"Just a quick note to thank you for the Master Class session ... "

"Many thanks for the most enjoyable tasting the other night Excellent demonstration ... "

"I thoroughly enjoyed Simon's approach to explaining wine structure It was clear ... "

"Our family did a private course with the two very knowledgeable and ... "

Read more

Bordeaux Blending Workshop

With Bordeaux wines all the rage these days, the Independent Wine Centre offers a unique wine course that shows how Bordeaux vintners assemble a Grand Vin blend

1. Participants break up in to groups. The "reference" wine - the ideal blend - is then tasted by all the members of the team.

Tam has an important reminder: people see red wines and automatically swirl; they don't think that certain wines can be swirled and certain other wines can't. You can overbreathe it and the fruit flavours expire into the atmosphere. "If you don't taste it before and after, how do you know it needs to be breathed?" Tam points out. Not sure if you need to swirl or not? Play it safe and avoid doing so.

2. The goal

The reference wine is the Bordeaux benchmark: the winning team is the one who can most closely emulate this blend.

Each team needs to create a 20ml blend of each of their Bordeaux blends.

3. The tools

There are three cylinders filled with each of these wines and participants are expected to identify which wine possesses the characteristics of a cabernet sauvignon, merlot or cabernet franc.

4. Identify the characteristics of each varietal

Cabernet sauvignon gives the lovely fragrance & silky sandpaper feeling on the inside of the mouth, merlot gives a lovely mouthful, a sweetness and fruitiness on the palate and cabernet franc, a tingling acidity that also lends freshness, liveliness to the wine.

5. Blend, blend, blend

A member of the team is assigned to be the "sucker" - who takes the wine from each of the cylinders, working out the volume, and transferring them to their own "mixing bowl".

Another member of the team takes down the formulas.

5. Blend, blend, blend

After each blend is created, every team member needs to taste the reference wine and then taste their own "creation". The team then discusses on how to adjust each formula, encouraging a stimulating discussion on wine characteristics.

The process is by trial and error, and by the end, each team needs to propose two blends. Simon Tam then serves as the judge who does a blind tasting of each of the wines proposed and makes the assessment.

Bordeaux wines are in the limelight on a level that's never been seen before: in a recent article by the Financial Times, wine producers in Bordeaux are expecting their prices to break records this year thanks to the vigorous demand from Asian buyers. Last year, China alone imported more than 10 million cases, up 50 per cent from the previous year.

For wine lovers who want to understand more about all the hoopla, the Independent Wine Centre (IWC) has started offering a unique workshop that's ideal for corporate team building - or even just a fun and novel activity among friends. The workshops are run by IWC's Simon Tam and Tersina Shieh, who show participants the characteristics of Bordeaux wine.

"A lot of people talk about Bordeaux as a region but few people realise that Bordeaux produces two and a half times more wine than the whole of Australia," says Tam. "So you have this very steep, sharp pyramid of quality - you have a few trophy names and then at the bottom is a sea of rubbish."

"You think Bordeaux is so good name then I challenge you to name 10 chateaux. Those that can are real wine buffs - which tells you that there is somewhat a distorted view of the region. Having said that, the greatest wines are really quite superlative, there's no replacing them whatsoever. Those are the ones that are capable of ageing for a long long time, wines going back to the last century are still alive and well, and these are some of the benchmark wines because they've been around for so long."

Tam adds that producers around the world who make cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc use Bordeaux as a benchmark and that all Bordeaux wines are a combination of these varietals.

And so without the luxury of a vineyard in Hong Kong, Tam and Shieh decided to improvise, by creating wines that mimic the characteristics of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. They armed their participants with test tubes and formulas and challenged them understand - and create - a bordeaux blend.

For more information, visit www.iwinecentre.com or phone +852 2549 0081.


 © Independent Wine Centre Ltd
 香港上環永樂街 71-77 號 Ovest 1603 室      Tel: +(852) 2549 0081      聯絡我們
Web Solutions by FunctionEight Limited