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Several good bottles, a car ride and a 'plane journey

It was with a sigh of contentment - not to say exhaustion - that I landed in Singapore. After Dubai, you just know that life is somehow about to become rather easier and, indeed, taxi rides take a fraction of the time on largely uncongested roads, the air is soft, the temperature welcoming and the service in the hotel seamless as a Saskatchewan wheat field.

The flight down from Dubai was to take nine hours and twenty-five minutes, or so my ticket told me. What was the pilot planning…a giant, slalom course to get there? As it turned out, it wasn't an express service and a noisy belly-flop of a landing put us down on the tarmac in Colombo for an hour.

My penultimate night in Dubai was a nine hour wine-a-thon, starting in the new wine bar in the Crowne Plaza - Oscar's - and then heading to Zinc nightclub downstairs until they turned up the lights and politely began sweeping around our feet. Bottles I remember include Scotchman's Hill pinot (good varietal character; some complexity; soft-ish and satisfying), 2004 Ladoucette Pouilly-Fumé (flinty, crunchy, with good, concentrated freshness; white currant and currant leaf fruit) and a very good bottle of NV Pol Roger. It took me some time to come 'round the next morning.

Last evening, with my flight departing 03h20 the next morning, found me at a client's house enjoying very kind hospitality and a blast up the road in a Radical SR3. If you know someone who has one of these cars, beg a ride. It's a great way of moving one's eyebrows 'round the back of one's head and streaking one's face with wind-induced tears. These are the fastest production road cars made anywhere. I want one. With the lamb we drank a delicious 1990 Gigondas from L'Oustau Fouquet: full of cold tea, meat and smoke aromas, still with excellent fruit.

So, arrive Singapore, hit the hotel for a shower and head out for dinner with very old friends who are resident here. We ate at Halia in the Ginger Garden of the Botanical Gardens: an open-sided restaurant with a decent wine list and tasty tucker. 2003 Bourgogne Chardonnay by Vincent Girardin was typical of the vintage and very good. Fat fruit, low acid, decent length; tasty; needs to be colder than you would nromally think of serving a white burgundy.

I started with seared tuna with a crust and avocado, which worked very well. Main course of steak and a bottle of 2003 Gevrey-Chambertin from Arlaud. This was a biggie: nose of black cherry and earthy roots, very rich palate, soft and concentrated and satisfying, but you wouldn't want to drink more than a glass or two. It's just too chocolaty.

Back to the friends' house and we sat outside, mad cockers running everywhere, surrounded by foliage and sipping a 1999 Art Series Chardonnay from Leeuwin which managed not to be overwhelmed by a superb Montecristo No.2. The wine was complex on the nose, full of aromas of peach and apricot, touches of fennel; creamy palate. Absolutely ready to go and a wine to help you remember just how interesting non-burgundian chardonnay can be…just not very often, sadly.

Big thanks to everyone who has been so kind to me!
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