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Old Tasting News; New News from Singapore

What with the rapid turn-around between our London tasting and my departure for Burgundy, I never got 'round to penning anything about the former, an event which had been causing some small trepidation in the weeks following its announcement due to the fact that we had not only managed to hit half hols on the button, but that it also appeared to be silly season for work travel. Trepidation leached away as numbers climbed and we ended up with a more than satisfactory sixty-five-or-so tasters on the night.

And it was a great success. Out house champagne (Larnaudie-Hirault) - a pallet of which we have just shipped from France - went down a storm, many preferring it to the Philipponnat rose that followed it. Burgundies and Rhones were mulled over and appreciated; the Bandol table was a huge success, and "Bomber" Harris, who was present from the fine Italian wine importer Winetraders and who gamely manned a table all evening , was beset by those wanting to discuss the various delights of the range he was showing. We set off for home tired, but with that satisfied glow one gets from pulling off a really good event.

We intend to host another such wine tasting next spring and follow it with similar events in Hong Kong and Singapore. Keep 'em peeled for news.

So then Burgundy, about which I have scribbled at length and now this - Singapore - where dark weather wetly lies.

I landed two night ago just as a storm had passed through and another paid a visit yesterday, with tremendous flashes of lightning, followed by hammer-of-the-gods style thunder, sounding as though the sky had been rent asunder which, I suppose, it had.

Lunch yesterday was a relaxed affair, as meals invariably are at Mag's Kitchen. One can buy good wine in a great many fine restaurants in Singapore, but nowhere offers such a combination of tasty tucker and extensive list at such measly prices. We ate, respectively, pork and lamb, and shared a bottle of 1999 Cote-Rotie, Garon, a wine served much too cold, but one which bloomed into something very delicious and just right for our lunch. The bottle? $110, which I reckon is Bobby Bargain for this wine, the product of a very serious vintage in the appellation.

It transpires that (pretty expectedly really) wine and jetlag don't mix. I had woken at 03h50 my first morning in Singapore (04h40 this morning, dammit) and once back in my hotel room I confess to attaining a position as near horizontal as possible (very) and practicing my breathing exercises for and hour-and-a-half.

A kind invitation from a client took me up the Bukit Timah Road last evening to a large and rather beautiful modern house and hospitality that stretched mightily to include tasty steaks, toothsome salads and - following the application of an initial and cleansing ale - a couple of fine and interesting bottles of wine.

The first red I gussed as a hot vintage Bordeaux. When will I remember that a hot vintage Bordeaux can often be a Tuscan Bordeaux blend? So it was here: 1997 Paleo Rosso, a mix of 85% Cab Sauv, 10% Sangiovese (okay, so not strictly Bordeaux then) and 5% Cab Franc. Warm, rich and very spicy, just lacking fractionally in length; but what a superb mouth filler to accompany the meat.

Second blinder and I was on better form. Barossa Shiraz in the form of the 1998 Ironstone Pressings from Veritas. Okay, it turned out to include a healthy dollop of Mourvedre, but I was more-or-less there. Extraordinary nose of spearmint and ripe berries. Good straight palate, not too jammy and a fine thing to go with the excellent cheeses, all of which were in peak condition (and one of which seemed intent on slipping off the table, perhaps there to play with the various moggies that were strutting about, occasionally cuffing one another).

So in bed, light off, at 00h30; awake again and reading at 04h40. I have the feeling that today might include more of those breathing exercises.
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