Savored…Non Classified Left Bank Bordeaux

The theme for this night’s World Wine Table was pretty good. One that got us to Google, double checked our wine fridge, and second guess our selection. With just 61 Bordeaux Chateau within the 1855 Classification, it should not be too difficult to find Non-Classified Left Bank Bordeaux wine for the dinner.

Non Classified Left Bank Bordeaux

Photo credit: Dr. Jen Shek Wei

This session proved it is more than just classification or expensive branding. The location, vintage and terroir of the wine are important, and these labels proved that they can produce wine just as good. Some may not be as cellar worthy, but one never know. Chateau Haut Marbuzet 1996 drank so well and it was voted the best of the evening.

I took the 1/3 balance of Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion 2005 home with me and it became my favorite about 2 days later.

Les Carmes HB 2005

When I first tasted it, I wrote “blueberry juice with alcohol”. It had the most youthful hue among the selection, and most shy (considering that the bottle was opened 2 hours prior and last to serve that evening). Tight aromas of freshly tanned leather, cedar box filled with new cigar enveloped by notes of dark fruits of blueberries and blackberries, and just a slightest hint of red fruits such as cherry. On the palate, it showed potential friendliness with forward fruit notes, firm sweetness and smokiness of a lighted cigar with hints of tar, and cocoa. 2 days later, all the nuances I noted became more expressive with a gentle elegance that was quite seductive. I actually hesitated to share what was left with my hubz.

This wine is a really affordable introduction to this Pessac Leognan. A little research yield the surprising knowledge that 2005 was made by a woman, Penelope FURT-ROCHE, her first vintage. By the way 2005 showed, and it helped that it was a strong vintage, the cellar worthiness of this wine is very promising.

Reminiscing…No shopping month

We are surrounded by abundance. In my line of work, I encourage abundance, and the product I represent, in itself, tempts abundance. Personally, I work and live towards abundance. I even use an essential oil blend that set mind and spirit to abundance.

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So what abundance I want? Like most, excellent health of mind,     body and spirit for myself and all my loved ones, love, joy and  peace in our daily life, success and fulfilment in my professional life, and financial stability. But for the longest time, I know I am a minimalist by nature. That sense of living with less was re-ignited when I stumbled upon an Instagram link on my instagram account. Exploring The Minimalist got me thinking about how I live my life as to whether I can really manage with less. From there, I found Project 333, offering a logical structured challenge of living with 33 items for every 3 months (and for 3 years).

Minimalist_5I realised that I can handle this was when I remember about the eight-days trip to Zürich I took with my husband when he participated a full Ironman race about two years ago. Airline’s weight allowance was really limited, and my husband equipments (picture left) alone took up more than 50% of our combined allowance. Like most women, I felt I needed to take a lot with me because I subscribed to the concept of better to have and not need it, then to need it and not have it. But on this trip, I had to and attempted to pack less, a lot less. Both of us shared a suitcase and still have to keep it below 20 kilo. I did it and survived with three-shirts, two tank-top, two pairs of jeans (including the pair I was wearing), one yoga pants, one shirt, a pair of sandals, a pair of proper track shoes (which I was wearing), a messenger bag (which I was using) and a good jacket…13 items. The only thing I realised I needed was laundry soap which I bought there.

In March this year, as Lent was beginning, I thought I can do this. The challenge was not to buy any new clothing items, not even underwear, for 40 days. Forced myself to look into my wardrobe and use what I already have, which is already minimal in colours and style to begin with.

So what have I been wearing? Here are the list…

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Four pairs of jeans (mostly dark)
Three pairs of pants for work (two black and one grey)
Eight short-sleeves t-shirts
Two short-sleeves jackets
Two light-weight cardigans
Two black tailored shorts
Four shirts (two of them black)
One white short-sleeves shirt
One grey short-sleeves shirt
Two yoga pants
Six black tank-tops (two exclusive for Pilates sessions)
Two black belts
Six pairs of shoes
Three handbags
One messenger bag (for laptop and work documents)

47 ITEMS!! Minimalist_4

So not quite 33 items, but all that are just probably one-third of my wardrobe. The goal was and still is not to buy anything new. I will keep up because I realised I really do not need anything new, unless I absolutely have to. There are other items in my wardrobe that I will alter to fit my usage, particularly for living and working in the tropics.

It is a really good feeling, quite liberating in fact. I still want my abundance, just not stuff. The same abundance I listed above. Somehow, I know this one aspect of minimal living will bring me there faster and easier. Of course gifts are a different story all together.
Is there a minimal approach to collecting wine? I believe it is possible, and it is not about having a lot.

Reminiscing…Unfazed Will

A week ago, I stood in the rain, despite having an umbrella, drenched, cold and aching to give thanks, bid farewell, and pray for peace for a leader to a nation, fellow countrymen, and humanity.

My country is so small that its location is identified by its name on the map. It is surrounded by nations that are thousands of times bigger in terms of size. An island without any natural resources and even our water is imported. My country today is a country that most of my expatriate friends tell me

“the city is clean and green”,

“secure and safe without any obvious presence of law enforcement”,

“my children are safe outside even after midnight”,

“the amount of crimes in a year here is less than the amount crime found in other cities in a day”,

“my old mother did not have to wait for months to see a doctor”,

“drug and gun issues are death penalty issues”,

“everything work and work logically and efficiently” and so on.

I heard it and appreciated it. But these comments now mean so much more and carry more weight to me now then it did before. Although not everyone shared the same views with him or agreed on this actions, but good or bad, every single one of us was thinking about him during the 7 days of mourning. We learnt a little more about him. Finally understood his plan and action. Appreciated and empathized with him on all the difficulties he encountered during those early years.

I saw a week of unfazed will of people who stood in the sun for hours and hours just to say good-bye for a few seconds. A week of graciousness and generosity among fellow countrymen to help each other and offer supports. A week of selfless acts, sincere consideration and love for each other. I will even dare to say that drivers were even more patient on the street.

I kept my tears together till the last day and this is why:

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We will continue…unfazed.

Savored…on the 3rd day of the Goat

Now that the Lunar New Year of 2015 festivities are done. I have started to settle down and CATCH UP.

You see, Lunar New Year celebration is observed for 15 days. Traditionally, Chinese businesses are supposed to close for that duration of time, but realistically speaking, these day it is impossible to do so. If I didn’t resume business on the fifth day, my clients will have me for a feast!! Nonetheless the feasting didn’t stop and never will. On the 3rd day, my brother got the family and a close friend together to eat drink, and to give this close friend a hard time about his growing belly…the whole night.

On this day, there was a request for me to roast some pork belly, and so I did. Sio Bak (roasted pork belly)”mark 4″ was done just right and I nailed the crackling. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know what I mean. Although this batch was a little salty, but my young nephews gave me a perfect 10. Dad was requested to whip up a batch of wok-fried mustard beef, one of his famous signature dishes. And my two nephews made (with help of course) pizza from scratch. So what did we drink you wonder? Well, not too shabby.

Silex and Seta

The interpretations of Semillon and/or Sauvignon Blanc from these two labels couldn’t be more different. The Silex was a 2006 showed lots of mineral, floral, nut and flint. There was crispiness that was lips smacking, and elegant wood was cashmere-like. Love the depth and evolving characters of the tropical fruits notes that kept me sipping. Still youthful. On the other side of the Atlantic and continent, the SETA 2008 was silky, broad, spice-ridden, with fruity notes of melon and peaches. Notable vanilla creaminess lingered fleetingly on finish. No faults but not sure if it will age further.

3rd day of Goat

The reds matched my Dad’s mustard beef brilliantly. I was amazed that RSV Los Carneros Pinot Noir held up nicely. Definitely not a power house by now, but it didn’t give way. It was definitely that the later stage of its lifespan, but lets see because I have a couple more bottles. Sawyer (this winery doesn’t exist anymore) was exactly what California Cabernet Blend should be. Fruit driven but not overwhelming and balanced, quite elegant with supple tannins and held its structure brilliantly. It will age gracefully and I am more than happy to wait. The surprised bottle of the night was La Chapelle 1988. An absolute pleasure to drink and drink and drink. It was not powerhouse but not shabby. The flavours were of dark fruits with just hints of dried cherry, notes of baking spice and rusty minerals. Not too sure if it will age gracefully further.

Spotted…found Instagram

It took several years and I am still not sure why I hesitated, I made the switch to Mac late last year. And yes I said it, what took me so long. Then just before the Lunar New Year and again I still did not know why I hesitated, I finally let go of the Blackberry for an iPhone, my first. Now I know why loyal iPhone users are so loyal.

Now having the iPhone, I started to explore Instagram. Guess what, I am having so much fun.
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Instagram solved several problems I face with my blog. With time being an issue, I now spend less time to process pictures. I do not feel like I need to decide on which pictures to use, or feel the need to include too many pictures in one post. So my blog postings will be and should be more focus and in-depth. On Instagram, I can put up comments and pictures of subjects that I may not be able to write a blog post about it. Instead, it allows me to be more spontaneous and a little more in-the-moment of my point of view.

So when I am not at my blog, rest assure I am still thinking about it. Come see me at Instagram.

Weekend Treat…Lunar New Year

It’s the Year of the Goat.
That is the reason why I have been missing from here. Between work (there is always quite a few last-minute rush and office will close for 4 days), and preparation at home to welcome the new lunar year, I could not even put my plans and thoughts for the blog in order. Although my preparation was not elaborated or too traditional, there are several routine (for Feng Shui purposes) that I need to follow in order to meet this Goat proper.

Like any other festivities and celebration, wine is never too far away.

CNY 2015

One of the most important meals during the celebration is the Reunion Dinner. A meal that reunites all family members, observes on the eve of the new year, regardless the distance. In my family, almost every meals (95%) are accompanied by wines, and I don’t think this routine will ever stop.

So here is wishing one and all, Happy Year of the Goat.

Savored…Still and Sweet

Priorat of Catalonia is a wine region in Spain, I have heard of it but unfortunately not too familiar. Rioja, Cava, Ribera del Duero and Sherry are a little more familiar to me, although I am still exploring and have not had too much opportunity to taste them. It is a case of too much wine, too little time, one precious liver and the companies I keep tend to prefer more French, California and occasionally Italian.

When a group of wine friends suggested the wine theme for our next wine dinner gathering to be wines from Priorat, I thought….cool, I so gonna learn something if not everything. If you have been following me, you probably realised that I love older wine. And so my hunt began for older and  interesting Priorat that I would be proud to share. It was not a difficult task considering that I know quite a few Spanish wine distributors, but confusing to me because I was not too sure about the selection available. But nonetheless, I made the decision.

There were several wines that night that drank well. Particularly impressive for me that Garnacha from this region were full-bodied, and showed candy-like sweet, red cherry notes, tart-like mineral and mocha-like flavours considering that the vines are grown on poor quality ground. For most the age of the vine (which I learnt are mostly pretty old) made the difference. But there were a couple of wines (young ones) that evening were quite new world in style with very forward primary fruit and one dimensional structure. May be due to the blending of old vine Granacha with new world varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

But the evening didn’t disappoint because the last two stood out. They behaved and showed completely opposite to the few we had prior, not quite what we were expecting.

Priorat

Both revealed deep amber hue with brick-like tint. They were matured and complex in structure, constantly evolving and changing. Cims De Porrera 1999 showed aromas of fat, burnt rubber, sun-baked straw and a drop of mint (my eyebrow raised when I noted it). Amadis 1996 Rotllan Torra had almost similar characters with added notes of wet cement (what?) and cherry liquorice. On the palate, the surprise was the slightly oxidised, old cigar, dried fruits and savoury finish that reminded me of sherry. Cims de Porrera was slightly more pronounced with notes of earth, autumn leaves, sour plum and olive. Both made a lasting impression in flavours and kept us intrigued.

Thank goodness we opened both bottles three hours earlier, they so needed it.

Savored…A Corton Charlemagne

Despite having the opportunities to taste and drink Burgundy quite often, it is still a wine that confuses the hell out of me. Just when I thought I am getting it, I will be tricked, and find myself wondering if I really got it.

This Corton got me good. Tasted blind and I kept insisting that was an aged Pommard. It showed itself to be rather full-bodied, but really gentle around the edge, balanced and elegant without losing structure.
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This is so much I can remember about the wine, and how I was absolutely fooled. It was an evening of dinner meeting, and I forgot to take notes. This year, I will try harder. But I know this will not be the last time I will be blind sided by Burgundy.

Weekend Treat…Black and Gold

Weekend Treat_Papaya

Love papaya, but I am not too crazy about cutting them. When they are fully ripen, it can getting pretty messy. But one weekend, I decided to give it a go, keeping the plan to Eat healthier, better and happier.  Although it was quite messy, but the colours of a fully ripened papaya and jet black seeds are simply irresistible. Just had to whip out the camera.

10Questions…Anonymous Mr. Lee

A quick and fun session of 10 Questions, answered within 10 minutes, most time, with some of the most interesting personalities related to wine around me. It is more than what they have and wish for, but a snap-shot glimpse of who they are.

When I told Mr. Lee that I would like to ask him 10 quick questions about wine for my blog, he said he will answer them, but humbly requested not to have his name published. Interestingly I was not surprised by his request. Mr. Lee  and his wife have always been a generous man, never hesitated on their friendship, advises, and of course their brilliant wine collection. Down to earth and humble, and absolutely adventurous.
Here are Mr. Lee’s answers:

Anonymous Mr. Lee1Q: What was the very first wine you can remember you drank?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Domaine Leflaive 1961 Puligny Montrachet Grand Echezeaux

2Q: How old were you or when?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: It was in 1975

3Q: Prior to today, when did you last drank wine?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: 2 days ago

4Q: What wine was it?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Vieux Telegraphe 1998 Chateauneuf du pape

5Q: Fabulous wine alone or fabulous company with average wine?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Fabulous company alway.

6Q: Average wine in a proper wine glass or favourite wine in a tea-cup?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Average wine in a proper wine glass

7Q: What is the first wine you can remember that is in your wine fridge now?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Chateau Haut Brion 1996

8Q: What three wines you will buy today if budget is not an issue.
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1982, Chateau Margaux 1983 and Chateau La Conseillante 1989

9Q: If you can take only three wines with you to space, what would it be?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Chateau Palmer 1989, Joh. Jos Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr 1996 Riesling Kabinett, and Duval Leroy 1996 Femme de Champagne

10Q: What would you like to drink on your 80th Birthday?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2000

Bonus question: Have you done anything naughty/illegal as a result of wine?
Anonymous Mr. Lee: Yes and I am not telling the details (laughters).