jamie goode's wine blog

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Chinese overseas

Last night's conference dinner was held in the striking setting of the Hua Song museum, which has as its theme the story of the Chinese overseas. The museum is new - it was opened in 2006 -and although it isn't that big, some of the stories it tells are quite moving. The Chinese have had quite a tough time on their travels over the last few centuries.

The food was Chinese, the wine Chilean. Ch Los Boldos Merlot, plus a sister white whose varietal composition I missed. The red was quite nice: it didn't taste too Chilean. Ripe but restrained and not very green at all.

After two days of heavy rain, including some amazing downpours, it has brightened up. That's convenient, because I have a free afternoon before I head back to London late tonight.

One more wine note: on Monday evening I dined with a couple of colleagues in the Four Seasons, and we had a really nice Domaine Chandon Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2004. Food friendly, quite elegant, ripe but restrained (that word again...), and affordable - this was near the very bottom of the wine list.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Wine, hawker food and avian flu

Last night I met up with chums again for a rather unusual wine dinner. On a rather steamy Singapore evening we headed off to the bustling Adam Road hawker centre with bottles, ice bucket and glasses. It made for a strange sight, I'm sure. This particular hawker centre consists of a large circular seating area, fringed at its perimeter by a profusion of small food stalls. You grab some food, grab a seat and eat.

We drank an expressive Schloss Johannisberg Riesling, a soft, almost ethereal German Gerwurztraminer, and bold, pithy Domane Wachau Riesling Smaragd and a Vasse Felix Cabernet Merlot (which I was rather proud to have spotted as a Margaret River Cabernet blind).

Today I'm in a conference on 'Novel and re-emerging respiratory viral diseases at the beginning of the 21st century'. That's bird flu and SARS among others. 25 of the world's leading experts in the field are gathered from the four corners of the globe, half the time is alloted for discussion, and then I go away with the tapes and produce a book from it. Usually, by the time I've finished the book, I have some understanding of what was going on during the meeting itself. I do eight of these books a year; it's my other life - what I do when I'm not writing about wine. However, after 15 years of learning a great deal on a range of biomedical topics, plus a smidgeon of psychology, some agriculture and even a bit of environmental statistics, it looks like my editing days may be drawing to an end, later this year. Now when I can concentrate all my energies on wine, I'd like to think I could achieve something.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Lunch leads to dinner

Had a great wine lunch/dinner yesterday in Sinagpore. It was with long-time wine buddies Yixin and Hsien Min and a couple of others. We began at 1pm, and finished at 8pm, taking in both the lunch and dinner sittings at a Chinese restaurant just off Orchard Road.

11 bottles were consumed in the end, beginning with the wines we bought and finishing with a raid on the well-priced wine list.

Leroy Bourgogne 1997 was light, crisp, mineralic and showing very nicely indeed.

Knoll Ried Kellerberg Riesling Smaragd 2003 Wachau, Austria showed lovely fruit with some nice mineralic acidity.

Zind Humbrecht Herrenweg de Turckheim Riesling 1998 Alsace was quite rich and evolved with lots of quite complex crystalline fruits and some lemony freshness.

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Riesling 2005 Margaret River was a bit reduced and tasted like many Australian Rieslings taste.

Ch Picque Caillou 2001 Pessac Leognan was a lighter claret that was drinking nicely.

Stonecroft Serine Syrah 2004 Hawkes Bay was really expressive, bright and peppery: a lovely NZ red.

Vigna Maggio Chiantic Classico Castello di Mona Lisa 1997 was a big Italian red with some earthy evolution.

Ch de la Gimmoniere 2003 Coteaux du Layon was a nice, quite pure, fruit driven sweet wine.

Elio Altare Barolo La Morra 2000 was a deliciously expressive, bright, fruity, modern Barolo but still has plenty of earthy, spicy savouriness. Lovely.

Ch Rausan Segla 1978 Margaux was a beautifully evolved, quite fresh claret that drank well.

Guigal La Landonne Cote Rotie 1994 was drinking nicely too: the oak has receded a bit to reveal a savoury, bacon-fat and spice Syrah that has a few years ahead of it but is just entering its drinking window, I'd reckon.

From the restaurant it was off to a bar where a Chinese pop group were playing. I'm feeling a little slow today.


Monday, April 09, 2007

To Australia...

Quick check-in from Changi airport after a surprisingly wine-free sojourn in Singapore. Just one glass consumed - Domaine Chandon NV fizz with dinner on Saturday. Otherwise it's been the very average Tiger beer that I've been washing my food down with (that sounds horrible, doesn't it?).

It's been a fun few days in Singapore. We went to the zoo yesterday, followed by dinner in little India, a part of Singapore remarkable for its lack of women. There were hoards of people around, but I spotted just one female.

Now it's off to Margaret River, where I intend to make up for my wine-free state. Two days of winery visits beckon.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Travels ahead

Just trying to tie up some loose ends before embarking on a trip to Singapore (above), Western Australia and then Singapore again. The first segment will be a family holiday, with a few days of serious wine work in Margaret River the sole business angle (but, if truth be known, I find my job as relaxing as a holiday when it comes to visiting wine regions).

I'm looking forward to introducing my family to Singapore, a place I enjoy visiting - I've been three times in the last three years. It's just such an easy place to hang out. On returning to Singapore at the end of the Western Australia leg, I'll without the family - this time I'll be wearing my science editor hat, attending a really interesting conference on SARS and avian flu, from which I'll be producing a book.

While I'm travelling over the next couple of weeks the blog will be maintained, but there may be periods of radio silence - it all depends on the internet access and time I have available. One of the great joys of travelling is the freedom from the daily routine, and the different perspective that this often brings.

As an aside: if anyone reading is in Singapore and fancies some sort of mini-wine-nut dinner, I'm currently free on 21,22 and 23 April in the evenings. It's always nice to meet new people.

As another aside, the hotel I'm staying in (the Orchard Parade) has the indescribable evil of a Manchester United-themed bar. As a City fan, I find this excruciating.

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