Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Finding a Great Bottle of Wine at the Supermarket by Mr Emil Teo

Wine is often seen as the quintessential luxury and a scene-setter to any romantic date night, gathering and networking session. As more and more people get to know wine, wine is no longer reserved for special occasions and festivities. It is commonly seen that a bottle or two wines are included in the grocery basket while checking out at the supermarket's cashier counter. Unfortunately, outdated perceptions of co-relation between quality and price are prevalent. It is therefore not surprising that one may hold the notion that expensive wines possess better taste and quality. At a special media session held at Plaza Singapura Cold Storage supermarket, the team from Taste of Tradition led by its Executive Director, Mr Emil Teo, helped its guests appreciate the finer points of a good wine and showed them how to find a good buy at the supermarket.

Unlike money spent on other luxury purchases such as an exotic vacation or a yacht, wine prices are influenced by many factors other than quality of the beverage itself. Location of the vineyard and winery, the brand image, scores and ratings and even celebrity associations can push prices on the upward trend without necessarily impacting the quality of the wine. However, wines produced from lesser known grapes, vineyards, wineries and producers, even from France; can offer exceptionally notable quality at affordable prices.
Mr Emil shared that one should never select wines on price if you are unfamiliar with the brand. Always do some research before purchasing your wine. Every winemaker will take pride with their wine and tell you his wines are the best while every distributor and importer will tell you it is value for money. So trust your own research.
Look out for renown critics (e.g Robert Parker, Antonio Galloni, Wine Spectator, Burghound) and their ratings. While these ciritics regularly rate and tout expensive labels, they also review wine with great value. It is also important to know how your wine taste like, how the wine is made and what you can pair it with.
Mr Emil also shared tips on serving the wine at the right temperature. Buying an ice bucket would be a good investment as the recommended temperature for most wines is room temperature (White wine: about 10 degree; Red wine: about 20 degree). However, in Singapore, room temperature means everything needs to be chilled. Filled a bucket with 1/8 of ice floating for dark red wines, increase the ice content as the wine gets lighter to half a bucket of ice floating for Champagnes and aromatic whites. 
Allow the wine to breath for at least a good 30 minutes before drinking it. The recommended way of pouring the wine is to pour only half way into a glass (the boardest area of the wine glass) before you swirl it. This is to let the aromas collect in the bowl and allow the drinker to nose it. Learn to nose your wines and take time to enjoy each sniff. Understand the differences in the palate, analyse the attack, feel the palate and contemplate the finish.
Besides drinking and appreciating wine, storing wine is another knowledge on its own. While 4⁰C (fridge temperature) is far too cold to serve some wines, it is a great temperature to store open wines. Stopper your wines will prevent more oxygen from being introduced to the bottle. While standing it upright will reduce the surface of wine from the speed of oxidation. Keeping wine in the fridge over a long period of time is also not recommended as it will dry up the cork. Opened wines are best enjoy over the next 2 days. Pour the wine into a glass leave it to stand for 10 minutes before you drink it. The temperature of the wine will increases by ~1⁰C / minute) in Singapore climate. 
If you are in the mood for tasting different types of wines, do start with the sparkling wine before proceeding to white wine or rosé . The night should end with a dessert wine or port after drinking red wine. Mr Emil shared that there is no hard and fast rule to wine pairing. Wine is all about discovery even for himself. The general guideline is seafood or chicken to go with white wine or rosé while red meat goes with red wine. In fact the beauty of discovery is you might even find wines that pair well with your local delights! Among the wines I have tasted from the intimate wine sharing session, my personal fav from La Vieille is La Vieilla Ferme Rouge 2013 (red wine). It is smooth, earthy and spicy. I like the blackcurrant notes and the smooth finish that it offers. Imo, it will pair well with brie cheese and cheese with a stronger flavour. For peeps who like something light and balanced, do give La Vieille Ferme Rosé 2014 or La Vieille Ferme Blanc 2014 a try. 
La Vieille Ferme is currently available at Cold Storage, Marketplace, Jasons, Meidi-Ya and Isetan. Alternatively you can visit Taste of Tradition website or office. 

Taste of Tradition
15 Little Road, #02-01, Singapore 536988
Operating Hours: Mon ~ Sat 9am to 6pm

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