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Traveling Pinots, Into Asia

The companionship of Pinot Noir

So, after a remarkable last evening in Langkawi, at the Datai, where the Burghound himself, Alan Meadows, gave a riveting address on all things Burgundian, the Proprietor,  along with the Wandering Palate, Curtis Marsh, plus Josh Jensen, Kai Schubert and Erica Meadows, moved on to Singapore.

As far as we can remember, the following 3 days involved a major wine  event (organized by the Astounding Palate Marsh) that we think was entitled "Burghound in Asia: The Wandering Palate’s Symphony of Wine in Asia." None of us are entirely sure about that, understandable really after having drunk a truckload of the world’s best Pinots over that time. On Friday for instance, various Pinot lovers drank in 7 flights no less than 35 top pinots from all over the world. No one spat.

The Proprietor adrift in a sea of Pinot. Francois Labet of Chateau De La Tour, and distinguished wine writer Andrew Jefford.


But,  an extraordinary time.  Thursday was Two Paddocks Night at The Screening Room, where Dean Spanley was shown, and afterwards the Prop droned on for a while about  wine, art and ... bridgebuilding ... who knows. A very civilized interesting crowd, and excellent food from Samia Ahad whose cooking has to be a must when you are in Singapore. The bar upstairs on the roof  is great too – you could see the stains from Julian Schnabel’s recent visit.

But the last night brought into focus what had been much discussed among a coterie of wine producers from around the world over the 3 days. The last dinner, a kind of Burgundy – NZ showdown as devised by the inspired maniac Curtis Marsh, the Wandering Menace, was held at the deservedly famous Le Saint Julien, surely one of the world’s greatest French restaurants.

Here, over 5 courses of Julien Bompard’s superb food the following Grand Crus were paired with  some top NZ wines:

2009 Felton Road Block 2 Chardonnay 2003 Chablis ‘ Bougros’ Grand Cru Joseph Drouhin

2007 Two Paddocks 1st Paddock Pinot Noir 2007 Clos Vougeot Grand Cru Chateau De La Tour

2009 Felton Rd Cornish Point Pinot Noir 2006 Bonne-Mares Grand Cru Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair

2009 Schubert Block B Pinot Noir 2008 Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru Joseph Drouhin

2007 Prophet’s Rock Pinot Noir 2005 Corton ‘Pouget’ Grand Cru Louis Jadot

Now you would think, wouldn’t you, that the upstart kiwis would shred and wither under the awesomely prestigious firepower of these outstanding Burgundys:  not just Burgundys, but Grand Crus for goodness sake.

Well ... not actually. In fact, it would be fair to say that almost all of the sophisticated palates in the room were more than impressed by what we had to offer. We all looked good. Really good. The Proprietor himself was quietly muttering, for instance,  that his own 1st Paddock was "actually  bloody marvellous." In all modesty.

But, but,  but ... that is not the point of this story. Not at all.

The theme  that all the wine makers present returned to  again and again, and many others in Singapore over that period, was that no wine there  wine was better than any others (given the extremely high quality of those present). In fact, comparisons were odious, and the point of this whole exercise was an illustration of the extraordinary fraternal nature of Pinot producers around the world.

As Nigel Greening, the Eminence- Blond of Otago wine, so elegantly put it, "This is  not  a competition,  more a conspiracy." A lovely thought – a conspiracy of Pinot makers, endorsed by all those present, including those representing Burgundy (the très amusant Francois Labet of Chateau De La Tour, and the merveilleuse Veronique Boss—Drouhin of Drouhin).

The Prop went further and suggested that the pairings should perhaps be regarded as companions rather than foes, NZ/Fr companions. Romantic couplings even. Another delightful thought, even if the blogger says so himself.

So, all up, a Grand Success, and full marks to all involved, particularly Curtis Marsh.

And many thanks to Hermitage Wines (the place to score Two Paddocks in Singapore, and soon in K.L.) for all their help. Pop in there sometime and pick up a case or two of Two Paddocks while you can.*

* All our friends should be aware that you will find our 2008 vintage will not be available for long, and there is very little 2009 for reasons already explained in this blog. We hate disappointing our very loyal following, so we gently advise a little forward  planning.

Chef Julien, his wife Edith Lai, High Commissioner Peter Hamilton and the Proprietor at St. Julien. It is entirely possible that the Prop has had quite enough Pinot at this point.


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