Hank’s Five-Star Wines: A New Guide to Quality & Value in Malaysia
Have you ever found yourself lost in a wine shop, surrounded by endless options and unable to make a decision? It’s a common dilemma. You walk in intending to pick up a bottle or two, but the overwhelming choices leave you feeling confused and frustrated. You end up settling for the same old label you know because it’s familiar, but deep down, you know there must be better options out there.
Hank’s Five-Star Wines Malaysia
Well, the good news is that consumers in Malaysia now have access to a carefully curated selection of 60 officially-rated “Five-Star” wines. From over 150 labels submitted for evaluation, these wines were handpicked by experts from the Sommelier Association of Malaysia (SOMLAY). Teams meticulously blind-tasted and scored them on a 100-point scale. Blind tasting means they weren’t aware of the wine’s identity during the evaluation process. This ensures an unbiased judgment based solely on the wine’s quality. Only wines that scored 85 points or above were awarded the prestigious five-star rating.
The introduction of Hank’s Five-Star Wines is a game-changer for wine enthusiasts in Malaysia. Whether you’re a novice or a connoisseur, this list is a valuable resource that ensures you can find high-quality wines at various price points. Hank’s Five-Star Wines are listed in two categories: those priced at RM100 and under and those between RM101 and RM300. This guarantees a selection to suit a range of budgets.
The list features a diverse array of wines from various regions worldwide. From classic Old World wines to vibrant New World labels, there is something to suit every palate. Whether you’re a fan of robust reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, prefer a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, or hope to try a new varietal, Hank’s Five-Star Wines list has you covered.
Choosing the Right Wine for You
With such an impressive selection, how do you go about choosing the right Hank’s Five-Star Wine for you? Here are a few pointers to help you navigate the options:
1. Consider your budget: Hank’s Five-Star Wines covers those below RM 100 and between RM 101 and RM 300, so finding something within your budget is highly likely.
2. Think about food pairing: Different wines pair better with certain foods. If you’re unsure about which wine to pair with your meal, don’t hesitate to seek advice from one of the experts tending to Hank’s store. The team participate in regular training, and the head of Hank’s in The Intermark where I shop, Hans Ong, is actually the secretary of SOMLAY!
3. Embrace experimentation: Don’t limit yourself to one type of wine. Explore different regions and grape varieties to discover your preferences. Take advantage of the free tastings of a selected range daily on-site, and sign up for Hank’s bi-monthly tastings and educative classes.
Still need more assistance? Well, lucky for you, I just did a little shopping myself for some dinners, events and gatherings we have coming up. I chose Old World, New World, white, red, some unknown labels, and some very familiar, and I even compared one varietal coming from two different parts of the world. Here we go …
Garzon, Albariño Reserva 2022 (RM 109.90)
Raimat, Albariño, Saira 2021(RM 94.90)
Just back from writing about several wine regions in Spain, one of which was Rias Baixes in Galicia, famous for Albariño, I couldn’t resist comparing wine made from the same varietal from two different parts of the world, the Raimat Albariño, Saira Organic 2021 from Lleida in Spain and Garzon, Albariño Reserva 2022 from Uruguay.
The Garzon Albariño Reserva 2022 from Uruguay presents fruity scents that bring to mind peaches, accompanied by well-balanced citric hints. It has a fresh and mineral character, noticeable acidity, and a lingering, smooth aftertaste. It’s matured for three to six months on fine lees in stainless steel tanks. We love this, and would buy it again in a heartbeat.
On the flip side, the Raimat, Albariño, Saira 2021 from Spain originates from the D.O. Costers del Segre region, distinguishing it from the renowned Albariño-producing area of Galicia. It displays aromas of tropical fruits, citrus, and the characteristic notes of white blossoms of the Albariño grape. Using a small percentage of wine aged for over ten months in barrels gives greater complexity, a whisper of vanilla, and a persistent finish. Both wines are excellent aperitives or paired with seafood, especially ceviche and tuna.
Taking A Chance
Greywacke, Wild Sauvignon, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2020 (RM 187.90)
Having grown tired of the proliferation of New World, particularly NZ, sauvignon blanc on the market, I generally steer clear of it. However, Hans, Hank’s manager, softly persuaded me to try it again, assuring me this wild yeast variety – the Greywacke, Wild Sauvignon, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2020 – had more complexity and interest than its dime-a-dozen counterparts. I’m glad he did because we absolutely loved it! We enjoyed it with a Mediterranean dinner of butterfish, wild grains, and kale salad, and it worked tremendously well together.
It’s citric, floral and bright on the nose, with traces of vanilla and fennel. The flavour profile is opulent, showcasing citrus and white peach notes, balanced by refreshing acidity, a whisper of smokiness, and subtle minerality on the lingering, dry finish. It offers a simultaneously complex and tactile alternative expression, quite distinct from what we know as this region’s typical sauv blanc profile.
An Uncommon Varietal Seeing a Resurgence
Marchesi di Barolo Roero Arneis DOCG (RM 149.90)
The Marchesi di Barolo Roero Arneis DOCG (RM 149.90) is a refreshing white wine made from the Arneis grape, a native Piedmontese variety making a comeback (it nearly went extinct in the 1970’s!). The wine has a pale straw hue, white flowers, apple and stone fruit aromas, and a fresh, light palate with a hint of minerality. The high acidity and mineral presence feel a little unbalanced on my palate. I probably wouldn’t pick this one again and recommend it together with food, not as a quaffer on its own.
Bouchard Père et Fils Pouilly Fuissé (RM 244.90)
I am particularly fond of Chardonnay from Burgundy, so Bouchard Père et Fils Pouilly Fuissé was a safe choice, hailing from one of Burgundy’s oldest wine estates. Pouilly Fuissé offers a compelling alternative to Chablis, often at a more affordable price point. Also, the high acidity of Chardonnay from this region is often tempered by some time in oak, making it fuller-bodied and smoother on the palate than its pricier cousin residing in the north.
Bouchard Père et Fils Pouilly Fuissé is an elegant white wine with an inviting bouquet of minerals, subtle florals, and a touch of honey. On the palate, it unfolds as a rich and luscious experience, with hints of pear, apricot, and a delightful nuttiness, all supported by fresh acidity. It makes an excellent aperitive and a beautiful companion to fish and seafood.
K1, Geoff Hardy, Pinot Noir, 2020 (RM 218)
Not wanting to leave without something from my home country, the K1, Geoff Hardy, Pinot Noir, 2020 (RM 218) from Adelaide Hills also made it into my basket. The wine comes from five distinct Pinot Noir clones cultivated in the K1 vineyard. Each undergoes separate processing and ageing in oak barrels. This meticulous approach enables the selection of only the finest barrels for this wine, considering that each grape type responds uniquely to seasonal conditions. The nose is characterised by enticing scents of berries, a little earth and a subtle touch of spice. The palate is abundant with red berries, silky tannins, and a lengthy and satisfying finish. Whether paired with wild poultry or savoured with cherished company, this wine is a pleasing choice. We’ll definitely be getting another bottle of this.
Hot Off the Heels of a Wine Tour of Portugal
Monte Cascas, Colheita, Tinto, 2017, Alentejo, Portugal (RM 89.90)
Regular readers will be familiar with my latest passion for Portuguese wines. I spent nearly a month this summer discovering the country, its food, wine and beauty. And lucky for me, Hank’s Five-Star Wines lists the Portuguese brand Monte Cascas, Colheita, Tinto, 2017 from Alentejo (RM 89.90).
The Alentejo red is crafted using a blend of Touriga Nacional (Portugal’s pride and joy), Aragonez (tempranillo), and *Alicante Bouschet grape varieties. The nose presents red fruits, fennel, and faint herbal notes, while the taste reveals plum and ready-to-pick cherries. With a well-balanced structure and lengthy finish, this wine is a good match for tapas, soft cheeses, or grilled meats. This is excellent value for money!
*Cool fact: Alicante Bouschet is one of only a few varietals that has both red skin and red flesh, known as a teinturier. Most red grapes, no matter the colour of their skin, are white in the middle. Red wine is given colour thanks to time spent on the skins, not the hue of the juice.
The Popular Kid on the Street
Le Plan Des Moines, Châteauneuf du Pape, Le Grand Pontal (RM 298)
Lastly, the highly reputed Le Plan Des Moines, Châteauneuf du Pape, Le Grand Pontal (RM 298) capped my selection.
Le Plan Des Moines, Châteauneuf-Du-Pape, Le Grand Pontal is a delicious and elegant Rhône Valley red wine. Made from Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault grapes, it is aged 18 months in oak barrels and tanks. This wine offers a rich and complex bouquet of aromas, including berries, liquorice and spice. It is full-bodied and well-structured on the palate, with flavours of fresh red fruits, fine tannins, and a long finish.
So what is the big fuss over Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines? Most Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines are GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) blends, and their prestige and price stem from several key factors. Firstly, the region was the first appellation in French history, created in 1936. The esteemed Rhône Valley has a rich past dating back to the 14th century. It has held a reputation for producing high-quality wines with significant aging potential for over a century. Small, family-owned estates of old vines, primarily Grenache, require additional maintenance and produce limited quantities, decreasing availability. These factors create the luxurious status and price of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines.
Hank’s Five-Star Wines
In conclusion, Hank’s Five-Star Wines is an invaluable resource for wine enthusiasts in Malaysia. With its expertly curated selection and diverse price range, finding a high-quality wine that suits your taste and budget has never been easier. To enhance your experience, seek guidance from the in-house wine experts, try a tasting, and sign up for their regular tasting events to improve your knowledge. Try stepping out of your comfort zone and experimenting with something new. With Hank’s Five-Star Wines list, you’re bound to find the perfect bottle for any occasion or meal.