#nickpandrinks Red Wines in Singapore

Follow my adventures on Instagram with #nickpandrinks

Yes, I really like my aromatic full-bodied red wines and I also enjoy many other varietals, but most importantly it’s the time I get to spend with my friends and family around the table, just having a fun relaxing time over good conversation and company.

A typical weekend evening at Thepans

It’s common to see my feed with a record of the bottles we had for the night as I do like to remember what we had. Although I’ve got a Vivino account, nothing beats laying them out, tagging the vineyards and getting their kudos in the comments. ;)

I’ve never been a wine guy before 2015, so how did it all start you might wonder.

It started at a restaurant at Esplanade called Barossa I think around 2014. We were having a steak or wine buffet of sorts. My dear friend Desmond Khoh explained the dynamic chemistry that happens in your mouth when you have a bite of warm juicy beef and a sip of chilled red wine. It was magical and I was hooked. I’m still chasing for that wonderful feeling week after week till this day.

After that day, I started buying wines and was introduced to a few good bottles. They say that every wine lover have a few memorable first bottles that got them hooked and I’ve got 3. They all happen to be your big bold Australian reds.

The Standish Shiraz, Langmeil The Freedom 1843 Shiraz, Rockford Basket Press Shiraz

And yes, sometimes I buy them in cases because they are so so good.

End of 2018, I hosted a blind tasting night with my wine friends and everyone brought a good bottle (> SGD 80) and we tried them all out slowly with 8 decanters out in force.

We scored them based on individual preferences, favourite bottle gets 3pts, then 2nd best gets 2pts and 3rd best got 1pt. After tabulating the points, these were the results.

  1. Australian Basket Press Rockford Shiraz 2010
  2. Italian Proprieta Sperino ‘L Franc Bandit Vino da Tavola 2010
  3. California The Prisoner Saldo Zinfadel 2016
  4. French Château Langoa-Barton Saint-Julien (Grand Cru Classé) 2009
  5. Italian Le Salette Pergole Vece Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2012
  6. French Château Gazin L’Hospitalet de Gazin Pomerol 2005
  7. French E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2014
  8. French Château Plince Pomerol 2013

It was a great epic night. And I found a good use for our SAF army issued socks.

I’m also starting to train my daughter how to appreciate wine and being a teen, she do like the sweet ones. She can now do 5 – 7 serves, not bad. But we only do that during Christmas or Chinese New year big parties.

So the natural question people ask me is which wine is good and where to buy good wine. I’m honestly no expert, just an enthusiast at best, but let me try to answer the best as I can.

Good Wine really depends on what you like. Some like light wines like your Pinot Noir, Merlot and some like full-bodied like your Malbec, Shiraz / Syrah. Some like them sweet, some like them dry. Some like them with food, some like them for fun. So you need to first drink enough different types of wine in order to know what you like. You might want to try reading up as well. I would recommend checking out Wine Folly which is a very easy read and lots of information for reference, you can also check out their website winefolly.com and Instagram account @winefolly. Another nice book I got was Wine it’s not rocket science.

Now, where then do you buy good wine? This is a tricky one as buying a good bottle is abit like a hunt. You got to find them, check out their ratings and description, buy them to try them, then will you know if you found a good source. A good bottle does not mean expensive, good value is also important. I do have friends with exquisite tastes ordering bottles below SGD 30 by cases because they are of good value, while others camp on online stores to wait for sales of bottles that go for SGD 90. I personally shop between SGD 50 – SGD 100.

I use the Vivino app to check ratings and details of the bottles. Just keep in mind that reviews and ratings are subjective, however the number of ratings do give you a sense of how popular or widely available the wine is. To maintain a > 4.0 rating over 200 ratings I think should be quite a good bottle.

Anyway, here are a few places I do buy wine from:

If you buy wine from somewhere else, do let me know where and what good stuff you’ve found. Let the adventures continue. #nickpandrinks

Electric Dreams and the Arrival of Vans from the Future

Photo: Arrival

These electric vans by Arrival are just too pretty and I can’t wait for the future of Electric Vans and Cars to be mainstream here in Singapore.

We all know burning fossil fuels is killing our planet and its affecting our global climate so much that its no longer funny. 2019 poised to be a really hot year in Singapore and February was already one of the hottest in 90 years. Reports have also shown that maximum temperatures in Singapore’s cool months rising faster than warmer months.

On 15 March, kids from more than 112 countries skipped school in protest of climate change and all they hope for is action by adults who are going to leave this only planet we have behind for them. If you don’t know how serious this, please spend sometime to hear Jeremy Rifkin talk about the The Third Industrial Revolution: A Radical New Sharing Economy on Vice. I’ve seen it 3 times over and it has fundamentally changed my world view.

To motivate myself towards a more sustainable future especially in terms of transportation, here are a few more beautiful pictures of Electric Vans by Arrival which will be adopted by the the Royal Mail in UK and UPS in London and Paris.

Photo: Arrival
Photo: Arrival
Photo: UPS

Too beautiful right? And knowing that they have zero emissions makes them even more beautiful.

OED. an Update to OCD.

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

“Oh man, you’re such an OCD…” such phrases are common and it’s usually with a grin and sometimes a little chuckle especially to those who have to align every single stationary on their desk or that magazine on the coffee table at the café.

But I think the phrase is wrongly used and it’s time to update it. OCD is a mental disorder, nothing laugh about.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). These include unwanted thoughts or images of harming loved ones, persistent doubts that one has not locked doors or switched off electrical appliances, and intrusive thoughts of being contaminated, etc. OCD can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities and social interactions.

In a recent mental health study (SMHS 2016) shows that one in 28 people suffer from OCD and more than three-quarters don’t seek any professional help. It’s a serious thing and I don’t think we should use the term loosely and it’s surely not a laughing matter.

I’ve for the longest time held to the belief that “if you are not at least a little OCD, then you don’t care enough” so I fully embrace my OCD in the professional sense. However every time after saying it, I feel it’s not absolutely accurate as what I’m trying to say is not actually a disorder or bad and instead it should be encouraged.

It’s inaccurate. It needs an update. Wrong use of OCD needs to be changed to OED.

Obsessive Excellence Desire (OED) is an attitude, virtue and outlook in life in which people have constant, unavoidable observations, irritations (obsessive) that make them feel things that aren’t done well needs, can and should be improved (excellence). This pursuit of intentional care and desire of betterment is done with the desire to improve. OED is not crippling and inefficient, but productive, effective and significantly improves the output quality of everything a person does on a regular basis.

So next time someone tells you “Oh man that’s OED…”, reply “Thanks Babe…”.

ps: yes, i’ve given a fair bit of thought on the acronym to make sure it rolls of the tongue easily.