It’s my good friend Bee’s birthday. Rather than just giving her a meal treat like I have been doing for so many years, I decided to treat her to an experience. The Wine Down event organized by The Sunday Times presented a wonderful opportunity. Okay, I admit I was attracted to the menu, a fusion of Japanese and Italian cuisines. I have been to a few wine tasting events and I know I am a poor drinker, unlike Bee who asked for refills, so wines are not my forte.
The night started well. We were given sparkling wine, Ferrari Trento Brut Doc NV as soon as we entered, and a goodie bag. Housewives love goodie bags, so if I had been made lethargic by my two-hour bus ride from Bukit Batok to Marine Marade, the goodie bag certainly jolted me to the presence.
The Ferrari Trento Brut Doc NV is described as ‘fresh and rich in fruity aromas of apple and pear with a touch of lemon that blends with the floral bouquet’, all of which was lost to my palate, sensitive only to the tingling of the sparkling bubbles.
We shared a table with two other middle-aged men, one of whom we can tell enjoyed his wines by swirling and sniffing into the glass. Unlike other wine tasting events, where the host would guide us into the smell and taste, this audience were very much left on their own.
The first course of the night was fresh pacific oyster with freshly sliced sashimi, paired with Giesen Sauvignon Blanc. Reminded by that man, Bee and I sniffed into the glass and we were rewarded with a lovely aroma of passion fruit which i wished I could bottle up to sniff at leisure. This ‘ripe gooseberry notes with passion fruit tones and wonderful acidity to carry the palate through to its trademark crisp, clean finish’ was my favourite. Our wine expert didn’t think it went with the sashimi and we agreed. A warm sake would have been better.
The next course was Tempura Moriwase, paired with Hermann Donnoff Riesling QBA, a ‘bright and fresh, stainless steel vinified Riesling retains its pretty lemon lime purity, crisp acidity and displays composure and poise’. How anyone can taste composure and poise beats me. But the Tempura retained the crispiness of the batter despite the rather full house.
There were three mains. The first was Kurobuta pork with rice and Japanese curry. We had the first of the red wine which tasted woody. Viviani Valpolicella Classico DOC did not display any of the ‘elegant and classic with tones of ripe red berries and vanilla in the long aftertaste’ the menu had described. The thin-skin wine was translucent and lack body.
The pork was crispy and tender and I like the effort put into the heart-shaped rice. It reminded me of the bento lovers pack for each other in Korean dramas.
By now, my stomach was filled and I really couldn’t eat very much of the mixed seafood pasta in tomato base which was served with Rymill MC2. This red wine was a merlot blend which suited me perfectly if I did not already had so much to drink. The wine should perphaps have ‘the fresh and fruit driven characters on the nose with spicy notes of aniseed, cinnamon and peppermint’ if I weren’t too woozy.
The last main was the John See Ribeye steak done to perfection, with a pink sandwich. The wine was First Drop Saviour Barossa Shiraz but I found it went better with the MC2. It would have been great if the wine expert had explained the choice of wines with our food. But other than telling us about the different grapes used in wine making, there weren’t very much shared that was relevant to that night’s choices.
For dessert, we had La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti Biancospino DOCG, a sweet wine to go with strawberry and red bean Gyuuni Skin, which is basically Japanese Mochi. The wine, ‘irresistibly fresh, with a hint of mandarin orange’ was too sweet to my liking but I guessed it was perfect with the rather bland Mochi.
For entertainment, we had a stylist with two gorgeous Korean models to teach us how to accessorize. I thought the accessory effect was very dramatic, but Bee said with models and their reed thin bodies, anything would look good. I guess she was trying to tell me don’t even try.
So, a perfect evening and I hope a wonderful birthday for my friend.