The Straits Wine Company recently brought to us, the rather professionally executed Malaysian Wine Fiesta 2012. Featuring more than 40 international winemakers and nearly 200 labels, this year’s Fiesta was anchored at Jalan Bangkung, Bangsar, covering famous eateries such as Cava, Opus, Leonardo’s, Madisons and ‘U’.
A wine fair like no other, the Fiesta was a rare chance to speak and sip with international winemakers. From casual wine drinkers to aficionados, the fiesta really did a fine job of catering to wine lovers of all levels. This year, there was a fabulous line up of labels showcasing new collections of wines from India, Japan, Croatia, Lebanon and not forgetting the regulars, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa, USA, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Germany, and more than I can even remember!
The idea was to take out time, form outlet to outlet, tasting the wines, breaking for finger food, and chatting with the winemakers, then going back to tasting once more. Since there were over 200 labels, we really needed to pace ourselves to enjoy as many different country’s bests wines. From sparklings to Champagne, Sauvignon Blancs to Shiraz, even Armagnacs and Cognacs, it was a lively, dizzying experience of mingling and wine appreciation of the highest order.
I had a great time that night, and an event such as this, with quiet a fair bit of traffic going through each room, that could well have been a chaotic mess, was so well organized, you didn’t feel the crowd.
Hats off to the organizers,The Straits Wine Company .. we hope that there will be another such event, in the not too distant future!
More photos from the night of the Malaysian Wine Fiesta, Jalan Bangkung Bangsar..
Napa Valley Wines – loves these but they are so expensive in the states. They were cheaper at the wine fiesta, but the Cab Sauv was still a whopping RM225 per bottle
Top range Californian Honig Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Honig Napa Valley Sauvignon blanc has been king at Honig Vineyard and Winery since the late Louis Honig planted grapes on his Napa Valley property in 1964. The firm has been run since 1984 by his grandson, Michael, who has expanded the family business in Rutherford. In addition to sauvignon blanc, Honig produces several bottlings of cabernet sauvignon and a dessert wine, late-harvest sauvignon blanc. Honig Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2011 is a blend of 96 percent sauvignon blanc, 3 percent semillon and 1 percent muscat. It is virtually clear, with a tinge of yellow-green. It’s a typical California sauvignon blanc, abounding in scents of herbs, melon and stone fruit. Flavors are clean and crisp, underscored by hints of fruit. This eminently appealing wine is best imbibed with food.
Check out the crowd.. !
Croatian wines were a pleasure to try
Wine in Croatia has a long, long history. It was the Greek settlers who first introduced vineyards to the Croatian coast in the 5th century BC and wine production has flourished ever since. During the Homeland War, many wineries and vineyards were destroyed but the winemaking industry has rushed back.Croatia now produces up to 700 wines, some of excellent quality. Purists may scoff, but Croatian have the habit of diluting their wine. In the south, they call it bevanda and in the north, they call it gemist. Although there are hundreds of grape varieties in Croatia, experts agree that the red Plavac Mali grape produces the best red wine. Plavac Mali is genetically identical to Zinfandel grapes which clearly come from Croatia, not Italy as has long been thought. Croatia’s sparkling Prosecco wine comes from Bogdanusa, a white grape. Malvazija from Istria and Posip from Korcula produce Croatia’s most renowned white wines.
The distinguished German Winemaker..
Loved the German Riesling Spatlese RM175 per bottle
Well, no wine is more versatile than German riesling. It doesn’t just excel as a sweet wine and a dry wine, it excels at many different degrees of sweetness and dryness. The term spätlese (pronounced SHPATE-lay-zuh) refers to the degree of ripeness at which the grapes are harvested. In the German system of ripeness classification, the grapes with the least amount of sugar are destined for kabinett wines. Then comes spätlese, and then the riper auslese, beerenauslese, trockenbeerenauslese and eiswein.
Oo.. I learn so much at these events!
Some interesting wines from Portugal as well..
A fascinating beauty from Portugal’s Douro, the 2010 Quinta do Crasto reserve comes from old vines and different grapes. In other words, it’s a field blend, hand-harvested from the steeply canted vineyards along the Douro River. Soft and elegant and tasting of red plums and blueberries, this is a wine to serve with something substantial, such as meats, to better savor the wine’s nuances.
I loved the medium bodied palate which is rich in wild berry characters. The wine finishes with great length, balance and texture.
And of course the Lebanese wines…
The Bekaa Valley is the home of modern Lebanese wine. Almost 90% of Lebanon’s wine is made here, as is a respectable proportion of its Arak, the anise-flavored spirit that remains the nation’s favorite alcoholic drink. Although the Bekaa has long been a hotspot of agriculture in this otherwise desertous, mountainous region, it is only in the past few decades that fabulous vineyards have come to light. Kefraya’s Comte de M should provide further proof that Lebanon has selected sites that can turn out world-class wine. While the Comte de M is not exactly cheap at RM215 per bottle, it is indeed an exceptional product. This cuvée is made from a 20-year old vineyard situated south of the Bekka Valley, and just west of Mount Barouk. A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, and 20% Mourvèdre, from a non-irrigated vineyard that was manually harvested, this wine has a sweet nose of cedar, blackberries and nice smoky, toasty oak accents.The wine is full-bodied and rich with sharp tanins and would go great with a ribeye steak!
I actually started my tasting journey, at 6pm, at the Cava Station!
The Cava Blend is used to describe the composition of the iconic sparkling wines of Spain. The blend is principally made up of three grape varieties: Macabeo (often written as Macabeu or Viura), Xarel-lo and Parellada. In 1986, Chardonnay was officially allowed in the blend, signalling Spain’s intention to move with the times and compete with the other sparkling wines of Europe. Pinot Noir and Malvasia are other recent additions to the list of permitted Cava grape varieties.
Good-quality Cavas are known for their flavour characteristics of toast, cream and secondary nut (almond) flavors. Wines with higher Pinot Noir content may show more cherry and berry flavors, while more traditional blends display green-apple, peach and even earthen notes.
3 types of Cava that night.. all equally good..
My favorite was the Raventos i Blanc ‘de Nit’ Rosé Cava. It had a really pretty faded rose pink colour! Gently boozed strawberries, dusty rose aromatics, gentle and perfumed ..ah, truly a lady’s drink! The balance is ultimately dry, juicy and gentle, with loads of delicate bubbles underpinning the fruity flavors, and cutting through the fruitiness with a mild acidity at the end. 55% Macabeo/20% Xarel-lo/20% Parellada/5% Monastrell .. nice!
And the world renown Spanish wines.. my favourite being the Rioja
Rioja produces Spain’s flagship red wines, mainly from Tempranillo and Garnacha. Younger styles are soft and fruity while aged Crianzas, Reservas and Gran Reservas have increasing levels of concentration, elegance and smooth oak influence. You can totally understand why I camped out here for many minutes.. I am a HUGE fan.
The Rioja table was fascinating.. and I was introduced to the Lealtanza Crianza Rioja
“Crianza,” (pronounced “Cree-ahn-zah,”) comes from the Spanish word for “nursing” or “bringing up.” Riojas have historically been classified by how long they are aged before the bottles are released. Light and fruity joven wines, they are released virtually as soon as the transformation to wine is complete. Next comes Crianza, the youngest of the aged Riojas. By law, Crianzas must spend at least one year in oak barrels and cannot be sold until two years after the harvest, though in fact some wineries hold on to their bottles longer. The next-oldest Riojas are those labeled reserva, which must be aged at least three years before release. Last are the Gran Reservas, with at least five years.
Throughout Spain, Crianzas are aged at least two years after the vintage, of which at least six months must have been spent in 225-liter oak casks. In Rioja and Ribera del Duero, the rule is 12 full months in oak, plus at least 12 more in bottles. This may seem like a long time in barrels, but in Spain, where oak aging is traditional, Crianzas are actually in the least-oaked category – you’ll need to look for “Reserva” or “Gran Reserva” if you want more oak.
But they also had a fantastic olive oil on display. Limited bottles so we quickly grabbed ours. Only RM60 per bottle
We stood at this table, soaking up the olive oil with bread, just because it was that irresistibly pungent and tasty. Lealtanza extra virgin organic olive oil comes from their own estate of 70 Hectares of olive trees. The beautiful Arbequina olive groves are harvested by hand, and carefully washed, decanted and separated using a centrifuge. The olive oil is bottled without filtering, to allow it to fully express itself. It is thick, nutty and charmingly luxurious. The extraordinary uniqueness of this oil is that it is 100 % organic oil. Both the olives trees as well as the entire follow ecological and biological methods. Choosing olive oil is a bit like choosing wine. There are different grades, and some are more flavourful and offer more health benefits Virgin and extra-virgin olive oils tend to be higher in polyphenols (a powerful antioxidant). Extra Virgin Olive Oil is really a fruit juice – in this case, the fruit is the olive.
More delicious Spanish wines, Cune, Imperial, Contino and Vina Real to name a few..
The 2005 Imperial Reserva is a classically styled Rioja, from the terrific, long lived vintage. It is arguably even better than their excellent 2001 bottling. While it is hard to lay off this wine now, as delicious as it is, cellaring for additional time will certainly reward those patient enough to wait. The purity and intensity of the red fruit, combined with terrific acidity, will surely make this amazing bottle one for the ages. 85% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo, 10% Graciano.
While the Contino Reserva is an excellent wine, the Imperial Reserva 2005 really suits my personality better. I’d walk away with a couple of crates of these, easy;)
Then along we go.. to the New Zealand wines..
Made with grapes from one place, Ara single estate wines aim to fuse the time-honoured art of winemaking with fresh ideas, and the natural qualities of the Wairau Valley location. The name Ara (pronounced ‘are-ah’) is both the indigenous Maori word for “pathway” and Latin for “altar”. Ara captures the adventurous spirit yet it echoes a deep respect for tradition and the environment.
The Ara Select Blocks Pinot Noir exhibits succulent boysenberry and cherry aromas lightly seasoned with toasted oak and framed by long fine grained tannins.
The Pathway Sauvignon Blanc is a bright expression of Marlborough New Zealand sauvignon blanc, with an Ara twist. Every glass has 2400 hours of sunshine from our single estate crafted into it.. sounds like my kind of wine!
Plenty of finger food for the guests..
Then on to the gorgeous Italian wines..
The white monovarieties Marco Felluga (white label) are vinified in steel, while the Collio Bianco Molamatta (blend of Pinot Bianco, Tocai Friulano and Ribolla Gialla) and the Collio Pinot Grigio Riserva Mongris (both with the black label) are in part vinified and aged in oak. The red mono varieties age for about 12 months in wooden casks, while the Collio Rosso Carantan (blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon) ages in small oak barrels for nearly two years.
The Marco Felluga Pinot Grigio has some prominent copper tones upon tasting the wine. It has an intense flavours of apple too. In the mouth it is elegantly fruity and becomes full bodied, well-structured and has a remarkably long finish. This wine went well with chicken and white meat.
Then my favourite Brancaia wines.. the Il Blu!
We have a pretty thorough account of the Brancaia Wines, if you want to read about them here.
Lively, animated discussions with the wine experts.. they were energetic and knowledgeable .. such a great time talking with them!
More handsome Italian wines..
Bottle after bottle we tried..
And what do you expect.. with 200 labels to get through that night, the event went on from 6-10pm, and I only managed 70% of the labels!
Then Upstairs to Leonardos – best tapas in town.. loads of great pork canapes were served here!
Then it was time to meet the BOGAN! Delicious Kaesler wines from Australia
Read our previous account of the Kaesler Wines, here.
I am NOT a Bogan.. says the Kaesler representative!
Peccavi Sauvignon Blanc Semillon – Lovers of classic Bordeaux blanc will be impressed with this wine. There are seamless layers of flavours on the palate that have been enhanced by fermentation and maturation in carefully selected new and old French barriques. The typical Margaret River Sauv Blanc acids have been tamed and softened by the oak creaminess and beautifully balanced by the Semillon. The palate is long and delicate witha subtle combination of white peach and lemon sherbert, finishing with a touch of nougat. I want more!
Australian – Ferngrove, Frankland River Shiraz
Located in Western Australia’s Great Southern, approximately 360 kilometres south-east of Perth, Frankland River is one of Australia’s fastest growing wine regions. Although viticulture began in the Frankland River region in 1969, it has only more recently become known as a significant producer of premium quality Western Australian wines.
Frankland River has been touted as capable of matching and even surpassing the famous Rhone region of France for the production of ultra premium quality Shiraz. In fact, all the traditional European classic varieties perform well in Frankland’s conditions including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.
The fabulous Yarra Valley Wines..
The first vines were planted at Warramate in 1969 by Jack and June Church and were recognised as some of the first in the ‘re-establishment’ of the valley, alongside neighbours Dr Carrodus at Yarra Yering and Guillaume de Pury across the lane at Yeringberg. Unlike many of the more recent plantings in the valley, the Warramate vineyard is all dry grown, which helps to concentrate the flavours and up the flavour intensity (by naturally reducing yields). The vineyard too is hand-pruned and hand harvested (hands on winegrowing!) with an emphasis on sustainability; mulching and green crop manures are standard practice. Organic methods are scientifically trialled and used wherever possible. The range here is small but focused, with a single oddity – Riesling. The winery also produces a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Merlot and two different Shiraz.
Captain Duncan Lloyd from Logan Wines
Group photo – the fabulous winemakers of Australia
The last hurrah Sparkling – Adelaide Hill
From Winemaker, Michael Sykes – An elegant style of Adelaide Hills sparkling with lifted aromas of strawberry and crunchy green apple, with a crisp citrus acidity. The Last Hurrah Sparkling would be a great match to all of the usual suspects.. Smoked Salmon, Crab, Scallops and generally most seafood.
Murray McHenry representing Margaret River
McHenry Hohnen Rocky Road Chardonnay 2010 – This is a stunner of a wine from West Australian producer McHenry Hohnen. Rocky Road is the name of the vineyard and it produces seriously exciting chardonnay, as the 2010 attests. A textural wine with mealy and grilled nut nuances and plenty of citrus and figs, it’s creamy mid-palate, with the oak neatly integrated and lovely fine acidity driving it to a super long finish. The fruit is sourced from the Rocky Road Vineyard which lies in the headwaters of the Chapman Brook, near Witchcliffe in the south of the Margaret River region. With a northerly aspect, the vines enjoy long days of sunshine, moderated by the vineyard’s southern location. The vines are grown on a single bilateral cordon with a vertically trained canopy. It is a simple and practical format that maximises light penetration and maintains a balanced vine.
And then, all good things had to come to an end… But not before one last drink to say Goodnight!
Luv our wine escapades.. luv our FB! cheers!