Sunday, March 4, 2012

Buying wines in Penang Island

Visiting Penang and looking for places to buy wine? I just did that a couple of weeks ago.

An opportunity came to spend a few days in Penang early February. It was a revisit to the island after 3 years, for the sole pleasure of reacquainting myself with the local cuisine over there. Fortunately this time round, I had the company of a good friend (Markus) who grew up there to play host and guide. Aaron (of The Wine Unplugged) joined me for this trip.

Mornings were spent checking out local eateries; most were family-owned and with their trade passed down from one generation to the next. Since this trip fell near the end of the '15-days period' of Chinese New Year, evening dinners were spent at Chinese restaurants with local oenophiles who were passionate about food, wine and the thirst to celebrate life in the company of family and friends.

We brought over some wines from Singapore. Needless to say, these weren’t enough looking at the meals planned for the next few days :p Markus was good enough to bring us to a local wine retail outlet he frequents so that we can make some purchases.The shop we visited was:

The Wine Shop
15, Lintan Burma, 10250, Penang. (Tel:604-2261824)

Located along a row of shophouses, this company occupies 2 units; one unit functions as a retail outfit while the other unit next door serves as a wine bar with a selection of light food to go with your preferred sip. All types of wine from bubblies, still dry to stickies can be found here. Wines retailed come both from the new and old worlds with a good spread of wines from France, Italy and Australia. On a smaller scale wines from countries like US, Spain and NZ can be found as well.

Price per bottle range from as low as M$100 to a few bottles priced above M$1,500. Unless you are looking for that special award winning bottle from a highly sought after label which thrives on small production, most other wines are retailed at fairly affordable prices. We bought a few whites to start dinners with and some reds for the later part of the evenings.

If you are however looking for mid to high end labels from France, Italy and Australia with a bit of age, good ratings or from good vintages, then the other wine company which may be of interest to you is:

The Wine Library
63-1-6, Blk A, Symphony Park, Jalan Lenggong, 11600 Pulau Penang. Tel: (04) 2272722; HP: 012-4071727

The owner is Mr Jack Tan who is a collector, connoisseur and purveyor of good wines in Penang. I met him during my first wine dinner there and we had the opportunity to do another dinner with him during this trip. Suffice to say he introduced some interesting French, Italian and Aussie reds during the 2 dinners from his cellar. He has been investing and collecting wine for some years now, and has an impressive portfolio. If you are seeking well known champagnes or quality still wines to enjoy with your friends, he just may be the person to talk to.

It was a good trip. Markus says that this time round the ‘food won’, as Aaron and me had to say “.. no more food please, we are stuffed.” :p

(This is not intended to be a food blog; but since the trip was about food and wine, I've put up a photo album with pictures of some of the food and wine we tried over there ... just for the curious :)

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