Savored…99 points and not the same

Two wines, from the same vintage, same country, same regions, received the same rating from the same reviewers, can be completely not the same wine on so many levels. Most collectors will buy and taste base on the reviewers’ palate and the assumption of their personal preference. I do too sometime, but I will take my pinch of salt along with the reviews I read. I may not have the best palate but it has never really let me down.

At a dinner late last year, I tasted two well-known Bordeaux at a dinner.  While we were thrilled, and very appreciative of the opportunity to taste these wine from the same country, region (Bordeaux), vintage and both receiving the same upgraded scores last year, but we quickly noted that’s where the similarity came to a screeching halt.

Chateau Pavie 2003, Saint-Emilion. 99pts
Dark ruby hue with aromas of fleshy red fruits, earth laced with truffle, toasted chestnut, and smoked tar. Quite steely, restrained and not letting. The steel-like character and restraint carried forward to the palate with flavours of black and blue fruits, leather and wet herbaceous notes. It showed firm griping acidity and pronounced tannins. The heat of the alcohol came forward on the mid length finish. I was thinking it is either still young or simply stubborn.  (I had a 1978 last night and the wine behave quite the same, with the exception that it is slight rounder and alcohol heat not pronounced. I will blog about it another day)
99pts and not the same

Chateau Montrose 2003, Saint-Estephe. 99pts
Also dark ruby in hue, but a complete opposite of the Chateau Pavie’s character. This bottle was vibrant and lively in style with aromas of rich red fruit, smoked cherry cream, vanilla sweet spice and the naughtiness of game. The palate followed throughout with the sweetness of red ripened fruit, elegant minerals and tannins, with a slight savoury finish. Love the vibrancy of its character and style , it made its presence known and very memorable.

And so I wonder, what is the basis that these 2 wines received the same scores. But then again, there are so many what if and maybe about the wine to consider, such as handling and storage at every points from Bordeaux to our small little island north of the Equator. So don’t let scores cloud your purchasing process. Reviewers are human too, they may not be all right, their palate will age or over used or not quite there, or the wine might just decide to trick us completely. At the end of the day, take time to get to know your palate and trust it.

Spotted…Hardworking Glasses

It is never a good thing to have insufficient wine. But it is never a problem if there are insufficient wine glasses. It is a solvable problem, one just need to be very creative by using tags and tag them well.

Hardworking Glasses-001

Only one thing, just need to keep sober enough to keep track of the tags.

10Questions…Sharon

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. 

I have known Sharon for quite a while but we have never really shared wine. But last year, both us volunteered to be the committee of the IWFS of Singapore and we got to talk more. Then we met for more wine dinners with other female wine collectors and I have come to know her much better. This lady is a very sharp Burgundy collector.

10Q_SharonHere is Sharon’s 10Questions session:

1Q: What was the very first wine you can remember you drank?
Sharon: Clos de La Roche Ponsot 1988

2Q: How old were you?
Sharon: 32

3Q: Prior to today, when did you last drank wine?
Sharon: Last night

4Q: What wine was it?
Sharon: An Italian IGT

5Q: Fabulous wine alone or fabulous company with average wine?
Sharon: Fabulous wine alone.

6Q: Average wine in a proper wine lass or favourite wine in a tea-cup?
Sharon: Favourite wine in a tea-cup.

7Q: What is the first wine you can remember that is in your wine fridge now?
Sharon: Liger Belair 2006 Vosne Romanee

8Q: What three wines you will buy today if budget is not an issue.
Sharon: Aged Krug, Musigny by de Vogue, and Monfortino

9Q: If you can take only three wines with you to space, what would it be?
Sharon: The same wines answered for question 8.

10Q: What would you like to drink on your 80th Birthday?
Sharon: Musigny 1985

Bonus question: Have you done anything naughty/illegal as a result of wine?
Sharon: Yes!

I must have been shaking while taking this picture, my apologies and I will take another soon to replace.

Spotted…Better Resolutions

So, instead of working on my blog during the New Year holiday, I was tackling a frustrating work issue (lets just say that I will be doing more air-freight than sea-freight consignment in the future), and reading lots of blogs for inspirations (ideas, schedule and planing) for writing more often and better. I learnt that a new wine-related category that I have been working on during the 3rd quarter of last year will definitely help to cover me when I run into a mental road block. This will be fun category because it will push me to find my courage and strengthen my relationships.

Going through the blogs I have been following via Bloglovin in the last few days, it is inevitable to see postings about resolutions, and there are quite a lot of them. I do not quite believe in making resolution, particularly why only make them in the beginning of the year. But it is still a form of planning, and having a plan is always a good thing. So every year, I remind myself (because sometime I will forget, get lazy or distracted), regularly and these “plans” are some of it, not in any specific order of importance.

1. Eat healthier, better and happier: Other than keeping the three meals, I strive to eat more greens (4 portions) and fruits (2 portions), moderate amount of meat, less carb, and eat lesser portion overall. Also, to enjoy thoroughly everything I choose to eat, and every company that I am having the meal with….Happier.
Wanton Noodle

2. Go to sleep half hour earlier: I can’t stay up and party as late as when I was in my twenties, but when I am home, I can easily stay up till 3am. It really doesn’t matter what I am doing, working or writing or reading on the laptop, watching TV, baking, or simply looking out of the window at city lights or try to catch lightnings from the 35th floor . Yes, I live on the 35th floor.
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3. Wake up half hour earlier: When I need to wake up early (airport run or dropping hubs off to a race), I can wake up really early. I just don’t sleep well.  So I am trying to fix my “natural” alarm an hour earlier. My normal morning routine (which includes laundry and I take my coffee and toast at home) is about 1.5hr.  Having an extra half hour, I will be able to fit a short session of Pilates, go through work schedule better and plan better for Asueba.

4. Be selective with wine dinners/lunches: The selection is not about the type of wine, but also about the company. Life is too short for crappy wine, and definitely too short for people who will simply be a waste of time to be with for various reasons. I want to be with people who are positive, appreciative and genuine.
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5. Be nice: It’s not that I am a b&*%@h all the time, but I know I am impatient and short of fuse at times. I seems to curse and swear more when I drive. So before I hear more than “she can be too straightforward”; I better remind myself to be nice, speak less and smile more. I want to be positive and appreciative too.
Love & Peace FB

6. Drink better and older: This is a standing resolution every year. It doesn’t have to be expensive and not necessary to have a lot of it. Just as long as it is worthy of my liver’s hard work.
1976

7. Workout: This is another standing resolution every year, but a consistent victim to distractions. So I am here reminding myself to put in the time to swim, walk and to do Pilates.

8. Shoot more and shoot better: Photography that is. Although my DSLR camera is an extremely basic, it has given me a lot of joy and satisfaction when I take the time to immerse myself in it. So in the new year, I want to use it more.
DSC_8413So here they are and I will fulfil them. In fact for a few, I am fulfilling. Are any of them similar to yours? I will update my status of them along the way here.

Looking forward…2015

The moment August comes around, I have always thought that the year will be over soon. From August, times just flies without any care. And now, as I put some thoughts in words before my ride comes to take to me to a birthday/year end party,  it is a matter of hours before this year ends and 2015 parades in without any reservation. So before I do not have the ability to be responsible of my behaviour……

HNY_Glass 2015

Pop a good bottle, kiss your love ones, hug your closest friends and CHEERS!

Savored…Our unconventional tradition of Sparkling with Duck

It turned out that this might be a good post for the #14 Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #MWWC14. 

wine-stain1-2If there is a month that is jam-packed with events and gatherings for me, it will be December, every year. Lets see…there are five birthdays (three kids and two adults), at least two important wine related dinners, a handful of reunion dinners and lunches before, during and after Christmas, New Eve parties and one wedding anniversary, the most important because it is mine.

This year in early December, hubz and I celebrated our 16th years of marital union. It didn’t seem too long ago when I received a proposal from this man at the House of Blue (in Hollywood, CA). He wasn’t exactly on one knee, but was holding a cigarette in one hand and a glass of Bourbon Coke in the other, and I said yes. It was unconventional, definitely not traditional but always and forever memorable.

So the proposal was unusual, the annual celebration should follow suit don’t you think? I am not sure how or when we started this tradition, but it has become something that we look forward to every year. We might have missed it a few times due to our busy schedule, but somehow we always managed to make it up. We remember and celebrate this special day with lunch of Peking Duck with Sparkling or Champagne at a local Peking Duck Restaurant. Just the two of us, one Peking Duck with all the sides, a couple of extra dishes and one bottle of Sparkling or Champagne. It is obviously a lot for two, but then it is our tradition. This year, we brought a bottle of Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc to witness our anniversary luncheon feast. We deliberately arrived at the restaurant (which is within a swanky shopping mall right in the middle of town) earlier than our reservation to have the restaurant chill the bottle (already chilled actually) and hubz could squeeze in a quick hour of gym time while I window shopped, another typical tradition. After about 1.5hour, we met at the restaurant and the feast began.

Sparkling with Duck

Going by the traditional belief that white wine with white meat, red wine with red meat, we are so not adhering to it. Sparkling and Champagne have always been viewed as a celebratory drink or an aperitif to go with simple light nibbles, definitely not something one would consider to go with duck. Personally I thought it paired well. Maybe a Blanc de Noir might be better for some structure of Pinot Noir. But the firm acidity of the Blanc de Blanc cut through the fattiness and richness of the Peking Duck like hot knife through butter. But then again Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc has always been quite different from others in the similar category. This Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc acidity was notably firm but not biting, there were good fruit notes, vibrantly youthful, that stood up to the duck brilliantly, laced with delicate fresh-baked bread nuance and toasted creaminess in the finish.

We were thinking we would be able to handle another bottle, it was that delicious. We probably would not have any problem sitting there drinking and nibbling on duck till dinner time. We left with leftovers of the duck, mildly intoxicated and thoroughly satisfied. So our anniversary was not a typical candle light dinner, bouquets of flowers, evening slow walk in each other arms or exchange of expensive gifts. We were never really into the typical and predictable, so we created our own tradition. The only thing we will probably change is to bring an extra bottle with us next year.

Happy and Prosperous New Year to one and all. CHEERS!

Savored…Not all 70s are brown

I don’t remember too much about my younger years except that I had fun base on the memories I have. As I get older, I seems to gravitate towards things that are older. Some of my favourites is a Mercedes 450SL, black and white photography, wedge shoes (mainly because it is a lot friendlier to the feet), and wine of course.

Drinking wines from the 70s can be a very unpredictable experience. Some are going to impress, some will pleasantly surprise, some will stumble the moment it is opened, and some have died silently a while back.

At a recent wine auction, the organiser surprised attendees with small handful of Bordeaux from the 70s. They may not be from well-know chateaus, but a couple stood out.
Ch La Dominque 75This 1975 bottle pleasantly surprised me because it was drinking rather well. There were good notes of fruits and delicate sweetness. Hints of dryness and lingering floral note in the finish.
Ch Brane Cantenac 76This 1976 was hanging by just a few thread, showing some matured stewed like fruit notes. The sweetness was fleeting and it finished just a little short. But I thought drinking quite nicely, on its own. Don’t think it will last very long.
Ch d'Aiguilhe 71_corkedThis 1971 left us quietly in the dark several years back. This bottle from the 70s was definitely brown and notably oxidised with hints of sourness.

Spotted…Sh*t Shiraz

I accepted a “friend” request on Facebook as a result of my occasional posting on the page Burgundy Geeks. And this new friend has some of the most unique and intriguing wine adventures, particularly wines from South Africa. One of them got me laughing because this is how I feel about most of the Shiraz, or any wine that I have tasted and do not like, except I am too timid to say it.
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Seriously, it is difficult to come right out to tell someone, “the wine sucks”. We always try to come out with words that will not be too offensive, such as “unusual” and “interesting”. For some intelligence enhancement to the comments, one might even include “bottle variation”, “difficult vintage”, “winemaker’s expression”, or “didn’t travel well” and so on.
But wine ultimately is a personal experience. It will appeal to different people differently. So, so what if it is sh*t.

Thank you Keith for letting me use your photograph.

Spotted…Wine spilled

Nope, I was not drunk when this happened.
Graham's Note-001
I blamed the tables and the table clothes. This was one of those situation where 2 tables were “lined” up together to form a bigger table to accommodate the number of guests. As usual, the 2 tables, exactly the same in make and model, seems to not be exactly the same height. Just a couple of millimetres off. Then 1 large table clothe was used to cover the tables, other than it is required to dress the tables, but maybe in hope that it might cover the millimetres height difference. Unfortunately, that just made it worst because now, we could not see the height difference. The inevitable happened, and I had to be the one. So while trying to move the bottles of wines around to take a better picture, one of them was place on this spot and the bottle toppled. And spilled onto G’s wine notes.

And hence, it was the fault of the tables. (LOL)