If you’re a newbie or just plain unsure about wine, know that you don’t have to be. It’s nothing a nice chat won’t fix.
“The first step is to ensure that customers are at ease with the topic of wine,” says William Seah, the owner and wine expert behind The Wine & Gourmet Friends, a cosy 56-seater Asian-tapas wine bistro along Bukit Pasoh Road in Singapore.
Their walk-in wine cellar stores an impressive array of wines from 80 wine producers, most of which are exclusive to the restaurant.
“At The Wine & Gourmet Friends, we create a comfortable and unintimidating environment, where anyone interested in a conversation about wine and good food is welcome.”
Feel free to ask questions
The different types of wine, red, white, their names, their styles, their taste, the grapes, the places…
Confused? Maybe it’s a good idea to start with a behind-the-scenes look at how the wines were made. :) It can help us decide.
“Our approach consists of sharing stories about each bottle and making it fun,” William relates.
“These can include the history of a particular winery; traditional winemaking techniques unique to a particular winery or region; how the culture of a place affects how wines are produced and enjoyed; how the climate or terroir (environment) affects the final product; as well as imparting wine appreciation knowledge and techniques.”
But if you ask him...
Or we can just rely on William’s expertise and experience, and take it from there. We can’t go wrong. :)
Although he does find it tough to zero in on the one drink that he often comes back to again and again – mostly because one’s choice of wine depends on different factors. The same might happen to us once when we get the hang of it.
“It’s very difficult to pinpoint because the mood, occasion, food and company will, in many ways, contribute to the perception of the person drinking the wine,” he explains.
“This will inadvertently determine how much the person will enjoy the wine, even though he or she may be drinking the same bottle but at a different time and in a different environment.”
Take a sip of these
Nevertheless, if you still need suggestions, William tells us what he usually reaches for:
On a hot and sunny day
“I may enjoy a well-chilled New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or a really cold Italian Sparkling Prosecco, both of which are light and refreshing, and ideal to drink on their own with no need for a food pairing.”
“… and especially with food, I’d enjoy a generous full-bodied Australia Barossa Valley Shiraz or Coonawarra Cabernet, definitely if we are having a juicy thick ribeye or a delicious rack of lamb.”
After a long, stressful day at work
“I’d prefer a semi-sweet French Loire Valley Vouvray or a German Mosel Spatlese Riesling. Their aromatics, fruitiness and nectarine sweetness (which are not overwhelming) will cheer me up.”
But in the end…
“Personally, for myself, there isn’t just one wine for all occasions, but about finding the right wine for the right occasion.”
So go ahead and try any of the wines that call out to you or catch your fancy, until the day comes when you can confidently pick what suits you. (Then again, you can always ask the staff for recommendations, or attend the restaurant’s wine appreciation classes and tastings too.)