Armens 2004, Wines2u
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend. Juicy red fruit with black cherries and backcurrants. Also some apple peel and hint of meat, cedar and spice. Pepper and fruit flavours, chewy tannins, dry spicy long finish.

Andre Lurton ‘L De La Louviere’ 2006 , Top Wines
Producer that owns 11 chateaux in Bodeaux and consult-build wineries in France, the Americas and Spain.Cigarbox, herbs, freshly crushed red fruit, mocha and a touch of capsicum, licorice and orange. Sweet entry, elegant structure balance and long finish.

Chateau de Pez 2007, Grand Vin Pte Ltd
Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel; one of nine at the top of the tree of classified Cru Bourgeois wines. Dense red fruit, spice, graphite, sandalwood, cedar, black currant and overtones of licorice and black cherries. Medium acidity, finely grained tannins, ripe long finish, not too intense but with finesse.
Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2005, Cellarmaster Wines (S) Pte Ltd
Top producer’s blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc – named after a cabinet member of the union of South Africa. Cedar, spice cinnamon, juicy with some capsicum on the palate. Solid fruit, some woodiness dry, ripe finish, spicy length. Long and excellent value.

Ashridge Cabernet Merlot, Rubicon Reserve Wines Pte Ltd
From New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay.
Spicy red fruits on the nose, Chinese herbs, also thyme and cassis. Bright clean, silky texture, medium acidity, balanced, some oak but longish finish.

Tenuta di Trinoro, Le Cupole 2006 Vermilion Wines and Spirits
With a South Carolina textile fortune, Andrea Franchetti set about producing just one wine using grapes from an isolated vineyard located between Tuscany and  Umbria.Dark red fruit, savoury, mushrooms and dried longans add to the complexity. Light style cabernet, fresh, bright, understated with good length.

Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia, Le Serre Nuove 2006, Beam Global Asia Pte Ltd
Second wine of Ornellaia Supertuscan estate. Dark red, New World! Robust nose – mocha and coffee; chocolate, mixed with herbs. Palate – classic cab, blackcurrant, slight peppery spicy note, good fruit core, concentrated and hint of bitterness with grippy tannins, still youthful.

Parker Coonawarra Estate 2001 Hermitage Wines
South Australian Cabernet-Merlot blend from Australia’s branded 1st Growth producer.Dense and almost black at rim. Blackcurrant, blueberry, apple and hint of eucalyptus- leather. Concetrated fruit focused, Chinese medicine and mint. Long finished.

Chapman Grove Atticus 2005, Rubicon Reserve Wines Pte Ltd
From Margaret River of Western Australia. Young. Very extracted, malty  with black cherries and cassis plum cigar box, juicy entry, med+acidity, very juicy fruit core with med tannins that tighten the finish. Medium length. Good!
Champagne Moutard, Cuvee Des 6 Cepages, 2003, Wines2u
Ancient varieties such as Arbanne, Petit Meslier and Pinot Blanc in the blend make this wine unique. Interesting with freshly baked bread, hints of sour raspberry, over ripe apples and honeyed notes on palate. Assertive initial entry, lots of character – unique wine appealing to some.

Veuve Fourny, Reserve Brut 1er Cru NV, The Oaks Cellars Pte Ltd
Organic grapes and low dosages preserve terroir here.Fine mousse, lemon zest, med-bodied, with pear, lemon curd and a touch of honey. Lean citrus style and priced as a party drink.

Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 2008, The Cellar Door
One of New Zealand’s Chardonnay specialists. Toasty nose with oak, vanilla.  Also limes, lemongrass, grapefruit, verbena. Good finish and fruit extraction.

Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2006, Certain Cellars Pte Ltd
Beringer’s reputation is that of good value Californian wine. Developed aromas, oak, vanilla, pineapple and coconut. Good weight and opulent. Bittersweet finish.
Special mention

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2006, Singapore Straits Wine Co.
A premier wine estate of the Margaret River.Vanilla milk, lemon, lemongrass grapefruit. Excellent fruit concentration, tasty and long.

Domaine de la Janasse  Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge 2006, Vermilion Wines and Spirits
Rising star estate in the South Rhone, led by Christophe Sabon. Dense, rich nose with licorice, black fruit, good structure.

Ca’ Marcanda Promis IGT 2007, Pinnacle Wines & Spirits Pte Ltd
Angelo Gaja’s foray into Tuscany. Lively, lifted spicy armoas and some cedar wood. Also chocolate, mocha with hint of leather.  Warm, good texture and finish.

Nino Negri, Sfursat Valtellina DOCG 2002, Intervino Singapore
Lombardy wine  made from Chiavennasca, the local designation for Nebbiolo. Big structured wine with black cherries, prunes and leather. Baked earthy flavours, all fairly complex.  Medium length finish.

Pio Cesare, Nebbiolo Langhe DOC 2006, Excaliber Trading (s) Pte Ltd
Cesare Pio in 1881 set up the winery. Today, the ethos remains – minimal intervention. Indian spices on nose, allied with cherry and strawberry. On palate –  cherries, tar, mushrooms, leather and earth. Dry, ripe, fruit, fluid and long finished.

Schramsberg Brut Rose 2006, Straits Cellars Pte Ltd
Highly regarded sparkling wine producer of California. Pretty, pretty pale. Lovely nose of creamy strawberry and rosemary – delicious and fresh with pepper nuances. Delicate bead. Creamy, toasty with lovely freshness. Elegant

G.H. Mumm Rose N.V, Pernod Ricard
Mumm was founded in 1827, and famous for its Cordon Rouge.Pale salmon pink with watery rim. Restrained nose of grapefruits, lemon confit, marmalade, with some toasty notes. Creamy, delicous bread. More breath than others – balanced.

Rose Champagne, Perrier-Jouet Blason Rose N.V, Pernod Ricard
The famous producer of high end Champagne. Lovely delicate toasty, creamy strawberry nose – very restrained but fresh – lemon grass and mineral on the finish. Soft attack, volume and good balance.

Louis Jadot, Bourgogne Couvent Des Jacobins 2007 $50 Pinnacle Wines & Spirits Pte Ltd
Highly regarded négociant company that also operates vineyards. Pale with green tinge. Restrained closed nose with some peach, lemon mineral oil, pear and toastiness  Tight, good oak treatment – youthful,  refined and lengthy.

Patrick Piuze, Chablis Terroirs De Fleys  2008 , $58.85 Artisan Cellars Pte Ltd
Second vintage of a Canadian making wine in France producer.
Tropical on nose with grapefruit, pear, pineapple and herbs. Racy acidity with good concentration.

Louis Latour, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2005, $285.60 , Beam Global Asia Pte Ltd
From one of a few highly-respected négociant-éléveurs of Burgundy. Quite restrained nose with stone fruit and a little vanilla, toast, apricot, yellow peach honey and caramel.  Broad textured and quite ripe style.

Mischief and Mayhem, Puligny Montrachet 2006, Singapore Straits Wine Co.
Two friends, one from England, another with wine interests in Australia decided to move to Burgundy to become wine brokers. Fresh smoke, toast, apricots, pineapple, minerals, toast and cream. Voluminous, full- bodied style with abundant new oak treatment to give structure – a keeper.

De Loach Russian River Zinfandel 2006, Top Wines
Pinot producer of Russian River, Sonoma’s version of Zinfandel. Complex nose with herbs, black fruit, but still fresh with slightly firm tannins.

Gianfranco Fino Primitivo di Manduria ‘ES’ 2005, Intervino Singapore
One of a new breed  of  ‘garagiste’ producers buying old vine vineyards in Puglia and making award winning wines. Blueberry, blackberry, coffee and lots of fragrant aromas. Medium  bodied, powerful structure and tannins, heaps of fruit and complementary acid. Racy and elegant wine.

Bodegas Roda Reserva 2004, Alfa International Pte Ltd
Rising star in the sub-zone of Rioja Alta. Tempranillo. Baked berries, strawberries, cinnamon and pepper on the nose. Smooth tannins, round and medium bodied, with some oak and a hint of orange with a slight alcoholic edge.

Mas Perinet,  2004, CT Venture
From a vineyard in the Priorat region, this wine is a blend of Tempranillo, Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet and Merlot.
Dark cherry notes, slightly earthy Juicy with cherry flavours, medium bodied, some tannin, medium length.

Tandem, Ars Memoria 2005, CT Venture
Relatively new player in the Navarra region. Tempranillo. Complex nose, with pronounced aromas of black cherry, strawberry and raspberry. Overtones of  caramel/toffee and vanilla, some earthiness. Dry with good tannins

Geografico, Montegiachi Riserva 2004, Hermitage Wines
Cooperative winery at Gaiole in Chianti, of Chianti Classico. Founded in 1961 by 17 growers. Black cherry aromas including pepper, herbs and raspberry jam. Chalky tannins and good oak integration. Balanced with some tannins and finishes with a touch of acidity. Needs time.

IL Molino di Grace, Chianti Classico DOCG 2004, Top Wines
Shows what can be achieved by putting together an American entrepreneur a German banker and  an eminent oenologist in traditional Chianti Classico.Perfume of dried herbs, mint, blackberry and chocolate.  Tannic, toasty and quite dry but with good acidity and length.

Testamatta, Grilli del Testamatta IGT Toscana Rosso 2006, Beam Global Asia Pte Ltd
Italian/Norwegian artist Bibi Graetz is an upcoming star producer. Black cherry, strawberry, candy, nutmeg, spice and some mocha hints on nose. With chocolate and underlying herbaceous tones. Sweet but with astringent tannins and with a lengthy finish.

Petrolo, Torrione 2006, Beam Global Asia Pte Ltd
Famous olive oil producer also makes two admired wines – the Merlot based Galatrona and the Torrione (Sangiovese).Dense, closed nose but then opens up to bright cherry notes with blackfruit nose. Firm yet ripe tannins. Plum, raspberry jam, mint and coffee flavours. Big body, and needs time.

Frescobaldi, Montesodi Chianti Rufina  2004, Giorgio Ferrari Pte Ltd
The prominent Florentine family that has been involved in the political, sociological and economic history of the region.Fragrant, floral, spicy, and ripe fruit nose – very inviting and complex. Tastes savoury and firm but enticing with layers of blueberry jam, plum, mint, leather, rose and more. Sticky tannins and long.

Fanti Brunello Di Montalcino 2004, Singapore Straits Wine Co.
Small estate in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, a village outside Montalcino. Charming with black cherries, orange, mint, dried herbs and some earth. Strong tannic attack, rich, layered and good balance. Lots of amplitude and opulence.

Henri Bourgeois, Pouilly Fume, La Demoiselle 2007, Pinnacle Wines & Spirits Pte Ltd
Tenth generation Loire producer whose passion for Sauvignon even led to establishing a vineyard in New Zealand.Tropical fruit and passionfruit aromas and flavours.  The palate opens with herbs and fruits and then finishes with fresh acidity.  Delicious.

Errázuriz, Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Beam Global Asia Pte Ltd
Viña  Errázuriz is the benchmark for  quality wines of Chile. Lovely nose of apples, white fruits, flowers and grass. Flavours of herbs, melons and tropical fruits complete the taste experience.  Finishes with some grapefruit lemongrass and a hint of bitterness.

TMV, Theta, Syrah 2003, Rubicon Reserve Wines Pte Ltd
Tulbagh Mountain vineyards (TMV)  is a rising star winery in the Swartland,  South Africa. Concentrated licorice and black fruits with meaty, savoury elements on nose. Vanilla and cherry tones in the mouth, bigger architecture, layered with a touch greenness but nice and pleasant, with a sweet balance. Lingering.

Mount Langi Ghiran, Cliff Edge Shiraz 2004, Top Wines
A Shiraz specialist from the Grampians, South Australia. Concentrated but closed with some black fruits and hint of bubblegum. Very attractive. Tight, delicious fruit and balance; a wine that will evolve well.

Brokenwood Hunter Valley Shiraz 2007, Hermitage Wines
Hobby winery in the Hunter Valley.Very attractive nose, quite complex with savoury oak notes and ripe crushed black fruit. Med-bodied palate – beautifully balanced, lean rather than lush, and ultimately elegant.

Solinero IGT Sicilia 2004, Intervino Singapore
From Tenute Rapitalà, Sicily comes this international (as opposed to indigeneous grape) varietal.Very fragrant and lifted notes on nose – very enticing and quite complex. Fresh, juicy, chewy, palate – lots of fruit, especially sour cherries. Tangy acidity and abundant fine tannins. Long finished.

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2005, Foster’s Asia
In contrast to the flagship Grange, this wine is made for early appreciation thanks to its supple tannins from old oak vat ageing. Opaque with dense inky middle.  Concentrated mulberry and licorice nose.  Baked fruits. Big, alcoholic, opulent sweet, warm, buttery and smooth.

E.Guigal Cote Rotie Brune Et Blonde 2005, Grand Vin Pte Ltd
One of Rhone’s most respected producer’s mid priced wines.Pepper and spice, especially white pepper. Flavours of dark chocolate and Asian spices.   Firm structure with power yet delicious ripe fruit and lift at the end. Medium length.

Di Majo Norante, Moscato  Apianae  2006, Intervino
Premier producer of Italy’s Molise region lying next to the Adriatic Sea. Moscato.Golden-yellow, slight mint, florals, grapes, orange peel, sage, fresh acidity, long finished.

Chateau Du Juge, 2005, Wines 2 U
Bordeaux Cadillac region; Semillon based.Dark gold. Sweet honeyed, caramel. Nutty peach, apricot and bitter-orange liqueur with some spice. Biscuity, fluid, framed by excellent acidity.

Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Gold Cap 2004, Just Palate Pte Ltd
One of Germany’s best producers. Gold Cap signifies even higher quality. Riesling.Floral, oily, lemon-lime peel notes, honey on swirling. Light, ripe, sweet, oily, med acidity, floral, honeyed, ripe, with hint of petroleum from ageing. Tropical fruit, apples and a long finish.

Cono Sur Ocio Pinot Noir 2007, Auric Pacific Marketing Pte Ltd
Ocio is the Chilean producers icon wine. Opulent nose of black cherry, lemon zest, blueberry jam, sligltly underripe tannins, lively acidity.

De Loach O.F.S Pinot Noir 2006, Top Wines
O.F.S. (Our Finest Selection) is the offering from the Sonoma – Russian River vineyards of this well known producer. Refined and elegant aromas. Juicy with good oak, strawberry, rose, cherry flavours. Velvety tannins and rich style.

Smith Woodhouse, Late Bottled Vintage, 1995
Highly respected houses’ LBV is intended to provide the pleasure of Vintage Port but without the need for lengthy bottle aging. Deep, dark garnet/crimson. Raisined fruit aromas with well integrated spiritous nose.  Rich, warm, tannic.

Ramos Pinto Porto – Quinta da Ervamoira 10 years
Single quinta port from the winery’s experimental vineyard. Ramos Pinto wines  are highly regarded in South America.Dried fruits, with spiritous port and oak characters and good acidity to balance abundant sweetness , slightly oily texture, smoky, long finish.

Bouchard Père & Fils 1er cru du Château 2007, Taste Fine Wine Merchants
A famous négociant and producer, now owned by the Henroit Champagne house. Smoky, toasty with plum, and ripe red fruit. Coffee notes, nuances of leather and earth, soft entry, balanced and silky with a long finish.

Château Corton Grancey Grand Cru 2005, Beam Global Asia Pte Ltd
Another famous négociant and producer whose white Corton Charlemagne is much admired. A little closed but with sweet ripe cherries straberries and cedar notes. Elegant with good structure and power, textured, balanced with strong alcohol on finish. Long.

Bassermann Jordan, Auf Der Mauer Riesling, 2008, Magma Trade and Consult Pte Ltd
Medium-large winery in the Pfalz, Germany, Floral with aromas of apple and lemon. Entry is dry with a chalky light bitter finish. Bright and lively.

Malat, Riesling Das Beste Von Grosse Reserve 2007, CT Venture
Austrian producer of repute – wines are served at state banquets. Wonderfully developed nose, exuberant with pineapple and candied fruit. Savoury taste, medium bodied and good length.

High End Cabernet Sauvignons from Around the World


Tasting Room in Cape Mentelle

If you’re a Cab Sav fan, one highlight on your calendar must surely be The Cape Mentelle biannual International Cabernet Tasting.This event is one of the wine world’s benchmark events for Cabernet. Established in 1982, it showcases selected Cabernets from around the world. It being based in the Western Australian wine country also means that local stars, some established, others rising, each unique and exhibiting a different terroir, also get a chance to be featured.

Another tasting, which excites Cabernet fans is the Berlin Tasting. This tasting began in 2004 when Chilean producers organised a tasting involving wine journalists, writers and buyers in Berlin. Blind tasted were sixteen wines – six Chilean, six French and four Italian. A smaller version was conducted in Singapore recently. My notes are found beneath.

 

Cape Mentelle International Cabernet Tasting

Here are the notes of the wines from the 2007 vintage. Some of the wines were retasted in Singapore in 2011, showing the development of the wines, 8 months hence.

The 2007 Vintage, tasted in Australia and Singapore

A: Notes taken at the Australian tasting, late 2010

S: Notes taken at the Singapore tasting, mid 2011

 

Chateau Pichon Baron Longueville Baron, Pauillac, Bordeaux, FR

A: Toasty aromas with flavours of chocolate and leather. Good structure, lightly tangy with a medium long finish.

S: Earthy and coffee aromas with smoky overtones. Flavours of cherries, plums, dry powdery tannins and with a medium long finish.

 

*Suckfizzle, Margaret River, AU

A: Aromas of red berries, currant and spice box with a hint of capsicum. Mix of flavours including Chinese herbs, dried herbs and red fruit. Sticky tannins.
S: An interesting nose of camphor, Chinese bitter herbs with nuances of red and green peppers. Sweet medium bodied with graphite flavours. Fine tannins and medium long finish.

 

Petaluma, Coonawarra, AU

A: Intense note of red fruit, tea leaves, cherries and sweet caramel. Broad and savoury in the mouth with mineral nuances leading up to a medium dry finish.
S: This wine had closed up and was quite reserved with a nose of oak, red fruit and Ribena. A sweet mid palate with a tangy finish.

 

Chateau Margaux, Margaux, Bordeaux, FR
A: Well-integrated fruit and wood – with peach, violets, roasted hazelnuts, to1ast and spice. Fine all round with acids, tannins and aftertaste. Slightly dusty tannins and medium bodied.
S: A nice mix of red fruits, smoke and ham. Fine tannins and round warm and savoury finish.

 

Moss Wood, Margaret River, AU

A: Nose of toasted almonds, nougat, chocolate milk and plum liquor. Savoury minerally taste, rich yet fine tannins and with a long finish. Stylish.
S: Plush presentation with a melange of toffee, cough syrup, cherries, cranberries, good tannins and a warm finish.

 

Far Niente, Napa, USA

A: Mulberry, mixed fruits, succulent mid-palate, medium body, light sweet bright fruit, dried herbs. Sprightly, medium-length with a floral aftertaste. Feminine.
S: Brimming with red fruits. The wine quite bold with a sweet core. Fine tannins, round in the mouth with a long finish.

 

*Chateau Cos’ d’Estournel, St. Estephe, Bordeaux, FR

A: Layered with a melange of vanilla, cedar, toast, caramel, mixed red and black fruits and minerals. Different in character from the rest.
S: A very unique wine. Stood out for its distinct aromas of smoke, Chinese herbs that mingled with that of air-dried ham and bitter chocolate. Broad in the mouth, yet with a light dry bittersweet finish.

 

*Cape Mentelle, Margaret River, AU
A: Juicy crushed red and black fruits. Sour plums, and some soy nuances. Medium-bodied with fine tannins, tangy acids and a tasty finish. Memorable.
S: An intense nose of spice, a mix of red and black fruits, bramble and herbs. Firm with good acids and a long finish.

 

Araujo Estate, Eisele Vineyard, Napa, USA
A: Caramel and sweet fruit – plums, mulberries, bitter-sweet dark spices, mocha, mint gum, butter and a clean finish.
S: Closed but had a pronounced black cherry, mocha and milk chocolate flavours with sticky tannins.

 

Chateau Leoville Las Cases, St. Julien, Bordeaux, FR
A: Toasty, earthy and spicy. Rich, dark fruit with ginger and humus, caramel and toffee. Complex with a big finish.
S: Barley and fruit cake nose with a hint of leather. Elegant liquorice finish.

 

*Houghton Gladstones, Margaret River, AU
A: Intense with oregano, eucalyptus, capsicum and coffee. Mouth-filling with flavours of tobacco, fruit and bay leaf. Clean finish. Polished.

S: A perfumed nose with camphor, sour plums and mandarin peel. Finer tannins with a sweet and flavoursome finish.

 

Ornellaia, Tuscany, IT
A: Tight knit with ripe black fruits and spice, some straw. Dry chunky tannins, powdery tannins, big, bold and impressive.
S: Intense with jammy fruit, earth and herbs. Well-integrated flavours, a dry finish (the signature of this wine) solicited divided opinions. Some judges absolutely loved this wine.

 

Newton Unfiltered, Napa, USA
A: Subtle mix of plums and red fruits; mint and milk chocolates with hay. Good structure and length. The wine is the result of the Spring Mountain high altitude and cool climate viticulture terroir, and an outstanding vintage.
S: Hint of dried leaf with the taste of small red fruit, blueberries and a hint of cherry-cough syrup. A pleasant sweet aftertaste.

 

Leeuwin Estate, Art Series, Margaret River, AU
A: Melange of orange peel and pencil shavings and red fruit. Good lively acids, silky tannins, medium long finish.

S: Eucalyptus and ginseng, citrus plum and small red fruits – quite memorable.

 

Vasse Felix ‘Heytesbury’, Margaret River, AU
A: Flourish of red peppers, plums and ripe fruit. Good balance, medium length warm finish, fine tannins. Intense and complete. A judicious blend containing some Malbec and Petit Verdot.
S: Red and black fruits, rich sweet mid palate with a hint of leaf. Sticky tannins with a hint of smoke.

 

 

Tasted in Australia only

Craggy Range, NZ

Nuances of currants, plums, bright fruit aromas with chocolate overtones. Textured and round in the mouth, lightly sweet finish.

 

Houghton Jack Mann, Frankland River, AU
Small sweet red and black fruits, pomegranate, lively in the mouth with barley overtones and long finished. Fruit is from 35 year-old vines, and the wine is made in honour of one of the founding fathers of wine in Western Australia.

 

Fraser Gallop, Margaret River, AU
Complex with a mix offruits, red berries, raspberries, blackcurrants. Juicy, tight mid-palate with excellent balance from tangy acids. Herbs, minerals and red fruits on the finish. Outstanding.

 

Balnaves The Tally, Coonawarra, AU
Floral with rosemary, brambles and sweet dark fruit. Dense, with flavours of chocolate, mint and blackcurrants. Textured with velvety tannins. A serious wine.

 

Woodlands ‘Nicolas’, Margaret River, AU
Currants with leather, forest fruits and grilled peppers. Layered with fine tannins and an elegant finish. Fragrant and seamless.

 

Berlin Tasting, held in Singapore 2010

Château Haut Brion 2006 – Mixed red and black fruits with a hint of old wood and olives and animal notes. Dry tannins, good follow through, elegant.

Vinẽdo Chadwick 2004 – Mixed forest fruits, sour plums, earthy, with caramel overtones. Medium dry tannins, warm and long finish.

Errázuriz Don Maximiano 2006 – Blackcurrants, ripe capsicum, sweet dark fruit and chocolate. Flavoursome, mouthfilling with mixed fruit and sweet plums. Moderate tannins. 

Château Latour 2006 – Crushed blackberries, plums, vanilla, elegant mid-palate and long finish. 

Vinẽdo Chadwick 2006 – Forward nose with Ribena and blackcurrants. Medium bodied, balanced, soft and silky. Light saline notes, with a sweet fruity finish. For enjoyment now

Ornellaia 2006 – Subtle nose, with cashews, barley, and a hint of soy. Velvety texture, slightly chewy tannins, broad in the mouth with a luxurious long finish. For long maturation.

Vinẽdo Chadwick 2007 – Red fruits with a hint of capsicum and brown leaf. Firm sticky tannins, good tasty acids, slightly bitter with a medium length finish

 Errázuriz Don Maximiano 2007 – Red berries, Ribena, camphor, spice, cherryade, currants and lolly. Flavoursome with sweet bright fruit, firm tannins and uplifted acidity. Drinking well now. 

Opus One 2006 – Mixed red fruits, cherries, quite understated with nuances of mint and wood. Dry and slightly powdery tannins. Medium long.

Château Margaux 2006 – Red fruits, tobacco and smoke. Good entry and finish, with lingering flavour of bittersweet small fruits. Needs time.


 

Burgundy 2008 Vintage Report


When you cradle a bottle of wine, you’re holding a moment suspended in time. Drink a wine from a particular year or vintage, and you’re traveling back to that place and time the wine was grown, harvested and bottled.

 

But what determines the quality of what’s in the bottle? What makes a particular vintage stellar and another just average?

 

Weather for the most part. Good weather produces good harvests of healthy grapes – the ideal being a long cool growing season where sufficient sun enables the acids and fruit flavours in the grape to develop in a harmonious way.

 

In contrast, rain prior to harvest tends to dilute the flavour of the fruit. Frost, hail and pests destroy fruit resulting in rotten grapes and ultimately less than decent wine.

 

 

Weather and growing conditions

In 2008, one of the world’s famous wine producing regions, acclaimed for some of the world’s most expensive wines and acknowledged as the most terroir-conscious of French wine regions had to face the wrath of Mother Nature.

 

Spring came off with a good start. It was warm and by mid May, vines were producing leaves. Summer in Burgundy was nothing short of disastrous. The flowering period was cold and rainy. Grapes are formed when the flowers on the grapevine are fertilized. But because of the unfavorable weather, many grapes failed to develop. What resulted was coulure (loose bunches of grapes), and millerandage (uneven berry sizes) – bunches of grapes of which more than half of the grapes are undeveloped green hard small berries.

 

Wet weather during ripening compounded things further – mildew and rot became a concern. Then came some hail. Hail can shred leaves and also break open berries. One could imagine growers wringing their hands in woe.

 

Luckily, things turned around in September, when the sun came out during the last phase of the ripening season. A wind from the North also helped dry the crops and by harvest, things were looking up. And with good weather all the way through, the vintage was saved. If vignerons ended up with fewer and smaller grapes, the resulting juice turned out to be quite concentrated. At the end, wines, from the basic Bourgogne right up to the Grand Cru turned out to be quite elegant, with good acids (thanks to the cool temperatures throughout the year) and considerable elegance. Reds were pure whilst whites were delicious.

 

The 2008 is turning out quite well indeed

It’s true what they say about ‘what makes the news’ – that bad news sells good press. Burgundy’s 2008 vintage struggles with the weather certainly were no exception.

 

Many a Burgundy aficionado decided to write off the 2008 vintage. I was not an exception.

 

All that changed only recently when I visited Burgundy. Thanks to a well-connected restaurateur friend, I got to meet three of Burgundy’s most eminent producers. What I tasted were the 2008 wines, mostly red, still being nurtured in the barrel. Though not a bountiful vintage, I am happy to report that the best producers are turning out excellent wines. All the red wines show a vibrancy of fruit, good balance and lovely expression.

 

How can that be?

 

Growing conditions of grapes are not the only influence on the finished wine. Discriminating growers can still salvage the pickings of a crop. At harvest stage, the most dedicated of producers will select grapes so that only the best grapes are used and the resulting wine could turn out to be a much higher quality than expected. Furthermore, elevage (or the nurturing of wines in the barrel) after the harvest has a lot of influence on how the ultimate wine tastes.

 

So the next time you uncork a vintage wine, think of what you’ve just unleashed ­ – the bounty of the earth and skies and the inspiration, blood, sweat and tears of the producers who made the wine what it is today.

 

Here are the notes of some 2008 Grand Cru red wines (in barrel) at Domaine Dujac, Domaine Ponsot and Domaine Romanée-Conti (DRC). They will be sublime in years to come.

 

Dujac Charmes-Chambertin – Sour cherries, nuances of butter and toast, hugely tannic and impressive. For the long term.

 

Dujac Echezeaux – Perfumed with florals and mixed red and black fruit; sensual, lively with moderate tannins.

 

Dujac Clos de la Roche – Spice cabinet and mixed fruits, camphor and more. Sumptous and handsome, with tannins lurking beneath.

 

Dujac Clos St. Denis – Sweet nose of red and black fruits, silky tannins, chewy tannins and a long warm finish. Sensual.

 

Dujac Bonne-Mares – Rich and fruity with floral nuances, broad, silky tannins, with an elegant long finish.

 

Ponsot Griotte-Chambertin – Small red fruit, structured backbone, acidity with lots of delineation. Grip and good finish.

 

Ponsot Chapelle-Chambertin – Black fruit, broad in the mouth with good tannins and acid, excellent balance, developing flavours of black and red fruits, more pronounced tannins.

 

Ponsot Clos Vougeot – Perfumed, with blackcurrants, plums, dark fruit and spice. Tannins around the side of the mouth with flavours of black fruit, mocha, herbs and mint. Long finished.

 

Ponsot Clos St. Denis ‘Tres Vielle Vignes’ – Red and black fruit, herbs, pepper. spice. Flavours of yellow fruit, white fruit, flower petals, mixed spice. Silky tannins and long finish.

 

Ponsot Clos de la Roche ‘Veille Vignes’– Chinese herbs, mixed fruit, champignon de paris, blackberries and hint of boiled sweets. Warm long finish with bittersweet fruit, tropical fruit cake spice and structured tannins.

 

DRC Richebourg – Red and black cherries with a little plum; mixed red fruit, flowers and bread; fine tannins, broad in the mouth and beautifully textured but not weighty. Good acidity and finish.

 

DRC La Tâche – Small stone fruits and spice. Medium structure, supporting lots of sweet but never jammy, ripe fruit. Nuances of vanilla, ripe citrus fruits, stone fruit, and spice. Fine velvety tannins and long.

 

DRC Romanée-Conti – Perfumed, reminiscent of La Tâche with additional flavours of small red stone fruit and cassis. With the light weightedness of the Richebourg, yet with a solid structure concealed by creamy, silky textured tannins like intricately woven lace. Multi-dimensioned, long finished, feminine and sensuous.

 

 

OTHER RED WINES

 

Sorine et Fils, Maranges 1er Cru “Clos Roussot” – Red fruits, light yet present acids, and soft as fleece. Delicious.

 

Georges Chicotot, Nuits St.-Georges 1er Cru “Les Vaucrains” – Red fruits, white pepper, hint of jam and minerals.

 

Didier-Montchovet, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune – Silky soft, full on flavour balanced with a sweet note.

 

Genot-Boulanger, Pommard 1er Cru, “Clos Blanc” – Red fruits, hint of strawberry, spicy and with tasty acids.

 

Stephane Brocard, Corton-Renardes, Grand Cru – Intense with lots of layers, spicy and silky with good structure.

 

Bouchard Aine & Fils, Charmes Chambertin, Grand Cru – Smoky with woody overtones but balanced by fruit; broad in the mouth.

 

Albert Bichot, Echezeaux, Grand Cru – Perfumed and quite feminine with good structure and a long finish.

 

OTHER WHITE WINES

 

Henri de Villamont, Chablis Vaudesir Grand Cru – Lots of fruit and balance, complex and complete.

 

Joseph Drouhin, Chablis Bougros, Grand Cru – Lots of different aromas mingling together – herbs, flowers, nuts and marmalade, lively.

 

Louis Latour, Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru – Minerals, almonds, good structure and ample in the mouth

 

Rous Pere & Fils Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru – Pears, ripe fruit, tasty acids and round.

 

Seguin Manuel Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru – Mineral oil, balanced, luscious in the mouth and long.

 

Domaine des Perdrix, Nuits-Saint Georges, Blanc, 1er Cru, “Les Terres Blanches”– Brimming with pear, grapefruit and green apples made for a memorable and unexpected white wine from a mostly red wine appellation.

 

Denis Bouchacourt, Macon-Solutré – White fruits and florals, beautiful mid palate, complete in every sense with a lovely long finish.

 

Domaine de la Saraziniere, Bourgogne Aligoté – Floral, round lively with a touch of tangy acid and a finish of peach and pear. Very tasty.

 

Ninot Rully 1er Cru Gresigny – Scintillating acidity yet elegant with citrus white and yellow fruits, a hint of minerals and nuts with a long finish.

 

Sylvain Pataille, Marsannay – Nose of white flowers, flavours of white fruits, round and sweet, soft effervescent acids, beautifully presented.