A collaboration between Judd Anthony Labarda and Jean Park
One of the biggest and most professional events in the Southeast Asian wine industry happened on Saturday, 7 December 2019, in DusitD2 at The Fort: The 8th Southeast Asian Sommelier Competition.
It featured 16 competitors from all over Southeast Asia, culminating in a competition where Mason Ng of Singapore bagged the top prize. Runner ups were Ervin Ong of Malaysia for 2nd place, and Lucas Liu of Singapore or 3rd.
The event was graced by guest judge, the first Filipino Master Sommelier Luis de Santos, who also conducted one of the Master Classes during the event. Other classes included food and wine pairing, particular wine growing regions, introduction to wines, and how to diversify a wine list.
Guests were treated to 300 different wines from over 26 wine suppliers, a V.I.P. tasting featuring premium wines from around the world, and even a guided blind tasting led by de Santos himself.
Here are our picks of interesting wines from the event:
Cline Viognier 2018
Has a nice nose of stone fruits such as peaches and apricots with a nice complimenting acidity and full body. I found this to be a very enjoyable wine and a good expression of viognier.
Berry Bros and Rudd New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2018
A sauvignon blanc on the more herbaceous side with lingering aromas of fruit. The wine is also very well rounded on the palate .
Elderton Shiraz 2016
That atypical wine from the Barossa Valley was such a pleasant surprise. The wine was much more subdued and shy than I expected. Peppery notes that often define the region were also not present. The wine was instead more fruity in terms of character to it, with some spice.
Quevedo 2017 Oscar’s Rosé (Douro)
It was a blended Portuguese wine dominated by Touriga Nacional. The wine was very aromatic and fruit forward with notes of berries. It was very approachable with some depth and a good acidity to back it up.
Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Rosso 2017
It was a Sicilian wine made from two indigenous grapes, Nero d’Avola and Frappato. It was named after the road which passes through the winery, and winemaker herself. The SP68 Rosso has a notes of ripe blackfruit, plus some floral notes, and some red fruits such as raspberry. On the palate the wine was medium bodied with a medium finish.
Domaine Peiriere Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2018
The wine was clear, water-white, with green hues. On the nose, I detected grapefruit, citrus, guava, and an herbaceous note… Which hinted at a Sauvignon Blanc. On the palate, the acid was bright and high, and the body was medium-minus, which confirmed my initial conclusion. Since I was tasting blind, I ruled out New Zealand and bet everything that it was from France. Surprisingly, I got it right! However, the lovely people from Estate Wine asked me for its exact location in France and its vintage. I initially said Sancerre 2018 (possibly even Bordeaux blanc), but it was actually from the Languedoc-Rousillon area.
Marco Felluga Collio Pinot Grigio 2018
The wine’s supplier, Happy Living, had so many people lining up that I was not able to take pictures of the bottles I tasted. I’d been particularly interested in their newer Italian range, which I’ll have to make time to taste on one of my days off. Visually, the wine was a clear, straw colour with hints of copper. On the nose, the wine presented fresh pear, apple, and citrus notes with a touch of floral. Again, as I was tasting blind, I was making guesses as to what the bottle was… I was torn between a cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, but the phenolic bitterness forced me to take a gamble on the latter… Which I ended up getting right.
Josmeyer Mise du Printemps Pinot Blanc 2017
To continue my adventure in blind tasting: I was able to describe the wine accurately, but my conclusions were way off. The wine was clear yellow with light viscosity. On the nose, it was underripe pineapple, white peach, and citrus. It was the same on the palate, but it also had a bright, high acid, light body, and mineral notes. It was a difficult wine to guess, despite Joey of AWC allowing me 4 questions. I got Old World and “not Italian,” but my varietals incorrect.
Waterkloof Circumstance Chenin Blanc 2017
This was my absolute favourite wine during the event. On the nose, the wine had fresh notes of peaches, honeydew melon, and pineapple. There was also an attractive smokiness, as well as noticeable salinity.