The first Brown Bag Wine Night for a very long time was held at the Singapore Tower Club 06 Sep 2016.
What is a Brown Bag Wine Night?
The Singapore version of the Brown Bag Wine Dinners is basically a night of the Wine Options Game, the game rules are provided at the end of this post, where each attendee brings a “masked” bottle to share that meets the theme criteria. The owner of the wine will then ask the table questions about their wine in accordance with the rules of the Wine Options Game. By “masked” I mean that the wine is hidden in a “Brown Bag” or, as they are not so easy to come by in Singapore, wrapped in alfoil.
Wine Options nights are lots of fun and informative, even more so when everyone brings their “A” game like on this night.
The theme, selected by Robert Rees of Wine Exchange Asia the Chair Person of our group, this month was meant to be Australian Cabernet that are from regions that have a cooler climate than the Coonawarra of South Australia. Luckily a few of the attendees were not so attentive and only read Aussie Cabernet Sauvignon and bought along a few great Coonawarra Cabs.
My favourite wines on the night were:
- 1998 Wynns Coonawarra Estate John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon Magnum
- 1996 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1980 Brokenwood Coonawarra, South Australia, Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Cabernet Sauvignon Hermitage Magnum
- 2002 Clarendon Hills Hickinbotham Cabernet Sauvignon
To be honest all the wines on the night were very good, but if I have to choose these were my top four.
There was no standout favourite on the night but both the Riddoch and the 707 being discussed the most at the end of the night, so I guess they could be considered the top two, although, IMHO, the Brokenwood should have been added to the mix as it was also outstanding.
Thanks to Frankie Kilian, Executive Chef of the Tower Club’s Atlantic Restaurant, and his team for providing us with a great meal and service!
The Line Up
Unfortunately the owner of the Brokenwood left with his bottle before I could add it into my line up photo! Will have to be quicker next time.
The Wine Options Game:
In addition to great wine another Australian contribution to the World of Wine is the Options Game. Len Evans, the Godfather of Australian Wine, is the person credited with inventing it. I originally posted this in my March 2016 Wine Part 2 post.
- Each participant brings a bottle of wine, ensuring that it is either decanted out of sight of the participants or that it is sufficiently disguised so that the others cannot determine what it is
- The person presenting the wine then asks around five multiple choice questions, the objective of the questions is to identify the wine, so if you are going to try this, a bit of planning is a good idea.
- Each question is to include up to three options to choose from, one of the options must be correct (sounds like someone bent the rules at some stage, guess that a lawyer or two were involved in the honing of the rules)
- There are two exceptions to this the four major communes of Bordeaux and the communes of Haut Medoc.
- Not sure I am a fan of the three option limitation as I believe that there may be other times when four options could be a good idea as there may be an obscure region that if added to the options would be easily identified, where if you throw in a couple it could increase the difficulty in identifying the wine. Just my opinion!!
- Only two questions can be asked about the vintage
- No restriction on the number of questions about the variety, region and / or maker
Options to the Options
The size of the group and knowledge (plus patience and or interest) of people participating may mean that you need to tailor the way you ask the answers, a few ideas are below, the first option is the traditional way, we use the third option usually at our dinners.
- If you are attending an event where there are a number of people who are going to participate the idea is to ask each person a couple of questions and then progress to the next person and so on until all of the questions are asked and then the entire group are asked to identify the wine
- With a large group another option is to make it a “knock-out” competition ask each question and “knock-out” the people who have answered incorrectly until there is only one left!
- A more casual style, which is what we do at dinners, is to ask the entire table all of the questions, providing the answers as you go.
Options Game Example Questions
- Old World or New World? A: Old World, B: New World
- Where is this wine from? A: Australia, B: South America, C: US
- Is it a blend or single varietal? A: Blend, B: Single
- What is the secondary varietal? A: Cabernet, B: Cabernet Franc, C: Merlot
- Which region of Australia is this from? A: Coonawarra, B: Great Southern, C: Clare Valley
- Which Vintage? A: 1997, B: 2003, C: 2007?
Answer: 2007 Grosset Gaia Clare Valley, South Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon (75%), Cabernet Franc (20%) Merlot (5%)
Have you played this or a variation of the Options Game?