I had a fantastic wine-tasting recently, which took place at Graze, Hilton KL. It’s very rare that i love all the wines at these sessions, but man, these were perfectly-selected.
The delicious award-winning Californian wines are under Treasury Wine Estates, and the session was guided by TWE Winemaking Ambassador Stuart Rusted.
We had several wines before and during lunch, starting with the Beringer Founder’s Estate Sauvignon Blanc. Refreshing & fruity in a citrusy way, soft, but rich as well. Clean grassy finish.
It’s for sure a superb wine, one that could easily challenge New Zealand’s sauvignon blancs. The grapes are from vineyards on the Central Coast mixed with those from the California Delta. I had to go for seconds. And thirds.
It’s RRP is RM89, which is awesome value. Beringer has been producing since 1876 in Napa Valley.
After i got my late breakfast outta the way we had the Chardonnay. It was the Sterling Vineyards VC (RRP RM117). Again, the right amount of fruit, minimal dryness when it ends, and less oaky that the usual. A citrusy finish.
A little tipsy by the time lunch was served. Food was awesome, as usual.
This was probably the first time i had a Cali merlot, the Stags Leap Napa Valley Merlot 2014 (279). Wine growers have faced a drought there for a decade, giving the grape richer flavours. As is typical of merlots, this one has a dry finish; however not the tongue-twisting dryness that usually puts me off merlot.
I’m more of a cabsauv kinda guy. We were served the Beaulieu Vineyards Cab Sauv 2015 (92). On my palate i got sweet berry. It’s also a little ‘leafy’, with tannin, but these are lighter flavours. Finish is velvety. Another excellent production.
This was followed by an on-point Pinot, Sterling Vineyards VC Pinot Noir 2015 (117). It does a 10-month bid in American & French oak. The concentrated palate is rich with good depth and complex flavors of dark berries.
For the finale, our glasses were blessed with the Beringer Private Reserve Cab Sauv 2012 (489). (ABV 14.9%)
Their wines are near-perfect. Amazing stuff.
And understandably except for the Private Reserve, the prices are as enticing as the quality of these superb productions.
I’ll definitely get my hands on some these wines, and not necessarily for special occasions either. Sunday breakfast should do.
Brain damage: 8/10
Yup, not many know that the exquisite spirit of whiskey was actually something that originated in Ireland. But the Irish are used to being screwed, so Scotland’s whiskey is now more well-known around the world.
Initially distillation was used by boring early humans to make perfumes, but they soon graduated to produce better stuff, thanks to ancient Celts whose monks brought the tech back to Ireland to produce uisgebeatha (water of life).
The first Irish record of drinking waay too much whiskey is that of a chieftain in 1405 “taking a surfeit of aqua vitae” at Christmas. Yea, understandable. He OD-ed and died.
Till today, it’s the first written record of the existence of whiskey. Haha. Solid.
Anyway Kieran Crowe is a very-much alive Irishman who’s the brand ambassador of Jameson Irish Whiskey whom i met recently for a chat.
So what’s different about Irisch (i just made that up) vs say, Scotch? ”Well Scotch tends to be smokier. Irish whiskies are typically triple-distilled, makes it a little smoother. Also when we malt our barley, we don’t use peat to smoke ’em; we use heated air. That would be the main difference,” he says.
Irisch was bigger than Scotch for a very long time in fact. But a series of unfortunate events saw Scotch take over the number one position. “But over the last 25 years, Irish whiskey has gotten bigger and bigger, lead by Jameson.”
The unfortunate events include the Irish War of Independence and subsequent trade war with Britain which denied it access to Commonwealth markets.
Kieran says the worldwide revival began in a Brooklyn dive bar called Bushwick Country Club (not a country club), with affordable drinks and friendly staff. The bartenders there invented a shooter called the Pickleback. A shot of Jameson is chased by a shot of pickle brine. Gotta try it.
US is the largest market for Jameson, which takes half of their 5 million annual cases. Interestingly, 12 more distilleries are opening in Ireland over the next five years.
The second best-selling Irisch in the world is Bushmills, followed by Tullamore Dew. “Keep an eye out for Red Breast.” is his tip.
How do the Irish drink Irisch? “Over rocks, with a little water. The younger ones drink it with ginger ale and lime.” Ale & lime? That’s how i usually take rum!
I kinda enjoy Jameson Original. A good whiskey to be taken on it’s own, at anytime, and versatile in cocktails as well. It’s matured in a combo of ex-Bourbon barrels as well as Sherry casks.
Kieran also took a bunch of folk thru a whisky tasting, which went down at restaurant & cocktail bar Locker & Loft. Followed by shots of Jameson, like true Irish.
He however messed up big time and said ”Cheers”, but soon corrected himself – “Sláinte!!”
Brain damage: 7.5 / 10
Had the opportunity to try some new cocktails at SIX. The drinks here are created by mixologist Imran.
The bar has been around for more than a year now in Bangsar. It’s a first floor outlet with a small kitchen as well, and is located along Telawi 2.
We had four cocktails to contend with, starting off with Six Me Baby One More Time. Yea, strange names.
It’s base is lemongrass-infused vodka, with lime, lemon and passion fruit involved. A citrusy nose, and the first thing i noticed about the taste is that it’s well-balanced. Nothing too flavourful; lemony with a bitter twist at the end.
Two Point Six Billion sure is sumtin else. Quite a surprise. Smokey mezcal with agave nectar, plus lime and charred capsicum puree. Immediate and pleasant aromas of fresh capsicum, almost like a Mediterranean juice.
In the mouth it’s sweet-spicy, with a spicy zing from chili bitters, and slight smokiness. I could drink sumtin like this all morning. Delicious! You must try this one.
We had a Scotch that was infused with black truffle and rosemary in a cocktail called Sally is 60 in February. Lemon and egg white complete this drink. The nose is of spicy mushrooms, while the taste starts with a slap in your face; then it relaxes in.
A bit like drinking a bruschetta. Very interesting.
There’s a strong cocktail that’s also a snack, the 36-24-Thirty Six. A combo of beef bacon-infused vodka, salted caramel syrup, bitters and vermouth. Flavours of vanilla, caramel and smoke. The bites are a skewer of beef bacon and black olives injected with white chocolate. I enjoyed this.
All the cocktails are RM38 nett.
SIX is also doing it’s homemade Eggnog, it being Christmas season n all. And it’s good.
The bar has a promo now that goes on in January as well, with three pints of Guinness at RM60 nett or three Tigers for RM50 nett, all day, everyday!
Brain damage: 7.5/10