Verre Wine Bar, 8 Rodyk Street
RSVP-ed for Heineken Green Room‘s Redux: Project Green Room thing to check out Jamie Woon, Izaak Stern and Ikonika. But by the time work issues were settled, all that could be done was a quiet dinner and a drink or two.
Had a quietly fruitful time waiting for Godot at Verre Wine Bar, situated just next to Toby’s Estate coffee place at the new lease of life for those old godowns – 8 Rodyk Street. The wine bar, say co-owners opera singer Melvin Tan and Gregory Lee, is run on modern sensibilities of eschewing the McDonaldisation of a certain industry in favour of independently sourcing artisanal products from small producers providing “connection with the soil”, and the democratization of taste.
Amongst the tables and couches, the glass-walled wine cellar took pride of place in the center of the high-ceiling-ed space. Decor was simple blacks and whites with a pop of Marimekko colour.
The food menu too was minimalist but uncomplicatedly good – a choice of 3 starters including cheese choux puffs, 3 mains including beef and herbs sausages (with real mashed potatoes and onions in red wine sauce), and 3 desserts. The bangers and mash tasted almost exactly the same as the stuff i made back in England while starting to explore wines seriously (Gewürztraminer x chicken tikka etc) – good memories.
The drool-worthy (but what do i know) by-the-glass wine menu is meant to make expensive wines affordable to the masses, and will be kept fresh with frequent changes. The larger by-the-bottle menu with allegedly 750 choices from Bordeaux and Burgundy (with a sprinkling of Germans and Australians) was a fascinating read. It was completely and surprisingly accessible because we had been studying French wines intensively during the week and also because of the deliberate attempt to describe the Burgundy wines in the context of the personal histories and even characters of the winegrowers, winemakers, négociants.
(In Burgundy, each wine-growing estate is called a domaine. Due to inheritance laws, these have become greatly fragmented over the years, with some domaines too small to have enough yield for more than a few bottles of their own wine. This is where enterprising négociant-éleveurs pop in and buy grapes from small producers to make a blended wine under the négociant’s own name, and these wines can be quite good.)
A few of the domaines listed were Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (pinot noir, biodynamic practices, produces some of the most expensive wines in the world), Domaine Robert Arnoux – Pascal Lachaux (the former is well-known to Burgundy-heads while the later is his son-in-law who took the label (now renamed) to new highs with deliberate move to lower yields), Domaine Henri Bolliot (interesting note about bâtonnage-ing reds, the stirring of lees usually being reserved for whites), Domaine Sylvain Cathiard, Domaine Claude Dugat (Gevrey-Chambertin, organic), Domaine d’Eugenie, Domaine Geantet-Pansiot (Gevrey-Chambertin, high altitude, chalky limestone soil, continental climate), Domaine Hudelot-Noellat (controversial marriage brings vineyards together), Domaine Francois Lamarche (Vosne-Romanée, clay-limestone soil), Domaine Joseph and Philippe Roty (Gevrey-Chambertin + personality) and Domaine A. et P. de Villaine (Côte Chalonnaise! aligote grapes! limestone soil). And a few maisons – Maison Camille Giround and Maison Lucien Le Moine, both in Beaune.
Enjoyed the Carmes de Rieussec Sauternes 2004, the second wine for Château Rieussec in Bordeaux. But what delicious semillion-sauvignon blanc rejects – honeyed and fruity (though with a whiff of the superglue smell you get when constructing model planes)
Exciting that there’s so much information out there about wines so i can delve into the details to my little curious heart’s content. If only there was the same shared knowledge about coffee or bananas or durians or all other agricultural products. Still, most chuffed by the world God has made:
For what can be known about God is plain to [us], because God has shown it to [us]. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So [we] are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20)
Current opening hours:
Tuesday – Thursday: 5pm to 12am
Friday – Saturday: 5pm to 1am
Sunday: 5pm to 12 am