Legendary English wine merchant, Noel Young, jetted into Singapore for a brief one night stopover, coming from Australia on-route back to the motherland and catching up with the Wandering Palate, over duck!
Ideally, we would have had young Noel at the Wandering Palate trough, nose down in duck curry however within the constraints of time and a busy lead-up to Chinese New Year, I decided to take him to my favourite duck restaurant, Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck.
And the duck was certainly up to scratch, Young declaring it “The best I have had”, as we washed it down with an excellent bottle of Bass Phillip Pinot Noir Premium 2009, the Wandering Palates “Australian Red Wine of the Year” in the Lunar Year Retrospective 2011 – Year of the White Rabbit. Yes, we are on the eve of Chinese New Year, the Year of the Black Water Dragon with the black-skinned grape, pinot noir, deemed the most auspicious wine to be drinking.
Young is based just outside of Cambridge in Trumpington, although his clientele is largely online selling wine all over England as well as a strong following in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Having received many accolades over the years including a multitude of honours from the International Wine Challenge Young is the consummate wine merchant with an encyclopaedic knowledge and one of the best palates I have come across. Indeed, he is ruthless calling ‘a spade and spade’ and not one for holding back his opinion. He is also the sharpest blind taster I have encountered with an extraordinary ability to nail wines.
He does have a reputation as a nonconformist however this maverick semblance is perhaps relevant to the pomposity of the English wine trade; the fact is he doesn’t like Bordeaux much and has a truly ‘wandering’ and adaptable palate with a comprehensive understanding of practically every wine region on this planet.
Young is also a winemaker with a joint venture in the Barossa Valley with Rolf Binder, their Magpie Estate label www.magpieestate.com well-established and producing Rhone Valley varietal reds that are particularly supple and elegant at the same time not lacking in energy and offer excellent price/quality rapport.
Young also specialises in the affordable, rather topical at the moment, and is always hunting out the best value from the lesser-known region in Spain, Portugal and Italy; check out his website www.nywines.co.uk