Wine connoisseur I am not, but there’s something to be said about the quality of wines when I wake up at 3 am after drinking 5 glasses of various wines a few hours ago and not experience a heavy head, dry mouth, and dry skin.
To be fair, I’m more of a Moscato / Riesling drinking. *I can hear the snickers from here. * I have ventured out of my comfort zone a few times. My foray out of the aperitifs and dessert wines led me to Sangria, Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Merlot. I quickly realised I wasn’t a red-wine enthusiast. For years, I refused to try any reds, thinking that all reds were bitter, dry, and headache-inducing. I discovered later that I had low tolerance for the tannins in Australian red wines after trying glass of a New Zealand red (I forgot what it was). Still, I preferred my whites to the reds.
Last night, I had another revelation when I was invited by AT Marketing Consultancy to the Grand Opening of Wine Bonanza at the Village Hotel Albert Court. This time it was courtesy of the fine wines picked by Bai, Wine Bonanza’s amazing French-trained Sommelier. Unassuming and down-to-earth, he was at hand to refill our wines and gave our little group bits of information before he dashed off to attend to the other guests who came, media personalities, expats, and celebrities.
I started with my safe Prosecco before being enticed to try the red by the lovely V with whom I made an acquaintance along with her husband C early in the evening.
“You have to smell the wine. The smell will tell you whether the wine is good or not good. If you can smell the peach or pear, you know it’s good. If you don’t smell any fruit or it smells bad to you, then it’s not a good wine,” said Bai with a laugh. His talent was such that he was able to sell a $1M bottle of wine. I thought my leg was being pulled until I saw the photo of a dapper Bai, his smile wide, holding a massive bottle. Unfortunately, I couldn’t read the label.
Since my nose was slightly stuffed from the tail-end of a nasty cold, I didn’t trust my olfactory nerves. My taste buds were a different matter. I tried Italian, Chilean, French whites and reds and they all glided smoothly down my throat. They all paired nicely with the delectable hors d’oeuvre prepared by the chef and his band of hardworking staff. My favourite bits were the mini-buns with pulled pork and the raw oysters. The cheese platter was a hit, as well. I spared a thought for V who declined to join me as he had to work on slides and codes. I raised a toast – or 4 to him.
To say that Wine Bonanza was serious about their wines was an understatement. Bai explained that he personally selected and tasted the wines on display. He showed us a bottle of the L’Apassione wine by Sartori, one of the wines we had been drinking. It was such a hit, there was one bottle left on the shelf.
Surrounded by European style architecture, Wine Bonanza is managed by the team which recently bought Museo at Sentosa Cove . The new gourmet and wine haven is a terrific addition to the other cafes and restaurants within the area. Guests have the option of dining alfresco, sitting inside at the bar or at the cosy tables neatly tucked against the walls.
There’s also a large communal table on the raised dais close to the kitchen where diners can get a glimpse and a whiff of the scrumptious delights coming out of the kitchen. For those who prefer a more secluded setting, the cellar provides private dining, great for couples or small groups. Something about the rock walls reminded me of the Castello di Amorosa’s wine cellar in Napa Valley, a plus for those yearning for the wineries of California.
For the wine connoisseurs out there, head out to Wine Bonanza and tell me what you think.
180 Albert Street, #01-09 Albert Court S189971
Reservations hotline: 6909 3828
Operating hours: Sunday to Thursday: 5pm to 11pm (last order 10pm)
Friday, Sat, PH and PH Eve: 5pm to 1am (last order for food is 10pm, after 10pm bar bites till 11pm)