Friends, food and some off-the-radar fruit of the vine
Special to the China postA meal with friends offered a chance to sample wines off the radar of my personal preferences. The venue was the superb new location of Chom Chom Vietnamese restaurant. Chom Chom has just re-opened in larger premises after owner and chef Peter Franklin received such excellent reviews that his original site in Hong Kong's Central district became too small to cope with the flood of diners.
August 30, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
Do the wines that people bring to dinner reflect their personality? The first wine we drank was a 2011 Flaxbourne sauvignon blanc from New Zealand's Marlborough region. PH, a Singaporean banker based in Hong Kong, loves this wine.
Regular readers will know that sauvignon blanc is not my favourite grape variety. If picked too early it can taste too sharp and smell like a room where a cat has been trapped for a day without a litter tray.
But this wine, available globally from the British supermarket chain Marks & Spencer, is a delight. It offers aromas of ripe pineapple and figs, followed by a mineral streak in the mouth that combined wonderfully with the acid zing and fruit sweetness that wove itself around that minerality.
Marlborough sauvignon blanc has become synonymous with New Zealand wine, and has tended to overshadow some of the other grape varieties this country produces. Think pinot noir from Marlborough, which Dr John Forrest of Forrest Wines believes would receive more global recognition if sauvignon blanc was not so popular.
This white is a gem, and afterwards I discovered it has received several major awards, including a silver medal from Decanter and recognition at the International Wine Challenge.
Winemaker Tamra Washington is one of a new breed of Kiwis who made wine in a range of countries before returning home to develop a new style of sauvignon. The fruit aromas embraced our table as soon as the screwcap snapped open. I had earlier pulled the cork on a Portuguese alvarinho, almost salivating in anticipation, but that wine had cork taint and went down the sink. On these occasions I tip my hat to the inventors of the Stelvin screwcap. The romance of the sound of a popping cork may have gone, but so too has the danger of disappointment from a corked wine.