Bring on the Cote du Rhone...

I guess you can’t get a more divided opinion than that!

I hope most of you got the humour? The references to dung were intentional, to put most off the scent (pardon the pun), so they don’t buy it, and there is more for us. I very wise, venerable wine merchant once told me, “Curtis, Give them what they want, so we can drink what we want.”

So, are brave enough to broach a bottle of this 2003 Coudoulet Rouge?

Putting the Southern Rhone wines into context, or in this case red wines, they are greatly underappreciated and it’s hard to actually fathom why, although my suspicion is simply wine snobbery and hierarchy amongst the French connoisseurs.

Whether the wines are to your taste or not is clearly your decision however, if you are open to good advice, this region, or Appellation, delivers extraordinary price/quality rapport.

A timely piece on the Southern Rhone and its 18 Villages arrived on my desktop this morning, written by an intrepid Singapore sommelier, Shalom Chin. Actually, it is a heroic piece and I would like sommeliers everywhere to take note; this is the level of writing skills and opinion you should be attaining.

And, I would like wine enthusiasts take note; sommeliers are the new ‘wine writers’ and it’s time to be listening to them and reading what they have to say; they are at the coalface, they are the gatekeepers to wine discovery.

Chin has been travelling the wine regions of the world and also worked the vintage at Undhof Salomon in Krems, Austria, all part of his ongoing studies as he is nearly completed the WSET (Wine & Spirits Educational Trust) in readiness for the Diploma Exam and undertaking a Wine & Food MBA next year.

I am expecting him to go all the way, and also attain the Master of Wine, as he has an exceptional palate and developing good writing skills. You can show your support by following his blog on

I cannot post Chins’ Rhone Valley article on Asia Sentinel as he not (yet) part of the contribution team, so I am providing a link to the piece – and highly recommend your read it

And if I could share a little Intel from another sommelier, who is now based in Shanghai and has been working with the largest importer their running there fine wine division. I asked him what grape variety or style of red wine did he think will become the most popular in Mainland China and actually translate into sustainable (and one assumes considerable volume) of consumption?

He replied emphatically, “Grenache, from the Southern Rhone and Languedoc-Roussillon. They already love the sweetness and richness of this grape. It will outsell Bordeaux and Burgundy”.

So there you have it, straight from the 馬 mouth.