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At The Marq Singapore: 1990 Ch Petrus with 1996 D.R.C. Echezeaux, Romanee-St-Vivant

August 11, 2017

20170803_185951When I received an invitation from Simon Cheong, the name behind SC Global, to a casual dinner on 03 August 2017 at The Marq on Paterson Hill, Singapore, I knew it would be anything but ordinary. If you’ve had the chance to meet Simon, you wouldn’t have guessed that beneath his generosity, humility and genuine warmth lay a relentless ambition to produce the very best in luxury real estate projects that has propelled SC Global, a true home-grown Singaporean brand, into international recognition. Its flagship enterprise, The Marq, defines the design language and lifestyle philosophy that SC Global stands for. Comprising only 66 units within twin towers of 24 storeys set within lush and sprawling grounds atop the gentle mound of Paterson Hill, the dinner I attended took place at its show apartment on the 21st floor of the Signature Tower (the other being the Premier Tower).

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Perfect for skinny dipping

When I arrived, the concierge was already expecting me and I was ushered to the elevator which I found myself sharing with the great Mr Oei Hong Leong, who was also headed for the same destination. As I stepped in, I found myself in a beautiful 6000 sq ft apartment occupying the entire floor. Double volume ceilings of 6.5 metres adorn each hall, exuding acres of space and airiness typically found only in good-class bungalows. Extruding externally into open space is your very own 15-metre lap pool (ending in an outdoor jacuzzi) cantilevered over the skyline of Orchard Boulevard, flanked on one side by a wooden sundeck while infinity awaits you at the other edge, thankfully guarded by a glass panel just enough to stop you from swimming off the edge in your drunken state. 20170803_190434The whole apartment has been carefully anointed in tasteful modern décor by The French House of Hermés with every amenity imaginable for ultra-luxurious living: exquisite chandelier for the dining area, kitchen designed and equipped by Miéle (with the help of Chan Soo Khian, another Singaporean talent also responsible for the Soori Resort, Bali), spacious rooms, the master room especially inviting, complete with an unparalleled 360-degree panorama and concierge service to take care of your every need. In short, it’s everything a GCB has, and more, all laid out within an ultra-luxurious apartment. I caught sight of a violoncello standing at a corner of the living area. As if he’d read my mind, Simon came over saying it doesn’t belong to Yo-Yo Ma although the famous cellist had, in fact, performed some Bach inside this very apartment itself on his Stradivarius. Now that’s really something!! As we relaxed in the luxurious soothing ambience of this beautiful masterpiece in designer living, soaking in the majestic panorama enhanced by a pair of Wilson Alexia speakers (powered by Krell monoblocs, of course) that produced sounds of unforced clarity and natural balance, I found that Kok Hong had slipped me a glass of 2003 Dom Perignon Rosé. Dull orange, this champagne exuded mild aromas of grapefruit, honeysuckle and aged mandarins, equally gentle on its entry, infinitely soft and feminine, opening up with great clarity and detail coupled with a stern minerally streak without the usual extreme dryness that usually accompanies rosé champagne. Very fine. I congratulated Kok Hong for being the sommelier of choice not only for FICOFI, but for some of the most powerful market movers in Singapore as well, for the small group of guests that Simon had invited were not only his close buddies; their names also read like a Who’s Who.

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For this evening, Simon had arranged for a private chef, along with a team of requisite wait-staff, to prepare a delectable 5-course Chinese dinner from the apartment’s kitchen, proving that the Miele-equipped facility meets professional standards. The wines were supervised by Dr Ngoi, focusing on quality without sacrificing quantity, generously supplied by himself and Simon. My eyes almost popped when I saw the line-up; certainly only the most refined choices will suffice for such refinement in company and setting! We began with the solitary white of the evening, a 2011 Domaine Henri Boillot Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, poured from magnum. Proffering a deep exuberant bouquet of white flowers, brioche and creme de la crème with some early complexity, this wine was surprisingly gentle in spite of its beautiful concentration, acidity and depth supported by recessed limestone minerals, quite expansive at the finish with further notes of nutmeg and exotic spices. Very lovely.

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Kok Hong pouring more D.R.C. for Dr Ngoi

The twin pair of reds that followed, hailing from the same estate and vintage, were drunk simultaneously, allowing one to focus purely on the element of terroir. The 1996 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Echezeaux Grand Cru (poured from a pair) showed a dull opague purple, proffering distinct elements of tangerines with a hint of lime on the nose and its core, medium-bodied, open and utterly seamless at this stage with recessed red fruits and plums, quite feminine, still retaining good acidity and tension but a tad short. Clearly at full maturity and will not improve further. In comparison, the 1996 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru (poured from a pair) also showed a dull purple but with a stronger hue, again with that distinct note of well-defined tangerines amidst red fruits that appears to be the signature tone of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, displaying more depth and focus and expression with delicious blackberries and redcurrants, slightly distant, utterly seamless between its fruit, acidity and smooth recessed tannins. Distinctly feminine. Like the preceding Echezeaux, this wine has been caught at full maturity and will not improve further.

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Simon Cheong in his element

Simon had also squeezed in a magnum of 2014 The Otazu Bond as a mystery wine, served blind. As I have alluded to last month, this is a blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon, 15% merlot and 25% tempranillo blended by yours truly (with two other FICOFI brothers) when we visited Bodega Otazu last year, limited to only 150 magnums, the fruit derived from the best of Otazu’s D.O.P. parcels and aged for 18 months in French barrels. Following our initial experience when we’d found the wine to be somewhat awkward, Simon had it decanted for 48 hours. That’s right! It paid off handsomely this time, the wine snapping into sharp focus, structured with understated tannins and well-integrated acidity amidst an abundance of blackberries and dark currants, fleshed out by the substantial tempranillo and merlot that added layering and early detail, drinking well. While its Spanish character was evident, it held its own very well against the exalted line-up, so much so that all were in agreement that this wine held great potential.

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The Petrus king is seated left

20170803_212530Then came the piece de resistance, a magnum of 1990 Ch Petrus courtesy of Oei Hong Leong, famous for his hoards of Ch Petrus of which 1990 is his favourite. Displaying a deep garnet red, this wine threw up an initial tinge of brett that, thankfully, blew off very quickly, exuding earthy tones with a great concentration of dark currants, rich black fruits and soy-like characters, slightly dryish but fleshy, imbued with sublime acidity and lush presence, still very fresh, imparting an exciting opulence with lovely tension and earthy pungency, just a tad stern from ferrous elements at its minerally finish. Drinking superbly by any standards, considering that it was literally popped and poured. Truly outstanding.

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1990 Chateau Petrus

To close the evening, we had a 1998 Ch D’Yquem, exuding complex aromas of apricot and nectarine shrouded within a thin veil of paraffin, dense and opulent, richly layered with controlled intensity. Excellent but still youthful, bringing the evening to a most satisfying and memorable conclusion. The Marq has truly lived up to its lofty promise that, nevertheless, wouldn’t have been possible without people who appreciate good company and Simon’s vision of the finest things in life. What can I do to improve The Marq? I can’t think of anything else, except that I’d install a classy turntable like a limited edition gold–plated Michell Gyro Dec with SME V tonearm. Yes, Simon…I know the Cipher CD player is great, but a turntable is truly for discerning connoiseurs, as is The Marq. Please visit http://www.themarq.com.sg or call +65 61002323 should you feel a sudden urge to live there.

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Thank you once again, Simon.

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