My Singaporean friends were very excited for us when they heard we'll be moving to France. Especially the wine loving fraternity, we can see how their eyes go soft at the fond memories of all the chateaux and wineyards they visited, someone even said in jest that omg, we could be washing our faces and bathing in the glorious stuff. And emails will inevitably ask if we've had any good wines lately.
Truth be told, we haven't been drinking that much. I don't know if it applies to every neighbourhood, but ours is particularly bereft of good wine shops. Good in the sense that the range is varied, prices are pocketbook-friendly and the staff forthcoming if we need their advice and suggestions. Nada, we have the ubiquitious chain store Nicolas and the shelves of the supermarkets and convenience stores, which all seem to be stocked full of blended and table wines at one range, and very expensive vintages on the other end. First and second growth bordeaux seems to be more affordable in Singapore.
But of course, all is not lost. There are plenty of other options beyond Bordeaux. For instance, Burgundy wines. In Singapore I don't remember liking them very much, seemed to always bring to mind earthy, barn-yardy smells and overwhelming tannins and whatnots in the mouths. But I was having dinner with Pim at Astier in the 11th arrondisement, and she ordered a bottle of Givry 1er Cru 2005, Domaine Joblot (Pinot Noir) for us to drink with our meal. And in the course of it I learnt that Burgundy wines are good when they are young, then they should be rested for a few years before they can be drunk again. 2005 was a particularly good year, and very drinkable now. The wine was fruity and elegant with substantial, but not domineering, body and a pleasing finish. It retails for about 17-18.50 EUD, not inexpensive, but is great with medium to heavy dishes that is typical for the cold weather.
It was particularly outstanding paired with cheese. Maybe by that time I had overcome my initial anxiety about meeting the famous Pim (she is very, very nice) or the wine had sozzled me, but come cheese time, I was in a mellow buzzy mood. Was probably talking a little too loud too, shhh. Husband walked me home from the metro station, I told him what a great time I had, then I passed out.
Husband on the other hand was introduced by a friend to Sancerre, which he now likes rather a lot. Again, it is not as 'powderful' as the wines we were drinking back home, a lighter style but not so insipid that it cannot be paired with robust foods such as the leftover cottage pie we had for dinner one evening- by leftovers we also include gamey nuggets of duck livers and pate which made it more adult than the usual nursery version- but also crisp and clear enough that we can taste its inherent fruity and delicately spiced flavours.
So, not a single drop of Bordeaux, but we're slowly discovering the other regions and all the other possibilities out there, including of course, my favourite Sauternes. There is now about 3 bottles of the stuff at home, compared to the usual which is a big fat zero. Well, one is for a party this week, one is for a nice private dinner when we find the time, and one, maybe that one we'll keep for as long as we can hold out.