Full turnout at ST Wine Club’s first masterclass

The Straits Times, 25 July 2017

Participants at the first wine masterclass organised by The Straits Times Wine Club last Saturday learnt basic concepts of wine appreciation through a tasting of six wines.

The event at Orchard Hotel saw a full turnout of 40 participants, who each paid $199 to attend. Each participant took home two bottles of wine worth $128 from ST Wine’s Gold Collection and a $20 ST Wine voucher. The two bottles of wine are the Vickery Eden Valley Riesling 2016 and St John’s Road Line & Length Cabernet Sauvignon 2014.

Wine educator Chan Wai Xin, 33, led the 21/2-hour masterclass on identifying grape varieties such as Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, and understanding the difference between New World and Old World wines. He also shared tips on selecting wines.

Associate Professor Prem Shamdasani, 58, an avid wine drinker, found the session useful and enjoyed the wines selected for tasting.

He said: “I’ve read about wines on my own and learnt a little on visits to wineries in other countries, but did not get round to attending formal lessons on wine appreciation previously. The ST Wine masterclass provided a concise snapshot of what to look out for in wines and the speaker introduced wine terminology in a way that was easy to understand.”

The wines for tasting were organised into three flights of two wines each. Flight one featured the Wither Hills Single Vineyard Taylor River Pinot Noir 2014 from Malborough, New Zealand, and St John’s Road Blood & Courage Shiraz 2016 from Barossa Valley in Australia. Participants learnt to identify the characteristics of Pinot Noir, which is a thin-skinned grape, and compared it with Shiraz, a thick-skinned grape.

The two wines in the second flight illustrated the differences between Old World and New World wines. Participants tasted the Chateau Les Vieux Ormes Lalande- de-Pomerol 2012 from France and the Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot 2013 from Margaret River in Australia.

The masterclass also covered basics on identifying which wines to drink young and which have ageing potential, through a tasting of the Farina Valpolicella DOC 2015 and the Farina Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore DOC 2015.

Prof Shamdasani said: “The masterclass is great for people who do not have a lot of time to spare, but want a well-structured and hands-on lesson on the foundations of wine appreciation.”

For those interested to sample and buy fine wine, ST Wine will be having a special wine sale at the Singapore Coffee Festival from Aug 3 to 6. (Aug 3 is open to trade and media only.)

Look out for the ST Wine booth on Level 2, Marina Bay Cruise Centre, 61 Marina Coastal Drive. For ticketing details, go to sgcoffeefestival.com.