Mr CH’NG Poh Tiong is a lawyer by training. He is the publisher of The Wine Review (South-East Asia’s oldest wine magazine, since 1991), and the world’s first annual Guide to Bordeaux in Chinese. Poh Tiong’s articles have also appeared in magazines, including Harper’s and Decanter of the UK; and Silver Kris, the magazine of Singapore Airlines. Poh Tiong also writes a quarterly column for Decanter magazine.
It seems like only yesterday but the Lianhe Zaobao Wine Review Challenge is now in its sixth year.
The judges had remained the same three people until last year when, for the first time, I decided not to be one of the “active” judges but instead to invite an Overseas Guest Judge.
But having founded the event, I stayed on as Chairman of the Panel of Judges in those few instances when the three judges did not agree amongst themselves. There were very few such instances last year when Adam WYNN, one of Australia’s top winemakers, was the first Overseas Guest Judge. The same was true for this year with Overseas Guest Judge, Philippe BLANC. (The real hard work was undertaken by the judges, not the Chairman).
Philippe Blanc is in charge of one of Bordeaux’s most revered wines. Chateau Beychevelle in Saint-Julien is not only an historic property but also produces one of Bordeaux’s greatest wines. Philippe had also worked in two of Australia’s highly regarded wineries, Taltarni and Clover Hill.
A trained agronomist or soil engineer and oenologist or winemaker, Philippe’s first vintage at Beychevelle was 1995. In his spare time, he likes to ski, play tennis and run the marathon (in about 2 hours and 45 minutes).
Our two other judges have been with the Challenge from the very beginning.
Ignatius CHAN, a former founding partner and executive director of Les Amis Restaurant, Lighthouse Restaurant, Au Jardin Restaurant and fine wine merchants Vinum, recently embarked on perhaps the most exciting challenge in his working life. On September 1st, he opened his own restaurant called “Iggy” a short-form of his name. It is situated on Level Three of the Regent Singapore.
Don TAY, on the other hand, has been the proprietor of his own wine shops for a long time. Bacchus is situated in the basement of Paragon Shopping Centre on bustline Orchard Road in Singapore and also has a branch within Isetan Departmental Store in Kuala Lumpur’s stunning Petronas Twin Tower. Not so long ago, Don also opened Bacchus@Boathouse (opposite Fullerton Hotel), the wine bar with the incredible view inside the historic Boathouse (a former lighthouse) next to the Singapore River and the open sea.
The three judges tasted 455 wines this year. That number is slightly down from last year’s 470. The wines came from all over the world including Greece, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, South Africa, California, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Australia and New Zealand. Here are the full results. I am also taking the opportunity to match the wines with the most ideal food pairings.