Char Yong Wine Appreciation

A lesson in fruits


















“Goose what?” “What do Asians know about gooseberry?” Goes some of the typical responses when the subject of this relatively foreign fruit is broached. Well, then what do the good people at Phylloxera Enterprise know about this typically orange fruit of wonderment? Nothing along the line of scientific names, ideal growing conditions or the fact that they are derived mostly from two species: the European gooseberry and the American gooseberry. But simply its’ aroma, taste and the strong association with the sauvignon blanc. Anyone who well into wine and knows the taste and smell of a gooseberry, will certainly attest to the textbook knowledge that sauvignon blanc possesses a gooseberry aroma is neither a myth nor or a poet’s imagination.

Before we continue with our lament on gooseberry, we are delighted to be invited by Char Yong Youth Wing to conduct this wine appreciation workshop. Wine tasting in a clan association? You bet! Indeed, with the growing interest in wines, especially among the youths (legal age of course), wine is definitely here to stay!

So what’s with the talk on gooseberry? To say that Asians can never know gooseberry is sheer nonsense. If the wine-loving folks in the northern hemisphere can know lychee and guava what’s stopping Asians from getting acquainted with gooseberry? This is precisely what we set out to do. Rather than just simply informing the participants that sauvignon blanc has an aroma reminiscent of gooseberry, we let the crowd taste and decide.

In order to stretch the crowd further, we set up our usual single-blind (labels known) tasting flight for the last two wines. The crowd has spoken again with the majority noting their preference for the fuller and fruit-forward Aussie over the Bordeaux. Never mind the price difference (the Bordeaux being about twice the value of the Aussie) or pedigree. One’s palate counts the most! But that’s not all, most of the participants also correctly guessed the identities of the wines by applying the techniques and knowledge learnt there and then! For a crowd made up of mainly first-timers, we must be doing something right!

The following labels were tasted during the workshop:

  1. Tamar Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2004

  2. Morton Estate White Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002

  3. Montes Merlot 2004

  4. Water Wheel Bendigo Shiraz 2003

  5. Clos du Marquis 2001

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