Sunday, 28 July 2013

Starhill Culinary Studio’s Wine Class with David Stephan


Wine never ceases to be an evolving subject with so many different facets. With thousands of different types of grapes used for its production, wines of the exact same grapes will surprisingly have different tastes and aromas depending on a lot of factors in winemaking. Prices of wines using the same type of grape might also have big differences. For those who enjoy wine, it’s still a wonder: is an expensive wine always better than a cheaper one? And this was what Starhill Culinary Studio’s wine class aimed to enlighten guests about.

The Wine Studio, located at the Muse Level of Starhill Gallery, is a warm and welcoming sight. The walls are adorned with shelves of varieties of wines; the tables are beautifully designed together with matching spittoon in between each pair of seats. For each guest, there awaits a Starhill Culinary Studio goodie bag, the wine class tasting notes kit and 6 wine glasses waiting to be filled with delicious beverage.




Themed Low vs. High Priced Wines, the wine class last 25th July was conducted by Wine Talk’s exclusive French sommelier, David Stephan. David introduced the students to three different wines: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Bordeaux. Each type had a sample of low priced and high priced label so there was a total of 6 different wine labels tasted (and enjoyed). David started with the Chardonnay: one priced at around RM50 and another priced more than RM100. This also applied to the Pinot Noir and Bordeaux wherein each type had 2 labels with very different price range. He explained the factors affecting the quality and taste of wine very deeply, even showing different vineyard locations on each country’s map for fuller understanding on how the ‘terroir’ influences the wine produced from each vineyard. Terroir, by the way, “is the set of special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with the plant's genetics, express in agricultural products such as wine, coffee, chocolate, tomatoes, heritage wheat, cannabis, and tea.”(Wikipedia)




There was so much information and knowledge to absorb from David.  Some of which are difference between barrel and steel for storage of wines, weather and climate, some grape disease called botrytis that help produce good, sweet wines, biodynamic agriculture, and so much more (this David is really a walking wine-cyclopedia!). But probably the most interesting part is, of course, actually tasting each type of wine and discovering that the expensive one doesn’t necessarily mean that it suits your taste better. The Chardonnay, for one, received more votes on the lower-priced label.



Oh, and here are some of the canapés served during the class…




What was supposed to be a 3-hour session (6:30pm – 9:30pm) lasted longer than expected. Everybody was having a great time sampling the wines and asking David for more clarification about wine. There are just amazingly so many things to know and talk about this subject…does older mean better, what wines can be aged for years, what vintage is good for this certain type of wine, etc. The guests were very interactive and expressive of their interests and even shared their personal stories about wine.

One of the highlights of the night was a lucky draw for 2 bottles of wine: Monte da Peceguina Rosé (an exclusive label from Wine Talk). There were 2 winners who each bagged a bottle of this wine from David. Hooray for these guests!






Here’s the sommelier, David Stephan, with some of the guests…






And here are the 6 wonderful wines tasted during the class…




This wine class in Starhill Culinary Studio was truly wonderful and memorable. All of us had a great time (if only the night wasn’t so short!) and we all met a bunch of great people who share the same interest with wine. For those who would like to have better understanding and knowledge about this subject, attending a wine class like this at Starhill Culinary Studio will surely take you to a higher level of wine appreciation and experience. Cheers, guys!


For more information about wine class schedule, visit www.starhillculinarystudio.com 
or call +603 2782 3810

For inquiries about wine or about David Stephan, visit www.winetalk.com.my or call 1300 88 9788