Taste Test

In this monthly column, Shanghai’s most committed dipsomaniacs get together to share and compare some of the wines available around town. It’s a no-nonsense guide to the good, the great and the bloody ordinary of wine. Which wine will win the day this month?


Mat Ryan – Booze dude (www.cuvee.net.cn)

Eric Jones – Website guru (www.terascape.net)

Jacqueline Huynh – Body Corporate manager (she’ll manage your body)

Sarah Trillwood – Leaving Shanghai (so it doesn’t matter what she did)

Courtney Cakouros – Four weeks in town, already on the A list

Leo Boog – Late comer to the tasting; business consultant


WINE 1 – Tarlant Champagne – Eperney, France

“Dry as,” Mat said. This is actually a very well known Champagne and it typifies the varietal with its lovely small bubbles. Courtney likes all things dry, so gave it the thumbs up. Jacqueline claimed: “It’s like a party in my mouth, a retirement party – it’s for old people.” Eric found nothing wrong with it, but maybe that’s because “he’s an old bastard”. Mat was a bit disappointed with the reaction to this, because he loves its musty, Bollinger-esque style. When we came back to this wine later on, Courtney downed a glass in one eager gulp and Leo happily gulped it like a lion in the savannah. “It’s just like water!” he exclaimed.

Web: www.globus-wine.comPrice: RMB 521


WINE 2 – Monkey Puzzle Sauvignon Blanc – Chile 

Jacqueline loved this wine and said, “This is what the Von Trapp family should've popped open if they needed to sing about their favourite things!” Courtney also loved it. Sarah decided the wine reminded her of sitting at Canary Wharf during the English summer. Good times. “This wine punches above its weight,” Mat mused aloud and Leo thought it would go well with something steamed, like sea bass.

Wine Culture. Tel: 6326 8899. Price: RMB 69



WINE 3 – Altos Malbec – Argentina

Eric said he would “happily guzzle this baby down while changing the oil in [his] car.” Sarah claimed it reminded her of Christmas, “sitting in front of the fire.” Courtney thought it was a “smooth, easy, sleepy wine” that went well with Neil Diamond. Jacqueline gave a tight smile and refused to comment further. Leo decided that it was elegant, a good choice if you wanted to woo a lady without loosening the purse strings too much.

Wine Culture. Tel: 6326 8899. Price: RMB 149

WINE 4 – Syrah La Forge Estate – Southern France

Eric swallowed this wine in one gulp and then helped himself to another glass, which is always a good sign. Leo thought this would be the perfect partner for a grilled meal. Sarah thought it was a bit of a difficult thing to drink, probably because her mouth was full of cheese. Jacqueline took a drag of her cigarette and with great stealth, poured her wine into Mat’s glass. Guess that shows what she thought. Mat loved the wine, despite the fact that it’s not Aussie, and didn't even notice his glass had magically been refilled as he talked about cricket to an uncaring audience.

Wine Culture. Tel: 6326 8899. Price: RMB 166



Summing up, Mat declares by dictatorship that the Champagne was the winner. Obviously not at first bite, but coming back to it, the peeps warmed up. The Sauvignon Blanc is probably the best quaffing wine, but the Champagne was the best overall.