Thursday, December 29, 2011

A value for money wine decanter

A decent decanter for $10. Maurice (a regular wine buddy of mine) recently bought a wine decanter from Cash Converters at Blk 710 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8. It comes very reasonably priced, I must say. It comfortably accomodates a standard bottle (750ml) of wine.

They still have a couple more of these new pieces at the AMK outlet. (I guess its not necessary to visit this particular outlet; you can always give Cash Converters a call and visit any of the other outlets convenient for you to reach.)  If you are planning a wine session at home with your friends during this festive season, a good decanter or two may just be the accessory to have at your table.

I did an earlier blog entry where my friend Aaron assembled a decanting kit (decanter, funnel and wire mesh) within $20.

This decanter from Cash Converters will help to bring the cost of a complete set down to $15 :p Do go visit if you happen to be in the neighbourhood!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Chateau d'Esclans rose wines

I attended a rose-themed wine session last year. The rose wines were made from different varietals like cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, syrah, sangiovese, grenache; and quite a few of these wines were made from blends. Each participant kept note of his 3 favourite pours and contributed his choices later for some number crunching. The top favourite for the evening was a Chateau D’ Esclans rose wine, the Whispering Angel (a name one finds difficult to forget). This rose wine, made from a grenache blend, displayed a soft, silky texture which matched well with the subtle flavours of its body; something which the other varietals found challenging to outdo that evening.

Ch d'Esclans booth at WFA 2011, Singapore

During the recent Wine For Asia 2011 held in Singapore, I had the opportunity to taste Chateau d’Esclans’ series of rose wines. Ms Kate Tan, Singapore’s representative for this chateau, was good enough to introduce the wines to me.

Ms Kate Tan, Singapore rep of Ch d'Esclans

The first sip I tasted was the 2010 Chateau d’Esclans “Whispering Angel”, made from a blend of grenache, rolle, syrah, cinsault and tibouren varietals. This salmon-pink wine thrills one’s nose and palate with delicate, fresh red fruit notes, while the underlying minerals delight the palate and renders a pleasant finish. The Whispering Angel does not see any oak during its vinification process and therefore goes on to display an unhindered fruit fresh character.

2010 Ch d'Esclans "Whispering Angel"
The next 3 wines see a certain level of oak during their vinification process. This adds a certain depth to their body and a noticeable firmness to their body structure. The firmness witnessed in the palate grows as one proceeds from the 2009 “Esclans, to the 2008 “Les Clans” and finally to the 2008 “Garrus”. All 3 wines are made from grenache and rolle blends; with the “Les Clans” and “Garrus” made from 100% free run juice to add.

2009 Ch d'Esclans "Esclans"

2008 Ch d'Esclans "Les Clans"

2008 Ch d'Esclans "Garrus"
Some common characteristics seen in these 3 wines are the good display of fruit characters, complex bodies, a rich texture on the palate, and a firm body structure which renders these wines with the potential to be paired with more than just appetizers and starters during a meal.

(There’s ample tasting notes out there for the curious wine enthusiasts on these wines without the need for me to add some more).

Setting aside price-quality ratio of each of these rose wines, I am perfectly happy with the entry level “Whispering Angel” as my favoured sip for a hot afternoon with a sandwich or two; something pleasing, easy on the palate and thirst quenching.

When considering the price-quality ratio, I find the "Whispering Angel" a value for money rose wine to appreciate what comes out of this Chateau.

Recently a few of us began dinner at the Sin Hoi Sai eatery in Tiong Bahru with a plate of gong-gong and sips of Whispering Angel :p I am happy with this rose :)

You can buy this one at Changi Airport’s DFS section, The Wine Gallery outlets and at Ponti Wine Cellars. I am sure there a few other wine retail outlets in Singapore carrying the Chateau d’Esclans rose wines.

morgun pathi

Monday, December 12, 2011

Burgundy Wine Tasting Sessions at Ponti Wine Cellars

Burgundian wines at Ponti; twice this month at that. A good friend of mine recently started pursuing a wine course and all of a sudden decided to taste some wines from Burgundy to enrich her studies. Ponti Wine Cellars was having burgundy wine tasting sessions for the month of December and that’s the place which drew her attention to improve on her tasting skills.

I assured her that this particular wine course she’s pursuing does not have a ‘wine tasting component’ as part of the assessment (its purely multiple choice questions to attempt). Nevertheless she insisted, making me half suspect that the desire to sip Burgundy wines had something to do with more than fulfilling educational curiosity. Luckily places were still available for 2 burgundy tasting sessions and we signed up for both.

The first tasting was on 1 Dec. The rain that day was kind enough to take a brief respite by late afternoon and allowed for a dry journey to Ponti’s retail outlet at 204 Telok Ayer Street. There were around 10 folks that evening keen on the tasting session as well. The wines were from Domaine Jean Chartron. We tasted 5 wine (4 whites and 1 red):
2008 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Vieilles Vignes,
2008 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Folatieres,
2008 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos du Cailleret,
2008 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos du Cailleret Rouge and
2008 Rully Montmorin.

The second tasting session was on 8 Dec. This time it was an evening for red burgundian fare from Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret:
2004 Echezeauz Grand Cru,
2004 Vosne Romanee Village,
2005 Nuits-Saint Georges Les Plateaux Village and
2007 Beaune 1er Cru Les Avaux.

Ms Angelina Foo (from Ponti’s) conducted both sessions in a casual, informal yet informative manner; providing information about the domaines, addressing queries from curious enthusiasts and sharing her opinion on how these wines spoke to her. I must say her friendly demeanour made wine enthusiasts feel at ease and mid-way through these sessions there was comfortable mingling among the evening’s guests.
Both sessions showed wines which would do well with a little more aging. If I am to pick 2 wines from the first session for personal indulgence, they would be the 2008 Rully Monmorin (for youthful flavours and vibrancy on the palate) and the 2008 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Folatieres (for displaying good depth and structure in the body).

My choices from the second session would be the 2004 Echezeauz Grand Cru (for the varied subtle aromas displayed on the nose) and the 2007 Beaune 1er Cru Les Avaux (for the texture and flavours seen on the palate).

Visit the shop if you are around the corner; it has a decent range of French and Italian wines, not forgetting Austrian dessert wines too :p

For more pictures on these tastings visit:

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Mamba in the hands of its Master

Mamba, the latest in a series of Riedel’s decanters. I had the opportunity to see it recently while attending the Comparative Riedel glass tasting conducted by Mr Georg J. Riedel at Miele’s showroom in Winsland House II.

Mr Georg J Riedel with the green Mamba

There are 3 versions of the Mamba wine decanter. The black mamba, the green mamba and the clear-crystal mamba. The black and green mamba wine decanters are limited edition entities; only 100 of each produced. The clear crystal ones will be more generously produced for the indulgence of oenophiles everywhere.

 .. the green, black and clear-crystal ones

.. serial number of this particular Mamba decanter

Each of the black and green mamba wine decanters come engraved with a serial number acknowledging it’s place among the limited production. I was lucky to be able to see all 3 versions during the Riedel glass workshop. Only one each of the black and green mamba decanter arrived in Singapore and both were auctioned off for a sum of $2,800 later that evening.

The clear-crystal mamba wine decanters will most probably be available to consumers in Singapore by the end of this year, at a retail price of around $770. You should be able to get it at places like Takashimaya, Robinsons and Isetan (and a few other selected wine stores).

Stylish, well designed and hand made, I'll opine that the Mamba is 'more than a tool' for decanting or aerating wine. Its a piece of art, an elegant show piece to awe your guests for the evening with; its about flair and showmanship as you hold your friends' curiosity and attention with what it does to your wine at hand. The price you pay is for these little emotional 'extras'.

Its like owning a maserati or lamborghini in Singapore :p You don't exactly buy these for the sole purpose of getting from point A to point B. Call it the allure of sleek design or the raw power you fleetingly possess as you nestle into the driver's seat, but the pleasure you derive is not exclusively a result of the comforting realization that you are using it to travel safely from work to home every evening :)

Are you in the mood for something special this festive season ? :p

morgun pathi