Going To California
Cuisine & Wine Asia|July - August 2020
Daisuke Kawai is the co-founder and Chief Sommelier at La Terre. He’s received numerous accolades that include Best Sommelier of the Year at the World Gourmet Summit’s World Gourmet Awards for 2013, 2017, and 2019, Bar Manager of the Year 2018, Bar of the Year 2018 and Old World Wine List of the Year 2018. He’s been a panel judge at wine competitions such as the Asia Wine and Spirits Awards and has accumulated over 20 years of experience in the F&B industry. We ask him to sit down and taste wines from California, while he shares his expertise and knowledge with the readers of Cuisine & Wine Asia. All these wines are easily available for purchase in the Singapore market, and can easily match with local delights.

Winemaking’s origins in California starts off with Spanish occupation of the region in the late 1700s, with origins from Spanish missionaries bringing vines and practices of winemaking. The purpose, of course, was making it for sacramental wine. The first Golden Age of California wines California Gold Rush started in the mid-19th century and lasted all the way until Prohibition in the 1900s. Even then, the beginnings of the second Golden Age of California Wines only started at the end of the 1950s to the early 1960s, to bounce back to the glory that it was at the first Golden Age.

California’s unique location, climate, and terroir make it an ideal state in the USA for growing grapes. Raining only six months out of the year, the summer months are warm and dry, allowing the grapes to ripen to their full potential, while the ocean air and cooling winds keep the land moist enough for the grapes at night. The state’s mountainous land also means volcanic soil, which makes certain areas perfect to grow grapes. Such is the wonder of California, and no other state can ever compare!

Gallo Family Vineyards, Chardonnay, California, USA 2018

“When you see it in the glass, you get a brilliant, lemon yellow, with an aroma of peach, apricot, and chestnut. The first taste of it gives you a fresh acidity like citrus fruits and has a moderate clean palate. The wine itself is light-bodied with clean flavors.”

Food Pairings: Simple flavours work best with this white wine, and anything stronger would overpower the wine. Thus, I would recommend steamed chicken rice to go with this Chardonnay.

Beringer Founder ’s Estate, Chardonnay, California, USA 2016

“Straw yellow at first glance, the aroma of jasmine, herbs, fresh mint, and Japanese Nashi pears emanate from the wine. On the tongue, it’s dry, with medium acidity, and the freshness of the wine means you get great harmony when paired with simple dishes with light flavours.”

Food Pairings: White cheese tend to go very well with this Chardonnay since the wine’s dryness and freshness go well with the slightly salty curds. However, for a more local, lighter, and comforting taste, fish steamboat would go very well with this wine.

Wines from American Viticultural Area: California

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