Malaysia’s first independent whiskey bottler, Eiling Lim, leads a life surrounded by extraordinary and intoxicating wines – a lifestyle we all dream of.
Fortunately for her, she lives at the top of the road to France. As spring gives way to summer and the weather becomes more predictable, it means it’s time for her to brush aside the cobweb on the steering wheel, embark on a pilgrimage to the wine mecca. of Burgundy and to choose your favorites for this trip.
In my nose job, sipping and writing routine, people generally perceive that I enjoy writing tasting notes, simply because I have been doing it for years as an independent bottler for whiskey, gin, rum. , etc. Now for the very first time I am approached to write about tasting notes for wine and it takes away the fun of just sipping wine without needing to identify the aroma, flavor profile and describe at which point a particular wine is good or bad.
It’s easier said than done just because I have to regurgitate what I just drank and string words into sentences. It’s not easy, especially after the fourth, fifth and sixth drinks. Therefore, for this assignment, I won’t be writing about conventional wine tasting notes littered with familiar descriptions that most people won’t want to read – and yet the editors seem to want them.
Wine is a question of emotion
Wine tasting is an emotional experience for me and it is a process of evoking feelings. It’s not about how deep the cherry or strawberry undertones I discover in a bottle, but rather why I love it so much or what I don’t like about it.
Starting my first wine review with Lifestyle Asia KL, I feel like I’m stepping back into my blogging days. I was in my twenties and that was also the period when I learned to appreciate wine. You may be wondering: between whiskey and wine, which is my favorite? The answer would be the last.
Wine is more than just a drink in a Zalto glass for sophisticated people mingling in a fancy restaurant, because most of the time when I sip wine I am at home, lying on the sofa and comfortably dressed in wine. ‘pyjamas. Anyone can enjoy a drink anytime and anywhere, even if you don’t know anything about wine at all.
Now, with just over 12 years of wine tasting experience, I have developed an affinity for French wine. The journey started with an innocent bottle of Australian Shiraz to now become a big fan of Bourgogne (aka “Bourgogne” in French). I believe the palate evolves when you are open to trying and tasting new expressions. As I write my thoughts here, I am going through a list of 25 bottles of wine that we opened in Burgundy during my visit last week and I will choose a few that will be featured here.
Start with fine bubbles
During the drive to Beaune, my husband and I stopped Champagne Paul Launois located in Mesnil-sur-Oger in the C regionohte whites. This small village is home to the best champagnes in the world such as Living room and Krug Clos du Mesnil.
Julien Launois and his wife Sarah were kind enough to welcome us when we stopped for a night at Champagne. A trained artist, Sarah designs labels for all their champagne expressions, while avant-garde Julien is the initiator of the concept of a single barrel.
I was impressed by their NV Monochrome # 1 which is a Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) with a very low dosage of 2 g / L based on the 2017 vintage respectful of Chardonnay, with 17% reserve wines who have seen both oak and stainless steel aging.I like the fine bubbles, a kind of less yeast bubble with citrus zest, flowers and salty minerals that reflect the chalky soils of the region. It is a chilled champagne perfect to drink now or in a year or two. It is an easygoing champagne but with a lively acidity. We discern the soft and round bubbles dancing in the mouth.
The label is modern, in monochrome with a grapevine background, an excellent artist impression of Sarah. All the decadence for a fraction of the price compared to its prestigious neighbors. Think about it: The vines responsible for Monochrome # 1 share the same dewdrops with Krug Clos de Mesnil locality.
Krug resonated with me
The other champagne we drank on this trip was the Krug Vintage 2000. It was my ultimate champagne when I was 20. I still remember my friends and I blind tasted 4 bottles from great champagne houses and this was clearly my favorite.
This bottle was consumed in a restaurant serving the best roast Poularde de Bresse in Beaune in classic French style. The first bottle opened by the sommelier was unfortunately corked, but luckily he had another in the cellar. The second bottle was perfect and we had the champagne decanted.
A vintage Krug like this is here a blend of the most expressive wines from a single year and matured for 10 years in the cellar before being marketed. This is the last vintage of the millennium and Krug calls it ‘Stormy Indulgence’, wanting the wine to express how chaotic it has been, especially from a weather perspective. An extreme year marked by torrential rains and abundant sunshine, the harvests were nevertheless abundant and the wine rich and complex.
Krug 2000 is a dramatic champagne. After 21 years, it exhibits secondary aromas such as kumquat, lime zest, hazelnut, caramel, ripe apple and a freshly baked brioche. It’s good to drink now and for me it’s at its peak. The finish is sublime thanks to the delicate effervescence. It is articulated like a beautiful white from Burgundy. A sip of Krug and a spoon of caviar make a great pairing. It is so beautiful that I could stick my nose in it all evening.
The time of the whites of Burgundy
We made our way to the Cohte de Beaune, sub-region of Burgundy where there are some exceptional grands crus. I am a huge fan of Burgundy white wine, mainly because it is made from 100% Chardonnay. In the commune of Puligny-Montrachet, the 3 best-rated Grand Cru vineyards are Chevalier-Montrachet, Montrachet and Balate-Montrachet.
We had dinner at My kitchen the first evening in Beaune. It is the ideal place for traditional French cuisine, combined with a heavenly wine list. Often times we are looking for hidden gems in those hundreds of name lines.
That same evening, we opened a bottle of 2011 Vincent Danseur Chevalier-Montrachet. While 2011 is not as exceptional as 2010 or 2009, it is a year of elegance as opposed to intensity and focus. This bottle is so rare that I tried to search for it online and could not find one.
His wines are well known to a small circle of restaurateurs and wine lovers, who religiously source them year after year. Dancer owns a tiny 0.1 hectare plot of Chevalier planted in 1952 which is in the highest part of the upper left corner of the vineyard, where it has the same altitude as Le Montrachet and is worked on horseback. This is why the back label indicates that only 300 bottles of this wine are made, entirely from a single barrel.
This wine with light golden reflections gives off notes of white flower, flint, lemon and green apple. The recommended drinking period is around 2019-2022 and I think it’s a good time to enjoy this bottle as there is little acidity present. On the palate, it is lively and very pleasant. Without a doubt, it is well made, balanced and elegant, and that is reflected in the price. Its wines are among the most highly rated in Chevalier-Montrachet.
Always the best wines
In the same commune of Puligny-Montrachet, we ordered a bottle of 2007 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles. Domaine Leflaive is one of the most famous estates in Puligny-Montrachet and also one of the most important producers of Cohte of Beaune. The 2007 bottle was recapped due to numerous cases of premox (premature oxidation) which affected their whites from the 2006 vintage onwards. Many wine lovers were fed up with the premox bottling and had no other choice. than to feed those wines in the kitchen sink.
From 2007, some producers abandon natural corks and turn to DIAM corks and this area is one of them. This Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles 2007 has a beautiful golden color without any sign of premox. The nose is filled with apple and pear, lemon zest, vanilla and honeysuckle. It is a rich and opulent Chardonnay that reflects the style of the estate. With aeration, limestone and minerality filter through the fruity notes on the finish. It is an elegant white, stylish with finesse. I would give this bottle a very high rating. It is one of those wines to sip at Les Pucelles, overlooking a horizon of vines and a clear blue sky.
The other Grand Cru from this region that I tried on this trip was a 2005 Lucien Le Moine Balate-Montrachet. Created in 1999, Lucien Le Moine is a small néhouse gociante which produces wine from several Grand Cru sites, including Bonnes-Mares, The Montrachet, Échézeaux and Richebourg. It also includes some of Burgundy’s most famous Premier Cru sites such as The lovers. This bottle was also consumed at Ma Cuisine.
We chose it as an aperitif before moving on to the reds of Burgundy. The wine was decanted because this Grand Cru needed to breathe before the bouquet could fully develop. I loved the deep golden color of the wine, accompanied by ripe apples and wet stones on the nose. With a rich and buttery texture, it went perfectly with my starter of Burgundy snails. An evolving wine with balanced minerality and hints of honey and orchard flowers, it will surely not disappoint you.