Vintage of a Lifetime 2009 – Les Vins Georges Duboeuf
Beaujolais 2009 - The Vintage of a Lifetime

Any good wine reflects the weather, which is the work of nature, and it was especially beneficial in 2009, here in the Beaujolais region.

Things got off to a great start in May, which was lovely and warm with plenty of sunshine. The vines were nearly growing before our very eyes, and this soon led to them flowering. This told us that the harvest would be early (90 days after flowering). In late July, one winegrower said to me “My grandfather used to say that August is always just like May” and his grandfather was right this year.

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France – Red Wine of the Year
Beaujolais vineyard, France

Must-Have Wines of the Lunar Year

Georges Duboeuf Chateau des Capitans Julienas 2009 & Georges Duboeuf Morgon Domaine Mont Chavy 2009

I can already sense the disbelief from the wine cognoscenti, Beaujolais? How could Beaujolais eclipse Bordeaux, Burgundy or the Rhone Valley? Surely he can’t be serious!

Well I am, moreover unequivocal in my choice and can genuinely say that these two wines gave me the greatest (French) drinking pleasure of the year, trying them both in a tasting line-up held by Franck Duboeuf, and separately over a meal.

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The Wandering Palate & Friends at The Datai
The Wandering Palate and Friends at The Datai

An  intimate evening with Sam Neill at ,The Pavilion, serving authentic Thai cuisine in a charming alfresco setting, in the canopy of the rainforest. The main dinning room will be the venue for the feature event “The Pearl”  with Allen Meadows serving a western-Malaysian influenced banquet.

Situated in the heart of the rainforest, in an open-air “Kampung Style” setting, the Gulia house serves traditional Malay curries and Indian specialities and will be the venue for our lunch with Josh Jensen  presenting Calera  Wine Co. wines.

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Asia Symphony of Wine and Flavours
Asia Symphony of Wine and Flavours

Burghound Unrivalled Passion for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

The Burghound Phenomenon. Burgundy lends itself to obsessives, what with its hundreds of growers, thousands of named vineyards and maddening variations in vintages. The world’s foremost Burgundy expert – who, thankfully, is also in possession of an acute palate – is Los Angeles-based Allen Meadows… No Burgundy lover leaves home for the retail shop without a copy.” – Matt Kramer, Diversion Magazine.

Asia, the last continent – Jancis Robinson MW (Financial Times May 2010)
“It is no exaggeration to say that Asia has become the focus of the world’s fine-wine trade. But the Asian wine scene is very much more than Hong Kong and China. Japan and Singapore have long histories of connoisseurship.”

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Sommelier of the Year – Asia
Stephanie Rigoud picking grapes

Stephanie Rigourd – Hilton Hotel, Singapore

I was first introduced to Stephanie Rigourd by Jean-Luc Fourrier, Vice President Restaurant Concepts for the Hilton in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, who is based here in Singapore. A veteran of the hotel and hospitality industry with a good eye for talent Fourier impressed upon me that Stephanie had a great feel and aptitude for wine and would go a long way in the industry.

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Matt Kramer – Unplugged in Singapore
Matt Kramer Unplugged in Singapore

Brought to you by The Wandering Palate and Hermitage Wine.

Matt KramerWine Spectator‘s contributing editor and columnist for the magazine both in print and online, “Drinking Out Loud” will be in Singapore with ‘one nightly only’ appearance and wine dinner at…

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Western Australia’s thrilling southern coast
Twilight Cove beach, Western Australia

The southern coast of Western Australia around the regional town of Esperance is thrilling terrain, writes Terry Chellappah, who wonders why it took him so long to experience it first hand.

Being resident in the wonderful Margaret River region of Western Australia for a decade now, it had become easy to grow blinkers and regard this beautiful area as the pinnacle of the pristine and exciting Western Australian landscape.  Many of you know and love the wine and food culture in Margaret River; add to that the rugged coastline, with a dash of art and craft and of course the world renowned surf beaches and you have an enticing and accessible travel cocktail.

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Churton – Stunning results from Biodynamic Viticulture in Marlborough, New Zealand
Churton The Abyss Pinot Noir

With the vintage in New Zealand drawing closer, Sam Weaver at Churton in Marlborough reported in correspondence to me, “The vineyard is looking great (see picture), we had a very good fruit set which was then followed by a much wetter, earlier summer than normal.

This has led to very healthy looking vines and vineyards. Very good fruit set and potentially very good bunch size in Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. We’ve just finished our first round of crop thinning so will be on target with good but controlled yields. For us this means 40hl/ha for Pinot and about 55hl/ha for Sauvignon Blanc.”

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Parma Ham Mango Pear Salad with Felton Road Block 1 Riesling 2008
Parma ham mango salad

Whipping up a quick salad and reaching for a bottle of Felton Road Block 1 Riesling from Wine Fridge. And a little nibble of Tetsuya Wakuda’s Petuna Lightly Smoked Ocean Trout.

This is one of those impromptu kitchen inspirations where a salad dishes builds itself purely from ingredients in the fridge at the time. I had been shopping earlier in the week at the Singapore delicatessen, Culina at Dempsey Hill, stocking up on what looked good, and the Prosciutto di Parma caught my eye, a sheet of thinly sliced rashes vacuum packed with its dark red-brown colour and streaks of creamy fat most enticing.

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Dr. Salomon Wine Dinner at Dolce Vita
Wine dinner

My favourite wine person on the planet, the affable and jovial Bertold Salomon from, Undhof Salomon in Krems, Austria is coming through Singapore on February 9th and holding a wine dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Bert’s infectious humble nature and warm-hearted hospitality comaflages his obvious intelect, intense passion and encyclopdic understanding of the entire wine world gained in his past role of head of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board.

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