Mont d’Or – The Holy Grail Of Raw Milk Cheeses

Called “the holy grail of raw milk cheeses”, Mont d’Or (also called Vacherin Mont d’Or, and Vacherin Haut-Doubs) is truly a spectacular cheese

Vacherin Mont D’Or is perhaps one of the most sought-after cheeses on the market. A thermalized cow’s milk cheese wrapped in spruce to contain the woodsy liquid interior that, with one taste, commands spontaneous exuberance

Traditionally made with the winter milk of the same cows that produce Gruyere in the summer, this cheese is only available from October until April, making it all the more precious. The cheese must be made from cows munching on straw and fodder; once outside to graze at pasture, their milk is used for larger alpine cheeses. Swiss regulations also dictate the cheese must be produced at elevations of 2,297 feet or higher. Not a dictate, but we highly recommend you enjoy this delectable cheese with a bottle of Gewurtztraminer.

The origin of this cheese was a point of contention between the Swiss and the French for centuries, with the Swiss finally conceding to the French

In Switzerland, it’s called Vacherin Mont d’Or whereas in France, Vacherin refers to the same cheese molded and ripened in large wooden hoops, and the smaller ones, packed and sold individually, are called Mont d’Or

The Swiss versions are made from pasteurized milk. In France, you can get both versions; those made with lait cru (raw milk) and the pasteurized ones. The lait cru is ripened for about three weeks in the spruce boxes, which give the cheese a particular flavor

NOTE: Mont d’Or is a protected cheese and must be ripened in wood

In France, we start seeing them stockpiled at the fromageries around November and December, and they are available throughout the winter, with interest declining when the weather turns warmer

When baked, it’s like a wonderful harmony of flavors – fat, funk, fresh cream, wood, garlic, rank, and a peculiar buttery sharpness scrambling all of your senses together in each single mouthful

Mont d’Or is a special experience and if you find one that’s perfectly ripe, you can just spoon it out of the container without heating it. However baking the cheese brings out its special flavor, especially if you add garlic and a splash of wine, and the texture is like nothing else you’ve ever had. Some folks grind some black pepper over the cheese before baking as well

The World’s Best Oysters

The Miyagi Oyster, also known as the Pacific Oyster, originated from Japan and is raised in America from the Gulf of Mexico to British Columbia. The science name for this species is Crassostrea gigas which translates into giant deep cups, since this oyster can grow into a large oyster with deep bowls. There are many regional names and grower brand names for this species

The major growing areas in California include Tomales Bay and hopefully still Drake’s Estero (the Federal government is trying to shut this farm down), both in Marin County, Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo County, and Humboldt Bay in Humboldt County. In Oregon, oysters are produced in Yaquina Bay in Newport, Coos Bay near Florence, and Netarts Bay near Bay City. In Washington the two major growing areas are Willapa Bay and the entire Puget Sound watershed. Finally oysters are produced in British Columbia to the east and north of Vancouver Island. Oysters are also produced in Alaska

The Kumamoto oyster is originally from the Kumamoto area of Kyushu, Japan. It is slow growing and small in size with a very deep cup. Raised in California, Oregon and Washington for many years, they were not marketed on a large scale until the mid 1980’s. The Kumamoto is rich in flavor, almost buttery, and slightly salty. The finish is sweet, mildly fruity with a light metallic flavor. Our Humboldt Bay, California Kumamoto’s are grown in the intertidal zone on long lines, suspended about one foot above the bottom

Since they are native to the warmer waters of Japan, they do not spawn in the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest. And because of their consistent, mild flavor, Kumamoto oysters are a favorite both among oyster aficionados and the novice oyster lover

Most oysters on the market are named after the area they were cultivated (Penn Cove, Quilcene, etc), but Kumamoto oysters simply are sold as Kumamotos regardless of their area of origin. It take about 3 years for a Kumie to grow to market size. They are cultivated primarily in Puget Sound’s Oakland Bay (WA), Humboldt Bay (CA), and Baja, Mexico

Maine Belons are quite rare. More rightfully known as European Flats (Belon refers to a river in France that grows the finest), or Ostrea edulis, Belons are the native oyster of Europe. They are an entirely different genus from the rest of our oysters. They act different, and they taste different. Way different. Love ’em or leave ’em. They were introduced to Maine nearly a century ago and have gone wild in the estuaries there, where they are occasionally found by divers and clammers

Next to creamy, sweet and briny American oysters like the West Coast Kumamoto or bluepoints from New York, the wild Belon, a European native, is an anomaly. It is large and plump, with a potent brininess and a metallic flavor that grabs your attention

Ashwin Binwani/Blue Phoenix Lifestyle: ‘It’s a real connoisseur’s oyster. You do not eat Belons casually, slurping them from their shells like peanuts between sips of a cocktail. Rather, they are the main event, or should be, and can easily become an entire meal. They are gutsy and strong and do not need lemon or mignonnette. If Belons have a single flaw, it is that one sitting ruins you for American oysters, which forevermore seem timid and dull.’

The wild Belon oyster grows wherever it pleases, in pockets of rivers and shallow bays, where harvesters hunt it down like prey. They are often misshapen, some as large as a dinner plate, others like green, mossy stones. Packers have taken to carefully sealing each shell with a rubber band to keep the seawater from leaking out and to preserve the oyster a little longer — several days, as against a few hours.

Unlike farmed oysters, the wild Belon has a regulated season, from Sept. 15 until June 15. Its flavor is best at this time of year, when it is the scarcest. In the summer months, when the season is closed, the oyster spawns and its flavor turns, much like an oil that goes rancid

Any oyster from Long Island Sound can be called a Bluepoint. Most come from the Connecticut side. They are semi-wild: In the summer, beds of bottomland are cleared and fresh shell is spread on them. Blue Point Oysters have largely become a generic name for oysters harvested from multiple locations anywhere in the Long Island Sound in the New York & Connecticut oyster region. The result is that the flavor & brininess is all over the spectrum, from boring to quite good. They are a Bottom Cultured Oyster

Blue Point Oysters originated near the town of Blue Point, Long Island, situated on Great South Bay, New York. In the early 1800’s they were famous for their robust, wild flavor and it became the favorite oyster of Queen Victoria. The name Blue Point Oyster was so popular that many people pirated the name in the 1800’s until finally in 1908 the New York State Legislature passed a law stating, “No person, firm or corporation shall sell or offer for sale any oysters, or label or brand any package containing oysters for shipment or sale, under the name of Blue Point oysters, other than oysters that have been cultivated in the waters of the Great South Bay in Suffolk County.”


Close up of kumamoto oyster

Kumamoto Oysters



Miyagi Oysters

2016 Chateau Beaucastel Has Been Released

Liv-Ex reports that the 2016 Chateau Beucastel has been released at £480 per 12×75. Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth has described Rhone 2016 as a “stellar vintage”: “The younger vintage, 2016, has even more buzz. Producers are likening it to the classic 2010, with its powerful fruit but greater emphasis on structure and spine. ”

2015 Chateau Beaucastel (97-99 Points) • Chateauneuf du Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin/Jeb Dunnuck The Wine Advocate: There’s just a single foudre of the 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin, and this behemoth was clearly one of the most impressive barrel samples I tasted from the vintage. Inky colored, rich, thick and unctuous, with tons of blackberry and blueberry fruits, cured meats, pepper and garrigue, it’s a tour de force and I’m always amazed at the level of purity, concentration and depth the Perrin family is able to achieve with this wine. I know most people squirrel this cuvée away, but it offers incredible pleasure in its youth, as well (the 2009 and 2007 are insanely good today). Still, a decade of cellaring would be ideal

This reference point estate continues to achieve incredible quality in just about every vintage. They’ve certainly made the wine of the vintage in 2014 with their Hommage a Jacques Perrin release, and it defies the vintage characteristics. As to their 2015s, Marc Perrin commented during my visit that he’d never seen a vintage where ever variety excelled like in 2015. I was able to taste through all of the single varieties that will go into their Châteauneuf du Pape cuvées, and he’ll get no argument from me on that assertion. I’ve also opted to include their Famille Perrin Gigondas and Vinsobres releases in this report as well. The top cuvées from Gigondas (no Vieilles Vignes was presented this go around) are truly great wines; the Vinsobres Les Hauts de Julien is easily one of the top wines from the appellation and would pass undetected in a blind lineup of great northern Rhône Syrahs

The ground at Beaucastel is marked by the violence wrought by the Rhone river. It consists of a layer of marine molasses (sandstone) of the Miocene period, covered by alpine alluvium. The presence in this topsoil of a great number of rounded stones, known as “galets”, bears evidence of the time when the Rhone, then a torrent, tore fragments of rock from the Alps and deposited them along its course.

This is the story of the typical soil of Beaucastel. These “galets” make a significant contribution to the quality of the wines: they retain the heat of the day and radiate it to the vines during the night

The meso-climate here plays an important role: low rainfall, the Mistral wind that clears the air and keeps it dry, and strong and continuous sun

All these components – notably the spectacular differences between high and low temperatures – combine and complement each other to give the vineyard of Beaucastel its particular qualities and originality (the characteristics of a “grand cru”).

The nature of the soil at Beaucastel is stony, well aerated and free-draining. The vine puts down strong roots here. Amongst the effects of this soil:
the upper surface warms up very quickly in spring
water drains off fast
the vines suffer during summer drought

The estate covers a total of 130 hectares, of which only 100 hectares are planted to vines:
3/4 is Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CHATEAU DE BEAUCASTEL)
1/4 is Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée Côtes-du-Rhône (COUDOULET DE BEAUCASTEL)

-The remaining 30 hectares are farmed with rotating crops to prepare new vineyard plantings: every year one or two hectares of old vines are grubbed up and the equivalent area is replanted on land which has not had vines growing on it for at least ten years

A Miocene era soil covered with an Alpine deposit (rolled river stones), brought in during the last Ice Age by water and glaciers; in fact the former riverbed of the Rhône.

The soil around Château de Beaucastel is quite homogenous. One important variable is the height of the water-table: some grape varieties need more water than others

Within Châteauneuf-du-Pape one finds three types of soil :
– One with stones on the surface
– An equally stony soil, but partially covered with sand
– Closer to the river Rhône, soils with a higher proportion of chalk

At Beaucastel they still use all thirteen varieties of grapes authorised in the Chateauneuf du Pape Appellation: MOURVEDRE, GRENACHE, SYRAH, CINSAULT, VACARESE, COUNOISE, TERRET NOIR, MUSCARDIN, CLAIRETTE, PICPOUL, PICARDAN, BOURBOULENC, ROUSSANNE

What Is Chateuaneuf Du Pape?

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France. The village lies about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) to the east of the Rhône and 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) north of the town of Avignon. In the 2012 census the commune had a population of 2,179.

A ruined medieval castle sits above the village and dominates the landscape to the south. It was built in the 14th century for Pope John XXII, the second of the popes to reside in Avignon. None of the subsequent Avignon popes stayed in Châteauneuf but after the schism of 1378 the antipope Clement VII sought the security of the castle. With the departure of the popes the castle passed to the archbishop of Avignon, but it was too large and too expensive to maintain and was used as a source of stone for building work in the village. At the time of the Revolution the buildings were sold off and only the donjon was preserved. During the Second World War an attempt was made to demolish the donjon with dynamite by German soldiers but only the northern half was destroyed; the southern half remained intact

The first vines in Chateauneuf du Pape were planted by the ancient Romans. Historic ancient Roman ruins are easy to find in the Southern Rhone Valley. In fact, one of the best preserved, ancient amphitheaters built by the Romans in all of Europe is in Orange, not far from Chateauneuf. Chateauneuf du Pape takes its name from the time when the Pope moved to Avignon in 1309. The move was due to issues between the King of France and the Papacy. 8 different Popes served in Avignon as the Papacy remained in Chateauneuf du Pape until 1378. The first Pope to move to Avignon was Pope Clement V, who was an avid wine lover. Pope Clement V also spent time in Bordeaux at what is now called Chateau Pape Clement in Pessac Leognan. The Pope moving to Avignon is of course where the region takes its name, as Chateauneuf du Pape is translated to mean; “The Pope’s New Castle.” The actual village was called Chateauneuf Calcernier, as well as Castronovo Calcernarium by about 1200. Calcernier and Calcernarium refer to the local limestone quarries in the area. It took almost 6 centuries however, before the region was officially named Chateauneuf du Pape, which took place in 1893

In 1919, the official boundaries of the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation were drawn up. In 1924, Chateauneuf du Pape applied for official appellation status. By 1932, the first major land holder in the appellation was starting to control a lot of land

Baron Puerre Le Roy owned several famous names including; Fortia, Rayas, La Nerthe, Vaudieu and others. The Baron Le Roy was also involved with creating the rules for the about to be created, and soon to be famous appellation of Chateauneuf du Pape.
15 different grape varieties are allowed to be planted in the appellation. The vine density must not be less than 2,500 vines per hectare and cannot exceed 3,000 vines per hectare. Vines must be at least 4 years of age to be included in the wine. Machine harvesting is not allowed in Chateauneuf du Pape. All growers must harvest 100% of their fruit by hand. Vines are allowed to be irrigated no more than twice a year. However, irrigation is only allowed when a vintages is clearly suffering due to a severe drought. If a property wishes to irrigate due to drought, they must apply for permission from the INAO. Any watering must take place before August 15.

Chateauneuf du Pape wine must be at least 12.5% alcohol and chaptalization was not allowed. These were the minimum requirements for producers seeking to have their wines sold as Chateauneuf du Pape.
The appellation of Chateauneuf du Pape is 3,231 hectares in size. The entire area is about 8.5 miles long and 5 miles wide. Its boundaries are set by the city of Orange with its Roman ruins in the north, the town of Sorgues to the south, The Rhone River to the west and the main road, the A7 to the east. In an average vintage, 13,750,000 bottles of Chateauneuf du Pape are produced every year

In 2014, close to 320 different growers were active in the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation. About 250 produce, bottle and sell their own wine. The remaining growers sell their harvest to negociants or cooperatives. Brotte is the largest of the negociant/cooperatives active in Chateauneuf selling close to 45,000 cases of wine per year. Guigal is the second largest domaine selling close to 35,000 cases of wine per vintage

Peak Prosperity Consulting Presents Oenophile: The Investment Grade Wine Fund. Aim: 5%-10% Per Annum. Provenance & Auction: London. Details:




Kobe Vs Wagyu Beef

Wagyu (pronounced “Wa-goo”) means Japanese style (wa) cattle (gyu). Wagyu beef is intensely marbled with softer fat, has higher percentages of monounsaturated fats, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and is lower in cholesterol than commodity beef. The combinations of these fats deliver a distinctive rich and tender flavor compared to other beef

All Kobe is Wagyu, but not all Wagyu is Kobe. If it didn’t come from Tajima cattle in Japan it is not Kobe beef

The most exclusive Wagyu in the world comes from Kobe, Japan. People use the terms Kobe and Wagyu beef interchangeably in the U.S. thinking it refers to the same premium imported Japanese beef, when it does not. Many restaurant menus feature “Kobe Burgers” or “Kobe Steaks”. The internet is flooded with on-line companies offering Kobe Beef, Kobe Burgers, Kobe- Style Beef, and Wagyu beef. The truth is authentic Kobe beef is very rarely seen on restaurant menus in the USA.

Under Japanese law, Kobe beef can only came from Hyōgo prefecture (of which Kobe is the capital city) of Japan. Kobe cows are fed a special diet of dried pasture forage and grasses such as rice straw with nutrition-rich feed supplements made by blending soybean, corn, barley, wheat bran, and various other ingredients. They are not fed pasture grass.

Kobe Beef, Kobe Meat and Kobe Cattle, are also all trademarks in Japan

The United States does not recognize these trademarks thus promoting free use of the term “Kobe” in the US without regard to Japan’s strict standards. Consequently restaurants and retailers market various types of American or Australian Wagyu beef as “Kobe beef”

Four Wagyu bulls were brought to the USA in 1976 from Japan’s Tottori Prefecture for cross breeding with Angus cattle creating the American Wagyu Kobe Style Beef. The crossbred Wagyu cattle were fed a mixture of corn, alfalfa, barley and wheat straw mimicking the Japanese cattle diet. In the mid 1990’s, about 40 more full blooded Wagyu male and females were imported to the US for breeding

There a few domestic ranches raising pure blood American Wagyu beef today, however, most of what we see domestically are a Wagyu/Angus mixed breed. The Wagyu influence contributes to the intense marbling and the Angus influence contributes to the animal’s size

The USDA scale for upper grade meat quality has 3 levels: Select, Choice, and Prime. Prime is the highest USDA grade. Roughly, 3% of traditional US cattle harvested are graded as Prime – equivalent to a Wagyu BMS score of 5

The most important characteristic of Japanese beef is the white parts of fat in the meat, known as sashi in Japanese. The sashi is interspersed between layers of red meat and gives the beef a marbled pattern. This marbling is the most prized aspect of Japanese beef and cattle farmers go to great lengths to create intense patterns that make the meat literally melt in your mouth. In fact, the beef grading systems in most countries are directly related to how much marbled fat is present

In the US, prime beef must have 6-8% of marbled fat to qualify for the highest USDA grade. In order to achieve the highest quality grade for wagyu (A5), on the other hand, meat must be at least 25% marbled fat

Fat in Japanese beef is primarily monounsaturated, which is known to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol! Monounsaturated fats also have a very low melting point, making the beef literally melt in your mouth. An steak of top quality A5 grade wagyu can cost $500 or more in Tokyo’s fine dining scene

Great care is taken to produce marbling and, apart from the being killed and eaten thing, cows in Japan live a king’s (or emperor’s) life. They are fed high quality grains and each farmer has their own blends and secret ingredients, such as soybeans and okara (a byproduct of making tofu). Water is also an important part in the cattle diet and local mineral water is often used to ensure the best quality product

To keep their appetite going during the hot summer months, cows are fed beer or sake to give them, well, the munchies, which kind of makes you wonder how good the beef would taste if they started mixing pot leaves in the feed. The cows are raised in stalls to help create fatty marbling, so they are taken outside for leisurely walks in the afternoon to get some sun and fresh air

Farmers will also spit sake on their cows and rub it in with a straw hand brush, which they say helps balance the distribution of marble content in addition to keeping the lice and ticks away. In order to ensure their cows stay as relaxed as possible, some breeders are rumored to even play soothing music for them. Beer, massages, afternoon strolls, mineral water, classical music are all part of the regime

Matsuzaka beef has some of the most expensive cuts and is considered by many enthusiasts to be the best kind of beef in Japan. Female cows raised in the quiet and serene area around Matsuzaka in Mie Prefecture are slaughtered before being bred, and this virgin meat is said to be the tenderest in the world. Known for its high fat content and characteristic marbling patterns that border on fine art, Matsuzaka beef has a rich, meaty flavor and begins to melt as soon as it enters your mouth.

This beef can be hard to find outside of big cities as only a limited number of the cows are slaughtered every year. Check for it in department stores and expect to pay around $50 for 100 grams ($500 per kilo; $225 per pound) for cuts of sirloin

Kobe beef is what put wagyu on the map and, for many people around the world, is synonymous with Japanese beef. Kobe beef comes from cows raised, fed, and slaughtered in Hyogo Prefecture, where Kobe City is located. These cows require a marbling ratio of at least level 6, a Meat Quality Score of A or B, and a weight of under 470 kilograms. In order to be called Kobe beef, the meat must also come from Bullock or Virgin cows, ostensibly to keep the beef pure

When demand for Kobe beef shot through the roof, American ranchers began using the term ‘Kobe-style’ beef to refer to wagyu cattle raised in the US. While the price is much more affordable at $20 per pound for the cheapest Kobe-style beef and the quality is better than American Angus beef, it just doesn’t compare with the real thing

Fukutsuru, a wagyu bull sent the American from Japan in the early 90’s, deserves a special word of mention. Known for his genetic tendency to produce high levels of marble content in offspring, Fukutsuru is in many ways the father of Kobe-style beef. He was bred countless times and his genes were considered so magical that prior to his death in 2005, over 100,000 sperm units were collected and put on ice for future generations

Mishima beef is a very rare type of beef that comes from the small island of Mishima Island of the tip of southern Honshu. Unlike Kobe beef, which came from crossing Japanese cows with European breeds, Mishima cattle are pure-bred from the original strain introduced to Japan via Korea over 2,000 years ago. One reason local farmers have been able to prevent interbreeding is because of the isolated location of the island

Omi beef is a less well-known but equally scrumptious type of wagyu that comes from Shiga Prefecture. Despite beef consumption being forbidden in Japan up until 140 years ago, rumor has it that the Shogun and some feudal lords (daimyo) would eat beef Omi beef, ostensibly because of its “medicinal purposes”. The fact that it tastes great surely had nothing to do with it

A relative new-comer to the stage of high quality Japanese beef, Ishigaki beef comes from the southern island of Ishigaki in Okinawa Prefecture.

Ishigaki beef is sold all over Ishigaki Island and throughout Okinawa Prefecture

Sunday Afternoon Chill Out: Customized Belgian Waffles

On the 2nd floor of Kuala Lumpur’s Bangsar Village Mall is a pseudo European eatery that serves the most awesome Belgian Waffles customised to my preference: Extra Crispy With No Toppings. The Result Is A Work Of Art. An Ultra Crispy Brown To The Core Belgian Waffle onto which We Drizzle Butter and Honey To Complete The Experience

And as if thats not enough, Nutmeg serves the most Swiss as can be, Rosti garnished with corned beef and topped with a Sunny side up. The Quintessential German Farmer’s Breakfast which is thankfully, available all day

To complete this extravanganza for your palette is the most delectable walnut tart from which oozes out Valrhona Chocolate

This a a Must Have Sunday Afternoon Gourmet Venture without which life would be extremely boring

Belgian Waffles Extra Crispy

Chocolate And Walnut Pudding With Vanilla Ice Cream

Nutmeg Bangsar Village II

UGG-8A Bangsar Village II, 2,

2, Jalan Telawi 1

Hours: 9.30am to 10pm

Tel: 03 2201 3663

Solaia: An Italian Cult Wine That Will Yield At Least 5% Per Year

According to Liv-Ex, as of July 2017, The Solaia index – which tracks prices for the ten most recent physical vintages – was up 27.8% year-on-year. It has outperformed the Italy 100 index which was up 15.7% over the same period. Over the past twelve months the best-performing vintages have been the 2005 and 2006, up 45.8% and 44.2% respectively. The 2004 followed behind with a 29% increase. Of the eleven most recent physical vintages, the 2013 was the only one to fall in value. Since the wine’s wine’s release in Sep last year, its Market Price has dropped 1.4%. Solaia 2010 has one of the best performing wines of the Liv-Ex 100 index: its mid price has climbed 6.7%

The Solaia 2010 was released in Sep at €130 per bottle ex-negociant, equal to the 2013 and 2012 releases. It is being offered by the international trade at £1,620 per 12×75, an increase of 11.7% on the 2013 release

The Wine Advocate’s Monica Larner scored the wine 95 points. In her tasting note, she said “the wine delivers a sense of sheer excitement and nervousness that will subside with another few years of bottle age.” Larner adds that “Marchesi Antinori made 40% less Solaia this vintage in order to maintain the quality you taste here

NOTE: Buyers looking for value might be interested in the 2009, which carries a higher score than the 2014, yet is available at a 14.8% discount: Antonio Galloni/Wine Advocate: “The 2009 Solaia is one of the clear standouts of the vintage. Freshly cut flowers, raspberries, spices, mint and licorice burst from the glass as this fabulous, viscerally thrilling wine shows off its pure class. Today the oak is a bit prominent, but that won’t be an issue by the time the wine is ready to drink. In one of my blind tastings, the 2009 Solaia was flat-out great. There is no shortage of pedigree here. The 2009 has calmed down a little from its youth, when it was a much more exuberant wine, and has now begun to close down in bottle. Solaia is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc from a single parcel within the Antinori family’s Tignanello vineyard. Longtime winemaker Renzo Cotarella has done a fabulous job with the flagships Tignanello and Solaia in 2009. In my blind tastings the pedigree of those two wines in particular came through with notable eloquence. The 2010 Tignanello and Solaia are both thrilling at this stage. They could very well turn out even better than the 2009s. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2029

Antinori’s Solaia, a more Cab-heavy blend than the rest of the Super Tuscan wines, was launched in 1978

How Was The Super Tuscan Born?

For years, the reputation of Italian wine outside Italy was characterized by mass-market exports like Chianti fiascos and Riunite, a sweet Lambrusco. Indeed, from the 1960s and into the 1970s, Italian wine was generally either excellent or rather poor. The greatest producers in Piedmont and Tuscany were crafting spectacular Barolo and Brunello, but many winemakers, particularly in Tuscany, were caught between the aristocratic and inflexible rigor of Brunello, and the sloppier definitions of Chianti, which allowed for a high percentage of white grapes, limited the percentage of Sangiovese, and forbade international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot

Frustrated with these restrictions, a small group of would-be Chianti producers chose to craft wine to their taste and that of the growing international wine market, changing the course of Italian winemaking history in the process. While still not an official designation — most are officially classified as IGT [Indicazione Geographica Tipica] Toscana or Bolgheri DOC [Denominazione di Origine Controllata], classifications developed in the early 90s in response to their success — the ‘Super Tuscans’ are nonetheless among Italy’s most acclaimed and coveted wines, with names like Sassicaia and Ornellaia as recognizable among collectors as Screaming Eagle and DRC

Sassicaia was officially the first Super Tuscan. Its story began in the 1940s when Mario Incisa della Rocchetta planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc vines on his estate in Bolgheri to test how the local, maritime Tuscan terroir would respond to classic Bordeaux varieties. The resulting wine was initially kept for private family use, but after years of encouragement from family and peers, the 1968 vintage of Sassicaia was released commercially in 1971. The same year, Antinori produced Tignanello, a Sangiovese-heavy blend which also included Bordeaux varietal

These wines were followed by such icons as Antinori’s Solaia, a more Cab-heavy blend launched in 1978, and Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia’s Ornellaia in 1985. Their success proved in many ways that the notion of terroir was fluid, that Tuscan hillsides weren’t restricted to Sangiovese and could in fact yield Cabernet as noble and high-toned as that of the Medoc

With the case for Cab having been convincingly made, Merlot came next in 1986 in the form of Masseto, a single-vineyard, site-specific 100 per cent Merlot from Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia. If Sassicaia and Solaia’s inspiration came from Lafite or Latour, Masseto could be seen to be a bold vision of Bolgheri’s own Pétrus — a sumptuous, silken wine of inimitable concentration and finesse (and the requisite hefty price tag). The long journey from straw-clad fiasco to single-vineyard specificity was complete


Top Super Tuscans For Investment


  • 2013 Tenuta San Guido • Bolgheri Sassicaia (97 Points)/The Wine Advocate/Monica Larner: The 2013 Bolgheri Sassicaia is released 30 years after the death of Tenuta San Guido founder, Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, and in the same year that his son Nicolò celebrated his 80th birthday. This is a wine of excellent execution, beautiful balance and seamless intensity. The bouquet opens slowly to reveal delicate aromas of dark fruit and integrated spice that build in steady strength. That forward momentum, which is so specific to Sassicaia, is what ultimately brings us confidence in the wine’s remarkable ageing potential. The mouthfeel delivers freshness and power, but in measured doses, with long and silky persistence. The 2013 vintage should be set aside for ten more years. Anticipated Maturity: 2018-2040


  • 1985 Tenuta San Guido • Sassicaia (100 Points)/The Wine Advocate/Monica Larner: Oddly enough, the 1985 Sassicaia was the wine least commented during the conversations that followed this retrospective. Our panel consisted of some two dozen professional wine tasters from around the world, and virtually not a word was uttered with regards to this wine. That’s how truly outstanding it is. The soaring beauty of this landmark Sassicaia literally transcends the rather mundane realm of wine critique with its string of adjectives and wearisome descriptors. It hardly deserves to be treated like any of the other gorgeous wines we tasted on this glorious day. In truth, the 1985 Sassicaia does reveal a new perspective onto its perfection each time you have the fortune to taste it. I noticed a layer of bright almond-like sweetness that I don’t recall tasting before. The wine seems to be getting younger, not older. Even its appearance is remarkable. Of the various samples presented from the 1980s, this wine exhibited the brightest garnet color and the most youthful personality. It shows stunning volume. The integration is seamless and the wine’s many complicated pieces fit together with utmost precision like a jigsaw puzzle that renders a most beautiful Italian masterpiece when admired at completion. Anticipated Maturity: 2017-2035


  • 2010 Marchesi Antinori • Solaia (97 Points)/The Wine Advocate/Monica Larner: The 2010 Solaia puts on an incredible show that hits all the senses and keeps your unyielding attention for as long as there is wine in the bottle. There are various ways to describe the bouquet. First, is the wine’s sweet side, as this beautiful 75-20-5 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc delivers ripe cherry, black currant, baking spice and dark chocolate. After that, the wine becomes redolent of tobacco, balsam, bay leaf, rum cake and dark licorice. The bouquet is all encompassing and complete. A firmly structured backbone is padded generously by the fleshy richness of its consistency. This is a gorgeous wine that will age for decades. Anticipated Maturity: 2015-2040


  • 2013 Marchesi Antinori • Solaia (97+ Points)/The Wine Advocate/Monica Larner: The best vintages of Solaia are 1990, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010 and now 2013. Marchesi Antinori’s 2013 Solaia is a profound and meaningful wine that is based mostly on Cabernet Sauvignon with Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc in supporting roles. It sports a dark and thick texture with plump fruit and spice, grilled herb and black pepper. The bouquet is intense and layered with the kind of complexity that is best admired as the wine shifts and evolves in the glass. The textual impact is also impressive—you feel the inherent power and the structure, but these elements are never overdone. The best is yet to come; this Solaia is built for long cellar aging. Anticipated Maturity: 2018-2040


  • 2010 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia • Ornellaia (97+ Points)/The Wine Advocate/Monica Larner: Poured from the special anniversary bottle, the 2010 Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia is a truly outstanding wine that leaves a lasting memory for those who are lucky enough to enjoy it. What stands out is the absolutely seamless-seamless-seamless (yes, it’s worth repeating three times) integration of its many moving parts. The wine magically transitions from cherry, spice, chocolate and espresso in one melodic and continuous loop. It exudes balance and elegance over long, delicious minutes. It is profoundly impressive. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2030. Of all the grapevines planted on the Ornellaia estate, the 2010 vintage showed best results with Merlot, says Leonardo Raspini. Because the harvest was later than usual, the early-ripening grape enjoyed a slow and steady evolution. Anticipated Maturity: 2016-2030


  • 2009 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia • Ornellaia (97 Points)/The Wine Advocate/Monica Larner: The 2009 Ornellaia caresses the palate with layers of seamless, radiant fruit. Sweet red berries, mocha, flowers, new leather and spices are some of the many notes that are layered in this sumptuous, totally beautiful wine. The 2009 stands out for its silky tannins and phenomenal overall balance. This is one of those wines that will probably enjoy a long drinking window. There is little question the ability to blend grape varieties was a huge help in this vintage. In my opinion, that is the main reason Ornellaia is a slightly more complete wine than Masseto in 2009. In one of my blind tastings, the 2009 made a very eloquent case for itself as the wine of the vintage. The blend is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. In 2009 winemaker Axel Heinz used the highest percentage of Cabernet Franc ever in Ornellaia and gave the wine less time in oak, both with the goal of preserving as much freshness as possible. Anticipated Maturity: 2014-2029


  • 2008 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia • Ornellaia (97 Points)/The Wine Advocate/Monica Larner: The 2008 Ornellaia continues to blossom in the bottle. Dark cherries, chocolate, espresso, blackberries and mocha are just some of the many notes that explode from the glass. A rich tapestry of licorice, tar and camphor notes develop in the glass, adding considerable complexity. The 2008 is a huge, structured Ornellaia endowed with massive structure. It has come together beautifully since the early days when it was a tannic beast. Readers who can be patient will be rewarded with a spectacular bottle of wine. This is a fabulous showing. Anticipated Maturity: 2018-2033


  • 2006 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia • Ornellaia (97 Points)/The Wine Advocate/Monica Larner: The 2006 Ornellaia flows from the glass in a profound expression of ripe, dark fruit. With time in the glass layers of minerals, cassis, tar, sweet herbs and French oak emerge, adding further complexity. This harmonious Ornellaia combines the richness of the vintage with superb freshness and awesome balance. Today the wine’s sheer density almost manages to hide the tannins, but they are there, and the wine will ultimately benefit from a few years in the cellar. The 2006 Ornellaia is one of the highlights of this sensational Tuscan vintage. Anticipated Maturity: 2016-2026


  • 2013 Marchesi Antinori • Tignanello (96 Points)/The Wine Advocate/Monica Larner: The 2013 Tignanello represents the beginning of a new chapter for Italy’s ultimate game-changer wine. The blend remains 80% Sangiovese with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc but Renzo Cotarella tells me “stylistically-speaking, this is what we wanted to achieve.” The winemaking formula remains the same, but one of the major differences and benefits to this wine is vineyard age. The celebrated Tignanello single vineyard is now reaching 15 years old. In other words, it is in its production prime. This is a harmonious and beautifully integrated wine that reveals black fruit and baking spice. I’m told the 2014 Tignanello will have a greater percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2015 vintage will have more Sangiovese. Anticipated Maturity: 2018-2035


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Shafer Hillside Select: An Expression Of Pure Volcanic Terroir

The 2012 Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon Is The Perfect Expression Of Volcanic soil and was rated 100 points by Robert Parker Junior and can be cellared till 2046: “Shafer’s flagship wine, and one of the world’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignons, is the Hillside Select, which comes from the rocky, volcanic soils on hillsides above the winery. Vineyard production is small, and the wine an incredible example of Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in 100% new oak for 32 months and bottled unfiltered, this can generally be expected to be one of the top dozen or so Cabernet Sauvignons in virtually any vintage in Napa, and certainly possesses 25 to possibly 50 years of aging potential. The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is a perfect wine. It elicits more than a few “wows” when you smell the incredible notes of charcoal, graphite and subtle toast, buttressed and dominated by blackcurrant, blackberry and blueberry fruit. The purity of these fruits, the multidimensional mouthfeel, the seamless integration of acid, alcohol, tannin and wood are all flawless. The 2012 signature adds an extravagant opulence and density that is just mind-boggling, and the wine is a total hedonistic and intellectual turn-on already, although it has 30+ years of life ahead of it.”

Terroir Is The Key

The Stags Leap District AVA is an American Viticultural Area located within the Napa Valley AVA 6 miles (9.7 km) north of the city of Napa Calufornia. The Stags Leap District was the first appellation to be designated an AVA based on the unique terroir characteristics of its soil. The soil of this region include loam and clay sediments from the Napa River and volcanic soil deposits left over from erosion of the Vaca Mountains. Like many Napa Valley AVAs, Stags Leap District is particularly known for its Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1976 at the Judgement of Paris Wine Tasting, the 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet from the area that would become this AVA won first place in the red wine category, beating out classified Bordeaux estates. Today, the Stags Leap District is home to twenty different wineries

John Shafer began working and replanting steep, rocky vineyards in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District in 1972, and has since built Shafer into one of the most sought-after labels from Napa. John, his son Doug, and winemaker Elias Fernandez call themselves farmers, and are proud of it. Doug took over the vineyards in 1989, and within a year began to integrate organic techniques into his vineyards while the term “organic” still elicited sideways looks. “My soils were getting tired,” Doug says. “They had been farmed since 1922.” He installed solar panels in 2004, and now enjoys watching his batteries send power back to the grid. Elias was hired by Shafer in 1984 and named winemaker in 1994. Shafer Hillside Select is a benchmark wine of the Stag’s Leap District, with a string of awards too long to list. Aged a full four years prior to release, it is, in the words of Robert Parker, “One of the world’s, as well as Napa’s, most profound Cabernet Sauvignons.”

Hillside Select is sourced from a collection of 14 small vineyard blocks planted within an eons-old amphitheater-like structure of rock and volcanic soil that surrounds the winery. Thanks to scant soil nutrients and moisture, yields at harvest are meager and the berries are small, about the size of blueberries. This Stags Leap District site’s combination of rugged, arid soil and climate results in lush Cabernet Sauvignon fruit with dark color and intense, classic flavor

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Ashwin Binwani/Blue Phoenix Lifestyle: “If you have time to drink only one bottle of a Napa Valley Wine, this is THE wine to drink. Period. The 2012 Shafer Hillside Select Is A Legend That Has Emerged From Pure Volcanic Soil Deposits left over from the erosion of the Vaca Mountains.”

Chateau Lafite Rothschild: The Holy Grail Of Terroir

Terroir (French pronunciation: ​[tɛʁwaʁ] from terre, “land”) is the set of all environmental factors that affect a crop’s phenotype, including unique environment contexts, farming practices and a crop’s specific growth habitat. Collectively, these contextual characteristics are said to have a character; terroiralso refers to this character

Terroir is the basis of the French wine appellation d’origine contrôllee (AOC) system, which is a model for wine appellation and regulation in France and around the world. The AOC system presumes that the land from which the grapes are grown imparts a unique quality that is specific to that growing site (the plants’ habitat). The extent of terroir’s significance is debated in the wine industry

The 112 hectare vineyard of Chateau Lafite Rothschild is planted to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. This shows a slight change in the vineyard. While the Cabernet Sauvignon has remained at 70%, today, there is slightly more Merlot, less Cabernet Franc and the Petit Verdot has been added since the mid 1990’s

Located in the far north of the Pauillac appellation, only the small, Jalle de Breuil stream separates the vineyards from the St.Estephe appellation. One could divide the vineyards of Chateau Lafite Rothschild into 3 sections with 100 separate parcels in all. The estate has close to 50 hectares of vines located close to the chateau, on both sides of the D2 highway, which offers gentle rises in elevations of up to 27 meters. They also have about 50 hectares vines planted on the plateau in the Carruades sector, where they have 2 blocks of vines, one of which is inside the vineyard of Chateau Mouton Rothschild. It is interesting to note that even though the parcels in the Carruades sector give their name to the second wine of the estate, those vines are almost always placed in the Grand Vin. There are also vines adjacent to, and interspersed with the vineyards of Chateau Duhart Milon

Located just south of the chateau, the best terroir of Lafite Rothschild has a thick layer of gravel with sand, clay, marl and limestone in the soils with rolling, gravel slopes. The gravel can be as deep as 4 meters in some parcels. It is important to note that even though their vineyards are in the far north of Pauillac, most of the soil is pure gravel, rocks and stones. With more than 50% of the soil consisting of gravel, that is a large part of the reason Lafite Rothschild has such elegant, feminine textures and that coveted sensation of minerality

On average, the vines are close to 40 years of age. But Chateau Lafite Rothschild has much older vines. In fact, they have some vines that are more than 100 years of age planted in the La Graviere section. That small parcel of Merlot vines dates back to 1886. Less than 1% of the vines are that old. Additionally, they have a small section of Cabernet Sauvignon that dates back to 1922! Other old vines range from 50 to 90 years of age! They also maintain some of the oldest Petit Verdot vines in the Medoc that was planted in the early 1930’s. At Chateau Lafite Rothschild, between 1% to 1.5% of the vineyard is replanted every year. Vines less than 20 years of age are never included in the Grand Vin

The vineyard of Chateau Lafite Rothschild is planted to a vine density that ranges from 7,500 to 8,500 vines per hectare. Only organic fertilizers are used in the vineyards of Lafite Rothschild. During harvest, the goal is not to pick at the maximum level of ripeness. Instead, they are seeking a blend of grapes at differing levels of maturity, which gives the wine its unique textures, freshness, aromatic complexities and elegant sensations

Lafite Rothschild is the largest of the First Growth vineyards with close to 112 hectares of vines. A large portion of the estate is taken up with stunningly, beautiful landscaping, lakes, trees and parkland. Lafite Rothschild also maintains close to 50 hectares of marshland and greenery where they allow an ancient species of wild cow to live. The breed of cow is nearly extinct. The cows do not produce milk, nor are they raised as cattle for meat. This division of planted vineyards and open land has not changed much since 1868 and is close to what the property looked like in 1855, when it was deemed a First Growth in the 1855 Bordeaux Classification of the Medoc

To produce the wine of Lafite Rothschild, vinification takes place in 66 vats that are a combination of 29 wood vats, 20 stainless steel tanks and 17 concrete vats that range in size from as small as 45 hectoliters up to 123 hectoliters in the concrete and as large as 270 hectoliters for the wood. The wide range of vat sizes coupled with different materials allow Chateau Lafite Rothschild to vinify depending on the needs of each specific parcel and grape variety. The stainless steel tanks and oak vats are used for Cabernet Sauvignon. The Merlot is vinified in the concrete tanks

Malolactic fermentation occurs in smaller, stainless steel tanks that vary in size from 25 hectoliters up to 60 hectoliters. At this point, Chateau Lafite Rothschild does not yet use gravity to move the fruit and juice in the cellar. My guess is, they will build a new cellar, or at least raise the roof of their vat room to allow for this in the future. Chateau Lafite Rothschild is aged in 100% new, French oak barrels for 18 to 20 months, depending on the vintage. Many of the barrels are produced at a cooperage located on the property, which has the ability to manufacture up to 2,000 barrels per year

The average annual production of Chateau Lafite Rothschild ranges from 15,000 to 20,000 cases of wine per year, depending on the vintage. There is a second wine, Carruades de Lafite, which due to the name and association with the Grand Cru, has also become extremely collectible. Carruades de Lafite takes its name from a specific section of their vineyard that is located near Mouton Rothschild. Carruades is actually one of the older second wines in Bordeaux, as it was first produced in the mid 1850’s. About 100 years later during the mid 1960s, the estate reintroduced their second wine naming it Moulin de Carruades. The name was changed again in the 1980’s to Carruades de Lafite. There is also a third wine which is sold as an AOC Pauillac that is produced from declassified fruit from Lafite Rothschild and Duhart-Milon

Vuelta Abajo: The “Holy Land” Of The Cigar

Vuelta Abajo, in the Pinar Del Rio region, Southwest of Havana, is where the best cigar leaves in the world come from

It just wouldn’t be a trip to Cuba without visiting the tobacco fields, which are usually full of plants from December until the end of the harvest in March

The rich red soil of the Vuelta Abajo that produces the best tobacco, both for filler and wrapper. Nothing compares with the tobacco from such towns as San Luis and San Juan y Martinez. The hundreds of farms dotted around these small towns together make up what is the Holy Grail to cigar smokers. Names like El Corojo, Hoyo de Monterrey, Esperanza, and El Pinar are to cigars what Margaux, Latour, Mouton, Lafite and Haut-Brion are to wine¿they are some of the best in their fields

Each year, thousands of acres of tobacco are planted here. The entire process takes about nine to 10 months, from planting the tobacco seeds to picking the fully grown leaves and drying them in large wooden barns, called casas de tobaco

A large part of the tobacco in San Luis and San Juan y Martinez is grown for wrapper, the leaves used for the outside of cigars. This tobacco is grown under immense cheesecloth tents called tapados. The cheesecloth diffuses the sunshine and allows leaves to grow larger and finer in texture. Until recently, the only tobacco used for wrapper was a type developed in Cuba in the 1920s and ’30s called El Corojo, after the farm where it was developed. But today, Cuban farmers are using hybrids such as Criollo 98, which is more resistant to disease. Another recent hybrid, called Habana2000, has been almost completely discontinued, since it has become susceptible to blue mold and growers did not like the quality

The other category of tobacco is tobaco del sol, sun-grown tobacco. These are the leaves grown for the cigar’s filler and the binder that hold the bunch together. Sun-grown tobacco plants do not grow as high as their shade-grown cousins. In addition, the leaves are not as large or fine, and the farmer is paid less for them. It’s less expensive to farm sun-grown since no cheesecloth is needed, and the cultivation is much less rigorous.Since the revolution, the government has been the only buyer of Cuban tobacco. Most of the hundreds of farms in the area are now privately owned; some of the families have been plantation owners for hundreds of yearsThe Francisco Donatien cigar factory in the center of Pinar del Río. It’s a small factory, with about 100 rollers, that produces its own cigar brand, Vegueros, as well as a few sizes for Montecristo. A former prison, the factory is open to visitors, and it has a very good cigar shop, Tabaco en DisenoIn San Luis are located the plantations of the most famous tobacco cultivator of the island, Don Alejandro Robaina. Vuelta Abajo extends through most of Pinar del Rio province, except its north part which is occupied by the region know as Semi VueltaThe terroir that obtains the best harvesting results are dedicated to the export production, most of this terroir is placed in a region known as Partido, in Havana province, south the capital and especially in Vuelta Abajo

According to some experts the secret of Vuelta Abajo relies on the fact that “in the crown”, (top point of the tobacco plant), the leaves have a high concentration of nitrate, providing strength, powerful taste and above all strong and well armed structure to those made out of them, qualities that distinguish a good cigar. The climate of this region permits to obtain these unique characteristics

Semi Vuelta Abajo is the second tobacco region in Pinar del Río. Its tobacco, of thicker leaves and stronger aroma than the one in Vuelta Abajo, is destined mainly to the national production of cigarettes.

The covered plantations are located in the Partido region, in other words, these plantations are covered with cloth permitting to obtain lighter leaves and with a finest texture, the raw material for export luxury cigars.

The Remedios region occupies almost all the central province of Las Villas; it is one of the richest tobacco regions of Cuba. The leaves of its harvests are thick and aromatic.

Finally, the Oriente region produces the low quality tobacco for the local consumption and to supply the cigarettes industry. It extends to the area of Bayamo, Mayarí, Alto Songo, Jiguaní and Sagua de Tánamo

Big Baba – Kuala Lumpur’s Best Kept Secret Revealed

Nestled in a corner of Old Klang Road in Taman Desa, is a treasure trove of Peranakan flavors that simply keep on giving, driven by the freshest ingredients together with timeless methods of food preparation

The ambience is totally rustic – transporting the diner to a Peranakan style house in Penang. The open concept kitchen is meticulously maintained and Restaurant Manager Jessie Lim is perfectly on hand to usher the guest to a different realm of dining

The first dish that I totally devoured with pleasure was the Peranakan Petai Fried Rice garnished with tons of the famed stinky beans that are known to treat hypertension, diabetes, and kidney problems. The rice was a day old thus absorbing the flavors of dried shrimp which made this dish a perfect accompaniment to the Ayam Buah Keluak

The Ayam Buah Keluak is big on flavor in an age where the buah keluak itself is becoming a rare find. The keluak tree is found only in the mangrove swamps of Southeast Asia producing a poisonous fruit, which is made edible by fermentation. This is the pièce de résistance: The gravy formed from the stock wraps itself around the chicken in the dish, and the flavors simply explode in your mouth

The Assam Fish in Claypot was delicately prepared with thinly sliced chunks of Tenggiri fish done on purpose so that the gravy could garnish the meat effectively. Also known as the spotted Spanish Mackerel, the Tenggiri was a great choice to use in a dish of this nature. Its moisture was intact and flowed through the meat. The Assam flavors were painstakingly created in the kitchen from scratch using traditionally made fresh ingredients instead of the mass market powdered version

The Big Baba is also Big on Vegetables that are well garnished with the appropriate stock to create incredibly delicious flavors and yet maintaining the vegetables’ crunch factor. Of notable mention is the ladies fingers and the must have Jiu Hu Char. Jiu Hu Char (Stir Fry Jicama with Cuttlefish) is the quintessential festival dish for the Penang Nonyas including those who originate from the northern part of Peninsula Malaysia. This dish consists mainly of shredded jiu hu si (shredded cuttlefish), bang kuang, carrots, and cabbage. Other ingredients include pork belly strips and mushrooms. The version at The Big Baba is a Must Have

Cendol is an iced sweet dessert that contains droplets of worm-like green rice flour jelly, coconut milk and palm sugar syrup. I have tried various versions throughout Kuala Lumpur but the Nonya version at The Big Baba is simply delectable. To begin with, the gula malacca is served separately so that one can “control” the sweetness so that the sugar does not overwhelm the chilled broth of “santan.” This makes all the difference. The green jelly and red beans, together with grass jelly are served in a bowl of fresh, chilled coconut milk and once you add just a little bit of palm sugar syrup, you are transported to a realm where the coconut flavors control the entire experience. This is a must have dessert to end your meal

The cuisine at the The Big Baba is a match for bold New World Wines such as the Penfolds Grange. New World Shiraz is the wine to serve with Peranakan food. We would recommend drinking the 2012 Penfolds Grange (Parker 99 points) with food of this stature. The 2012 Grange came from just two sub-regions of South Australia: Barossa Valley (the majority) and McLaren Vale. The Wine Advocate: “This Grange contains a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon, just 2%. Very deep purple-black in color, it opens on the nose with complex earthy/meaty/savory notes, soon giving way to baked blackberries, plum preserves, hoisin and Chinese five spice with dabs of sandalwood, licorice, menthol and vanilla. The palate reveals a surprisingly open, rich, full-bodied expression exuding a powerhouse of velvet-lined decadence. The finish is epically long.”

There are alot of mass market Peranakan restaurants throughout Southeast Asia and in this “instant food” age I find that it is difficult to locate a “True Blue” Peranakan restaurant that prepares its food using traditional methods and fresh ingredients. In time to come, it may be virtually impossible to find a traditional Peranakan restaurant what with the Facebook savvy generation turning its passion to Tech instead of food. We hope that during this massive shift of dynamics, The Big Baba will not “go anywhere” and remain true to its calling, so that food Connoisseurs such as myself can exit the global madness to savour great flavours rhat soothe the soul

Petai Fried Rice

Jiu Hu Char

Ayam Buah Keluak

Claypot Assam Tenggiri Fish

Ladies Fingers


Big Baba

34, Jalan 2/109e, Taman Desa Business Park, 58100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Restaurant Manager: Jesse Lim

Hours: 11.30am to 3pm. 5.30 to 9pm

Tel: 03 7987 7755