Date: 16 March 2012

It was supposed to be a “Cults & Classics” Wine Dinner… but I guess it’s probably not that easy to access cult wines, given our #SgWine attendees generally are not big-time wine collectors with deep pockets. So, I’m retrospectively calling this a “Classics” wine dinner.

“Classics” because the wines we enjoyed showed regional typicity.

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Classics wine dinner - menu

Venue: Bistro 103
(103 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore)

We had a very enjoyable wine dinner at Bistro 103 last year, and given the hostess’ generosity in giving us special BYO allowances, we are back at Bistro 103 again. The food they served is what they call “European/Western”. The chef is well-skilled and makes some really nice food. Unfortunately, he was on leave the day of our wine dinner, which was why our menu was less complicated in delivery-demands. Food served was still enjoyable, and we had a good time. Glassware provided was acceptable, and we had access to decanters.

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Now, on to the wines:

2011 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand)

If you haven’t got any champers, the Cloudy Bay SB is a reliable aperitif to kick off a wine dinner, while we wait for all the guests to arrive.

Nice hit of lime, gooseberries and slight grassiness; delivers well on the palate, buoyed by some fresh acid. A very aromatic wine and eminently enjoyable! Enjoy this young.

2009 Grosset 'Springvale' Riesling

2009 Grosset ‘Springvale’ Riesling (Clare Valley, Australia)

Jeffery Grosset is considered the “guru” of Australian Riesling by many, and the bone-dry Rieslings he produces in the world-renowned Clare Valley consistently thrills wine drinkers. “Springvale” is the name of a vineyard he owns in the village of Watervale in Clare valley, and this wine is second to his famous Polish Hill Riesling.

Aromatic with zesty lime and lemons, with accompanying floral notes. There are some hints of kerosene, which is not uncommon in Clare Valley Rieslings. On the palate, the racy acid carries a bone-dry wine that leaves a lingering finish. Brilliant!

2005 Leeuwin Estate 'Art Series' Chardonnay

2005 Leeuwin Estate ‘Art Series’ Chardonnay
(Margaret River, Australia)

Amongst Australian wines, Leeuwin Estate ‘Art Series’ Chardonnay commands a special place. It is considered one of Australia’s premier Chardonnays, an outstanding example of good oaked Chardonnays.

A wonderful aroma of pears and tangerines, with floral and nutty accents. There is oak, subtle and alluring. On tasting, the palate is flooded with layers of different flavours, each intertwining with the other, giving wonderful complexity and very well balanced. As you swallow, you are taken to a soft landing of flavours, but their presence lingers on… wow!

2009 Giacomo Grimaldi ‘Pistin’ Barbera d’Alba (Piedmont, Italy)
2009 Giacomo Grimaldi Dolcetto d’Alba (Piedmont, Italy)

One of our attendees is an importer of Italian wines, and he took this opportunity to show us a few of his offerings. First up are 2 wines by Giacomo Grimaldi, a small winery in the Piedmont region of 3 generations and counting.

The ‘Pistin’ Barbera d’Alba is a nice, clean and eminently approachable wine. It delivers a huge load of cherries on the nose and palate. There are some subtleties in this well-made example of Barbera, one of Italy’s 3 signature grapes.

The Dolcetto d’Alba is what I call a “cheap & cheery” wine. It is not fussy, delivers fun in a simple and easy drinking way.

2006 Chateau Beaumont

2006 Château Beaumont – magnum (Bordeaux, France)

Bargain! is what I thought when I bought this magnum of Château Beaumont from 1855 The Bottle Shop on their monthly specials. Château Beaumont is a Cru Bourgeois Supérieur from the Médoc in Bordeaux.

Upon tasting, one of our attendees Chek (himself a CSW and currently studying for his WSET diploma) said: “yup, this is Bordeaux for me!” That’s a good start. Dark berries dominate both the nose and palate. The plump fruitiness cloaks the obvious oak. There is still some fresh acid in support of the strong tannins, suggesting it can handle a few more years in the bottle. This is not a silky smooth or plush Bordeaux Cru Classe, but is a straightforward, good wine. I went out and got myself another magnum the week after the dinner… would be interesting to see how it shows in 1-2 years’ time.

2007 Valdipiatta Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Italy)

This is the 3rd wine on show by the fore-mentioned Italian wine importer, a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (noble wine of Montepulciano) by Tenuta Valdipiatta.

A quick whiff of the wine brings a wave of sweet cherries. On the palate, though, it is sour cherries, accompanied by nice fresh acid. The smooth tannins and  integrated oak provides a good structure for the yummy fruit. This is a “food wine”, makes one call out for a pizza margherita or a nice juicy steak.

‘Mystery’ wine:  2011 GranMonte ‘Spring’ Chenin Blanc (Asoke Valley, Thailand)2011 GranMonte 'Spring' Chenin Blanc

Just when you thought you know a bit about wines, along comes this surprising package. Chek prepared this wine ‘blind’ for us to try. It was made blind for us to assess this wine on its merit, without initial judgments we would have if we see its label before tasting.

So, without any expectations, we tasted the wine. The nose was Chardonnay to me, lime & floral with some restrained stone fruits. On the palate, fresh and juicy. It’s a simple wine with a fantastic nose. A few of us thought this might be an old world white, but alas…

GranMonte is owned and run by a Thai family, with winemaking duties falling on Australia-trained daughter Nikki, an Oenology graduate from Adelaide University. It is interesting to see a Thai wine and be able to enjoy it without prejudice!

Others…

There were 2 other bottles of wine that were opened, but as they were not showing well, I did not bother to take notes. Life is short, time is limited, I’ll just touch on those nice ones! Hehe…

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'Classics' wine dinner 16-Mar

It was a good night.
Some really nice wines, a couple disappointing ones & a surprising ‘mystery’ wine. There was definitely enough wines to keep almost everyone “topped up”.

Above all, we did enjoy a good selection of wines that display typical characteristics of their region.

I am already looking forward to the next wine dinner!
Cheers~!

4 Readers Commented

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  1. X_deadfall on April 3, 2012

    Our dear Italian wine importer was a too generous with the Barbera d’Alba serving and ended up only a few drops for himself, so out of his frustration… We got the Dolcetto!

    Woohoo!

  2. EnjoyWine.sg on April 4, 2012

    Yes, always tricky trying to pour for 12 from 1 bottle. Each would only get a double-tasting-portion. Perhaps we should dictate magnums or 2 bottles next time! 😉

  3. Visooth Lohitnavy on April 22, 2012

    Glad that your group now know we can make good wine in Thailand. Thanks to the organiser of the wine dinner !

  4. EnjoyWine.sg on April 23, 2012

    Tks for dropping by Visooth. We hope to be able to taste more wines from Thailand in future, and see how the vineyard develops.

    Cheers! 🙂