There are few things in life that age like a good cheese, and the only item comparable in a similar category would be a fine wine. For the longest time, wine connoisseurs from around the world know this to be true, that American wines can hold their own, if not, arguably stand out, against some of the oldest French wines. This happenstance came about as a result of the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, famously known as the Judgment of Paris. Now, Treasury Wine Estates is bringing some of the American bests to the Malaysian shores.
The Judgment of Paris, an allusion to the Greek myth, was significant as it was a blind test was carried out by British wine merchant Steven Spurrier, comparing Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon from California, all in the belief that the French wines would reign superior. The blind test however resulted in the Californian wines winning in each category, and one such winner was the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973 Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon.
Treasury Wine Estates, one of the world’s oldest wine companies, is bringing to Malaysia a selection of their best American wines right out of the Napa Valley, and in addition to the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, are bringing wines from Beringer Vineyards, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyard. Spearheading the wine tastings is experienced winemaker and wine ambassador Stuart Rusted, who albeit a Brit, is excited to bring these American wines to our Malaysian shores. As Rusted stated: –
“We are so pleased to be able to bring our wines here to consumers, to meet with the increasing demand for quality, premium wines. These Napa Valley wines are considered by many to be the benchmark producers of the Napa Valley, which we are confident that wine lovers will appreciate, as their tastes become ever more discerning.” — Stuart Rusted, Wine Ambassador of Treasury Wine Estates.
The Wine Tasting Session
The tasting consisted of 6 wines, consisting of Chateau St Jean 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Beringer 2012 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2014 Napa Valley Merlot, Sterling Vineyard Vintner Collection 2015 Pinot Noir, Sterling Vineyard Vintner Collection 2015 Chardonnay and Beaulieu Vineyard 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines were served with a three course meal from Graze at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur.
Chateau St Jean 2014 Sauvignon Blanc
This Sauvignon Blanc has been described as having a bright, fragrant nose includes notes of citrus, peach, figs and orange blossom, and on the palate, lemon, apple and honey. There was a soft floral high note, with a quote a light to medium body, and minor tartness and richness. This white wine would pair well with fish or salad.
Stag’s Leap 2014 Merlot
This Merlot has a profile of dark cherry, blueberry and light floral violet notes, with hints of cinnamon, vanilla, clove and cocoa from the oak ageing. The Merlot has acidity and tannins, and a long finish. This is quite perfect as an entry level wine. This wine will also be quite suitable to the Malaysian palate as its fruity and sweet notes would be perfect once aerated.
Sterling Vineyard Vintner Collection 2015 Pinot Noir
The Pinot Noir has hints of black cherry, raspberry, vanilla and tobacco with flavours of berries, black tea, cocoa and vanilla. The Pinot Noir had medium tartness, with pronounced notes of cherry. The body of the wine was light and served well with the New Zealand sirloin, medium rare.
Sterling Vineyard Vintner Collection 2015 Chardonnay
One of the standouts would be the Chardonnay, with its Californian style notes of apple, pear and hints of vanilla. This Chardonnay was sweet and very smooth, and with much brightness. The wine leaves quite a nice mouthfeel, and isn’t typically too dry, making it quite a contemporary Chardonnay. According to Rusted: –
“Chardonnay is a fantastic grape variety to work with – you get lovely citrus and hints of tropical fruit from the grapes themselves, then by fermenting the wine in French oak barrels you get a lovely toasty and buttery layer to the wine as well. And this wine is particularly good as we have some amazing vineyards in the cooler southern end of Napa – they get the perfect ripening weather in the late summer with cool mornings and warm afternoons. The wine is rich and intense in flavour, but with a slight crispness on the finish that makes it very enjoyable drinking.”
Beaulieu Vineyard 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
Another wine that would pique your interest would be the more subtle and complex BV Cabernet, with its deep and dark flavours with an oaky finish. You can taste the high notes from the dark cherries, with a less sweet and velvety finish. This bold and structured wine carried a little more sophistication with a nice dry finish. As Rusted puts it: –
“The BV Cabernet is such a historic winery, and BV wines have been served at White House functions for the last 60 years or so. Given everything that’s happening in the White House at the moment it could lead to a very interesting conversation indeed. It balances a soft rich fruit note with lovely length and smooth tannins.”
Beringer Private Reserve 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
This Cabernet Sauvignon has nuances of dark berries and hint of cocoa, with a long oaky finish. This wine is quite tannic, and was full bodied and smooth. This wine would do well with decanting for it to be allowed to open up a little. Quite sophisticated but could possibly use more time. This wine paired well with the New Zealand Sirloin, and also complemented the Valrhona Chocolate Cremeaux.
The Treasury Wine Estates and Napa Valley Wines Experience
It is without doubt that you should give these Napa Valley wines a try, as they will be available at most restaurants. The Sterling Chardonnay and BV Cabernet comes highly recommended, or if you find yourself entertaining people who have a sweeter palate, then maybe the Stag’s Leap Merlot may be a decent choice. Overall a decent choice of wines, with a mix of entry level and more sophisticated ones.
| PHOTOGRAPHY BY: NICHOLAS NG AND TREASURY WINE ESTATES | WEBSITE: TREASURY WINE ESTATES |