Friday, December 21, 2012

BYO wines to Yummy Recipes

I found an eatery recently which accomodates 'BYO wines'.

Its a big place; and it being located on the ground floor of a building catering to light industries comes as a curious surprise. The size allows Yummy Recipes to offer 180 seatings at any one time comfortably. But what surprises one more than the size or its location is the decor within. Enter into this place and you get an idea of what a reasonably well doing inn from early 20th century China would have been like. The design and decorative pieces within certainly bring you back in time.


The address:


Yummy Recipes
47 Kallang Pudding road.
#01-08, Crescent@Kallang,
S(349318)
Tel: 63431818


The sitting layout have been separated into 2 sections. One end caters to small groups of 2-4 people and the other caters for larger groups of 8-10 per table. There's 'sliding walls' in between each large table which can be moved to create private enclaves of varying sizes. Be it a big family gathering requiring one table or a company dinner needing a few tables, this eatery can certainly accomodate your needs.



It welcomes wine drinkers who want to 'BYO wines' as well. They have wine glasswares for sparkling, white and red wines. These are generic restaurant type glasses (so if you are particular about glassware for your cabernets and pinots, it will be advisable to bring along varietal specific glasses. I know folks who happily do that for wine dinners they organize with friends; its more than alright). This eatery also carries a couple of decanters at hand and is more than happy to provide ice buckets for your whites and bubblies.



Its mainly Cantonese cuisine over here. Place closes at 11pm. However, if you want to sip for longer hours, you can request to shift to seats placed outside the restaurant.

If you are the sort who loves to pair wines with chinese cuisine, this would be a place to check out. Call Ms Katherine over there and she will assist you with your 'BYO wine' needs.

(Note: Its always wise to call a restaurant about its current BYO policy (before going down with your wines) as things in life have a tendency to change).




Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Buying PVC ice bags in Singapore

I've previously received some queries on where to purchase PVC ice bags in Singapore. I saw a couple being used recently during a wine tasting event held by Essential Wines and obtained a contact via them for this product.

You can purchase these bags at : www.chillbag.com.sg



It makes for an easy, light, stylish wine carrier bag (they come in different colours); something convenient to chill wine bottles in; foldable when not in use and reusable next time you have a need.

When doing 'BYO wine' sessions at BBQ pits, eateries or at a friends' place, I usually bring along an ice bag or two just in case there's not sufficient ice buckets for the evening's need. It comes in handy when you are visiting the neighbourhood hawker centres with a bottle or two of whites or bubblies as well :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Discovering Sweet Wines in Singapore

 ( Hi folks, did an article on 'Sweet wines in Singapore' awhile ago. The information within may be of use to wine enthusiasts who are seeking to buy sweet wines this festive season.)


Article:


“Sweet wines from other countries please”, so came the request from the Qiao sisters recently. I’ve known these ladies awhile now and their love affair for most things sweet; wines included. Their usual 'hunting grounds' for sweet wines are Canada, France and Germany. This time round, however, they were looking for options from other countries to delight their colleagues and friends with.

I managed to identify a few local purveyors of sweet wines for their ‘sipping’ pleasure. If you are looking for something different to try this season, these wine merchants may just be able to assist you as well.

Austria
Do you like late harvest wine from Germany, the botrytised wine from Sauternes or ice wine from Canada? If so, you'll like Austria. Austria offers good alternatives from auslese, spatlese levels to schilfwein, trokenbeerenauslese and ice wines too. Some grape varietals used in the making of Austrian sweet wines are welschriesling, gruner veltiner, samling, chardonnay, riesling and muskat ottonel.

Local merchants: Unique Food & Wines (ph: 94504322), Ponti Wine Cellars (ph: 67330369), The Straits Wine Company (ph: 8888333) and www.ewineasia.com (an on-line wine sales platform) carry Austrian sweet wines of different styles.

Italy
Like Austria, Italy offers a variety of sweet wines as well. In terms of ‘sweet and sparkling’ ones, there are the ‘white’ Moscato d’ Asti and the ‘red’ Brachetto d’ Acqui. There’s also the ‘sweet, still white’ ones made from Muscat of Alessandria and Garganega varietals; not forgetting the ‘red, still’ Recioto from Valpolicella.

Another famous sip, Vin Santo wines (made with Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes which are dried in straw mats prior to fermentation) come from Tuscany. These are similar to ‘passito’ wines produced in Apulia and Lazio regions (made with Aleatico grape varietal).


Local merchants: The Straits Wine Company is well known for its Villa M (moscato d’asti) and carries the Luna Nuova Vin Santo from Chianti as well. Auric Pacific Marketing carries Banfi’s Brachetto d’ Acqui. FBI Wines (ph: 65091030) holds vin santos, reciotos and brachetto d’ acquis as part of its portfolio. Angara Wines & Spirits (ph: 65327791) carries a Vignamaggio vin santo and a Pantelleria passito liquoroso.

Hungary
Tokaji wines. At one point in history the sweet wines from Hungary were more popular than their French counterparts from Sauternes. Popular in Singapore are the Aszu and Aszu-Essencia styles. (The highest level, the ‘Tokaji Essencia ‘, is pricey, limited in supply and slightly hard to come by). Grape varietals used for these sweet wines are Furmint, Harslevelu and 4 other approved varietals. Botrytised grapes are used in the winemaking process to yield the sweetness these wines show. Aszu wines range from 3 to 6 puttonyos (as can be seen on wine labels). Aszu-Essencia holds a sweetness level higher than 6 puttonyos . The Tokaji Essencia displays the highest level of sweetness among these sweet wines.

Local merchants: Wine Tatler (ph: 64636870), Unique Food & Wines (Ph: 94504322) and The Straits Wine Company (ph: 8888333) carry a range of Aszu wines from 3-6 puttonyos and the Aszu-esscencia as well.

S. Africa
Vin de Constance is another sweet wine with some history behind it. If one looks at wine history, this sweet wine will be known to have held its own in European courts of centuries past. Though neglected for a period, in recent times however, it’s showing a revival in the district of Constantia (in S.Africa) where it’s produced using the Muscat blanc a petits grains grape varietal.

Local merchants: The Wine Club (www.wineclub.com.sg or ph:65933572); and www.ewineasia .com carries the Klein Constantia Vin De Constance.

It’s the festive season; try something new to thrill your palate :)


... morgun pathi

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wine courses in Singapore for year 2013

Received queries recently asking advice on wine courses for the coming year. I am listing below some of the course providers in town and a few sites which can provide additional information.

If you are contend on knowing about wine alone, then the courses from Singapore Polytechnic should be able to provide relevant knowledge. If you want to study about spirits as well, then the WSET courses may be more ideal. There are wine enthusiasts who first begin with the Singapore Poly certificate and then at a later date go on to take up the WSET courses as well.

If you are keen to seek employment as a sommelier or beverage manager, then the Court of Master Sommelier accreditation may be more appealing as it covers 'other beverages and service' part as well. This course is well received in Singapore within the F&B community.

The recent years have also seen good interest from those in the wine community for the Certified Specialist of Wine  (CSW) accreditation. Apart from those in the wine trade, others like writers, wine hobbyists and serious enthusiasts have gone on to obtain this certification.

Hope the following info helps :)

Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS)

I hear that this popular and demanding certification (both Levels 1 and 2) will once again be held in Singapore in the near future. For information on registration you can email to: mohamadfazil33@gmail.com


Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET).

There are 2 course providers in town who can help you.

1. Wine & Co Consultancy conducts Levels 1-3. For details on future intakes you can visit: http://www.winenco.com/educate.html
(To what I hear, the upcoming Level 1 is on 19 Jan 2013; Level 2 on 23 Feb 2013 and Level 3 on 2 Feb 2013. You can contact them for more info at 65478179).

2. SHATEC's Continuing Education and Training Dept is conducting Levels 1 - 4. For courses under SHATEC you can visit http://www.shatec-cet.sg/cet-workshops/lifestyle-workshops.html

French Wine Scholar (by French Wine Society)

This course is introduced locally via Wine & Co Consultancy. The information about the previous course details state that it is crafted into a '4 sessions of 6-hour classes; average 10-12 wines offered for tasting each class; and its for people in wine trade and hobbyists as well'. For information on future intakes visit : www.winenco.com/educate.html

Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) by Society of Wine Educators

For those keen on taking this certification locally, Mr Lim Hwee Peng will be able to assist you. You can seek more information via: www.winecraftmktg.com


Local Certifications


1. Certificate of Performance in Science and Business of Wine 

This is a local wine certificate awarded by Singapore Polytechnic. It has conducted more than 20 intakes of this course. The next course commences in 21 Jan 2013. Information can be found at www.sp.edu.sg (look under 'Continuing Education and Short Courses'.

2. WSQ-Provide Advice on Wine

This course is also conducted by Singapore Polytechnic. The next intake starts on 20 Feb 2013. Information can be found at www.sp.edu.sg (look under 'Continuing Education and WSQ courses'.


Have a good year discovering wines.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Abrau-Durso Sparkling Wines

(… when at Hong Kong Wine & Spirits fair 2012. Some information about a Wine House from Russia for those curious.)

I came to know that Russian wine producers are taking part in this year’s fair for the first time. So making some time, I visited them to learn a little about wine production there. The sparkling wines from Abrau-Durso came as a pleasant surprise.



The exhibitors highlighted that this is the oldest and largest Russian Sparkling Wine House. It came into existence via an Imperial edict by Tsar Alezander ll in 1870. Since then, it has been serving the powers that be from those of the Russian Imperial Court to present day Heads of State.

French winemaking know-how plays an important role in the crafting of these sparkling wines. ‘Methode tradionelle’ has been embraced since 1896 (under the influence of Prince Lev Golitsyn). These wines, when undergoing secondary fermentation in bottles, are kept in mountain tunnels which run over 5.5 kilometres!


This winery also operates Hotel Imperial (on the banks of Lake Abrau) to facilitate the 120,000 visitors who drop by annually to learn about its history and to taste its offerings. Abrau-Durso produces the following labels:

Abrau-Durso Cuvee Alexander ll, Brut (made with Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Pinot noir).

Abrau-Durso Cuvee Alexander ll, Brut Rose (made with Pinor Noir).

Abrau-Durso Victor Dravigny, Rouge, Semi-sweet (made with Cabernet Sauvignon).

Champagne Foliage, Extra Brut (made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier).

Abrau-Durso Russian Sparkling Wine, Brut (made with Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Aligote and Riesling).

Abrau-Durso Russian Sparkling Wine, Demi-sec (made with Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Aligote and Riesling).

Pleasant in palate and of good structure, I learnt from the exhibitors that these sparkling wines can be found in Singapore at Buyan Russian Restaurant & Caviar Bar, 9 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089593.

Go check them out this festive season :)


To view pictures taken at this year's fair you can go to the following links:

Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair 2012, Day 1

Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair 2012, Day 2

Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair 2012, Day 3

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A workshop on Bordeaux Wines

Sadly, there's not many wine workshops or short wine appreciation courses conducted these days on a regular frequency. It will be good to see more casual yet informative workshops with the aim to inform and educate wine enthusiasts. A little education goes a long way to bolster one's confidence when it comes to exploring wines, especially those from not so well known wine regions.

There's a workshop coming up next week. This one though is about wines from a 'relatively well known' region in France :p

Details are as follows:
Workshop title: Understanding Bordeaux Wines
Speaker: Malcolm Tham
Time: 3.30pm-5.30pm
Date: 6 Dec 2012 (Thursday)
Venue: Ochre Italian Restaurant
Address: 181 Orchard road, #11-03/04, Orchard Central
For booking: malcolmtham@pacific.net.sg
Enquiries: 91382078

Contents of Workshop:
1. The Terroir of Bordeaux
2. The Bordeaux wine varieties
3. Production of Bordeaux wines
4. The Bordeaux wine families and wine appellations
5. Understanding Bordeaux wine lables
6. Understanding Bordeaux wine classifications
7. French phonics to pronounce Bordeaux wines correctly
8. A tasting of 4 wines of different vintages and varieties

Price for workshop:
1. Trade and F&B folks: $25 per pax
2. SP Wine Alumni: $25 per pax
3. Public: $50 per pax


If you are free Thursday afternoon next week and keen to learn about Bordeaux wines, this may serve as a good opportunity for you :) For more info you can always call Malcolm.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Wine Universe Wine Club

Wine Universe Wine Shop (located at 9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-107, Millenia Walk) is launching a new wine club called ‘Wine Universe Wine Club’.



This club’s first tasting is scheduled on 29 Nov (Thursday) at 7pm. The following 6 wines have been selected for the tasting (finger food will be served during this tasting as well):

BALTHASAR RESS "VON UNSERM" RIESLING TROCKEN, RHEINGAU, GERMANY

GIROUD VINS, AMIGNE DE VETROZ 2009, VALAIS AOC, SWITZERLAND

TENURE FOLONARI "CAMPO AL MARE" 2006, DOC BOLGHERI, ITALY

CORONA DE CASTILLA "ELITE" 2005, RIBERA DEL DUERO DO, SPAIN

DOMAINE DUCLAUX 2006, CHATEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE AOC, FRANCE

URI BOROK PINCESZETE 1998, TOKAJI ASZU 5 PUTTONYOS, HUNGARY

Since this wine shop carries a good range of wines from various wine regions, Thomas Le Moal of Wine Universe has decided to showcase wines from different wine producing countries this time round.

The fee for tasting is $40 for non-members. For members of this wine club, the tasting fee is priced lower at $35.

Those keen to attend this tasting or join this new wine club can contact Thomas at 96425930 or via email at: thomas@wine-universe.com.sg.

If you like to know a little more about this place, you can also read this blog entry: Wine Universe.

Hope you enjoy the tasting :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pictures at Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair 2012

The Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair 2012. I visited the '5th edition' of this fair held at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) between 8 Nov-10 Nov 2012. For me its an 'annual pilgrimage' to not just undertake business errands, but equally as important to go discover something new and something different in the 'wine world'.

Every year this wine event throws me a surprise or two; be it in offering me a wine varietal I have not tasted before, or in the particular use of a varietal to make a different style of wine, or even wines from a wine region I have not had the chance to taste before.



This year was no different. There were surprises to be found and a little more knowledge to be learnt from the world of wines. With wine exhibitors from more than 35 countries and more than 900 booths being readily occupied, one can safely proclaim that this is a 'big' event; one which is difficult to satisfactorily cover in 3 days.Visitors have to be selective and focus on a few areas to explore and discover wines from, and leave the other booths with more than a tinge of regret.


Like the previous years, wines from France, Italy and Spain took on a bigger floor space and presence than wines from other countries. Italy in particular seem to be making a concerted and innovative effort in promoting its wine and wine culture to the visitors by not only holding wine workshops, but also having a booth demonstrating how to cook pasta (which attracted a good number of visitors), and having another booth distributing a Chinese language version of 2012 Gambero Rosso Italian wines rating books, as well as a thick book on Italian Wines and Wine making (in English) which were distributed freely to trade visitors.









Photography being a hobby, distraction and often a delightful curse, I took the opportunity to capture some wine moments witnessed during the 3 days' event.

Here below are the links to the photo albums uploaded into the Facebook page of  'Spice in wine'.. I'll write about some interesting 'wine finds' over the next few weeks. For a start, the visuals first :)

Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair 2012, Day 1

Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair 2012, Day 2

Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair 2012, Day 3

Monday, November 5, 2012

When at Singapore Wine Fiesta 2012



This weekend I went along with a few friends and visited the Singapore Wine Fiesta 2012 held at Customs House. Slated as the largest wine event for the general public in Singapore, it certainly pulled in a good crowd.


The tasting guide highlighted ‘65 cabins’ (wineries), each offering their liquid wares for tasting and sales. I took the opportunity to take pictures of this event. The pictures include participating winemakers, winery owners, wines and folks in general enjoying their weekend at this tasting. You can have a look at the pictures via this link; Singapore Wine Fiesta 2012 photo album.

Suffice to say, this event had the strong support and eager participation of a good number of wine enthusiasts. The first 3 hours of each day provided some quiet moments to talk to winemakers and winery reps. But by the later part of each day's tasting, the place was challengingly packed. If the aim of the organizer is to introduce wines in their portfolio to wine consumers in Singapore, then that goal would have been satisfactorily met with the number of people who attended this event.







The visitors by and large seem to loosely fall within three categories in their pursuit for wine over this weekend.

The brand seekers. Three oft mentioned wine brands during this event were Yarra Yering (Yarra Valley, Australia), Leeuwin Estate (Margaret River, Australia) and Mischief and Mayhem (Burgundy). I met wine folks who during conversation mentioned that their friends have advised them to look for these labels and to try wines from these wineries without fail. These wineries, having over the years built a degree of recognition for quality in the minds of consumers, tend to find ready enthusiasts keen to taste their wines.

The sweet sippers. Tables having sweet wines also found eager wine enthusiasts waiting to sip some the sweet nectar. Villa M wines (served at cabin 34) saw a constant demand for its 2 wines; Bianco Moscato NV and Rosso Brachetto NV. The young man serving these wines was certainly kept busy.

Another popular table was Cabin 46 where the Hungarian Tokaj-Disznoko 2009 Late Harvest Furmint and 2002 Aszu 5 Puttonyos Tokaji were served. This table was so popular that the sweet wines ran out in a few hours leaving a fair bit of disappointed consumers who came for the event later in the evening.

Max Ferdinand Richter (cabin 44) and Schloss Schonborn (cabin 45) showcased rieslings among which the Kabinetts and Spatlese ones offered sweet respite. Delas wines (cabin 24) had a 2009 Muscat de Beaumes De Venise which had enthusiasts bringing their friends to the table to try. Two unique sweet portions came in the form of Rubis (cabin 48) which offered a ‘chocolate wine’ and Bibich winery’s (cabin 47) Ambra Prosek NV, a dessert wine made from white varietals known as Debit and Marastina.

The explorers. A small group of wine folks were eager to sip wines from less known wine regions (at least less known in the local market that is). Towards this end they made their way to Japan’s Grace Wines (cabin 22). These wines made with Koshu grapes attracted quite a bit of interest. Lebanon’s Chateau Kefraya wines (from Bekaa valley) and Croatian wines from Bibich (North Dalmatia), Boskinac (Pag island), Coronica (Istria), Korta Katarina (Orebic) and Meneghetti (Stanija) were the other labels sought by folks who wanted to taste wines made from not-so-known varietals and regions.

The atmosphere was certainly different from the sombre, seated wine tastings conducted in hotels or when one is at trade wine fairs :p And I think its alright to have these occasional big wine fairs where exuberant folks explore wine in an informal setting in the company of friends. Who says wine must be a straight-laced, serious affair? :p The price for the event, being reasonable for the number of wines offered for tasting, may be one reason for the strong turnout. 

The current choice of location for the event has positive points like being centrally located and with easy transport links. The one consideration for future events though may be if this place can comfortably accommodate a turnout bigger than the one witnessed this weekend ... but the event organizer has a whole year to ponder over such an issue :)


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Upcoming: The Vintners' Tour 2012

The Vintner's Tour is swinging by South East Asia. Singapore, Jakarta and Bali will get to savour some old world wines, interact with winemakers, check out some masterclasses and indulge in wine-paired meals between 21-28 Nov 2012.



One particular 'value for money' wine event to be held in Singapore is the Wine Treasure Hunt Challenge held on 24 Nov (Sat) at Capella Sentosa (yes, you have to cross over to the little island if you wish to partake in this event).

A whole day event, it offers more than 200 wines from 50 appellations for tasting. Tasting will be carried out at 6 wine stations located at different places. Participants have to go from one station to the next to taste as well as to get answers to fill in a questionnaire. Those with right answers get the opportunity to win prizes. First prize is a wine trip for 2 to Europe; second prize a Vintec wine fridge; third prize Schott Zwiesel decanter and fourth prize a Magnum Champagne Delamotte. Decent prizes that can be won during a day's tasting :p

This event is priced at $68; a reasonable amount for a tasting of around 200 wines. You can also attend masterclasses on the same day. There's 4 of them priced between $28 and $68. There's also wine-paired meals arranged at various eateries if you are more keen to sit, wine and dine in a relaxed atmosphere.

This is the third consumer wine event scheduled for the month of November where the event caters to a large group of wine consumers. More such events spread across a year's calendar will certainly help bring wine consumers together and give them the opportunity to explore and discover wine in informal settings with their friends. Its a great way to spend a day as well :p

If you are free on the 24th, you should head down to Capella. For more information check out: http://www.ewineasia.com/index.php/the-vintners-tour-2012.





Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Upcoming: Family of Twelve Singapore Tour

A tasting of wines from 12 NZ wineries for consumers. Its a good concept I must say when local singapore wine distributors of NZ wines come together to offer wines from different regions in NZ. It gives consumers a reason to spend more than an hour or two at a tasting (which usually happens if a local distributor showcases wine from just a particular winery alone).


I particularly like the 'Walkabout' wine tasting to be held on 3 Nov. Its from 10am to 5pm, showcasing wines from all 12 wineries and complimented with tapas. You get the opportunity to meet the folks behind these labels, interact with them, get to know their signature approach in making wine and managing respective labels. A whole day affair !

From North Island you have Kumeu River, Villa Maria, The Milton Vineyard, Craggy Range, Ata Rangi and Palliser Estate. This gives you wines from Auckland to the north to Martinborough to the south.

(Its good to see wineries from North Island being represented as in present times consumers tend to recall and gravitate more easily towards wine regions like Marlborough and Central Otago, giving the wine regions in the North Island a miss).

From South Island you get Neudorf Vineyards (Nelson), Nautilus Estate (Marlborough), Lawson's Dry Hill (Marlborough), Fromm Winery (Marlborough), Pegasus Bay (Christchurch) and Felton Road (Central Otago). Again a good spread from different regions in South Island.

If you are a fan of NZ wines, then this is a wine event tailored for your curiosity.

(If there's something I am disappointed with, it's the fact that this good event coincides with another big consumer wine event happening on the same day. It would be nice if organizers of wine events in this little island can get together and 'schedule' events thus so wine events don't occur on the same day .... wishful thinking perhaps :p ... but certainly good for wine consumers :p )

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Upcoming: Singapore Wine Fiesta 2012

Eight more days to the Singapore Wine Fiesta 2012. This year its held between 2-4 Nov 2012. Like last year, the event is once again held at the Customs House (near Fullerton Bay hotel, closest mrt station being the Raffle Place station). Having attended the one held in Singapore last year, I must say I am looking forward to visit the upcoming one.


There's a blog entry about last year's event and pictures for those curious. Have a look :)
Article on Wine Fiesta 2011.
Singapore Wine Fiesta 2011 Photo Album.


The event last year showcased old and new world wines, provided wine enthusiasts an opportunity to interact with wine producers and had a casual, fun-filled atmosphere about it. The early part of each day was quieter and less crowded. If you are a wine student or enthusiast keen to interact with wine producers and ask questions on wine, terroir and the wine making process, then I would suggest you come a little early.

The late afternoons and evenings tend to take on a more upbeat atmosphere :p Lots of crowd, little room to move around, winemakers busy and folks drinking merrily in the company of friends (then again, its a 'fiesta' right ? :p

For the upcoming event, you get the opportunity to taste around 200 labels; that's a pretty good number :) Tickets are going at $38 for each day's tasting and I hear there are some promotions on tickets offered to members of The Straits Wine Company and DBS/POSB cardholders as well. Do visit a Straits Wine Company's retail outlet and find out more.

For wine consumers, this is an event worth attending :)




Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sia Huat Annual Warehouse Sale 2012

This current sale is held between 26th - 29th july, at its warehouse located at 20 Pandan Road. I swung by yesterday to check on wine accessories. Wine glasses under the Arcoroc label is retailing between $2-$4 per glass. They come in different shapes and sizes to cater to the needs of different wine types. Decent prices if you are looking to stock up on wine glasses for your wine group, weekend gatherings and parties.





However, if you are willing to pay $5 per glass, then the Chef & Sommelier range of glasses are those I would recommend. Made from Kwarx, a glass material meant to provide extra strength and durability, it seems a good value for money proposition. They have glasses for reds, whites and bubblies as well. Have a look before the sale ends tomoro :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Champagne Jacquart tasting in Singapore

Ms Floriane Eznack, presently a wine maker with Champagne Jacquart, was recently in Singapore to introduce some of its wines to the folks in the wine trade over here. Auric Pacific (a local wine distributor) played host while Praelum Wine bistro at Duxtion Hill offered its place for the tasting. Since these wines were still ‘unchartered sips’ for me, I took the opportunity to go hear about the producers, taste their wares and take some pictures of this session.


Ms Floriane attest her interest and love for wine to her father. A wine lover, he used to guide her in her youth by sharing with her his love for wine and spending time indulging in ‘blind tasting sessions’ with her. She went on to cultivate knowledge about things wine by attending several winemaking courses and working as a cellar hand with winemakers. In 2004 she graduated from the Reims Oenology School and in 2006 began work with Veuve Clicquot. Jan 2011 saw her filling the position of Head winemaker at Jacquart and her involvement with this brand ever since.

Ms Floriane Eznack with Auric Pacific reps

This brand began 5 decades ago when a group of growers decided to produce champagne under their own label rather than be contented with merely growing grapes and selling them to middlemen and existing champagne houses. Call it restlessness, discontentment, growing aspiration, wanting to ensure the continued survival of their vineyards or striving for a better control over their own destiny (could be one or a combination of reasons), the growers set about producing wine under the Jacquart label. Fast forward 35 years and in 1998 three growers’ co-operatives came together to form the Alliance Champagne Group which presently manages the Jacquard brand.

Being a ‘grower co-operative producer’ has its advantages. The Alliance Champagne Group works with 1800 growers and operates 2400 hectares of land (which roughly represents around 7% of the land under vine in the Champagne region). These growers are located all over the Champagne region with grapes being mainly sourced from Marne Valley, Montagne de Reims, Cote des Blancs and Cote des Bars. These factors help Jacquart with having a ready access to grapes grown in different terroirs from which to craft its champagnes.

Though over the decades Jacquart has produced a variety of champagnes and sold them under its label, recent management initiative the last 2 years has brought a refocus to 5 main types of champagne for present production under its label. These are:

1. The non-vintage Brut Mosaique (a wine made since Jacquart’s beginnings ). Dominated by chardonnay and supported by pinot noir and pinot menuir, it sells on its freshness.

2. The non-vintage Rose (known as the Brut Mosaique in ‘pink’). 

3. The non-vintage Extra Brut conveying a drier expression of the regular Mosaique with extra aging on the lees made to add complexity and character to the wine’s body. Its first release into the market was in 2007.

4. The vintage Blanc de Blancs (100% chardonnay), and

5. The Nominee made from the best crus of chardonnay and pinor noir (like those found in Mailly, Avize and Chouilly), and aged for 6 years in cellar before release.

During the trade tasting in Singapore we had the opportunity to taste 5 of its champagnes. 

Champagne Jacquart wines


They were:
Champagne Jacquart Brut Mosaïque N.V.,
Champagne Jacquart Brut Rose Mosaique N.V.
Champagne Jacquart Blanc de Blancs N.V.,
Champagne Jacquart Brut Mosaïque 2002 and
Champagne Jacquart Brut de Nominée 1999.

The Burt Mosaique and Brut Rose showed themselves as easy drinking sips showcasing freshness, fruit expressions and a pleasant finish. Both the Blanc de Blancs and the Mosaique 2002 displayed more character in nose and palate, certainly showed a firmer structure and a complex body than the earlier two wines. These 2 wines were the favourite of the trade folks for this session; the group almost equally divided in favouring one or the other.The Nominee 1999 was a curiosity; brooding and still evolving, it has some years to go before it fully expresses itself. Consumers would do well to let this Nominee age a little longer before popping one for a curious sip.

In one way Champagne Jacquart can be viewed as a ‘new comer’ into the champagne producing fraternity. It does not have a ‘long’ history which some houses like Moet & Chandon, Lois Roederer or Pommery can lay claim to. But then again every champagne House has to begin at some point in time, sustain itself against trials and succeed over time before history gives us a story to tell. We can happily note that the Jacquart has of recent survived through 50 years of operation and is growing successfully. Its champagne is presently distributed in more than 60 countries (the top 3 being France, UK and Germany) and sales of 3 million bottles in 2011 gives hint of its success.

(If you like to see some pictures taken during the trade tasting in Singapore, you can take a peek in www.facebook/spiceinwine ).


... morgun pathi
 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wine Connection Tapas Bar & Bistro at Robertson Walk

Yesterday was a hot day. Though normally I would take it as an exercise of discipline to stay away from air-con and fans, yesterday the heat seemed to take a perverse delight in making me feel uncomfortable. Glasses of cold water offered temporary respite to the mind and body, yet the spirit remained restless and unnerved. The latter demanded (quite persistently) a chilled white as a form of distraction.

getting seated for chilled sips
Tired of putting up a brave front, I invited an obliging oenophile along for dinner and sips at Wine Connection’s Tapas Bar & Bistro. This relatively new eatery is located at #01-19/20 Robertson Walk, 11 Unity Street and I must say this place offers some advantages to enthusiasts curious about wine.

Closing hours. Let’s say I am delighted at the hours it keeps. Most days (Mon-Thu) it closes at 2am and on fridays & saturdays it closes at 3pm. There’s no need to rush through dinner or wines over here; you can spend the evening at a leisurely pace. Ever wanted a place for that ‘second round’? Even if you are doing dinner elsewhere and have to leave that premise by 11pm, you can still swing by this bistro after that for more drinks with your friends if you don’t wish the evening to end just yet.

Large capacity. This place got some girth. Be it you wish to sip alone or with a loved one for the evening; be it you want to sip away with your regular group of wine lovers or even ask along your colleagues from your department for evening drinks, this place can hold a good crowd. A staff mentioned that it can easily cater to more than 200 folks any one time; seeing the place myself, I can’t disagree with her.

Sitting options. Options abound. You have the option of sipping al fresco; there’s quite a few wine barrels and high tables placed on the front and rear sections of this bistro for that purpose. Most guests seem to prefer the al fresco option. Indoors you have the option to dine at regular sized tables, or sit and sip wines on high chairs. There’s also the long wooden table which runs across a portion of this bistro offering an elevated view of the whole place, if you like to catch up on people watching.

view from Mohamed Sultan road
back portion within Robertson Walk
regular seating option found indoors
nice long table with high chairs

Reasonably priced food and wine menus. Looking at the food menu, my companion’s expression was: “very reasonable prices”. Starters are between $9-$13; more than a dozen type of pasta and pizza are offered between $12-$15 each; fish and meat dishes range between $18-$25 and desserts at $5-$6. The wine menu offers a good selection of wines (sparkling, dry whites, sweet whites, roses and reds from various wine regions), going between $30-$100. There’s also an ample number of wines offered between the $30-$50 price category; reasonably priced and giving wine enthusiasts an opportunity to open a few bottles with their friends without hurting their wallets.

chilli and meat pizza
cellar within this bistro


This is a good place to get a few friends together, order a couple of dishes and wines, and just hangout or even indulge in your own informal food and wine pairing exercise; there's more than enough food and wine options over here. On the other hand, if like me you needed a place to get some chilled sips with quiet company, it would do as well. Check the place out if you are in the neighbourhood :)


... morgun pathi
 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

World Wine Vault in Singapore

World Wine Vault, a relatively new wine retail outlet located at 22 Sin Ming Lane, #08-76, Midview City, Singapore 573969. I had the opportunity to meet its owners while visiting this place on 14 April, when it was having the Shaw Vineyard Estate wine tasting session.


What started out as an online wine sales enterprise in early 2011 took on a physical dimension when the business moved into its current location in Nov 2011. This outlet is helmed by Ms Jaz Ong and Mr Joseph Chin, both owners of this wine venture.

Ms Jaz Ong and Mr Joseph Chin of World Wine Vault

While there, I took the opportunity to view some of the wines on display. Most wines come from wine regions located in France, Australia, Italy, NZ and S.Africa. This outlet offers wines for both the 'price conscious' and the 'quality conscious' wine consumers.

For the price conscious wine consumer there is a good selection of wines starting from $26 onwards. For those keen on easy drinking bubblies, there’s lambrusco at $26, a moscato spumante at $29 and a cremant at $37. These are affordable sips for daily drinking indulgence, bbq sessions and informal weekend get-togethers among friends where a generous quantity of wine at easy reach is looked upon favourably.

There’s a good range of whites and reds at prices between $30-$50 as well. These can be of interest to new wine enthusiasts who wish to taste wines from different countries without having to dig too deeply into their pockets. In particular, I saw some NZ pinot gris, pinot noir, riesling and gewürztraminer retailing at around $30; wines at good prices for those keen on exploring NZ wines or wanting to purchase a few bottles to pair with asian cuisine.

For those into quality wines and respected labels, some wines over here to consider will be those from Ch Ausone and Ch Lafite Rothschild from France; Sassicaia from Italy; Mollydooker Carnival of Love Shiraz, Clarendon Hills Astralis, Grant Burge Meshach and Lake’s Folly Cabernets from Australia (to mention a few). If you are into purchasing wines in large sized formats, there’s wines from Haan Estate, Henley Farm, Irvine Grand Merlot, Colonial Estate and Oliverhill winery sold here as well.

World Wine Vault organizes regular wine tasting sessions to give enthusiasts an opportunity to sample wines before purchase. On the other hand, you can also arrange for an exclusive wine tasting session for your friends at this place; the owners are accommodating. You can contact them via Tel: 6659368; www.worldwinevault.com and Facebook as well.

(A few more pictures taken at World Wine Vault in this Photo Album.)