Mr CH’NG Poh Tiong is a lawyer by training. He is the publisher of The Wine Review (South-East Asia’s oldest wine magazine, since 1991), and the world’s first annual Guide to Bordeaux in Chinese. Poh Tiong’s articles have also appeared in magazines, including Harper’s and Decanter of the UK; and Silver Kris, the magazine of Singapore Airlines. Poh Tiong also writes a quarterly column for Decanter magazine.
The Great southern Wine Producers in conjunction with the Taste Festival invited Poh Tiong to visit the great southern and try the regions wines.
Now Galafrey first met Poh Tiong was in the mid 80’s when Linda and I went to Singapore as part of the Great Southern Marketing group. There was a group of producers from this area showcasing the Great Southern in what was a very early development of an emerging market.
When we sold the winery building (the old wool stalls in Albany) one of the rules mum made for dad was that we used some of the money to go on an overseas holiday. So we did- to sell wine in Singapore in 1992. We stay in a hotel which didn’t have much fridge space and dad wanted to chill the whites wine down and ask for some ice to do so. We spent the day out exploring to come back to the whole bathtub full of ice for 4 bottle of wine! That night dad went out to dinner with Poh Tiong and I believe that was when Poh Tiong began the Wine Review.
Some 12 years ago when we (aka Dad) were selling wine to Singapore we met up with Poh Tiong again and this was when I first met him. We met in the Marina Mandarin hotel and show him our wine. He, of course, had an affinity with Ian and loved our wines. Every time we went to Singapore he tried our wines. We haven’t been to Singapore for some time now and now Poh Tiong is highly recognized especially in the growing Asian market.
He tried our wines this weekend and loved them! It was such a pleasure to host him and I learnt a lot. He is of kind nature and generous with his time. He was very impressed with our wines. Especially the Shiraz. Between you and me- he told us it was the best Shiraz he had tried in the region! We spoke about the vintage and I mention that we were picking the Pinot at the end of the week. His ears pricked up and he said “I didn’t try a Pinot? Why didn’t I try the Pinot?”
I replied that I select the wines that best represented us and that the Pinot was the first time I had made it and I was uncertain that it was the best of our wine to offer. Followed by a nervous ‘would you like to try it?”
‘Yes ‘he replied’ it is a long way to come to not try it.”
I poured him a glass and he smelt the wine and glared at me. His comments were along the lines of - this wine is very aromatic and what I would expect of a great pinot. The nose alone suggests it will be a great pinot. Of course when he tried it he declared that this was one of three best pinots from this area.
He said it was good that I showed hesitation rather than arrogance and that it reflected my seriousness and passion for winemaking. BIG GRIN on my face at this stage!!! And that this pinot showed great intuition for winemaking. BIGGER GRIN!
He brought two bottles of Pinot to take back with him and show his wine mates who of course love high end French wines! It will be a blind tasting and none of them probably know Galafrey or that the Great Southern makes great Pinot, but after that tasting, they will! BIG GRIN!