The title of the Sunday Times "foodie" article "A Vino With My Zi Char" should have been a giveaway. A wine connoiseur who risks his keenly developed palate for hawker foodfare?
The 50-year old former marketing consultant, whose market crashed after the collapse of the Twin Towers of Sep 11, had set up his Le Vigne wine shop in expat haven Holland Grove Road. So far so good, the French name, the foreigner-trap location. Even the language sounds typical of what is expected to be regurgitated from a wine connoiseur, "Regardless of the price, the balance between fruit and acid, oak and tannins is essential for an enjoyable wine." Even more impressively, he predicts the next big trend in fermented grape juice, "Argentinian Malbec red wine. Once used extensively in Bordeaux blends, the grape does very well on its own, offering deep dark richness in fruit and colour. It often attains very high levels of complexity, while at the same time, it can be velvety and silky." Now, we don't know if this free infomation nugget is culled from books, websites or attending wine tastings, his choice of source for knowledge on the subject.
Then came the $64,000 question. If you could invite someone living or dead to a meal with you, who would you choose? Eurasian Lewis Mitchell, married to Patrican Brtton who, we are told, worked in the wine industry for 16 years, both calling themselves Singaporeans, the oenophile responded thus:
"Prophet Muhammad. He is the most influential person in history."
Or we get it, the treasured Thomson Family Shiraz and Langmeil Freedom will be accompanied by halal char siew rice.
Before the Al Qaeda types waste time plotting a hit, this man's answer to the reporter's final question, "What would your last meal be?":
"I'm not going to die, so this is not relevant to me."
In 2001, Frederic Brochet, of the University of Bordeaux, conducted two separate and very mischievous experiments. In the first test, Brochet invited 57 wine experts and asked them to give their impressions of what looked like two glasses of red and white wine. The wines were actually the same white wine, one of which had been tinted red with food coloring. But that didn't stop the experts from describing the "red" wine in language typically used to describe red wines. One expert praised its "jamminess," while another enjoyed its "crushed red fruit." Not a single one noticed it was actually a white wine.
And they say beer kills brain cells.