The Straits Wine Company’s Singapore Wine Fiesta 2011 – Days 2 and 3
The atmosphere on Day 2 at The Straits Wine Company‘s Singapore Wine Fiesta 2011 was quite different from the first night. Possibly because the sweltering heat had been interrupted by a sudden downpour, it was hot and muggy under the tent mid-afternoon and the heavily sweating representatives at the Italian section were rather irritable (“There is no point my speaking to you! It is too loud here! And the music too it is too loud!”) and indeed the din of the Saturday crowd was amplified by thumping music from the resident DJ.
Still, managed to explore Italy and Spain before the mostly expatriate crowd hit in the evening for their pre-clubbing S$45 liquid buffet. People were starting to lose self-control – loud flirtation (“Hullooo! Do you know, people tell me Spanish men are really…”); falling into the coffee machine, flushed and giggling and unable to stand up without the help of friends.
Happily, there were seats facing Marina Bay Sands for resting and a steady supply of Malango coffee and caramel biscuits, and also Newater and Meiji crackers.
Brigaladara‘s Valpolicella Classico DOC 2009 (S$29) (only producers in the heart of the original historic growing district can use “classico” designation), made from Corvina 40%, Corvinone 20% Rondinella, Molinara e Sangiovese 40%, was quite alright but i really really liked the Amarone della Valpolicella Case Vecie Classico DOCG 2007 (S$145). Amarone della Valpolicella wines are models of one variation of the appasimento process where dried grapes fermented completely dry to 15-16% alcohol.
The Amarone della Valpolicella Amarone Classico Vigneto Monte Sant’Urbano 2006 (S$109) from Speri too was superb for me as well. Can understand why the Amarones command such high prices. In contrast, their Ripasso della Valpolicella 2009 (S$45) tasted strangely like warm sashimi that had been left out for a few hours. I stood there wondering if the tastebuds had been mistaken when someone else came by to try it, gagged, quickly dumped the rest and motioned for water to rinse out his mouth. A bad bottle perhaps? Unfortunately, the temp staff manning that “cabin” didn’t quite understand. I suppose they’re not allowed to drink on the job.
G.D. Vajra – didn’t quite like the Barbera D’alba DOC 2009 (S$45), but loved the Barolo Albe DOCG 2006 (S$59) and Moscato D’asti DOCG 2010 (S$25) (and also Giuseppe Vajra (named for his grandfather, Giuseppe Domenico Vajra)’s cheerfulness when many others were wilting), though DOCG in itself has nothing on DOC except a guarantee of place of origin.
Villa M featured easy-drinking stuff that appealed to many local women, including this one who was so excited she pushed in front of me as i was talking to the chap there. Interestingly, the Rosso Brachetto N.V. (S$25) was from the same grapes as the Bianco Moscato N.V. (S$25) – the, err, moscato grapes (said the representative. Hmm, not brachetto grapes?). Subject to partial fermentation and only 5% alcohol so not technically a wine.
The Tuscans brought along their stock of Sangiovese relatives:
La Poderina had their Rosso Di Montalcino DOC 2009 (S$45) which was fairly decent and a very nice Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG 2008 (S$79),
Rocca Della Macie contributed some Chiantis, though i only managed to taste the Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2007 (S$49) because the representative was having too passionate an argument about wine corks with what seemed to be some Russians who were advocating screwcaps,
Mionetto brought along some prosecco – the Sergio Brut Prosecco De Valdobbiadene DOCG N.V. (S$29) and the Sergio Rose Brut Prosecco De Valdobbiandene DOCG N.V. (S$29) were alright though not as complex as i would like.
Val Di Toro rounded off the party with its easy-drinking Auramaris Vermentino IGT 2010 (S$39), Raviresco Sangiovese IGT 2009 (S$29) and Sangiovese-Montepulciano IGT 2008 (S$39).
The Spanish gave me what was probably the highlight of the Wine Fiesta for me: Bodegas Altanza’s Reserva Especial Rioja 2001 (Robert Parker:92. me: blue cheese?!)(S$75) from 100% tempranillo grapes. It’s at it’s peak now and there are only 20 cases left in the world.
Other tempranillos tried were C.V.N.E.’s Cune Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 1999 (85% tempranillo. S$69), Marques de Murrieta‘s Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Rioja 2004 (93% tempranillo. Robert Parker: 90)(S$79), Bodegas Mano a Mano’s Manon Tempranillo 2009 (S$22).
Returns were diminishing and the crowd made it just too difficult to move about or get drinks. The others were done so we headed to Din Tai Fung in Marina Bay Link Mall for dinner. Comparing notes, our tastes obviously differed quite a bit – they (including the guys) liked the sweet effervescence of Villa M drinks and Champagne Laurent-Perrier, while i fell for the more complex Chablis Jean Marc Brocard Premier Cru Montee De Tonnerre 2009 and Bodegas Altanza Reserva Especial Rioja 2001.
Needed to schedule a swotting session on Sunday so gave the New World a miss but popped by to purchase some wines and a Le Nez du Vin kit i’d been eyeing for some months for drinking games.
David Sankaran gave the word that morning. The passage he chose was Mark 4:26-32:
And he said,”The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
And he said,”With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
A goodly reminder that though we do our work, someone else is ultimately in-charge around here to give growth, in agriculture as well as in the kingdom God is bringing to himself. Here again unlike the constructs of men which put on showy displays of power and authority, real power and real authority doesn’t look like much in this age – just like there was no beauty in God’s son when he came to earth that we might desire him (Isaiah 53:2), so there is no seeming power in God’s kingdom now – it appears to be just a mustard seed, a few thousand of which make up one gram; it is weak, laughable but in God’s time will surely grow into an enormous tree.