Wine appreciation is good for the soul. Few activities as popular as wine drinking require the sort of attention and focus in your senses that contemplating a fine wine requires. I could name a few alternatives like listening to classical music, reading poetry, sculpting clay, but all those require more skill and practice than my lazy ass is willing to pick up.
First, what is fleet wine database. This is my personal pet project to write about wine-related knowledge and share it with the world. There is no shortage of wine blogs, wine magazines, or even wine blog awards. However the truth is there’s always room for more. In a world where places as far flung as Bali, Thailand, India, China, Slovenia are producing wines, I can believe that there’s always room for an alternative perspective on all things grapey with alcohol.
So just what are we looking to talk about on this fine blog? Really it’s just my musings on the wines that I’ve drank recently, as well as anything interesting that I learn about the history and culture behind wine. It might be somewhat arbitrary to call this a wine-only blog, so I may expand my repertoire to drinks from other cultures as well from time-to-time.
To kick things off, let’s think about the coming celebrations to usher in 2014! If you have yet to choose your customary bottle of champagne to pop as the clock strikes twelve, you’re the perfect subject for reading my ruminations.
I live in Singapore, and an unremarkably inconspicuous liquor store opened down the road from where I live recently. On my last visit a couple of weeks ago I saw Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Champagne on sale at S$64. I know that the same bottle sells for $99 (or more) at the local grocery chains. This set me thinking, just how much extra are we paying for champagne? Is there any real difference in quality between a quality bottle of sparkling wine and a similarly priced champagne? The question probably isn’t a new one, but I haven’t yet read any opinions about this in the Singapore context. This matters tremendously since alcohol in general is so expensive here.
A glass of wine that costs €3 at a bar in London would cost S$15 in a similar one here. Hence, one can’t be too careful with the limited finances one has for wine.
For comparison, I have a bottle of Moet & Chandon Brut NV (S$90), and a bottle of Trivento Brut Nature Sparkling Wine (S$25). This is a classic David vs Goliath matchup! Moet is arguably the world’s most famous Champagne brand, while Trivento is a fairly decent Argentinian brand, not known for charming the pants off anyone.
First off, I tried the Moet. The packaging really is a piece of work. It’s curvy bottle’s allure and classy motifs insist to me that anyone who knows what champagne is about must surely fancy it. And at first, the generous bubbles and pretty golden hue are really captivating. When I take my first sip, I have to admit to myself that it is thoroughly enjoyable. When researching what good champagne tastes like, I constantly encounter descriptions about zesty acidity, dryness, delicate white fruit like peach and pear. There was plenty of acidity in its dry depths, and sufficient pear aromas to check your list. However (and surely you knew this was coming), something didn’t sit well with me. Someone wiser than me once said that a good wine makes you want to drink it more. Every mouthful is enjoyable because your palate craves more of the tantalizing flavours. It is like the scent of flowers. You smell it, and then you keep sniffing around for a bit, trying to catch another whiff of the flower’s aroma. Moet, simply put, did not do that for me.
By this time you may think, it’s already obvious what the conclusion will be. I won’t keep you waiting for the answer either. I enjoyed the Trivento Sparkling Wine much more than the Moet. I wouldn’t even say that the Trivento was better value than the Moet. It was simply better.
Trivento’s Sparkling Wine reads Brut Nature on its label. This means that it has 0 grams of sugar per litre. Moet is Brut, which is less than 12 grams per litre. Surprisingly, the Trivento feels sweet. I say feels because it smells sweetly floral, and has the flavours of pear also, but if you really think about it, it doesn’t seem to taste sweet at all. It looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, but it is in fact a swan. Another noteworthy thing about the Trivento was that it had notes (there’s a fancy word) of brioche, which is a fancy word for bread. There is a delicious bread-dough smell that freshly baked bread carries, and well-made sparkling wines (and champagne) has it. In this case, Trivento had it in bucketloads, while I never tasted the same in Moet.
Well I suppose, for us, that settles our first ever wine argument. Sparkling wine can be better than champagne (even the famous ones). However I reserve the right to rave about champagne one day when I discover one worthy of the name (and appellation). For now, ditch the champagne and spend half that on a vastly superior bottle of sparkling from the hills of Argentina.