Enjoying Wine in Context

<Enjoying Wine in Context>

By Lim Hwee Peng, CSW, FWS

24th Feb 2012

Months ago, when I was conducting a wine masterclass for a premium Australian wine, I have mentioned ‘tasting wine in context’. Subsequently, I have received some queries to elaborate on that comment.

Tasting wine in context is not an uncommon comment among wine lovers. Although in most common practices, a score or rating (whether it is a 100 pointer system, UC Davis system of 20 points, Decanter’s Star-system, etc) is usually being used to indicate the quality of the wine, thereby, supposedly, help consumers to make an informed purchase decision.

However, what is lacking in such score/ rating system is the intrinsic value (or should I say ‘purpose’?) of a bottle of wine.

I supposed in most cases (well, at least for me), we enjoyed wines for a reason, an occasion or with good company. (Note: if you do empty a full bottle of wine regularly while watching CSI, you may want to seek assistance)

Whether it is with our buddies, a hot-date, for business socializing purpose, or simply sharing with a group of fellow wine mates, we enjoyed wine for a reason.

Yet, not all wines are appropriate for all occasions and purposes.

A case in point – would you open a bottle of Chateau Petrus 1982 for a person whom you rather not spend a minute of your time with?

Or

To pull out, from your cellar, a rare bottle of Montrachet when your mates could only understand an unabashedly fruit-expressive Chardonnay?

That is what ‘tasting (or enjoying wines) in context’ means.

The principle of ‘tasting in context’, many a time, makes the true and inherent value of wine appreciation shines through brightly.

Another angle to appreciate wines, and may in some ways linked to ‘tasting wine in context’, is the personality of an individual who crafted that bottle of wine.

I recalled one such experience in my wine journey.

I got acquainted with Romain Taupenot years ago during one of his early visit to Singapore, together with the Burgundy Wine Board’s entourage, showcasing Burgundy wines to the trade professionals.

It was my first encounter with both Romain and his wines.

Romain’s seriousness, focused approach in sharing his treasured bottles and wine comments in general, left an impression with me.

Subsequent meetings in Burgundy and further meet-up in Singapore and Hong Kong provided ample opportunities to understand his wines and to truly getting acquainted with Romain as a person.

Although Neal Martin of Wine Advocate described him as “…young, engaging, ambitious man, certainly not a parochial vigneron as some can be.” I like Romain simply because he is a wysiwyg (what-you-see-is-what-you-get),

For a high quality Burgundy wine, ‘identity’ and ‘value’ are what Romain aims to deliver in all his wines.

Having sung praises of Romain and his wines, I must also admit that, similar to all other vignerons in Burgundy, there are issues that the estate is grappling with.

‘Always a work in progress’, that is what Romain shared with me in one of our casual bantering in Burgundy.

In every encounter with this seventh generation vigneron, I have learnt much more about Burgundy the region, culture, people and wines.

With so much buzz on his wines, and increasingly getting limeight from high-profile wine critics, Romain, surprisingly, remained down to earth, and an sms away.

<Wine>

Domain Taupenot-Merme Charmes Chambertin 2002

A generous gift from Romain in our last meet-up in Singapore; it is unsurprising that I chose to unveil this fine gift with a fellow Burgundy wine lover.

Opened in one late evening, and drank two portions before succumbed to the ‘Zzz’ monster.

Totally forgotten about it the next day, as it was left in the wine fridge; by the time I realized it, it was almost two days old!

Yet, the wine was still alive and kicking, with its nose and flavours revealing much more than when I first cracked it.

Initial impression (before falling prey to ‘Z’ monster): pleasantly earthy on the nose with ripe red fruits aroma, albeit a touch cold in the glass. Pleasantly ripe and balanced in concentration of flavours; nuances were not showing (again, possibly it was cold in the glass).

Second impression (days later): there is a sense of the wine being liberated; perfume, floral, ripe cherries, all those charming aroma and bouquet rushes out from the glass almost at the same time.

Also, this Grand Cru, after much aeration, emits an impression of being a beautiful wine, with refined notes, portraying elegance on the palate, without losing its primary charm.

Perhaps that was the reason this wine was named as ‘Charmes’?

This wine is suitable for

Fine French Cuisine

Fine Chinese Cuisine

Wine Bar Fine Wine list

Price per bottle: information unobtainable when this article was uploaded. Various pricing information can be obtained online

Available at: Vinocave (Singapore)

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