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Our Highlights From Angra's Grand Wine Tasting AKA Why Every Wine Lover Has To Be There

 

The industrial-chic vibe was immediate as we stepped into the cavernous warehouse in Tanjong Pagar Distripark: high ceilings, old fashioned lamps and a smooth concrete floor that stretched on forever. Tables laden with bottles from many of the most renowned winemakers lined the space and the air buzzed with anticipation.

Last Saturday, I attended a wine portfolio tasting organised by Angra Wine & Spirits, one of the more prestigious wine importers in Singapore's wine scene that work directly with some of the best winemakers from both Old World and New World regions.

 

 

While they typically cater to top bars and restaurants, Angra also often hosts wine appreciation events, pairing dinners and warehouse sales for consumers. I signed up for this large-scale tasting since it was a rare chance to get a taste of their impressive wine portfolio at a really affordable price. The free pours were really generous (to say the least!); it was like a wine lover's playground where we were swirling, sniffing, and sipping everything from bold Italian reds to crisp Champagnes.

In the span of just 2 hours, I’ve tasted a good 30 bottles or so and earmarked a few bottles to be acquired. Here's a rundown of the ones that really stood out to me:

Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino 2018

 

Mastrojanni is a renowned Tuscan winery – it’s worth noting that they’re currently owned by the Italian family that founded the famous illy coffee brand. Mastrojanni is a fairly traditional Italian winemaker and is critically acclaimed for its flagship Brunello di Montalcino made from 100% Sangiovese grapes – particularly noted for its elegance, depth and aging potential.

Tasing this Brunello di Montalcino 2018, it’s got a nose full of plums and strawberry jam intertwined with some quaint countryside notes of dried hay and tobacco. Bold yet elegant on the palate, it’s got this beautiful balance of spices alongside both red and dark fruits. The tannins are powdery and gentle, adding a lovely texture to the wine. Wonderfully complex and it’s such a delightful companion to cheese.

Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne

 

One of the most prestigious Champagne houses in France, the 200-year-old maison is known for its winemaking methods that blend tradition with innovation. In the 1950s, Billecart pioneered a cold-fermentation process that helps to preserve what they describe as a “fruit purity” of the grapes in their Champagnes. Their Blanc de Blancs is made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes from Grand Cru vineyards in prestigious Côte des Blancs sub-region in Champagne.

Captivating from start to finish. The nose is dominated by apple strudel notes, a light biscuity character, yeastiness and a subtle hint of briny pacific oysters. Tasting it, more apples, pomelo, lemon peel, breadiness before going into a mineral finish. I find this both really layered and easy to drink, evoking this comforting essence of apple pie.

Chocolate Block by Boekenhoutskloof 2022

 

We fly over to the New World now to have a sip of this compellingly named “Chocolate Block” red wine. First released by Boekenhoutskloof – a South African winery established way back in 1776 – the flagship Chocolate Block isn’t just a marketer’s dream come true; it actually became a favourite of wine lovers both in South Africa and internationally. The name “Chocolate Block” of course refers to the wine’s rich and chocolatey character. So does it live up to its name?

This surprisingly does evoke the essence of chocolate. The nose opens with a lovely cookie dough aroma that I haven’t quite experienced in any other wine. On the palate, it’s got a light liquorice note and tons of sweet oakiness (reminiscent of dark chocolate lava cake), with gentle tannins and a light tobacco bitterness that reminds me of dark chocolate. I just wish there’s some chocolate on hand to pair with this wine.

Giant Steps Yarra Chardonnay 2021

 

Founded by the respected vintner Phil Sexton in Yarra Valley of Australia, Giant Steps is renowned for its wines that reflect the cool-climate conditions of Yarra Valley. The winery emphasises single-vineyard expressions and a minimal intervention winemaking approach to allow the natural characteristics of the environment to shine.

I find their Chardonnay to be very expressive with a vibrant acidity. The aroma is a delicate minerality, passionfruit sweetness and a light seabreeze. Tasting it, it offers a blend of apple and citrus, growing minerality, a subtle but not unpleasant metallic note and just a touch of oak. Also really memorable and a great compliment with seafood dishes like Linguine Vongole.

Final Thoughts

I’ve mentioned a few of the standout wines from various regions that I discovered at the tasting, but there were honestly plenty more other wines that impressed.

If you're curious to try some of these bottles or explore their wider selection, check out Angra’s online shop or keep an eye on their Instagram for upcoming events!

@CharsiuCharlie