Aleks runs the beverage program across Burnt Ends Group's collection of restaurants, and is a pillar of Singapore's emerging natural wine scene in general. Without further ado, over to him:
When you travel to large regions such as Veneto, Rioja or Bordeaux, you often hear the term "sea of uninteresting wines". This is not because these places are famous for bland, undrinkable samples, it’s just that the worthy gems constantly struggle to shine because so much has been done for commercializing and selling truckloads of boring wine to the international market. Now on the complete contrary, we have the case of the Adriatic. It may not be on the "World's Finest Wine Regions" list, but one great bottle is all the PR you need to fall in love with this fascinating area forever.
One of the most interesting wines I've tried in a long time. Great to have on a list if you have an extensive selection of bubbles, this will really blow people's minds. Pours deep orange in the glass with persistent bubbles all the way through. Oxidative aromas leaning more towards fruit, but opens up to more florals with air. The acidity is not extremely high, but the tannins are. Really grippy thanks to the extended skin contact and amphora. Long, dry finish. Original stuff, well done Tomac.
Boškinac was one of the first wines from Croatia I've had the honor to try. For a young wine enthusiast back in the day, this had First Growth bling to it. The winery has evolved beautifully over time and Ocu is the perfect example of that. If classic winemakers anywhere in the world decide to produce orange wine one sunny day, their specimens usually turn out to be quite monotonous and not worthy of the price tag. Not this one. This sky-rockets to the orange wine hall of fame immediately.
Did you know that Zoran's twin is making wine in Orebić? He probably kept that from you, didn't he? Well now you know. Denis Bogoević is a madman when it comes to the indigenous Grk. Visiting his winery really opened my eyes on what it means to live fully immersed with your surroundings. The way he talks about natural wine is the way he lives it, no gimmicks, no bullshit. This rare find is something I gift or open with very good friends when I can get my hands on it. It's textural, it's structured, it's complex. It's unbelievable.
Ivica Matošević is an extraordinary human being and a true inspiration for many Croatian winemakers, young & old. I love every single bottling that he puts out, but the Grimalda White just takes the cake. A blend of Istrian Malvazija, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay born and raised on the marl soils of the Brdo vineyards. Some like to call Grimalda a true crowd pleaser because of its unobtrusiveness and adaptability to different palates. It’s fruity, elegant, but serious – all at the same time.
Pick #5: Kovač-Marinović Plavac 2018 (Sold Out)
You may know Marko as the main PR dude behind Gaggan Anand or the organizer of Austria's biggest natural wine festival Karakterre, but Mr. Kovač has a few more ventures up his sleeve. He now produces wine with the Marinović family in Korčula and it's bloody delicious. The first thing you notice on this Plavac is its strikingly high acidity which marries the rich fruit concentration of the varietal impeccably. This is a breath of fresh air on the scene and I'm buying cases of it.