Monday, November 29, 2010

Wine Me. Wine Me Not. (Tasting Wine)

Put this in mind before we start, tasting should never be frightening even for starters like me or you. I'll let you know why as we go through, in the mean time relax, enjoy this light reading, and just like chasing girls where one should never be intimidated by her beauty, as it is on wine, you should never be intimidated by its elegance. Appreciate it instead (now that's a hint for singles out there =p) and have fun with it (or her =p).

Alrighty, let's waste no time. Wine tasting is as straightforward as 123 as tried and tested in JCF Roundtable Session and another one-on-one session with Fredy.

One - Observe
Hold your glass and tilt it forward, but don't spill it. It wouldn't be cool if you spill it while having dinner with the beautiful girl. =p If it helps, put a white napkin underneath, and watch the color under the light. Not just see but also observe, compare and contrast the color. If its red, is it closer to purplish grape, red ruby =p, or maroon maybe? Also find hints such as sediments which will indicate the older wines.

Two - Smell
Take up your glass real close to your nose, don't hesitate, dip your nose in, and take a looooong deep sniff. Savor every inch and second of it. Now what you smell is what we call aroma or bouquet. These two terms usually used interchangeably, not for the advanced wine taster though. O well, forget them for a while, lets go back to sniffing. Now right behind our eyes, close to our nose, there lies this amazing sensory called olfactory bulb. It's actually part of the brain, and responsible for transmitting the scent we smell to brain. Here comes the tricky part, since it connects to our brain, it can only tells us the scents that we have smelled before and stored up in our scents-database.

This explains why if you youtubed videos of wine tastings, two people tasting the same wine can have a different hint of smell. One might say it has a hint of peach, the other says apricot just because its the closest fruit smell he can detect in his database. I remember, in one of the session, one of the participants said she smelled 'rubber' ! However, there's no right or wrong in tasting. This what makes wine experience is personal. You and I can have a sip of the same bottle and enjoy it differently. Its totally okay.

Three - Taste
Finally, after all that hustle, you get to drink it. Halleluya!  Take that sip you've been waiting for and let it wander around your mouth a while, let your taste buds savor it before swallowing it. Now swirl your glass of wine for a while, sniff it again, you'll reckon different smell as the wine meets oxygen and take out the subtle scents. And drink it again. When it come to taste, as listed by Sommelier Suyanto, there are several guidelines to describe the subtleties of wine: sweetness, acidity, tannin, body, flavors. However, that's a whole 'notha level. I don't think I have the capacity (yet) to share, but I will, if any of you kind readers be so kind to fund me for a wine study abroad. (notice I said 'kind' twice, yes, you deserve that).

Wow, its been three post already. I hope I don't bore you and help you shed some light on wine. Up on the next post is matching food and wine. Come back for some more if you share the same passion for wine. And feel free to share with your friends by clicking on the Tweet button below. =)

Until our next toast,
Fellexandro Ruby
Food Photographer
Snack on my tweets @captainruby
Email me at

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wine Me. Wine Me Not. (The Glass)

Amazing line up at the Jakarta Culinary Festival was it? The four of them has refined my basics about wine and also allow me to conclude my own perspective which I'll share at the end. Let's waste no time.


The proper use of glasses influence your wine experience. The simplest rule of thumb is that the wider glass complements red wine while the tall-slim glasses complements the white wine. Why? Cause the wide glass allows the red wine to 'breathe' and allows the natural aroma to blossom up. So the next time you see people swirling their glass of wine, you know they aren't just playing around, they're helping the 'aeration' to release their divine smell. On the other hand, the white wine, well known to be best served cold, need to maintain their temperature with the slim and tall design.

Holding The Glass
You most probably see people holding the glass with all fingers and the palm touching the bowl of the glass. Bad news! Those images we see on Hollywood movies are misleading. --" You know you did that. Its okay, Me too. =P The best and correct way to hold a glass of wine is by the stem of the glass (see how Fredy holds it here). Why? Serving temperature is important for wines, when our hands touch the surface it will warm the wine and therefore change the taste. In general, wines are better served at a certain cool temperature (8-10 C for Whites and 15C for Reds).

Alrighty, see I've just saved you and myself the next time we have a VIP event that only serve wine, we'll surely know how to at least 'appear' knowledgeable about wine. =P More serious stuff coming. I hope you have one or two good glass until then.

Cheers with a Sauvignon Blanc
Snack on my tweets @captainruby

Wine Me. Wine Me Not. (JCF Chef Roundtable Session)

Wine. For most people this particular beverage sounded foreign, hard to comprehend, and expensive. Me too at the start of my wine adventure! So, friends, you're not alone. However as destiny took me to the new world of wine in Australia, and further to the capital of wine - France, I finally came across my revelation at the previous Jakarta Culinary Festival. I had a chance to sit on the wine appreciation sessions (yes! thats plural, i took three session in a day =p) at the Chef Roundtable with four of the best in their field. What strike my interest was how each and every one of them has their own take and their own enjoyment to wine. I'll lay them out here in several sequential post in hope of bringing out that bright-yellow-eureka-lamp above your head at the end of each post.

Senior Master Sommelier at Four Seasons Hotel - Suyanto
Sommelier is what they call the wine specialist in a restaurant who's responsible for educating the staff about wine and assisting customers with wine selections. In his presentation, he's truly no doubt has a broad and in-depth knowledge about wine - from the winemaking process to tasting the wine. His take on wine is very technical as is required from a sommelier. Kudos. However, I'll be good to you peeps, I'll save the complicated stuff for another time.

Sales and Brand Manager of exclusive glassware & tableware brand such as Royal Doulton, Schott Zweisel and many more - Fredy
He's got a very outgoing touch in explaining wine. With his vast knowledge he tried his best to communicate it in plain language for us wine-rookies. I learned the most from him. I came back the next day to sit on a personal session with him, which I couldn't be more thankful for his humbleness in giving his time and sharing about wine.

Sarong Masterchef - Will Meyrick & The Supercool Guy - Dean
I seriously don't know about the last guy, but this hilarious dude deserve to be the supercool guy, as he and Will Meyrick changed my perspective about wine and asian food. They are the perfect couple that summed up my whole point-of-view toward wine and its world of wonder.

Enough introduction. I hope you're getting as intrigued as I was when I decided to sat on that same chair for three straight session.  Hmm, I hope you are. And as I was at that time wondering "wine me, or wine me not",  these four experts slowly shine me with revelations, I'll slowly uncover in points the light-bulb-moment that I got from them. So bear with me to the next post will ya?

Cheers with a Vouvray,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Movie Review - Skyline

My take on Skyline the movie.


Yeah, read between the lines.
Go save your family, friends, and loved ones from wasting one and a
half hour of their precious time.

Smile on, shine on.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sarong - Exquisite Asian Taste at Jakarta Culinary Festival

It was love at first sight.
It was Saturday, my first day in JCF. There were many curated food stalls in the expo, however, after a couple rounds my mind was occupied by Sarong. The bali-originated resto had four menu on the day, I took my wild pick, and chose these two:

Bangkok Roasted Duck served with chicken rice, fresh cucumber and yellow bean dressing.   
San Choi Boi with minced chicken, water chestnut, cloud ear mushrooms, and homemade chili sauce.

The duck was served first and my taste bud felt that it was ordinary. I think because they cooked it in advance and let them air in the open until I came and ordered. So, it was cold, not that it wasn't good, its just pretty much as any duck I'd taste at most Asian restaurant. The second menu however was a kick! You can definitely see from the description itself, its much more intense in terms of the taste, it was served hot, the sweet salty minced chicken blend in greatly with the spicy chili. The hint of spices are just in the right level, it complement rather than confuse my sensory. Just the way my asian tounge want it. YUM!

The story didn't end there. Only when I went to wine appreciation class by Masterchef Will Meyrick that I found he is the man behind Sarong. No wonder! Now I love San Choi Boi even more. And what an honor to taste Sarong's specialties here in Jakarta. Thanks JCF and Ismaya for making that happen.
Thoughts are on my mind, pondering about chasing my love at first sight all the way to Bali. I'll let you know when that happen. =P

Smile on. Munch on. Shine on.

Fellexandro Ruby
Snack on my tweets @captainruby
Email me at
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