Calera Reed Pinot Noir 1997 – Mt. Harlan, California
Calera Reed Pinot Noir 2008 - California, USA

USA – Red Wine of the Year

Amongst the plethora of wineries on this planet and ever-increasing choice, or perhaps bewilderment for the consumer, there is a select group of iconic brands and individual winemakers that stand head and shoulders above the rest. They are the benchmark for all other producers and greatly respected by fellow winemakers and equally revered by wine enthusiasts.

In the old world and spiritual home of pinot noir, such names as Domaine de le Romanee Conti and Armand Rousseau in Burgundy are holy. In the new world sanctification goes to Calera Wine Co in California, USA and its legendary proprietor, Josh Jensen, a true pioneer of the Californian wine industry and master of the most precarious of all grapes.

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A Tasty Turn of Events – Kota Kinabalu Food Festival 2011
Kota Kinabalu Food Fest 2011

Kota Kinabalu’s first food festival makes its inaugural debut from 9th July 2011 (Saturday) to 22nd July 2011 (Friday). Appropriately themed as “A Tasty Turn of Events”, the Kota Kinabalu Food Festival is a 2 week showcase of Food & Beverage establishments in and around Kota Kinabalu.

Organized by Malaysia’s first premier online lifestyle magazine, LifeAndStyle.com.my, the crux of the Kota Kinabalu Food Fest is to discover and promote varied dining options in our city, catering not only to dedicated gourmands, but also to those of us who are very simply foodies at heart.

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Contemporary Dining at Tate Modern – London, June 7th
Tate Modern Restaurant London

One normally hesitates when recommending to ‘dine’ in a gallery or museum beyond basic sustenance, but Tate Modern’s restaurant on level 7 is an exception, not only offering modern (as you would expect) high quality, seasonal-focused food but also possibly one of the best dining views in London.

To gain the maximum appreciation of this brilliant art deco style building and its surrounds, walk along the Thames River and cross over the Millennium Bridge. It’s an incredible space, inside and out; almost as surreal as the paintings housed in it with its soaring 325ft chimney, equally towering interior ceilings and the massive iron beams of what was once the Bankside Power Station.

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles – Singapore-Paris-London, June 6th

The first phase of the summer holidays sees us on Singapore Airlines A380 to Paris. What a difference it is to fly in this jet albatross, even if we were in cattle class. A little advice, if you’re in economy try to get seats in the upperdeck, a small section at the rear of the cabin that is economy yet, somehow feels more intimate and well, less economy.

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The Wandering Palate & Friends – Sam Neill & Phil Jones at Iggy’s
Wine dinner

Following on from our hugely successful Burghound event “An Unparalleled Passion for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay”, in another coup de mâitre, The Wandering Palate and Hermitage Wine bring together two renown Pinot Noir virtuosos from the most southern reaches of cool-climate wine regions in the world – Sam Neill, acclaimed actor and proprietor of Two Paddocks in Central Otago, New Zealand and Phillip Jones, the ‘Pinot Noir prodigy from down-under’ with his Bass Phillip vineyard in the unique terroir of Leongatha South, Gippslands, Victoria, Australia.

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Gut Instinct – Singapore, June 5th
Black Velvet Cake

We discovered a cake shop the other day with a difference, moreover an inspiring example of trusting one’s gut instinct and being brave enough to make a courageous career change after 20 years in a totally unrelated industry.

Classic Cakes opened its doors in 2005 when Charles Quek finally succumbed to his passion for baking, leaving behind 20 years in the insurance industry and fore filling a nagging obsession to turn his hobby in to a business.

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Organically Thinking – London 5th June

Came across this mixed dozen offering from Berry Bros & Rudd, which struck me as not only as very good value but an ideal mix of regions and styles. And more importantly, organically grown grapes. Interesting to see Dominique Lafon using screwcap closure for his Macon Blanc, unquestionably the right way to go and should rattle the cages in this conservative part of the vinous world.

The Champagne Larmandier Bernier Premier Cru ‘Tradition’ Extra Brut is what real Champagne is all about, none of this high-dosage lolly water here, this is pristine, invigorating, captivating Champagne.

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