Wine Fiesta is essentially just that; a celebration of wine with vintages and winemakers from around the world. The event is hosted by The Straits Wine Company, the largest wine retailer in SE Asia and based in Singapore (mostly, I think), Malaysia and the Philippines. The event spans country borders; The Wine Fiesta was held in Singapore just a few days before it came to Manila. In addition to trying amazing wines, I also learned some tasting tricks at a master class during the evening, which you can read about here.
The wine highlight of the tasting event was a 2013 Hungerford Hill Tumbarumba Pinot Noir. Many of the wines I tried from this producer were delightful, but the Pinot noir was without a doubt the most memorable. The Tumbarumba Vineyard is grown on basalt and grey granite, and the Pinot noir clones used are all Dijon (a personal favorite); 114, 115 and 777. The wine was edging towards a more masculine aura than feminine, but I still caught the distinct whiff of roses. The wine exuded minerals, fruit, spice and jam. I kept it in my glass as I went to a tasting course, then discovered flowers and honey after it had evolved in the glass.
Another notable wine from Hungerford Hill was their 2013 Higher Octave Chardonnay, which was served very cold and aged in mostly stainless steel for a refreshing crispness that was easy to drink but not flimsy. Their 2011 Hunter Valley Semillon was nice and spiced too, with hints of citrus-y lime. The vines that the grapes came from to make this wine are 63 years old, and the wine was aged in stainless steel–no oak at all.
Now that I’ve gone over my favorite of the evening, I will start at the beginning and go through all the wines I’ve tasted before I called it quits. After so many wines, they all begin to taste the same and I probably couldn’t tell you if I was tasting red fruit or citrus.
The 2012 Cotes du Rhone Rouge is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre that was dark, sultry and filled with blackberries. It was well-balanced, and would please any red wine-lover. Their 2011 Crozes Hermitage Rouge-Grands Chemins had a plum bouquet and a slight prune flavor. The 2012 Muscat de Beaume de Venise had lovely apricot, floral and lychee notes. I would have liked to see a little more structure, but the slightly sweet wine would be great for parties.
This winery is all about rosé, and who can blame them, when they make it so well? Their goal is to produce the best rosés in the world, and the specialization paid off. This may be the best rosé I’ve every had, and if not it’s in the top three. The 2013 AIX Rosé has wonderful strawberries on the nose and palate, accompanied by delicate tannins and fine structure. The acidity was balanced, not overpowering, and the fruit was crisp and summery, though you could enjoy year-round.
The 2009 Vajra Barolo Albe (orange/red/black label above) is tannic and bold, with a combination of huckleberry and mushrooms that somehow works. Their 2011 Moscato d’Asti is semi-sparkling and all honey on the nose and palate. I enjoyed their sweet white more than the bold red, but would change my mind if I was to choose one to accompany a meal.
The semi-sparkling wines from Villa M remind me a little more of soda than wine, but would be good for new wine drinkers. Their Rosso Brachetto (non-vintage) had raspberries on the nose and sweet flowers on the palate. Their 2010 Langhe Nebbiolo-Terre Chiare was the complete opposite of an easy porch sipper, with its smokey leather and deep, dark aroma–yet it had a surprisingly bright fruit taste.
The 2013 extra dry Proescco Valdobbiadene Docg from Col Vetoraz is almost bitter, but just on the edge. I may have caught some almond on the palate, but it was overpowered by the tannins in this wine. I don’t think I was primed for an extra dry prosecco right at that moment, which had something to do with it.
Their 2013 Pinot Grigio-Mongris had a nose full of signature Pinot gris aromas and crisp acid, but it felt a little light to me.
The 2012 Braida Monferato Rosso-Il Baciale is a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, that tastes like the Cab in dominant. There is a lush, soft mouthfeel that’s almost fuzzy, with licorice and purple fruit. A good bottle and fun label.
I liked this producer’s wine more after letting it breathe. Their 2010 Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico was light, airy with hints of pepper and savory meat. It grew on me over time.
Barone Riscasoli is the oldest winery in Italy, and second oldest in the world, according to their website. Their 2013 Chianti was gummy and leathery, 2012 Chianti Classico-Brolio had a strong nose, sharp cassis and could have done with more structure, and their 2011 Chianti Classico Riserva-Rocca Guicciarda had cherries, roses and blackberry tannins. I did enjoy their 2010 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione-Castello di Brolio, which has a lovely nose of cherries and cedarwood flavors.
CVNE had a devoted pourer! She shared that she lives in Shanghai, and in the morning of the event she was still there! It sounds like one heck of a commute. Their 2011 Cune Monopole Viura tasted of peaches, and is 100 percent Viura, a white grape varietal. There was also some stronger fruit in there, such as apples and bananas, which the pourer pointed out. (I think more apples than bananas.) I also tried their 2009 Rioja Reserva-Cune, which spent 1.5 years in barrell and was nicely oaky, with dark fruit.
This family-owned winery produces wine made from all estate fruit. Their 2011 Crianza-Cepa Gavillan spent 12 months in oak and has nice easy fruit. Their 2009 Reserva-La Navilla came from a 40-year-old single vineyard and was 1/3 aged in French oak. It’s smooth with a kick that will allow it to age gracefully, and is bold yet classic.
And that’s all, folks! To learn more about the wines, or to order any of them, visit the winery websites (hyperlinked above) or straitswine.com.