Sunday, July 31, 2011

A wine retail outlet in an HDB neighbourhood: JC Wine & Spirits pte ltd

A wine retail outlet located within a HDB block.

One does not see many of these around. When a wine buddy of mine, CK, mentioned that there is one within walking distance of where he lived in Ang Mo Kio, I made plans to go visit this outlet one evening.

Last week some free time came and off we went to visit JC Wine & Spirits located at Blk 332, Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, #01-1893, Singapore 560332. Tel: 6459 1380.  You can alight at Ang Mo Kio mrt station and either take a walk or hop into a bus to get to this place.

When you are at Blk 332, the wine barrel you see outside one of the shops (near the middle of the row) provides a tell-tale clue as to where this wine retail outlet is located :) It’s a neat-looking and tidy outfit managed by the friendly Ms Gigi Ang who is in charge of retail and sales over here. It’s refreshing to see a ‘bottleshop’ located between a row of shops which are undertaking ‘traditional’ businesses one usually bears witness to in HDB shops :p

Operating in a limited area within a HDB shop can be challenging. The layout here makes good use of the space available to showcase the wines retailed in a customer-friendly uncluttered manner. One can still move around at ease to check out the wines carried for sale. The wines predominantly are from France, Spain, South Africa and New Zealand.

The affable Casey Heng was at hand to make recommendations on our purchases for the evening. We bought some wines to accompany us during dinner later that night and to see us safely through the rigours of the week.

Some wines I enjoyed are:

Bodegas Real Cava Brut Reserva, Spain NV. Made in the traditional method using varietals like Xarello, Macabeo and Parellada, this makes a good value for money sparkling wine for any occasion. Retailed at $32, it displays fine bubbles, good fruit notes in mid-palate, refreshing acidity and a pleasant finish. Worth stocking up for hot afternoons, warm evenings, starters, salads and most sandwiches :)

2008 Konrad Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand. Cherry, plum and vanilla notes on the nose; this is a light to medium bodied pinot which shows strawberry and ripe cherry flavours on the palate, displays soft body, smooth tannins and texture, and sufficient acidity to provide good balance to this wine. It shows well when slightly chilled prior to tasting (so let it spend a little time in an ice bucket before drinking).

2008 Bodegas Carchelo Sierva, Jumilla, Spain. A monastrell blend, this is a hefty wine for those wanting some body, depth and mouth-fill. Aerate it in a decanter a short while for this wine to open up and show itself. It displays sweet ripe fruit aromas on the nose; ripe plum flavours on the palate; rounded body with smooth texture, supple and integrated tannins and a lingering finish. A wine which will be comfortable with a juicy steak :p

Check out the shop if you happen to be living near in the neighbourhood :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

BYO wines to Bistro 103 (One Zero Three) in Pasir Panjang Road

BYO wines for western cuisine to Bistro 103 located at:
103 Pasir Panjang road
Singapore 118531
Tel: 64766373

You will find this eatery located at the end of a row of shophouses at the junction of Jalan Pelepah and Pasir Panjang road. The frontage is nondescript, you can almost walk past it (I did) :p Inside however, you get a feel of being in a quiet osteria away from the day's hustle and bustle. Its a place where you can relax and wind down with a good hearty meal.

This eatery is managed by chef-owner Flix and his wife, Karen. Both have spent some time in Le Cordon Bleu, Adelaide Academy of Hospitality. Together with Karen's brother Eric, they have been operating this bistro for 4 years now.

I must confess here, I am not a food critic :) so I'll just attest to my tummy finding the portions served hearty and the food tasty :)

This eatery carries its own range of wines (mostly from Australia) for consumers. However, it also allows diners to bring along their own wines at a reasonable corkage fee of $5++ per bottle. One need not worry about wine glasses or ice buckets over here as they are well stocked with these.

Some uniques wines

If you are the type of wine enthusiast who like to explore, discover and try unique wines (rather than stick to known culprits), then you have another good reason to drop by this place. It carries and serves the following wines usually not found in other establishments:

2009 Jamabro Rough Cut Diamond Viognier Moscato (a 100% viognier made in a slightly spritzy moscato style). Have you ever tasted one made with viognier yet?

Dutschke Sun-dried Liquer Shiraz NV. Think 'italian passito and port wine making coming together' :p Raisins from shiraz varietal crushed and then fortified with neutral spirit during the initial fermentation process to make this wine.

The following fortified wines from Barossa Valley made by Mark Mader using the traditional Solera process normally reserved for making sherry: 
Gumpara Liquer Frontignac (18% alcohol)
Gumpara Liquer Semillon (18% alcohol)
Gumpara Liquer Tawny Grenache (19% alcohol)

You can order most of these curious ones by the glass too. Do go check the place out :p

Note to readers: It’s always good to give the establishment a ring and reconfirm its BYO policy before heading down; things in life have an impulse to change :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

BYO wines to Xiang Ba Lao at Allenby House

A rather distracting month so far. So much so that I delayed writing an entry till now. But then I think its alright to live life first when the opportunity shows itself and keep reflections for the quieter, hot nights when sleep plays hide and seek :)

The beginning of this month presented itself with a birthday dinner of a long time friend. A few of us visited Xiang Ba Lao, an eatery located at 298 Jalan Besar, #01-01, Allenby House, Singapore 208959, Tel: 62947986 for a wine dinner. You can alight at Lavender mrt station and take a short walk to this eatery. This place is presently managed by Ms Katherine Choo, who mentioned that they commenced operation the later part of year 2010.

The good news for wine drinkers is that this eatery allows you to BYO wines and it does not charge any corkage fee. This waiver applies seven days a week.

The place is air-conditioned, has 2 private rooms and a main hall which holds 10 tables. The 2 private rooms are spacious and have side cabinets, which makes it convenient to hold your wines, decanters and ice buckets.

Ice buckets are provided if your wine requires chilling. The wine glasses provided by this establishment are more appropriate for white wines though. So if you are particular about glassware for the evening, then I suggest that you bring along your own red and sparkling wine glasses (and decanters too if your wines need aerating). (We brought along glasses and decanters, and I must say the wines benefited from the extra effort on our part.)

The menu has a good range of dishes which should satisfy the needs of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diners. Folks keen to explore food and wine pairings will find themselves with sufficient dishes to experiment with for the evening. I particularly enjoyed having roast duck with wine over here :) After all, what's dinner without some meat? :p

Note to readers: It’s always good to give the establishment a ring and reconfirm its BYO policy before heading down; things in life have an impulse to change :)