• Alsace Wine Region of France

    There are seven primary wine-producing regions in France: Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Loire, Provence, and the Rhone Valley comprise the dominant French wine regions. These regions are known for particular grape varietals as dictated by the district’s indigenous terroir.

    Unlike the rest of France, Alsace names its wines by grape varietal instead of just place names of origin. White wines comprise the vast majority of Alsace wines, with Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling as the most noteworthy of the Alsace varietals.

    Where exactly is Alsace?

    Alsace wine region is located in the northeast part of France on the border with Germany and Switzerland. To the west, Alsace region has Champagne and Burgundy wine regions and to the south, Jura and Savoie; thus the Alsace wine region benefits from an ideal location in the heart of Europe. Having a mixed culture of German and French, there is a strong influence on the heritage, gastronomy and even on the wines of Alsace.

    Alsace wine region boasts beautiful hilly vineyards stretching along the Rhine river in the north-east of France, they share the production of the 51 grand crus, 33 in the Haut-Rhin and 18 in the Bas-Rhin. Alsace wines enjoy exceptional diversity because of the diverse terroirs of these two sub-regions. Alsace also has the highest percentage of certified organic and biodynamic producers in France and the region has a long history of small, family-owned wineries, many of which date to the 1600 and 1700s.

    What so special about Alsace wines?

    Renowned worldwide for their subtlety and elegance, the Alsace wines are unique for their incredible palette of aromas and flavors. The number of Grand Crus make Alsace wine region unique among other regions of France, with a whopping of 51 Grand Crus come under only 3 appellations, wine from one grand cru will taste different than a wine produced in another Grand Cru. Reflecting the complexity and richness of the Alsace wine-growing region, each Grand Cru wine has its own specific geological identity that gives it a unique intensity, subtle vibrations, a remarkable texture and infinitely delicate aromas.

    For an Alsace Wine to earn the title of Grand Cru, it must come from a vineyard with the Grand Cru designation. According to the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) only Riesling, Muscat, Gewurztraminer, or Pinot Gris grape varieties (the so-called “Noble Varieties” of Alsace”) can be used. Yields must be low. A Grand Cru will also have the name of the vineyard on the bottle.

    Beyond its Grand Cru wines, Alsace is noted for its sparkling wine, Crémant d’Alsace. Like Champagne, these wines are made in the “traditional method”  with a secondary fermentation in the bottle. From starter to dessert, Crémant d’Alsace is a renowned sparkling wine, thanks to its light crispness and the zing of its delicate bubbles. 

    Alsace is one of the greatest, but least-known treasures of the wine world. Often cited as a favourite among wine professionals, its authentic, elegant and well-balanced wines are made to be shared and enjoyed.

    OWC is pleased to bring in some exclusive Alsace wines into Singapore, feel free to browse our Alsace wines selection at our eShop, happy shopping!

  • Investing in Fine Wine?

    This question would have probably came into many wine enthusiasts’ mind before, what are wealthy families collecting and is fine wine one of them? In recent years, wealthy investors have increasingly included alternative forms of investment, such as fine wine, art or vintage cars, to their portfolio.

    What is fine wine investment?

    The quality and scarcity of fine wine appreciates over time – and so does its value, this is the underlying principle of investing in wine. Today, wine investing is no longer an elite pastime – there are wine stock exchanges, wine specific investment funds, professional storage solutions to store your bottles as they age, and e-Commerce platform to buy and sell your assets.

    Why fine wine investment?

    The fine wine market has outperformed most global equities and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and is less volatile than real estate or gold, it can be a profitable alternative investment option for investors and wine drinkers to diversify their portfolio. You can keep abreast of your wines’ valuation by following the London International Vintners Exchange (Liv-Ex), however be aware that wine is not as liquid as the stock market, but is definitely more liquid than real estate and alternative assets like fine art.

    Types of wine to invest in

    Majority of wine produced in the world is meant for consumption, rather than for investments, so even among those meant to be aged and kept for years, not all can be considered for investment. Across all the wine producers around the world, only about 250 produce investment grade fine wines, and about 90% of these investment grade wines are produced in Bordeaux, France. The Grand Cru wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy have long dominated the scene and wine investors typically need to hold cases of wines for at least 5 or more years to allow it time to become rarer, before selling it at a profit in the secondary market

    How to start your wine investment?

    1. Purchase and resell individual bottles or cases of particular wines.
    2. Purchase shares in a fund that specialises in wine investments – like a mutual fund
    3. Invest with a wine company that offers wine portfolio management service

    However prior to choosing the your wine investment channels, you need to do the following works:

    • Step 1 – Research about wines
    • Step 2 – Determine how much you can invest
    • Step 3 – Decide where you want to buy your wines from
    • Step 4 – Determine how you want to store your wines
    • Step 5 – Decide where and how you want to sell your wines

    OWC offers a wide range of solutions from wine sourcing, logistic arrangement, wine storage to “En Primeur” services for our wine collectors and investors . OWC also enable wine entrepreneurs to leverage on OWC eShop platform to sell their wines and auctioning of their prized possessions. Talk to us for a more in-depth discussion.

  • Wine tasting basics

    How to taste wine like a professional wine taster, even if you are just a beginner? To be a good wine taster, all you need are the 5 S’s (see, swirl, sniff, sip, and savor), and you will be able to get the most out of any glass of wine

    See – Hold the glass at 45 degree angle over a white background. Look for the color and clarity of the wine. Colors give the taster clues to the grape variety, and whether the wine was aged in wood. As a general rule, color saturation tends to go hand in hand with flavor intensity.

    Swirl – Swirl the wine a couple times. This is to increase the surface area of the wine by spreading it over the inside of the glass, allowing the aromas to escape from solution and reach your nose. Heavy wines will be deeper in color and generally more intense on the nose. Sweeter wines, being denser will leave thick, viscous streaks down the inside of the glass when swirled.

    Sniff – Great wine is enticing on the nose and gives you a hint of what is to come, so sniffing the wine before tasting is essential. A wine’s quality can be judged by its nose and taste.

    Sip – Take a slightly larger sip than usual and roll the wine around your mouth for 3-5 seconds, exposing it to all of your taste buds. This is where the complex taste experience and characteristics of a wine happen, pay attention to the initial flavors that stand out – sweetness, fruitiness, saltiness, acidity, bitterness, and alcohol.

    Savour – Take another sip of wine, this time slurp the wine. Note the aftertaste of the wine, how long does the finish last? A good, 60 second or longer flavor as an aftertaste is a good sign of quality. Sometimes, you will pick up things in the finish that was not detectable in the initial taste.

    There is no right or wrong in your taste, as everyone has a different taste. But one thing for sure is that the best wines in the world are meant to be enjoyed with friends and family over a meal.

    Our Wine Coterie (OWC) has our own wine tasting room that acts as a waterhole for wine-lovers to conduct and savour wine tasting sessions with good company. Do check out our events regularly.

  • Premium Cru, Grand Cru and Grand Cru Classe

    Wine classifications are a means of categorizing and describing different wines based on how they’re made, where they’re made, and the quality of the wine you’re about to enjoy. While every country has its own classification system, most people are more familiar with the French wine classification as some of the most incredible wines are produced in Burgundy (France)

    What is Cru and their differences?

    Red Burgundy wines are classified based on their cru, which means “growth” and the wine classification indicates that the wine has been legally verified as a product of Burgundy. There are four quality categories in the Burgundy classification system for white and red wines, with Grand Cru at the top of the pyramid, followed by Premier Cru, the “village” wines, and the generic Bourgogne category at the bottom.

    Grands Crus appellations are the “elite” of Burgundy wines and there are only 33 grands crus in France. Grand Cru status is only granted to small areas or vineyards (less that 1% of the total production in Burgundy) and it is jealously preserved and coveted. They refer to the quality of a particular vineyard and the terroir in which the grapes grow. It is the highest and most well-respected wine classification within the Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC).

    Wine labeled with Premier Cru is just a notch below Grand Cru wine. This wine is still highly coveted and the vineyards bestowed with the lavish title are among the best in the world.

    What about Grand Cru Classe?

    As of 1855 Bordeaux Wine Official Classification by the declaration of Emperor Napoleon III , a list of the top ranked wines, named the Grand Crus Classés (Great Classified Growths) was introduced to carry a mark of high prestige, tied to a specific chateau or estate, rather than a contiguous vineyard.

    Within the Grand Cru Classé list, wines were further ranked and placed in one of five divisions. This classification has never been revised except in 1973, when Château Mouton Rothschild was promoted from Second Grand Cru to Premier Grand Cru.

    The best of the best wines were assigned the highest rank; only four wines – Château Latour, Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Margaux and Château Haut-Brion were deemed worthy.

    Have you tried any of these four wines? If yes, what is your verdict and do they deserve such high acclamation?

    Our Wine Coterie (OWC) private membership follows the Cru wine classification, with Grand Cru Classe as our highest tier with the best exclusive privilege and benefits OWC can offers. Do join us to enjoy an unparalleled fine wine experiences.