Featured User: Aaron Tan

Aaron Tan is from Malaysia but has spent a good 11 of his 28 years in Australia. He now lives in Sarawak on the island of Borneo, where he runs a construction equipment and mapping-based business. Despite how far his vocation and location is from wine now, he was once making wine in Australia. When he graduated as an engineer in Melbourne, he decided to immerse himself in his love for wine. He got his big break when David Bicknell, whom he considers a great mentor, gave him the chance to manage their laboratory at Oakridge Wines (Yarra Valley) in 2016. Since then, he has worked in a contract winemaking facility in the Macedon Ranges, and helped out friends and vintners in Australia and Germany. He hopes to one day cultivate great vineyards and make wines that touch the heart and soul! Delectable: What sparked your passion for wine? Aaron Tan: Moving to Australia and food. Wine wasn’t a thing I grew up with, so when I moved to Australia, it intrigued me that people drink it on a daily basis. My love for dining out’s also to blame – I’ve always been into wine pairings and the stories told by the sommeliers that did it have always interested me. The wine bug bit hard when I decided to attend the WSET Level 2, and the rest is history. D: What wine region are you wild about right now? AT: Beaujolais ! My passion is and will always be German Riesling , but great Beaujolais is just so drinkable when young and indistinguishable from the greatest red Burgundies when aged. Coupled with their general affordability, it’s the perfect wine to get people hooked. D: What is the most unusual wine you’ve ever tried? AT: A petillant Niagara from Hokkaido (Japan), made by Jean Marc Brignot and Tadayuki Uramoto. Tasted so much like Cola – totally blew my mind. D: What is your golden rule for wine? AT: Share it. Wine is social, it brings people together. D: Say you’re not allowed to have wine, what is your second option? AT: Sake . Call it Asian pride, but my second love’s sake. Took me a while to fall in love with it though. Always thought it was such a homogenous beverage category until I tried a Junmai from Aramasa (these guys are total mavericks in the world of sake), which kick-started a whole phase of exploring different rice, breweries, and regions even. I now drink sake regularly. D: Choose a movie, book, quote, or song and pair it with a wine AT: I know this is done often, but I’ve never really thought about it. Recently, I had a 2010 Prieure Roch Nuits St. Georges 1er Clos de Argillieres and I reckon it would go really well with Metallica’s rendition of “Enter Sandman” with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. The wine can be challenging for some with a combination of white wine-like reduction, stem funk, floral elements, red-fruits, with searing acidity – appears discordant, but like the song, the cacophony manifested as a masterpiece. D: If you were a wine, what wine would you be? AT: 2017 Keller Scheurebe Trocken . No other wine has taught me more as this one. Working on it, then drinking it altered my horizons, rattled me to my core, and defined the way I work now. I remember clearly spending three whole days picking and sorting these grapes in the cold cellar. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought this to be the venerable and mysterious Keller G-Max. But when you ask Julia (Klaus-Peter Keller’s wife) about it, she goes, “We do this because we love it”. The only thing that ran through my head was, “Really?! This is a 15 Euro wine”. Insane! And the resulting wine is just that. When blinded against some of the greatest young white wines last year (think Raveneau and the G-Max), this stood proud and tall – an extraordinary feat. So for me, I endeavor to be what this wine represents – what’s life without passion?

Weingut Keller

Trocken Scheurebe 2017

The effort that went into this wine... Insane... I can still remember Julia's satisfied expression at the end of it. She proudly exclaims - this will be a £15 wine... we do it for ourselves because we love this wine. I learnt a lot from this wine and finally tasting it is an experience that will stick with me for life. For me, this is the baby 17' G-Max!

In case you're wondering, we spent an entire day picking these grapes from old Scheurebe vines in the La Borne section of Morstein. Pre-sorting in the vineyard and handling the grapes with utmost care... Placing... NOT THROWING them into small red containers. One could easily mistaken this for the legendary G-Max when picking. This was followed by two days of sorting in a cold cold cellar. Only perfect ripe berries were allowed. Crazy!
— 10 months ago

Severn, Bob and 12 others liked this
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@Aaron Tan Aaron Enjoyed reading the feature on you. You lead an interesting life. Malaysia 🇲🇾 is a beautiful place with wonderful people, sites and food. Cheers from Canada 🍷
Aaron Tan

Aaron Tan

@P A Thanks! Glad you've visited Malaysia. Haven been over to Canada yet. Hope to be there one of these days 😁😁😁
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@Aaron Tan Aaron, Canada is always welcoming but may I suggest that unless you love lots of snow that you come in the summer.
Cheers 🍷

Joh. Bapt. Schäfer

Goldloch Riesling 2017

This was my favourite in a very interesting blind tasting involving 17' rieslings from 4 different German regions - Nahe, Rheinhessen, Rheingau, and Pfalz. The wines were hauntingly similar at the start, but started to reveal themselves when left to their own devices. The tasting reinforced my belief that German rieslings best show their terrior aged or post-ferment, unsulphured and straight from the tank/barrel.

Regardless, I kept coming back to this wine. It was perhaps the most open of the lot. I guess the vineyard does help here, given the typical opulence of Goldloch - something I picked up while helping Caroline at Diel. The nose definitely shows some ripeness, with apricots and quince dominating, but pulled back with aromas of fresh herbs. The palate's fleshy and salty, with some spicy intrigue, oily texture, and a driven acidity. It's so drinkable at the moment.

NB: I think I need to pay a little more attention to JB Schafer after this. I gotta admit, I might have gravitated towards the Wagner-Stempel if it wasn't a blind. JB Schafer doesn't have the rep yet, espeically given how little their kabi sold for in the last VDP auctions, but I reckon riesling drinkers will be caught off guard in the future if this winery continues in this trajectory.
— a month ago

Severn, Ira and 16 others liked this

Stella di Campalto Podere San Giuseppe

Riserva Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese 2010

So tightly wound, but I loved it. Sexy bouquet - floral, red currant, herbs. Palate had a mineral spine, a real energy to the wine. It isn't showing it's all at the moment but the density, length, and texture just screams potential greatness. A Brunello I would drink anyday but probably needs another 10 years. — a month ago

Trixie, Daniel P. and 19 others liked this

Dr Edge

Tasmania Chardonnay 2018

Wow. This was delicious. I knew Peter Dredge was good, but I didn't expect this. An enormously complex chardonnay. Still tightly wound on the nose - smokey, flinty, herbaceous, with whiffs of the sea. The palate's got a lovely texture, chewy white phenolics of sorts - like in my favourite rizza's. Green apples and lime, a nice lactic feel, feels like yoghurt, but the finish is straight with good focus and length. Easily one of the best Australian chards this year. — a month ago

Tom, Scott and 10 others liked this

Domaine Berthaut-Gerbet

Clos Vougeot Grand Cru Pinot Noir 2015

I've said this time and again - I love Amelie's wines, but I guess it's time to stop... since Nicolas has now joined the estate. What a dream team! Amelie's Rousseau-like touch on the wines, with Nicolas' DRC-emboldened viticulture skills. I love Berthaut-Gerbet!

The 2015 Clos Vougeat is the first vintage of this wine. Got this straight from the domaine and was planning to keep it around a little longer, but I got tempted. Plus I wanted to share my love for Berthaut-Gerbet with a good friend.

Sure it's practically murder, but gawd, it's so pleasurable. The bouquet was filled with red and dark berries, rose and sweet spice. Palate's so rich, yet energetic. Oak, seamless. Texture, supple. Finish, endless with an underlying minerality. The wine was just vibrating with energy. A fine and pure example of CV. So glad this showed so well, given how lots of 15' red Burgs have just shut right down.
— a month ago

Iwan, Ira and 32 others liked this
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@Aaron Tan Aaron fun post Cheers 🍷
Aaron Tan

Aaron Tan

@P A I love this domaine and it's getting better each vintage.

Nicolas Faure

Aux Argillieres Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2017

Gorgeous, but trumped by the other whole bunch pino on the table (from Macedon, Aus). To me, it feels like an incomplete wine but BM said it just needs time. Smells and taste like a fresh ferment. Nose was floral, bunchy, brimming with juicy red fruits, and also reminded me of jujubee tea. The palate was so fresh and energetic, finish made me think of cincau/grass jelly. Looked at it over 3 days, even more floral and developed a spiciness even. Was hoping for that mineral kick. Still looks like a fresh ferment to me, but an awesome one! — a month ago

Serge, Keith and 12 others liked this

Cobaw Ridge

Pinot Noir 2016

Red and black fruits, floral, spice, and whole bunch tang (herbs, smoke). Touched by oak for sure, but almost invisible. Snappy tannins and an impressive finish. Definitely a wine to look out for.

Few things to note:

- This was the better whole bunch Pinot on the table. Could be the extra year or perhaps more oak in the vinification - the wine looks more complete that Nicolas'.
- V16 was a warm year and I think this worked to the advantage of Cobaw Ridge's vineyard. It's typically cooler than Bindi's, which didn't exactly nail the vintage imo. I have found some of Cobaw Ridge's wines too green in the past (especially their popular Lagrein), but this was spot on.
- Picture taken from Wine and Country, which is an awesome shop in Daylesford btw!
— a month ago

Severn, P and 7 others liked this

Müller-Catoir

Mandelring Dry Scheurebe

GP in the blind, "Exotic aromatics, racy, juicy, salty. Could it be scheu?" Great job, GP!

I'm gonna give it a win for me on producer, even though I totally forgot the name "Muller-Catoir". Instead, I described the estate - in the Pfalz, famed for its wildcard varieties, especially rieslaner and scheu, and KP started making rieslaner and scheu because Julia fell in love with the varieties while interning there.

I guess it wasn't a hard guess once the variety was revealed - mainly by method of elimination since hardly any scheu enters Australia, short of the occasional Keller, and none of KP's 17' scheu got in. I think like KP, Muller-Catoir really nailed the 17' scheu trocken. Juicy, dense, spicy, and super energetic. So delicious right now, but I reckon it'll stand the test of time.
— a month ago

Emily, Ira and 17 others liked this

Renaud Bruyere & Adeline Houillon

La Croix Rouge Arbois Chardonnay 2015

A stellar expression of chardonnay. The density, length, and energy reminded me of a great Chablis!

Lemons, sea spray, flint, hay, like having electricity running over your tongue. Such a deep minerality. Needs lots of air to flesh out some fruit richness. What a beautiful wine - if only it was easier to come by these days.
— a month ago

Severn, Ira and 15 others liked this

Emrich-Schönleber

Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Auf der Lay 2017

Tasting this was like entering a massive cave through a narrow opening. It starts off light, almost like water, then when it all seems a little ungiving, it expands into a palate-coating monster of great depth, purity, and length. You just can't tell how deep the cave is, but know for certain that you've just stumbled upon one of the great wonders of the world, and in this case, riesling. Aptly bottled in magnums and double magnums only, because this is a wine for the ages and one for sharing.

I loved this at the VDP auctions nearly 9 months ago, and still love it now. I feel it's even more open than before, with the nose clearly showing more than my previous notes - stone fruits, chamomile, sage, aniseed, sea spray. Discounting KP's mind-bending 15' Pettenthal TBA and 17' Pettenthal GG, the 17' AdL is my wine-of-the-2018 VDP auctions, mainly because you can still afford to buy it's brilliance. If you find bottles, pounce on them!
— a month ago

Severn, Ira and 17 others liked this
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@Aaron Tan Aaron Good post Cheers 🍷
Aaron Tan

Aaron Tan

@P A Thanks 👍