Ascending Mount Edward

We all have our mountains to climb—in life—some tougher than others. New Zealanders seem to be good at tackling the most difficult ones, like winegrower Duncan Forsyth at Mount Edward in Central Otago, assailing the treacherous slopes and objective dangers of being a vigneron, and having reached the elusive peaks of perfection with the perilous pinot noir grape. Read More >

Mount Edward Riesling 2013 – Central Otago, New Zealand

I’m standing in Paul and Ruth Pretty’s kitchen sipping on a glass of Mount Edward Riesling 2013, whilst Ruth is cooking— in case you haven’t heard, Ruth just cooked for William  and Kate on their recent Royal Tour of New Zealand—so we are feeling rightly regal in her presence. Read More >

The Wandering Palate Cure for Jet Lag – Two Paddocks Riesling

One of wife’s work colleagues from the Toronto office was in Singapore for a lightening visit and came over to our place for casual dinner. Looking squinty eyed and a little pale, Peter was clearly suffering from major jet lag, so we pumped a bit of Two Paddocks Riesling into him on arrival to see if we could revive the poor man. Read More >

What a difference a Bud makes – Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut

I received this definitive photo from Stephanie Toole at Mount Horrocks taken this week in the Cordon Cut Vineyard with the message “Pray we don’t get any frosts!”, illustrating how vignerons are at the constant mercy of the weather and like any agriculture, there are crucial, nail biting moments or stages throughout the year than determine success or failure that they have absolutely no control over. Commercial madness really, but your sort of need to be a bit ‘mad’ to be in the wine growing business, and you have to be downright crazy to do what Toole does, growing riesling for a late harvest wine by means of ‘Cordon Cut’ with the grapes hanging there for weeks at the mercy of the weather.

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Riesling is good for your health and marriage

It’s getting close to 6pm, and you should be thinking about leaving the office and getting ready for Valentine’s dinner.

Chaps, if you haven’t secured that restaurant booking by now, you are in deep shit; more shit than a Weeribee duck, or as a mate of mine says, “It’s like being in a shit shower and some bastards got the tap on full! Read More >

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Sommelier Shalom Chin vintage blog – Last day at Undhof Salomon – Last Day

Day 19: 14/10/2011 The Finale for Moi

Shalom recounts the last day of his vintage experience at Undhof Salmon. He is now heading for Burgundy and will continue his blog as he travels the region, which I am sure will make for continued interesting reading…

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Sommelier Shalom Chin – Austria Vintage Blog at Undhof Salomon – Day 18

Day 18: 13/10/2011 – A beautiful day to pick

Today was a great day. The weather was perfect and everything was calm. Ferments were well on their way. The winemaking team decided to lend a hand to the harvesting team. It was getting stuffy in the winery with all the CO2 gas being produced from the ferment and we need some fresh air.

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Sommelier Shalom Chin – Austria vintage blog – day 16

Day 16: 11/10/2011 The Rain is gone!

Today is a beautiful day. I know I said that last week but after 5 days of rain, it was good to see the sun was up, the sky was blue and the chill was gone.

There was nothing much going on today except for 10 bins of Riesling from the kögl vineyard coming in this morning. We did an average sugar measurement on the grapes and it was an average of 19.5 KMW which is about 13% alcohol. The bins of grapes went straight to the press. More aeration was being done today.

We also spent some time re-bottling the 1969 WiedenGrünerVeltliner and 1968 Goldberg Grüner Veltliner & Müller-Thurgau  blend. It gets really frustrating with the old bottles when the cork breaks while taking them out. I had to clean up the black, greasy mold that has seeped into the sides of the mouth of the bottle. Wine and grease don’t mix well together. I can now understand why some people insist on decanting old wines because time in the underground cellar does impart a stench to the wines.

It was really fascinating to taste the kögl Rieslings and get a better look at them. Having skipped breakfast, I spent a good amount of time eating the different coloured grapes. If without self-restrain, I would have continued chomping down a significant part of the 2011 kögl wines. I noticed that the grapes from there came in three different colours.

The first is purple which means that the grapes are affected by botrytis. Not all botrytis grapes taste bad. If they are quite desiccated, they have a sweet raisiny taste to them. If they are not desiccated, they are sour and foul to taste.

Yellow berries on left vs green on right and some purple

The second is green. The green grapes have high acid and taste sweet. To tell if the green grapes are ripe, I would put them against the sunlight. If the light is able to penetrate through the berries, it gives me a hint of their sweetness. The berries that can’t get any light penetration taste very acidic.

Lastly are the yellow-coloured berries. I was told that the berries are yellow because of sunburn. This is sometimes frowned upon by producers because sunburn can potentially produceperceptible amounts of TDN (1,1,6-trimethyl-1,2-dihydronaphthalene) in grapes, which imparts kerosene and overly-toasty characters to young Riesling wines.

Recalling my time spent in the vineyards, I remembered that the grapes that were mostly yellow tend to be on the outer rows of the terraced vineyards rather than the inner rows. The inner rows were more sheltered from the sun compared to the outer rows. Upon tasting the yellow berries, I noticed that they had more sweetness in there and more flavor.

I love Riesling that were yellow rather than green but it is not ideal to make wine from just yellow Riesling grapes. Riesling needs acid and the green ones have more acid than the yellow ones. I think that it is best to have some yellow, some green and some good purple ones in the pressing of the grapes. The concept of balance between sweetness, acidity and flavor ripeness begins in the material going into the wine and will be reflected when it finally goes into the bottle.

Shalom Chin, Salomon Vintage Blog – Day 8 – The Coming of Botrytis

Day 8 – 03/10/2011

Another beautiful day in wine country. Sometimes, I wonder if it will ever get dark and cloudy. The temperature is expected to fall to 10 to 12 degree celcius this week. I can already feel a slight chill compared to the previous week.

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Vintage blog from Singapore Sommelier, Shalom Chin – at Undhof Salomon, Krems, Austria

Our indefatigable and studious sommelier, Shalom, is deep amongst the vines and rolled up his sleeves to do vintage at Undhof Salomon, in Krems, Austria, under the tutelage of the legendary Dr Bertold Salomon. Shalom is a dedicated student of wine nearly completed his WSET exams and taking on a Wine MBA next year, and in my estimation, a future Master of Wine in the making.

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