New vintage wines make their way into our market every year. But in the era of the modern wine industry, seeing a first vintage today has become something of a rarity. In 2011, Shaw + Smith acquired Tolpuddle vineyard in Tasmania. Having planted Pinot noir and Chardonnay since 1988, Michael Hill Smith MW was in town to present the 2012 vintage of these remarkable wines. Their first vintage.
Six centuries, twenty-six generations, fifteen Italian estates and seven others around the world. In the world of Italian wines, Marchesi Antinori is a name synonymous with quality, innovation and creativity. While most are familiar with their wines of Tignanello, Solaia and Guado al Tasso, there are other good and affordable wines beyond this familiar horizon.
Matching wines to each dish that are strictly from a single country is a massive challenge even for the most experienced. Even more so for diners who have a stronger preference for the mainstream wines. In the landlocked country of Austria, the farmers grow a diverse range of grapes that are made into food-friendly wines for most, if not all, I dare say. Say hello to Austrian Wine Experience 2013, held for the third time in Singapore and this time is definitely a charm.
As we usher in the year of the snake, the most important event for many of us is the reunion dinner. In Singapore, where families are typically small, most people would be spending their Chinese (or Lunar) New Year’s eve dinner at home with a home-cooked spread. That usually works for me too. But this year, to spare our homemakers from pre and post meal slaving over the kitchen stoves, we have included our extended families to come together for an eight course feast. I believe a bottle of wine ought to be in order.
Like most other fresh university graduates, my first year in the working world saw me nowhere near being financially robust. Going for a Valentine’s date often translates to wallet hemorrhage. Although many relationship ‘experts’ have purported that a good relationship is not how much you spend, the innate manly ego often spurs us to spend like tomorrow may never come. But having gone through such years, I am now more inclined towards maximising my budget on this occasion.
If you ask almost anyone to name a source region for America’s wines, there is a 90 per cent chance someone will quickly respond with Napa Valley. Napa Valley is a narrow valley to the north of San Francisco, flanked by two mountain ranges, Mayacamas and Vacas. This is home to the wines that propelled California to international stardom in the 1976 Judgement of Paris. In October, I got the exciting opportunity to visit Napa and was hosted by a reputable wine company, the Trinchero Family Estates.
“God made Cabernet Sauvignon, whereas the devil made Pinot noir.”
As famously declared by André Tchelistcheff, America’s most influential wine maker in the post prohibitions period (post-1930s). The Pinot Noir demands undivided attention from growers and wine makers, seduces drinkers with subtle nuances and excites those who adore it. If I am to draw literature reference from “Paradise Lost” by John Milton, then Pinot Noir can be described as “lust” manifested in, the not so glamorous, berry form.
Everyone loves to try out a product befor
e buying. This is especially so for wines. Fortunately, many retailers today are organising theme-based wine tastings (by varietal, region or same producer across different vintages) so that we can test their wares before committing to purchase. Travellers are also putting scenic winery visits into holiday itineraries; once you’ve worked your way through a cellar door tasting, you’ll find it’s a highly addictive and enjoyable process. In a restaurant setting, however, a tasting is a very different thing. Because –when ordering by the bottle–you can’t just move on to the next wine if the one you tried isn’t to your exact tastes. Every kind of tasting has its own set of rules.
Australian wine – almost a market synonym for Shiraz from South Australia. Known for its strong flavour, overwhelming ripeness and full body texture, Shiraz appears to one of be the favourite varietals for most Singaporean drinkers. Grown on a small corner of South Western Australia, with terrain and climate akin to the highly prized and reputable Bordeaux region in France, Margaret River has been setting the stage on fire with its own class of style.
Ah, Summer. The season of dressing light, ditching the covered shoes and bringing out the flip-flops. Hit the beach and bake the skin to a crisp brown. This may sound great for most people in the world but when you’re actually here in the midst of drowning humidity between 80 to 90 per cent and combined with average temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, it’s almost as if Singapore is a giant dim sum steamer.