2016 September Brown Bag

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

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!

Brown Bag Singapore, 2016 Sep Wine Reviews

The Wine

wdt_ID Wine Photo
1 Name: Bass Phillip Estate
Vintage: 2013
Region: Gippsland, Victoria, Australia
Varietal: Chardonnay
Alcohol: 13.7%
Colour: Bright light gold
Aroma: Combination of hazelnut, honey, melon and citrus aromas
Palate: Balanced
Finish: Medium

Comment: Another decent bottle. A reliable chardonnay.
2 Name: Mount Pleasant Elizabeth
Vintage: 2007
Region: Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia
Varietal: Semillon
Alcohol: 11%
Colour: Bright clear straw
Aroma: Mix of citrus, lemongrass and passionfruit aromas
Palate: Spritzy, refreshing, still evolving
Finish: Medium

Comment: Still a very young wine, needs time. It is rated highly but it is still too young for me.
4 Name: Katnook Odyssey
Vintage: 2004
Region: Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: 14%
Colour: Rich deep crimson
Aroma: Fragrant combo of dark fruit, herbal and cedar aromas
Palate: Full-bodied, structured, smooth
Tannin: Silky
Finish: Long

Comment: This was our "reference" wine for the night. Another great Odyssey, still very youthful has a long life ahead of it. Enjoyed the tannins and the long finish
5 Name: Brokenwood
Vintage: 1980
Region: Coonawarra, South Australia, Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia
Format: Magnum
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon, Hermitage
Alcohol: %
Colour: Dusty tawny / garnet
Aroma: Complex mixture of dark fruit, mint, spice, eucalypt and leather aromas
Palate: Medium-bodied, balanced, elegant, young
Tannin: Velvety
Finish: Long

Comment: Wow, what an outstanding wine. Considering its age it was still drinking well and even after a couple of hours in the decanter it still had not lost anything.

This is a very rare wine, not very many bottles were produced and what was produced was only given to the partners of Brokenwood, guess it helps to know one of the partners.

Hermitage was what some Australian Wine Makers used as the varietal name for high quality Shiraz or Syrah up until around 1989 when 'Hermitage' was granted international legal protection, just like Champagne was and recently Sherry
6 Name: Dalwhinnie Moonambel
Vintage: 2004
Region: Pyrenees, Victoria, Australia
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: 13.4%
Colour: Vivid deep ruby
Aroma: Combo of cherry, blackcurrant, and black pepper aromas
Palate: Full-bodied, balanced, complex
Tannin: Savoury
Finish: Long

Comment: Another great wine. Also has a long life ahead of it. Great nose and palate, definitely a wine I would recommend
7 Name: Clarendon Hills Hickinbotham
Vintage: 2002
Region: Mclaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: 14.8%
Colour: Deep ruby with red brick edges
Aroma: Combination of blackcurrant, mint and spice aromas
Palate: Full / Medium-bodied, smooth, balanced
Tannin: Silky
Finish: Long

Comment: And the great wines keep on coming. This is a good example of Mclaren Vale Cabernet. Hope to try this again
8 Name: Penfolds Bin 707
Vintage: 1996
Region: Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: 13.5%
Colour: Deep ruby red
Aroma: Perfume of blackberry, cedar and spice aromas
Palate: Medium-bodied, balanced, elegant
Tannin: Velvety
Finish: Long

Comment: Outstanding. I am a bit biased with this wine as it was my contribution to the night. Considering its age, still has years to meet its peak. Great nose and palate, loved the tannins and finish. Glad I have another bottle!
9 Name: Lake's Folly
Vintage: 2002
Region: Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: %
Colour: Deep purple
Aroma: Pleasant combo of blackcurrant, black pepper and mocha aromas
Palate: Medium-bodied, some heat
Tannin: Savoury
Finish: Long

Comment: A good wine, not as "great" as the others in line up, but still a good quality wine. A little heat on the palate.
10 Name: Tower Estate
Vintage: 2004
Region: Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: 13.5%
Colour: Deep garnet with red brick edges
Aroma: Complex mix of blackcurrant, blackberry, black pepper and spice aromas
Palate: Medium-bodied, balanced, a bit of heat
Tannin: Savoury
Finish: Long

Comment: I enjoyed this, complex nose, balanced palate, with a little heat on the finish.
11 Name: Wynns Coonawarra John Riddoch
Vintage: 1998
Region: Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia
Format: Magnum
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: 13.5%
Colour: Vivid deep garnet with red brick edges
Aroma: Perfume of blackcurrant. black pepper, mocha and spice
Palate: Medium-bodied, balanced, smooth, lush
Tannin: Silky
Finish: Long

Comment: Wow, what an outstanding wine! Starts with the colour, followed by the perfumed aroma and then the lush palate with silky tannins and a great long finish. Glad I have a magnum of this as well!

Oz’s Wine Reviews

The Line Up

Brown Bag Singapore, 2016 Sep Wine Reviews

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.

The Rules:

  • 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.

  1. 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
  2. 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!
  3. 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

  1. Old World or New World? A: Old World, B: New World
  2. Where is this wine from? A: Australia, B: South America, C: US
  3. Is it a blend or single varietal? A: Blend, B: Single
  4. What is the secondary varietal? A: Cabernet, B: Cabernet Franc, C: Merlot
  5. Which region of Australia is this from? A: Coonawarra, B: Great Southern, C: Clare Valley
  6. 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?

 

Wine Reviews

Cheers!

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