I spent US$1,000 on a bottle of wine once
She was the first Asian to earn the Master of Wine title in 2008 and, since then, Ms Jeannie Cho Lee has become the go-to gal for anything about wine.
She's got tips on everything to do with the beverage, be it how to suss out fake wine or which ones go best with modern Asian cuisine.
The Hong-Kong based Lee is in town to attend the Lucaris Master of Wine seminar tonight. She caught up with My Paper ahead of the event.
What was your first experience with wine?
I was at home, and only 13. My father was drinking wine and it was just a common California jug wine. When I tried it, it did not make an impression on me.
The epiphany came five years later, when I tried a 1982 Bordeaux.
How does it feel to be the first Asian to earn the Master of Wine title?
There is a sense of responsibility when I am in professional settings.
At times, I feel I am representing the entire continent. I feel extremely fortunate to be doing what I love, living in a region that is embracing wine and having people understand and appreciate what it takes to earn the title.
What is your role at the seminar tonight?
I will be leading a tasting session, pairing Singaporean food with wine and using the Lucaris range of crystal glasses.
Does glassware make an impact on the wine?
Our palate perception of different wines (changes) depending on glass shape and (glassware can) help enhance our overall appreciation of wine.
Do Asians prefer a specific type of wine as opposed to Westerners?
It depends on your place of residence, social and cultural norms, dining habits and socio-economic background, rather than being Asian or Western.
How do you see Singapore's wine consumption growing?
Singapore is a more mature wine market than China, Vietnam or other South-east Asian countries.
I see steady growth over the next five years, in line with other mature markets such as the United States.
But I don't see any great increase.
What are your favourite wines?
I love vibrant whites from north-western Spain, north-eastern Italy, Greece, Austria and Germany.
Among reds, I enjoy pinot noir from cool climates around the world, including Burgundy. I am a big fan of indigenous varieties like Bobal, Mencia and Nebbiolo.
What's the most expensive wine you've bought?
My budget for wine is normally under US$500 (S$640), but the most I have spent on a bottle was US$1,000.
Ms Jeannie Cho Lee will appear at the Lucaris Master of Wine seminar at the Grand Hyatt Singapore tonight at 7pm. Tickets are available at $280+ each. To book, e-mail email@example.com