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.
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 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.
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 wine-driven Californian wine industry, started by Phinney 8 years after selling The Prisoner brand. While the brand and its inventory is 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.
The first thing you’d notice are the labels, 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
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.