90 Plus Wine Club Malaysia Wine Pairing Lunch
Josephine and I headed over to Antara Restaurant at Old Malaya, in downtown Kuala Lumpur on 14 January 2017 for the 90 Plus Wine Club Wine Pairing Lunch. The 90 Plus Wine Club is Napa Valley’s Premiere, International Wine Club, and supplies their members with the finest wines in the region, all pre-selected based upon their 90+ ratings. The wines included are a cross-section of Napa Valley wines and the surrounding areas.
Membership in the club grants members the privilege of having all of the wines shipped over on a regularly scheduled basis at a significantly lower transportation expense than if they were to be purchased and shipped over directly from the winery. Any of the pre-selected wines can be re-ordered directly on the 90 Plus Wine Club website, and it will be shipped directly to the member.
Jack Sakazaki was first introduced to the Napa Valley while he attended the University of California at Berkeley in the mid 1960’s. At that time, Napa was mostly a farming community, full of fruit and nut orchards with just a couple of vineyards. Fast forward to today, and there are now vineyards virtually everywhere – in the valleys, high on the hillsides; from the hot north in Calistoga to the cooler south where the top of the San Francisco Bay borders the vineyards.
In 1988 Jack returned to the Napa Valley in search of a place to hold a golf event. He found the Silverado Country Club and fell in love with the golf course and the community, which resulted in him buying a home at Silverado. In 2001, Jack sold his first home and built a custom designed home on a hill overlooking the golf course and the vineyards that surround it. Since then, he spent much more time in Napa and made many friends in the wine business. When he gets visitors at the house, he always takes them for wine tasting in the Napa Valley, and his visitors called him to have wines shipped to them after they returned to Japan. This was the inspiration behind the 90 Plus Wine Club.
The 90 Plus Wine Club supplies Japanese and international members with the finest wines in the region, all pre-selected based upon their 90+ ratings by well-known wine critics like Robert Parker, the Wine Spectator, Jim Laube, Wine and Spirit Magazine and others.
The club provides wines from both well-known wineries, and from newer wineries not generally available in Japan. They include well-known varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Zinfandel, as well as lesser-known varietals like Syrah, Petite Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. All of the wines that the Club supplies will be sold to members at local Napa Valley retail prices, and at significantly less transportation expense than members would be able to obtain on their own.
Deep-fried yam dumpling stuffed with housemade ricotta & lobster aioli
Paired with Hartwell Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2013
The dumplings were an excellent start to the meal and its stuffing was truly a delight to partake in. Rich, creamy and cheesy flavours with the familiar taste of yam. Unconventional but very tasty! The 2013 Hartwell Estate Sauvignon Blanc though was a good pairing that cut through the richness with its complex flavours of pink grapefruit, Galia melon, and wet stone, finishing with a sweet and refreshing acidity. On the nose there were aromas of cantaloupe, eucalyptus, kiwi and lemongrass.
Pai tee stuffed with anago & shaved foie gras
Paired with Whetsone Wine Cellars Chardonnay 2013
Toasted chapatti with goats cheese & curried mussel cream
Paired with Zeitgeist Cellars Trousseau Gris 2014
The curried mussel cream was pretty much a lovely, rich and spicy soup which was very hearty indeed. We dipped the toasted chapatti with goats cheese into the remainder of the cream once we ate the mussels and it was a match made in heaven. This dish had the potential to become too cloyingly rich however the wine had high acidity and cut through the richness enabling me to finish the whole bowl!
Marron lobster sang har meen
Paired with Bougetz Cellars, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2013
Trombetta Family Wines, Gap’s Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012
Bridesmaid, Red Blend 2012
Sang har meen with marron aka yabbies was certainly a first for me as well as the experience of having it with not one or two but three (3) different red wines! The Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir was more oaky on the palate while the Gap’s Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir was lighter and was my favourite to go along with the dish.
NZ rack of lamb with coconut pilaf & beetroot yoghurt relish
Paired with Cimarossa Riva di Ponente Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Maze Clew Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Amizetta Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Yes again there was a pairing of three different red wines this time with lamb. The lamb was beautifully cooked and very tender and I preferred it with the Maze Clew Carbernet Sauvignon 2012 which is a rich, full-bodied wine that retails for around USD$155 and on the palate tasted of rich fruits like black raspberry, blackcurrant fruit, with hints of licorice, incense and camphor.
Miniature kaffir lime leaf 8: lemon curd tart
Paired with Miner Family Vineyards Viognier 2014
If you’re a wine aficionado, you might want to check out the two (2) different membership packages that the 90 Plus Wine Club offers.
More info at http://www.the90pluswineclub.com/
The event was also in partnership with BYTOX which is an anti-hangover patch that helps to replenish depleted nutrients to your body so that you’ll feel great the next day! It is a 100% organic formula which is made in USA by a U.S. Plastic and reconstructive surgeon. It contains 12 organic, all-natural ingredients which provide a powerful blend of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. This helps reduce the severity of hangover by replenishing Vitamin B complex and other nutrients thereby assisting the body in restoring it’s natural balance.
More info at http://www.bytox.com.my/
I was quite impressed with the food at Antara Restaurant which is a Malaysian restaurant serving modern interpretations of traditional Malaysian dishes. The restaurant is another establishment of Chef Isadora Chai, however Antara is vastly different than her other establishment – the French restaurant Bistro à Table in Section 17, Petaling Jaya.
Antara is housed in a beautiful pre-war era row of shophouses (currently called Old Malaya) which was established in 1919, and houses three (3) different concepts under one roof. Antara Restaurant is the primary establishment and serves fine dining modern Malaysian cuisine. Abacus Lounge is a glasshouse bar overlooking the KL Tower and serves bespoke local-centric cocktails. However as it has a glass ceiling, it isn’t very conducive for daytime events. You’ll get a good view of KL Tower though but do wait for the sun to set. Anson Colonial Cafe is a casual ground floor space that serves Colonial Hainanese cuisine, which has more Western-centric influence.