06 April 2005

Flip Flopping Around The Chardonnay

No. I am not on drugs or anything. Just feeling damn stoned now as I sit in my office staring at the screen.

It all started on Sunday evening when I was at a neighbour's for dinner. The food was fantastic and the wine was never ending. And end it never did as I was there for dinner again on Monday, Tuesday and perhaps later today as well.

But let me backtrack a bit so that you can get the whole picture. Earlier in the month, they were asking what white wine I would recommend and I said to check out Jacob's Creek Chablis*. A dry and refreshing white wine which is quite light on the palate and easy for beginners. Most importantly, it doesn't come with a ridiculous price tag that the local people here are so obsessed with. I said to them that for the same dollar, you can get better new-world wines (like Chile, New Zealand, Australian, South African, etc.) or you can get the bottom scrappings of the French.

Coming back to Sunday, I got the phone call in the afternoon asking me to go over to their place for dinner for they had found the wine that I mentioned. The availability of any imported thing is often determined by how well it sells in the domestic market. As such, it is easy to find ketchup, Heinekens, Tabasco sauce, etc, but forget about mozarella, Habanero sauce, Kilkenny, Boddingtons, etc unless you are in the big cities like downtown GuangZhou or ShenZhen. Even so, it is still a hit or miss.

Anyway, back to the phone call, it was the beaming neighbour who proudly announced that he has gotten the wine and ask if I could go over for dinner and drinks. Having been used to the Red+Sprite nonsense or the Fanta-Grape-taste type of wine (which by the way, is an insult to the soda), I said without thinking twice.

A side topic here about wine and the local average joe. These folks where I am, almost never drink white. No Sauvignon Blanc, no Riesling, no Chablis, no Chardonnay, none, nope, na-da. It is always red. Not sure why, maybe it is auspicious since it is the lucky red? Or is it because of the misconception that the red has more alcohol than the white, and as such offers a better value-for-money? Or just maybe it's the misguided notion that drinking red makes you appear to be more sophisticated as opposed to drinking white?

I am, like your average wine drinker, not an expert in anyway but at the very least, I know what I like and what I don't. On several occasions, I have the unfortunate luck of having to taste some of the worst wines in my life. No surprises that these cheena ones are all red. Had I not tell you about it, you would have been fooled by the labels on these bottles that claimed dozens of awards/medals. I mean who gave them this accolades? Have the panel of judges actually tasted these foul concoction? Who are these people anyway? Smells to me like a big KELONG or the benchmark is set really really down-there-somewhere-where-the-light-no-longer-reach.

We read about how these folks mixed their wine with water, ice or Sprite much to the horror of any wine enthusiast and how it ended up as the butt of jokes and mournful scorns. I, too, must admit that I was one of them "atas" people who cried foul over such vandalism to the epitome of grape's essense. That is until I tasted their red wine. In a word, it was NASTY!

So to those locals whom I rolled my eyes, turned my nose when I saw them mixing Sprite into their red wine, I'm sorry. I now know the rationale behind the Sprite. They were merely trying to make it drinkable.


So at about 7pm, I showed up at my neighbour's door and before I could even take a seat at the dinner table, the proud host showed me the bottle, and baiting for my approval. It was a Jacob Creek's Chardonnay. Well, it wasn't the Chablis* that I recommended but it's close enough. The Chardonnay is also quite good. Now here's the kicker. Upon hearing that the wine was agreeable, the host went on and said that he actually brought in 10 cases of it from Hong Kong.

Wah lau eh? Talk about getting carried away! Oh well, it is a good white anyway, so finishing them should just be a matter of time. Let's see.... 12 to a case so 10 cases equals to 120 bottles.... hmm... I wonder how long it will take for us to finish them....

Granted it was a simple dinner but often this dinners can stretch all the way to 10pm and beyond. Not that there was a lot of food, but the host and his family are just great company. I am guessing we finished 4 bottles that night? Or was it 6? Can't really remember as the numbers all started to get fuzzy as the night wore on.

Then it was dinner at his place again on Monday and we polished off another what? 6 bottles? Yesterday was a double-billed feature as I was yet again at their place and then later adjourned to a second dinner at a nearby Japanese restaurant because of a visitor who just arrived and has yet to have a bite. Another 6 bottles there? Nobody's counting anymore.

I got back every night passing out on my bed, which explains why my blog wasn't updated as often. (Sorry Daphne!) I am beginning to have a backlogs of stuff like the downloaded shows, this blog, and Part 3 of Me, My Blog & I - The Road Ahead, etc. I am trying hard to get them sorted out. I really am. Now, many of you may be wondering why I am there every night when I needed to do is just politely decline the invitation. The truth of the matter is that there's nobody at home right now. Everybody's gone away for the Ching Ming Festival, visting the graves of their ancestors. As such, other than the fact that it is quite difficult to cook for just one person, I rather not be eating alone.

So after 3 consecutive drink-binge nights, I am in the office, woozy for the first time in the morning. The only consolation was that there was no headache, which is usually part and parcel of a hangover. Ahh.... good wines are usually more friendly to the temporal nodes.

Anyway, here I am starting this blog in the morning, feeling like crap. It's 3pm right now and I feel much better already. But guess what?

I may be going over for dinner again later. Sigh.....

* After Note: Found out later yesterday that Jacob's Creek has discontinued the Chablis which explained why we ended up with the Chardonnay. Then again, come to think of it, Chablis is the name of the region in France and therefore quite weird to have it on an Australian label. Besides, Chablis is made from Chadonnay grapes anyway and so I guess my gracious host did get the right bottle after all.
- Voxeros

1. a reader left...
Thursday, 7 April 2005 4:32 am
You sure like and know wine. To think that you're going back again. Oh boy, you must really love that stuff! Or perhaps, the food. What do they serve for dinner?


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