Holiday season, birthdays, funerals, weekends, or just Mondays: there’s always a reason to reach for the hooch. If you’re looking for something new, here are 10 wines and whiskies to drink in Singapore this month.
From South Australia, Wynns Coonawarra‘s latest collection includes the flagship 2018 John Riddoch cabernet sauvignon, made only when they have exceptional quality grapes. Over in Adelaide, Penfolds celebrates the 70th anniversary of the iconic Grange and introduces two limited edition wines. From California, Robert Mondavi is taking former whiskey and rum barrels to age their exemplary wines in.
On the other side of the Pacific, New Zealand winery Cloudy Bay reintroduces their 2019 Te Koko, a more serious and complex version of their Marlborough Bay sauvignon blanc. In the Old World, French champagne house Telmont tips their hat to Mother Nature with a range of eco-friendly bubbly.
In spirits, renowned cognac house Martell launches the Noblige, which offers the character of more mature brandies combined with cocktail versatility. Both The Glen Grant and Highland Park have released 15-year-old whiskies made in markedly different ways, while The Balvenie bumps their age statement up to 25 years old. At the pointy end is Yamazaki, which bottled a 55-year-old Japanese single malt: incredibly complex, stratospherically expensive. Read on to find out more.
Wynns Coonawarra Estate’s 2021 Wynnsday Collection
South Australia’s premier winery returns with the launch of their latest Wynnsday Collection of seven wines. Among them are the 2019 Black Label Shiraz (S$50), a restrained yet lively wine that reveals red berries and warm spice, while the 2018 Michael Shiraz (S$160) offers more depth and complexity with blueberry, freshly cracked black pepper, and a silky texture. Try the latter with falafel, while the former pairs sublimely with laksa.
The highlight, however, is the 2018 John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon (S$160). Made only when the grapes are extraordinarily good, it’s a cab sauv full of varietal character: dark cherry, mint, and violet with supple tannin.
Available at most fine wine retailers in Singapore.
Penfolds Australia Collection 2021
Penfolds’s latest Australia releases include the 70th anniversary of the flagship Grange, a shiraz they’ve been making since 1951. Like the original, the latest 2017 vintage (S$980) is still aromatically complex, intensely rich, and full of ripe tannins, which should be able to cellar for another 20 years if you can keep your hands off it. Besides Grange, the 2019 Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz (S$135) exhibits a savoury theme that reflects many of the Barossa Valley reds from the vintage, and two limited edition wines – Superblend 802.A and 802.B Cabernet Shiraz – represent two interpretations of the signature Australian blend – cabernet sauvignon and shiraz.
Find them at select supermarkets and fine wine retailers in Singapore.
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Spirits Barrel-Aged Wines
Renowned Californian winery Robert Mondavi recently launched four wines aged in spirit barrels. Part of their Private Selection, the wines are made from grapes planted in the Central Coast and Lodi, then matured in casks sourced from distillers in the US and overseas. The 2019 cabernet sauvignon, for instance, is aged in bourbon barrels for an intense profile of blueberry, biscuit, and caramel, while the 2019 rum-aged merlot is bright with a distinct coconut and vanilla character.
Our favourite, however, is the Red Blend. Matured in rye barrels from High West, it’s full of ripe fruit, cinnamon, and smoke, with a long spicy finish that’s great with meaty dim sum or grilled dishes.
All bottles are priced at S$51 and can be found at Culina at Como Dempsey, NTUC Fairprice Online, Amazon, and Redmart.
Cloudy Bay 2021 Sauvignon Blanc and 2019 Te Koko
Cloudy Bay’s 2021 vintage carries all the hallmarks of a Marlborough Bay sauvignon blanc: bright, herbaceous, and intensely fruity. Its 2019 Te Koko, takes the variety in a different direction. Fermented using natural yeasts and matured in old French oak barrels (instead of stainless steel tanks), it’s serious, subtle, and complex, offering nuanced notes of citrus and stone fruits with a gentle smokiness.
Get the 2021 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc at Cold Storage (S$45) or at The Moomba (S$49). The 2019 Te Koko can be found at The Moomba for S$79.
Wine wouldn’t be possible without nature, and Champagne Telmont is supporting the environment through their new In Nomine Terrae (In The Name of Mother Nature) range of five wines. The collection is meant to highlight the French winery’s five objectives: to work organically in the vineyards and preserve biodiversity, reduce wastage and increase recyclability in packaging, use only renewable energy in their winery, reduce greenhouse emissions in their logistics chain, and make information traceable and more transparent.
The Reserve Brut (S$80), Reserve Rosé (S$92), Blanc de Blancs Vintage 2012 (S$118), Blanc de Blancs Vinotheque 2005 (S$315), and Vinotheque 2012 (S$115) can be found at The Tatler Bar and The Atelier. Alternatively, try them at venues including Casa Restaurant, Tippling Club, and Artemis, which are doing food pairings and champagne cocktails.
Martell Noblige is a new VSOP cognac from the famous brandy house that’s designed to appeal to “a new generation of cognac lovers,” said Martell Heritage Director Jacques Menier. It’s made from a blend of more than 100 eaux de vie from the Cognac region to recreate the woody quality typical of old cognacs from the Fins Bois terroir. At the same time, its dried fruit, vanilla, and bitter chocolate profile is versatile enough to be mixed in cocktails.
Martell Noblige is in two packs (S$145 to S$268 on Shopee) that include coasters, cognac stones, and recipes. You can also find it at bars like Zouk, KPO, and Harry’s, and supermarkets like Fairprice Finest and Cold Storage.
From now till December, cocktail bars such as No Sleep Club, The Old Man Singapore, Madame Fan, and Studio 1939 are also doing one-off drinks with Noblige. Find out more at the Swift Flights of Fancy website.
The Glen Grant 15 Years Old
The Glen Grant 15 Years Old is a new expression by the 181-year-old Speyside whisky distillery. Made by Master Distiller Dennis Malcolm, Scotland’s longest serving distiller, it’s matured in first-fill, ex-bourbon casks, non chill filtered, and bottled at a cask strength of 50 percent ABV. The nose reveals bright citrus, followed by a palate of pear, dried fruit, and vanilla with a nutty finish.
Find it by the dram at places like Dragon Chamber, Public House, One Place Bistro Bar, and Sweetea Caffe, or by the bottle at Cellarbration, Redmart and Amazon (S$125).
The Balvenie Twenty-Five
Also from Speyside is this 25-year-old whisky from The Balvenie. The drink combines whiskies aged in European and American oak casks, which are married in an oak tun, non chill filtered, and bottled at 48 percent ABV. It conveys The Balvenie’s classic character: vanilla, crystalised ginger, and honey, as well as fresh and dried fruits, toast, and warm spice.
Find it exclusively at The Distillers Library for S$1,180.
Highland Park 15 Year Old Viking Heart
Orkney-based distillery Highland Park has introduced a 15-year-old single malt scotch (S$149) to their permanent range. It contains a high percentage of first fill European oak sherry casks for a warm, dry spicy note, while first fill American oak sherry casks offer a creamy texture. A small proportion of refill casks is also used to bring Highland Park’s signature nuanced peaty aroma and lightly fruity character.
At 44 percent ABV, the whisky comes in a ceramic bottle inspired by ancient earthenware vessels. According to Highland Park, that was how whisky was stored a century ago, and now, you get to turn it into a vase – complimentary flowers and a leather bag are included with every purchase (while stocks last).
Find it at 1855 The Bottle Shop and selected Oak Cellars locations.
Yamazaki 55 Years Old
Yamazaki’s latest release is also its oldest. It blends two liquids: a Mizunara cask whisky distilled in 1960 under the supervision of founder Shinjiro Torii, and another whisky made in 1964 and matured in white oak cask. Bottled in 2020, it reveals a robust nose of ripe fruit and sandalwood, leading to a sweet and slightly bitter palate with a rich smoky finish. Yamazaki is pricing this at US$60,000; sell your kidney or children for this one.
* Prices stated are the suggested retail prices and might vary at different outlets.