Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2006 Central Otago, New Zealand
Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2006, New Zealand

It’s a big call, nailing the single wine of the year that was most impressionable amongst so many good bottles moreover, an ever-increasing myriad of high quality, relatively more approachable wines produced around the globe. However, this is wine that stimulated my sensory core, viscera and thoughts most in terms of complexity, compelling quality and sheer enjoyment.

It was my house red for a period; I simply could not get enough of it, drinking the supplier in Singapore dry. I then resorted to hording bottles on my travels to Malaysia, where it is on the wine list at the inimitable Datai resort on Langkawi Island

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Cotes du Rhone Rouge Belleruche 2005 Southern Rhone Valley, France
Côtes du Rhône Rouge Belleruche 2005 Southern Rhone Valley, France

The quintessential BBQ red wine of the year. If you’re like me when it comes to the BBQ, neither the apparatus nor the chef seem to function adequately without a glass of red in a free hand. The enticing, smoky incense of broiling pork cutlets or sirloin tease the olfactory senses in the direction of a wholesome red.

It might seem a little late in the season to be naming the quintessential BBQ red wine of the year. However, in the subtropical parts of Asia, this is actually the most conducive time for outdoor entertainment — if you can breathe at all outside in Hong Kong at present.

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Dalwhinnie Chardonnay 2006 Western Victoria, Australia
Dalwhinnie Chardonnay 2006 Western Victoria, Australia

Our Wandering Palate wanders into the Australian gold country of Moonambel-Pyrenees, Victoria, to come up with a favorite chardonnay.

I have been on a chardonnay crusade since writing on the subject in October, 2009, and as I taste through the current vintages of top producers from Australian, my headline “Another Brilliant Chardonnay” reverberates. So indulge me as I write a succession of reviews over the next month on the pick of cutting-edge Australian chardonnays.

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Tement Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ‘Klassic’ – Styria, Austria
Tement Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ‘Klassic’ - Austria

If there’s one white grape variety that has found its nirvana in the tropical climates of Asia, it would have to be sauvignon blanc, where practically every day is a ‘crisp white, summers drinking day’.

If I were a sauvignon blanc producer I would be focusing my attention and campaigning harder on this part of the world rather than seasonally dependent traditional markets. And that’s exactly what savvy Austrian wine producers are doing, with a youthful and energetic Armin Tement from Weingut Tement beating the feet around Asia recently and visiting Singapore on-route.

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Henriot Millesime 1998 Champagne, France
Henriot Millesime Champagne 1998, France

My exposure to champagne is not as comprehensive as in the United Kingdom or US markets, as we do not see many of the excellent smaller houses and grower champagnes in Asia.

However, this Henriot Millesime was selected from three blind (masked bottles) champagne tastings I participated in in 2007 and it was unquestionably the standout wine amongst 116 different wines sampled.

Furthermore, it was unanimously rated the best wine in a line-up of 38 prestige or luxury cuvee, including Dom Perignon, ironically the Henriot 1998 being their standard vintage offering and mistakenly included in the tasting.

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Maison Trimbach Riesling 2005 Alsace, France
Maison Trimbach Riesling 2005

Most Consistent and Best Quality – Price Rapport White Wine of the Year 2007

Winery Profile

Twelve generations of Trimbachs have prevailed since 1626 over this pre-eminent Alsace house, an unbroken line unthinkable in the new world. The collaboration of time-honored knowledge and skills always impresses me. Maison Trimbach commands the greatest respect from fine wine lovers universally. Their Clos Sainte Hune vineyard, which they have owned for two centuries, is the most distinguished single vineyard in Alsace and produces arguably the finest dry riesling in the world.

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Jurtschitsch GV Veltliner Kaferberg 2007 Kamptal, Austria
Jurtschitsch GV Veltliner Kaferberg 2007

Our ‘Wandering Palate’, Curtis Marsh, declares Austria’s indigenous white grape variety, Grüner Veltliner, the most well-suited, versatile wine style for Asian cuisine.

If one had to name the single most suitable white grape variety in terms of pairing to a broad spectrum of Asian cuisines, including compatibility with spicy heat moreover, congruous with the tropical climate and appealing to the Asian palate, it would unquestionably be grüner veltliner.

Yes, I know it looks terribly difficult to pronounce and easily misinterpreted as a tropical disease, or robust German sausage and sauerkraut dish. Actually, it’s not that difficult to pronounce, try (groon-er vealt-lean-er).

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Domaine Grand Cros L’Esprit de Provence 2007, France
Domaine Grand Cros L’Esprit de Provence 2007

Rosé of the Year

Rosé skeptics must surely be convinced by now that this is more than a passing fad, with the bourgeoning popularity of rosé and increasingly diverse range of styles with winemakers from divergent regions pursuing worldwide consumer demand.

However, the rose euphoria is being exploited by opportunist (parasitical) wine marketers with a flood of rosé coming on to the market, a large percentage of these wines are made as an afterthought and do the rose movement an injustice. Alas, my choice of “rosé of the year” is intentionally from a region and producer that grows grapes specifically for rose and has been perpetually dedicated to, if not synonymous of this dry style of wine – Provence.

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Peccavi Chardonnay 2008 Margaret River, Western Australia
Peccavi Chardonnay

Our wandering palate cruises down the Margaret River, discovers the pleasures of sin.

The chardonnay crusade continues with a stunner from Peccavi vineyard, raising the stakes among the heavyweights and proven form of Margaret River, Western Australia.

There is a certain expectation of Margaret River chardonnays, both in terms of a fleshy, juicy, intense style and reputation for exemplary quality with the bar set high by well-established icon producers such as Brookland Valley, Cullen, Leeuwin Estate, Moss Wood and Pierro.

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Sugarloaf Ridge Pinot Noir 2007 Tasmania, Australia

Indelible purity of fruit, fresh acidity and minerally redolent, texturally seamless with exhilarating tension – 2007 is clearly a harmonious vintage augmenting the stellar evolution of Sugarloaf Ridge.

To the frustration of many a wine enthusiast, wine Intel travels a lot easier than the bottles and invariably one finds themselves drooling over the prose of a sublime wine of miniscule production only to realize it is practically unobtainable in these parts.

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