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Wine: Anything but Chardonnay?

Chardonnay gets a bad rap. If it were a person, it would be the pasty-faced teenager who doesn’t get invited to the prom. The stuff is simply not seen as a cool option among most wine drinkers.

A mate of mine is a super-successful CEO of a global clothing brand. Based in Singapore, she loves the city’s food, traffic and safety, but hates the heat and trying to crack a date. She’s 40-something, earning six figures before bonuses, and looks hotter now than ever before thanks to a firm regimen of Pilates and no more than two martinis before dinner. All this in a single package, yet she reckons no bloke will go near her.

Deciding it was time to get her back in the saddle, so to speak, I took her to the Singapore mating ritual otherwise known as Clarke Quay on a Friday night. Pinning down one of those self-described “mixologists” who looked fresh out of kindergarten, I foolishly ordered two chardonnays. The resulting offerings were lukewarm swill and as oaky as a lumberjack’s crotch.

We next spied a medium-sized herd of Zegna-clad alpha males grazing in their classic protective semi-circle, rabbitting on about globally important issues such as their bonuses. I nudged Amanda into the group. They scattered like gazelles but she deftly cut one off from the herd, squared him up and down, and said “Would you like a drink?” The target glanced around, adjusted his bespoke yet sweaty linen collar and said, “You’re drinking chardonnay? I thought that went out in the 70s!”

Needless to say, the hunt was over for the evening. I arranged an emergency evac to the closest air-conditioned wine bar – a place where chardonnays are rightly appreciated – so that I could nurse my friend back to health. The morale of this very disturbing episode is: if you order chardonnay at an expensive pick-up bar, don’t let them pour whatever bilge-water they buy for $20 a bottle and sell for $15 a glass, and make sure that nobody ever finds out what you’re drinking.

My favourite chardonnays right now:

• Kumeu River Mates Vineyard Chardonnay (NZ) 2008

• Meerlust Chardonnay (SA) 2008

• Klein Constantia Chardonnay (SA) 2008

• Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay 2005 (AUS)

Robert runs Sales and Marketing for www.wineexchangeasia.com

Wine of the Month

Gladstone Vineyard, NZ

Christine Kernohan, chief winemaker at Gladstone Vineyard near New Zealand’s Ruamahanga River, is thought to be one of only a handful of female Scottish winemakers in the world. Kernohan’s wines have won medals of every colour at national competitions. “Our operation focuses on best environmental practices in wine grape production,” she says. “We manage our vines with great care to ensure the best possible grapes are brought to the winery.” Christine also attributes her success to a tenacious approach to marketing: “My Glasgow background serves me well for this head-bashing side of the business!”

Gladstone Vineyard produces two ranges of wines – Gladstone and 12,000 Miles (the distance from Scotland to New Zealand). Sample the 12,000 Miles range this month, at the following fantastic prices:

• 12,000 Miles Sauvignon Blanc:

  $26.75 per bottle on case buys

• 12,000 Miles Pinot Gris:

  $26.75 per bottle on case buys

• 12,000 Miles Pinot Noir:

  $33.17 per bottle on case buys

• Mixed case: four of each wine for $346.68


Purchase wines online at the Expat Living Wine Club and enjoy free home delivery. To place a phone order, call Rubicon Reserve Wine on +65 6837 8012 and mention “Expat Living Wine Club”.