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New wines and Champagne to try in Singapore

Some of the most exciting labels this month in the wonderful world of vino.

Champagne Cattier

The cellars of Champagne Cattier

The cellars of Champagne Cattier

For decades, the market for Champagne in Singapore was dominated by the big houses. Increasingly though, smaller or more boutique brands have been able to enter the market, thanks to a shift in consumer preference for more independent, more storied producers.

The latest to hit our shores is Champagne Cattier, one of the smaller houses in the 260-or-so that make the sparkling wine out of the appellation — producing about 700, 000 bottles a year (for comparison, Moet produces about 28 million bottles in that same time). The Cattier family has been making Champagne for about a century, and has been cultivating vineyards for about 4 times as long — so there’s history in a bottle.

(Related: South African wines: Singapore’s first Master Sommelier curates a selection of rare vintages from the Nederburg Auction)

Today, the company is still family-run, although they utilise grapes from other smaller growers, in addition to their own, to produce the champagne. The house makes an unusually large number of cuvees, 8 of which are entering the Singaporean market: their Brut Icône, Brut Dry (Glamour), Brut Dry Rosé (Glamour), Brut Premier Cru, Brut Rosé Premier Cru, Brut Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru, Clos du Moulin Brut and Clos du Moulin Rosé.

Bottles & Bottles is the exclusive distributor for Champagne Cattier.

 

Orin Swift

Orin Swift wines feature some of the most eye-catching labels around.

Orin Swift wines feature some of the most eye-catching labels around.

Founded by cult winemaker David Phinney (who’s also responsible for The Prisoner, a red blend that revolutionised wines in Napa Valley), Orin Swift is the no-holds-barred bad boy of the largely varietal-driven Californian wine industry, started by Phinney 8 years after selling The Prisoner brand. While the brand and its inventory are now owned by wine giants E. & J. Gallo, Phinney is still making the wines — with the added bonus of having more vineyards to play with.  

(Related: This innovative wine fridge gives your vino the care it deserves)

The first thing you’d notice is the label, which — instead of featuring the usual chateau on a hill/animals/foliage — look closer to modern art prints. One of the wines, Abstract, a blend of Grenache, Petit Sirah, and Syrah, features a collage put together by Phinney after ripping out images that he collected from magazines on planes. The edgy, eye-catching labels aren’t compensating for anything though. Phinney’s an exceedingly talented winemaker, and puts out wines that manage to be accessible, complex, and powerful all at once.

Orin Swift wines are distributed by Malt & Wine Asia

 

Louis M. Martini's Cabernet Sauvignons

Louis M. Martini’s Cabernet Sauvignons

Louis M. Martini

Another winery that was acquired by E & J Gallo to add to its growing premium wines portfolio, Louis M. Martini has been making wine in the Napa Valley even before the expectation-shattering Judgement of Paris, a widely-publicised blind tasting that saw Californian wines beat out the best France had to offer. They’ve been growing and making Cabernet Sauvignon since 1933, and are one of the prime examples of Californian cab sav — elegant, bold, and consistently high-scoring (thanks to Mr Parker) wines that would do well patiently waiting in a cellar, and do even better enjoyed in a glass, at the right time.

Louis M. Martini wines are distributed by Malt & Wine Asia

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