My first trip to Bordeaux, land of the First Growths – where some of the world’s most famous and expensive French wines are produced – was in June 2000. The First Growths or Premier Cru is an official classification carved out in 1855 by Napoléon III. I was invited to attend the venerable Vinexpo – one of the biggest international wine and spirits tradeshows, as well as to visit some of the vineyards and chateaux in the area.
It was summer, and the weather in Bordeaux was pleasant and balmy. At one of the outdoor tasting events, I was given a wine glass attached to a landyard. With glass in hand, I went from one pavilion to the next to sip some of the finest French wines. For a first-timer, the trip to the region was a memorable one to say the least. And the great wines of Bordeaux kick-started my love for wines.
Fast forward to 2016, some experts believe that French wines have been facing grim days and overtaken by labels from all over the world. I can’t vouch for that (I’ll let the experts debate on which wines are the best). But certainly, the variety of excellent labels being produced in wine regions around the globe is astounding.
We had the chance to sample some of these interesting wines during Gourmet & Travel’s annual G Top 100 Wines blind tasting session held in August this year. This is the seventh year our magazine has been curating our definitive list of the best wines.
Our judging panel, comprising well respected names such as oenelogist Edwin Soon, veteran Tan Kah Hin, Tan Ying Hsien, the first Singaporean to qualify as Master of Wine, and Christopher Lim, digital editor of Business Times, was meticulously blind tasting a series of fine wines for two full days (and they did this on their own time). These blind tastings that we organise annually are a fair and objective way to assess the wines submitted by distributors in Singapore. And the final selection gives readers highly select and curated options done by the wine experts.
This year, a wide range of wines from 13 countries including France, Italy, the US, Australia, Germany and Spain were submitted by importer-distributors. During the blind tasting, the panel found gems from places like Portugal, Austria, and even China and India.
Among the top 100, the judges singled out six outstanding wines that scored a grade as high as 18 points based on a 20-point scoring system. The categories were Red Wine of the Year, White Wine of the Year, Vintage Champagne of the Year, Sweet Wine of the Year, Fortified Wines of the Year (New and Old World). The Red Wine of the Year was presented to Rudolf Furst, Centgrafenberg Pinot Noir 2013 from Germany, and the Sweet Wine of the Year to Jorge Ordonez & Co, No.3 Vinas Viejas 2008 from Spain. According to Tan Ying Hsien, these results are reflective of the global trends in styles and range of quality wines available today. He says that the Furst would have been an unlikely contender for top wines 10 or 15 years ago.
After tabulating the scores and picking the cream of the crop, we finally unveiled the results of at the G Top 100 wine 2016 awards ceremony last month. The event held at Sheraton Towers was graced by His Excellency, Dr Michael Witter (from the Embassy of Germany), and His Excellency Miguel Navarro (from the Embassy of Spain), alongside the wine judging panel, and invited guests. Many unusual blends and labels were awarded that evening, and we hope to continue discovering and tasting such offerings the world of wine has to offer. Ultimately, G top 100 wines gives our readers educated and informed choices not just for the festivities but also through 2017 to next year’s awards.
For the full list of G Top 100 Wines 2016, visit: http://thepeakmagazine.com/gwines2016 or read the latest issue of Gourmet & Travel magazine
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