SINGAPORE (Oct 8): Party like it’s 2018 with a bevy of new alcoholic beverage options in Singapore.
Paint the town red
Martell’s VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) cognac gets a face- and taste-lift this year with the release of Martell VSOP Aged in Red Barrels, which heralds a new era of intense candied fruit aromas with a more delicate flavour profile. This is because while its predecessor, VSOP Médaillon, is aged in a mixture of casks, the new cognac is matured exclusively in casks or “red barrels” of fine-grained oak typically crafted from wood of between 180 and 200 years old from France’s Tronçais forest.
The process results in the production of finer and less-pronounced tannins that give way to more delicate and fragrant aromas. During the Singapore launch week of Martell VSOP Aged in Red Barrels in early September, a media lunch took place at Empress at the Asian Civilisations Museum. There, Jacques Menier, heritage director of the House of Martell, introduced Red Barrels, starting with its luscious on-the-nose notes of ripe yellow fruit such as Mirabelle plum, apricot and vine peach. Perhaps even a faint hint of mango, adds Menier. Its full identity is a delicate eaux-de-vie blend of wood and soft spices, rich in vanilla notes that linger on the tongue.
Most would agree that the millennial generation of cognac drinkers would generally find it more agreeable than the Médaillon’s dry, nutty and crispy aromas as well as woody bitterness on the palate, sans the vanilla. Enjoyable enough on its own hand-warmed or at room temperature, Martell VSOP Aged in Red Barrels’ distinctive traits are made even more apparent with the addition of water.
In a climate such as Singapore’s, it makes for a refreshing treat when served on the rocks or even after being chilled in the freezer. The new cognac pairs extremely well with a variety of cuisines, including Asian dishes. Over lunch with Menier at Empress, it was even poured into Double- boiled Black Garlic, Dripped Scallop, Bamboo Fungus, Chicken Soup as an additional ingredient to boost the dish’s umami levels by leaps and bounds.
Neon Pigeon at Keong Saik (www.neonpigeonsg.com) has launched a new cocktail menu of 18 artisanal concoctions divided across nine distinctive categories ranging from “Negroni’s” and “Punches” to “Ice Ice Baby”. Highlights include Citrus ($21) — a combination of Mount Gay Rum, Chamomile Cointreau and Sake Rose Wine served in a bird-shaped glass — as well as feisty Japanese wasabi-T&T vodka mix, Wasabi Drop ($19). Touted as the unofficial bartender’s handshake is Ciao Bartender ($21), with a Fernet Branca base spirit and fresh shiso juice, complemented by house-infused sparkling coconut lychee.
Ma Cuisine (www.macuisinesg.com), a new French gastro wine bar located in a shophouse on Craig Road, recently updated its wine list such that it is now a whopping 45 pages. The diverse yet comprehensive selection of wines by the bottle includes classics, rare vintages and unique finds from lesser-known winemakers and French regions both beloved and less explored. Guests are also welcome to ask co-owners Anthony Charmetant and Mathieu Escoffier for a guided tour of their two wine cellars, one of which is entirely dedicated to port and Madeira (pictured).
Chilean winery Marques de Casa Concha has launched its new premium label — Etiqueta Negra — in Singapore, beginning with the first vintage in the series, the Etiqueta Negra 2016, which comprises 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Cabernet Franc and 8% Petit Verdot. It is the first in the winery’s line to be made of a blend of varietals, with the blended red wine meant to be a faithful expression of Chile’s Puente Alto terroir. The Etiqueta Negra 2016 vintage is available by the glass for $31 at Cut by Wolfgang Puck, and through VCT Singapore’s private sales channel.
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This article appeared in Issue 851 (Oct 8) of The Edge Singapore.