Thursday, 31 May 2012

Wine Storage in Singapore

(I have written an updated post on 2014 wine storage options in Singapore here)

A few friends have recently asked me about wine storage options in Singapore.  Now I’m not an expert on the topic.  I do have a small stash with Cornerstone Wine’s 12 Degrees, which I think is great if your collection isn’t too big and you aren’t too fussed about getting 24/7 access to your wine.  I also know a few people who store their wines at Extra Space Self-Storage at Boon Keng, another recognised leader in wine storage.

I’ve spoken to three of Singapore’s top storage outfits, 12 Degrees, Extra Space and Wine Exchange Asia (WEA), to get more detail on their offerings and which of their business models suits which consumer best. Each represents a different storage model, respectively a bonded warehouse, DIY storage and a managed cellar service.  Links to their rate cards are herehere and here.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A Winemaking Holiday in Burgundy (Part 3)

Dawn is breaking gently upon the Côte de Beaune.  Emily and I are on the plateau of the Fretille Hill, enjoying the beautiful vista.  Our Lady of Good Hope (Notre Dame de Bonne Espérance) stands beside us, blessing the road to Beaune and the three villages that share the Corton Hill – Pernand-Vergelesses, Aloxe-Corton and Ladoix-Serrigny.  The air is bracingly fresh and clean, and not for the first time, I consider chucking it all in for a little writer’s sinecure in the heart of the picturesque countryside.

As we walk back downhill and through the threshold of the domaine, so does Ludovic, bearing a paper bag of baked treats.  They are, without doubt, the best croissants and pains au chocolat I have ever tasted, shattering in crisp, buttery flakes as I bite into them.  I grin like an idiot as Ludo brews up potent espresso shots to kickstart our systems.  It is on such rudimentary fuel that the vignerons of Pernand-Vergelesses run, and a hard day of work is ahead.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Olivier Humbrecht, The Grape Whisperer

Natural.  That is the word that echoes in your mind as you speak to Olivier Humbrecht and taste the exquisite wines of his Domaine Zind-Humbrecht.

Humbrecht is that rarest and most unusual of creatures – a French Scotsphile.  With a Gallo-Scottish accent (thanks in no small part to his Glaswegian wife Margaret and years working in the UK) and an imposing 6’4” frame that wouldn’t look out of place on a rugby paddock, he is an ardent whisky-lover and France’s first Master of Wine.  And despite the numerous accolades heaped upon him, the man has no affectations; he meets us in simple work gear - a weathered brown Bruichladdich polo shirt and jeans, having just emerged from a busy morning in the cellars.

Olivier Humbrecht, MW, in the grand cru Goldert

Domaine Weinbach - The First Ladies of Alsace

An Afternoon Tasting with Catherine Faller

Wine has been made for over 1,100 years on the tranquil plains of what is now Domaine Weinbach.  The estate was founded and run by Capuchin monks from 1612 until the French Revolution, finally coming into the possession of the Faller brothers, tanners from Kaysersberg, in 1898.  After their son and nephew Theo’s untimely death in 1979, the estate has been under the doughty stewardship of Theo’s widow Colette and their two daughters Catherine and Laurence.

The Faller Women (l to r): Colette, Catherine and Laurence

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

the.Dyak - Urban Iban Cooking in Kuching, Sarawak

the.Dyak is a relatively new Iban restaurant on the fringes of Kuching town.   It has attracted rave reviews on TripAdvisor and other media for serving traditional Iban cooking in a smart, air-conditioned environment.  So when we were looking for an authentic yet comfortable experience after a few days in the jungle, it seemed like the natural choice.