Wine Talk Wine Tasting at Pressroom

[Event]

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I’m not a wine drinker. Really! Then earlier last year I started going out with this girl who likes to drink wine and didn’t really touch beers or spirits so of course I had to change to adapt to her preferences.

If you were to ask me to pick up a bottle of wine from the supermarket or liquor store I’d be totally clueless and probably end up picking something that I wouldn’t really enjoy. Truth is that picking a great wine takes a certain knowledge and skill.

That’s where Wine Talk comes to save the day!

Wine Talk’s Wine Club is the first of its kind in Malaysia, and is an exclusive service with no membership or sign-up fee where members will receive wine cases on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, delivered straight to their home.

Wine Talk came about when Mark Simmons, who started Room Service Deliveries in 2003 partnered with Edward Hyde, of La Bodega which has 9 outlets across the Klang Valley to come up with this novel concept. They hashed out the business plan in 2012, during a meet up at a La Bodega outlet in KL, where Edward and Mark realized that a lot of people including those who have been enjoying wines for a long time, do not have an easy access to finding great wines.

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They decided to enlist the help of David Stephan who is a French sommelier with broad knowledge and experience with wines. Born and raised in France, David has traveled to different countries, explored thousands of different wines and has a professional education and background on wines and sommelerie.

He has been in the industry for more than 15 years and now as the GM and Chief Sommelier of Wine Talk, personally selects and handpicks Wine Talk’s wines. Wine Talk promises consumers guaranteed satisfaction, guaranteed price with delivery straight to your home. Customers will get a new bottle if they don’t love the wine they received and notify Wine Talk within 30 days of purchase, or customers will get refunded with the price difference if they find the wine cheaper in major super and hypermarkets in Peninsular Malaysia up to 14 days from the date of purchase.

The selection of wines handpicked by David will feature popular labels and exciting new discoveries, which a lot of people may not have thought to try. It comes with a personalized booklet that details the history of the winery, grape varietals, tasting notes, food pairing and more.

This service is priced at RM428.00 for 6 bottles and RM788.00 for 12 bottles, ith free delivery to your home!

Well talk is cheap so in order to allow us to experience firsthand this new concept, Malaysia’s Hottest Bloggers and friends were invited to join David at the Pressroom in Bangsar Shopping Centre for an evening of discovery, delicious food, great wines, and good company!

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MHB’s Jiayeen nosing the wine

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Now it’s not very good to drink on an empty stomach so to go along with the wine tasting were some specially selected dishes with flavours that would not overpower the wines

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MHB’s Kelly Siew takes her food and beverage photography very seriously!

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Kiwi Walk Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough, New Zealand

Now before you read the info on the wines below I must stop here and say that I really don’t know enough about wines (whisky, brandy or beer yes perhaps I can tell you a thing or two) to tell you much about it therefore the info below is what was provided by French sommelier David Stephan who has years and years of knowledge. I will though add some of my remarks at the bottom.

Kiwi Walk Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough, New Zealand

100% Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc has taken the world by storm in the last few years. This classic NZ wine is a great example of why. A very fresh & easy-to-drink wine, it is packed with great tropical aromas. Originating from France, where it is grown mostly in the Loire Valley & Bordeaux, this is a fairly ‘sensitive’ varietal, which cannot really grow at its best everywhere. It needs a fairly cool climate to express the most freshness & purity – and New Zealand is indeed a ‘cool’ climate country!

Kiwi Walk is an addictively crisp & fresh wine, sourced from premium vineyards in Marlborough. It is produced by Yealands Estate, New Zealand’s premier sustainable winegrower. Led by legendary entrepreneur Peter Yealands, with innovative step by steps, they create award-winning wines and are New Zealand’s first fully sustainable carboNZero certified winery; This mean the winery understands and measures the greenhouse gas emissions (commonly referred to as carbon footprinting), and makes a commitment to manage and reduce their carbon footprint by implementing management plans to reduce emissions both within the organization, through the supply chain and work in the vineyards.

This wine showcases the classic tropical fruits of the region like Guava & lime, combined with fresh herbs notes. Perfect for pre-dinner drinks, or with any seafood dishes!

Conclusion: Super friendly Sauvignon Blanc, fresh & addictive!

tomcat says – this one was super easy to drink. Dangerously too easy actually! A great start to the dinner.

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Louis Guntrum ‘Royal Blue’ Riesling – Rheinhessen, Germany

Louis Guntrum ‘Royal Blue’ Riesling – Rheinhessen, Germany

100% Riesling

Riesling is one of David’s favorite white grapes in the world, and is largely undervalued. While it is more known for luscious sweet wines, it can also produce stunning dry wines. This is in the middle, with a very friendly off-dry white.

Louis Guntrum is part of the German Winemaking History: established in 1648, and now operated by Louis Konstantin Guntrum, who is the 11th generation descendant of the Guntrum family. They are based in the village of Nierstein in the Rheinessen region, with stunning scenery along the Rhein River (a mystic river that passes through the Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Baden, and used as a frontier between Germany & France, following the Alsace region). The production at the winery was stopped for a few years during WW1, and during WW2 and used by General Patton as a base, after having crossed the river straight in front of the domaine.

The ‘Royal Blue’ is an off-dry wine, boasting some sugar and a very soft 9.5% alcohol level (this is a good clue to know if a Riesling is sweet or not; 12% & over: dry; 8-12%: off-dry ; below 8%: sweet). It showcases an elegant and classical Riesling scent, paired with aromas of tropical fruits, with green apples and citrus, pineapple and melon; An Excellent balance of sweetness and acidity. Enjoy by itself as an aperitif, with lightly spicy food, roasted duck or smoked meats.

Conclusion: A very addictive fresh white, candy in a glass!

tomcat says – the 9.5% alcohol leaves some sugars in the wine which were not converted during the fermentation process making this one another easy drink and a favourite among the girls at the dinner

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Gérard Bertrand ‘Art De Vivre’ Grenache Rosé – Languedoc, France

Gérard Bertrand ‘Art De Vivre’ Grenache Rosé – Languedoc, France

100% Grenache Gris

France is the world’s biggest Rosé producers, with south of France being the best of producing regions. In Provence the wines are more delicate & crisp, while in the Languedoc the wines are very friendly & fruitful. David thinks that rosé are the best wines to fight off Malaysian weather. As it drinks nice and fresh, they are the best choice for a BBQ party with friends.

Born in a winemaking family, Gerard was a ‘professional’ Rugby player, for the City of Narbonne and the French International team. In the 90’s, he launched his domaine, and created a revolution by focusing on single varietal, rather than traditional blends from the region. He now owns 6 different estates, and works closely with many local growers. He is known as ‘The King of Languedoc’ across the world.

This Rosé wine is a perfect introduction to the classics of the region. Made from 100% Grenache, it shows a delightfully light color, lots of fruit flavors and a fresh and aromatic palate. Great for a wide range of dishes, from seafood, fish to Barbecue meats.

Conclusion: Like any good fresh rosé, best shared with friends for a nice BBQ!

tomcat says – fruity and aromatic, I think girls will appreciate this one quite a lot! Also this was Andy Kho’s favourite wine of the night.

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Logan ‘Apple Tree Flat’ Shiraz – Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia

Logan ‘Apple Tree Flat’ Shiraz – Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia

100% Shiraz

David discovered this small boutique winery a few months ago, and can’t get enough of those delicious wines. This is a family-owned and operated winery, located in the village of Apple Tree Flat in New South Wales and launched by Peter Logan. While loving the character of rich fruit in Australian wines, Peter also admires the style and balance of Old World wines. Rather than having to choose one or the other, he decided to develop a winemaking style which is a hybrid of both approaches – wines with Aussie fresh fruits flavours, and European structure and finesse, helped by the cooler climates of central NSW.

Shiraz comes originally from the Rhône Valley, in South/Central France, where it is called Syrah. New world wines will usually label it as Shiraz (named after an actual city in Iran, the birthplace of the varietal). If new world wineries use the name ‘Syrah’ on their label, it means they are most likely trying to offer a lighter, softer version of the wines.

This Shiraz shows a deep, rich red color, and a softer palate than regular Aussie Shiraz, with flavors of mixed berries and sweet spices. So if you aren’t into big, bold, juicy Shiraz, this will be your friend. If you like the big wines, you can still enjoy this wine. It won’t hurt you! A great match with classic roasted lamb or cheese platters.

Conclusion: A softer version of Aussie Shiraz, but still delicious!

tomcat says – of all the variants of grapes I’m really scared of Shiraz as it can be really very spicy on the palate. To my surprise this one was very well-balanced and even I (who doesn’t like Shiraz) could happily drink it. My (aforementioned) female wine-loving friend though told me that her older 40+ year old friends prefer Shiraz as it’s more intense on the palate. My theory with regards to her observation is that when you get older your palate is not so sensitive hahaha!

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Some wines taste better if you aerate/ let it breathe for a while in a decanter

We also got to try these two (2) wines (not shown in the photos):

La Closerie des Lys Pinot Noir – Languedoc, France

100% Pinot Noir

The South of France, reputed to be a hot region, is not the first place you will think of when it comes to the delicate Pinot Noir. Meanwhile, some parcels – like the ones where this wine is sourced from – are planted higher on the hill, at an altitude of about 500 meters. This offers warm days, but also cool nights, needed for this sensitive grape to bring some freshness to the wines. They may not have the refinement of the Burgundy, but offers very friendly and aromatic wines.

In 1997, Domaine Antugnac was purchased by Christian Collovray and Jean-Luc Terrier. The two were childhood friends and grew up to become business partners of Domaine Des Deux Roches in the Burgundy region. Looking to expand in a different region, they focused on Languedoc where Domaine Antugnac quickly became the clear choice. The Estate is roughly fifty miles west of Carcassonne in a lovely, isolated mountain valley, hidden in the Pyrenean foothills and anchored by the old village of Antugnac (its church was built as a kind of bastide, or fortified building, to protect the villagers from marauding bands in the middle ages). The vineyard parcels start at the village but the majority climb the heights of the south-facing flanks, growing between 280 and 530 meters above sea level in meager limestone soils.

This Pinot Noir has an expressive nose of black cherry and spices with a beautiful attack; this is ample and fruity with a fresh final and delicate oak hints.

Conclusion: Beautiful wine, serve it slightly chilled with some roast duck, or grilled lamb chops.

tomcat says – the common misconception with red wine is that you must drink it at room temperature. Yes that’s true but it applies to the room temperate in European cellars (which are rather cold) and not the hot room temperature in Malaysia. I generally like pinot noir as its quite easy to drink and this was certainly the case with this wine.

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Finca Sobreño ‘Crianza’ – Toro, Spain

100% Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo)

David has always been a big fan of Spanish wines but he has to admit that he hasn’t been familiar with wines from the Toro region for very long. Despite having a winemaking history of centuries, it is a fairly new DO appellation (created in 1987), situated along the Duero River. It takes source from the Soria region, passes along the wine regions of Ribera del Duero, Rueda, Toro, Bierzo, Arribes, before moving to Portugal where it is known as the Douro River. It passes the Douro region where they produce the famous Port wines! Toro wines have a reputation to be fuller bodied than the Rioja or Ribera Del Duero, for example, due to the warmer & drier climate.

Bodegas Sobreño was set up by a group of winemakers from Rioja, who created a family-owned winery with the aim of producing fine wines based on a native grape variety, the Tinta de Toro (Red of Toro). This is the local name for the Tempranillo. In 1999, the first vintage was produced and within a short period of time, their wines began to receive numerous awards. Sobreño soon became known as the new star of the Douro River.

‘Crianza’ is part of the Spanish ageing classification, going in the order of Joven, Crianza, Reserva and finally, Gran Reserva. The Crianza wines need to have aged for at least two years, of which at least six months aged in oak barrels. It has a pretty bouquet of blueberry jam and raspberry that is well-defined. The palate is well-balanced, with a smooth, silky texture, crisp acidity and a citrus, fresh, primal finish.

Conclusion: Full-bodied, David recommends decanting it for full enjoyment. Pair with grilled lamb and your friends!

tomcat says – woah! This was a rich and full-bodied wine but surprisingly nice on the palate. We let this one breathe for a while before enjoying it.

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With Wine Talk’s service, getting a couple of bottles of wine to enjoy is nothing more than a call away!

For more info, head over to http://www.winetalk.com.my or call 1300 88 97 88

Photo credits: Andy Kho Photography (www.andykho.com)

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