"Top Marks" March Promotion

In the first week of March, we turned the spotlight on some of our most highly-awarded wines.

 

 

Use the code TOPMARKS at checkout to save 10% on any of these 12 wines if you order online by midnight Sunday 7 March.

Scroll down for more info, wine reviews and general background on choosing "awarded" wines :)

 


 

Not all bubbles are created equal ...

Try a bottle of 'pas dosage' Oltrepo Pavese metodo classico from this historic castle estate in Lombardy to experience the pure elegance of north Italy sparkling Pinot Nero.

This 'Blanc de Noirs' rivals better-known Champagnes (beats many) and with only a few bottles here in the little red dot you need to be quick or you'll miss out - click here!

 

Mountain white ...

Ask most somms which wine they pick to 'wake up' the palate and they'll say RIESLING. A bone-dry, high acid, refreshing Riesling, with its classic notes of lime and green apple, is just the thing for a hot Singapore afternoon! So stock up on this award-winning 2019 from Dolomite legends Pojer & Sandri here.

 

Food-friendly white ...

A challenge in the vineyard, Arneis means 'little rascal' in local Piedmont dialect. Thankfully, it's no challenge in the kitchen as it's a super food-friendly wine! Capable of long ageing but already drinking beautifully now, the award-winning CECU is a premium selection of Arenis, made by the president of the Roero wine consortium. Order it here.

 

White for Lu Rou Fan ...

Looking back at 2020 taste tests and food-pairing challenges, my mouth is watering over pictures of my friend's Lu Rou Fan, which paired so well with the Lazio blend EPOS. (Aaron Wong sent out a very limited number of his prize-winning* LU ROU FAN ... the richness of the dish needed a wine with enough body to stand up without overpowering, but it should also be a ‘comfort’ wine in keeping with the feeling of this home-cooked rice bowl. * MasterChef Singapore, season 1, episode 1. #aaronsluroufan.) Try it for yourself here.

 

Orange wine is a foodie dream ...

No doubt you've read some of my enthusiastic emails, posts or blogs about the awesomeness of orange wine, aka white wine with extended skin contact. Aside from a stunning colour, aroma and taste, it's also a remarkably flexible wine for food-pairing. The umami flavours in sushi work brilliantly; the fresh aromatic herbs in a Thai salad match like a dream; and a recent test with Sri Lankan curry was a hit too. Let me know what YOU try with award-winning Ribolla Gialla Miklus 2015 from Friuli - click here.

 

Barolo 2014 hits its drinking window ...

Ever popped the cork on a Barolo, but regretted it? Should have cellared it? Often the most famous Nebbiolo wine simply needs longer in the bottle than most of us would like, especially glancing at most Singapore restaurant wine lists with their young vintages. If you can't wait for older vintages you could look for vintages that are coming into their own this year, like some of the 2014s. Decanter called 2014 a "tricky" vintage and Wine Spectator named it the "controversial" vintage but also described the 2014 Barolos as "pure, elegant and balanced, yet structured ... brilliantly coloured and aromatic, delivering freshness and intense flavours on lightweight frames". Specifically for Brezza's Cannubi 2014, the Wine Enthusiast review says "vibrant, almost ethereal ... opens with aromas of wild rose, woodland berry, crushed mint and camphor ... exquisitely elegant, impeccably balanced palate, taut refined tannins and vibrant acidity support crushed red cherry, pomegranate, star anise and a hint of aromatic herb. Although some may find it almost too delicate, others will be enchanted". It boasts top marks from I Vini di Veronelli ("super three stars are only given to wines over 94/100 points; attributed only to the best Italian wines for a point of reference by professionals"). So what are you waiting for? It's available right here.

 

Vineyard with a view ...

The vines at the Poggio Le Volpi estate enjoy an incredible view of the 'eternal city' and the winemakers are proud to showcase the rare local grape, Cesanese, in their red named for its home city - ROMA. Relatively recently elevated to DOC status, this delicious blend also includes Montepulciano and Syrah. Expect ripe red fruit notes, some black fruit too, with soft tannins and a rich, smooth character. Pair it with a ragu, or try it out with a spicy dish like beef rendang. Get your bottle here.

 

Picking the best ...

Unsurprisingly, the Limited Edition (a meticulous selection of grapes) boasts top marks too - where ROMA 2018 was rated 99/99 Luca Maroni and a gold trophy at Berlin, the 'Edizione Limitata' 2016 received 5/5 bunches AIS, 3/3 glasses Gambero Rosso and 99/99 Luca Maroni. This red will go with bolder flavours (if going Italian, think wild boar or game etc) or makes a perfect 'end of the night' option! Buy it here.

Dark flesh, dark wine ...

Did you know that nearly all wine grapes, no matter the name (white or red), have clear juice? A few* wine grapes have higher than usual pigmentation levels, making them ideal to add colour to blends. They're known as teinturiers and they produce fruit with intensely coloured skin and juice. Among the many endemic grapes of Italy, the delicious NeroBuono grape is a teinturier. It produces rich, velvety red wines with a great depth of colour and character. * Out of more than 10,000 grape varieties it’s estimated that less than 20 are teinturiers. Fire up the BBQ and click here to get a get a bottle of Baccarossa at the ready!

 

Zin time ...

There are many styles of Zinfandel (aka Primitivo), from young-vine 'fruit bombs' to layered, savoury, rich reds. They all have their place (and pair with different dishes) but if you haven't yet tried the highly-awarded flagship wine of Nicola Chiaromonte you're missing out!! For a powerful steak-pairing red, try the newly released Muro Sant' Angelo Barbatto 2017 here and don't forget the decanter :)

 

Try an older Zin ...

If you like your reds a bit older, we have a limited quantity of Nicola's 2015 vintage of his single vineyard Barbatto. As a DOC Gioia del Colle (meaning 'jewels of the hill') this is arguably the best expression of Apulian Primitivo, competing with Manduria DOC. Nicola recommends 'pairing' it with Serjei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor :) Be quick and get a bottle here.

 

Dinner party time?

With so many restaurants booked up, restrictions on time and limits on guest numbers dining out together, the popularity of 'home dinner parties' in 2020 looks to be continuing into 2021. And the best thing might be the wine! Taking your own bottle round to a friend's place guarantees you can enjoy something fabulous at a fair price. In fact, since most reds age better in the larger bottle format, it's the perfect excuse to try a magnum - like the 100% Bovale of Sardinia, available here.

 


 

As you'll know if you joined any of my wine tasting events in the past, I don't believe in fixating on awards or ratings, for various reasons.

- One obvious 'problem' is that a high rating doesn't mean it's the right wine for your personal pallet, or it may refer to the wine's impressive potential for future drinking (which doesn't help us much here in Singapore, when most of us buy to drink and enjoy relatively soon). If you want to take your wine buying seriously, you should get to know the critics so that you can focus on reviews in line with your preferred style. Perhaps the obvious example is Robert Parker, who famously likes his reds to be big and bold with prominent fruit notes - so if that works for you then he's a good guide, but if that's not your style you'd be better looking elsewhere for reviews. Rather than focussing on a specific award or rating, it's usually more helpful to consider a wine that boasts a range of good reviews.

- Another very practical 'problem' is that smaller wineries don't always put their wines forward for review, which can create the misunderstanding that a wine isn't well-rated. This is especially true for many of our wineries (small-production, family-run estates) and is the same reason that looking up a Vivino rating can be less helpful than for bigger wineries - as the pool of 'tasters' is so often much smaller.

Having said all that, a wine that receives the top rating from a critic or organisation deserves its time in the spotlight. So that's just what we're doing this week....