We're all just a bundle of habits, is a saying that's in my head. And the habit that I am most happily beginning is Wine Away With Me, an evening of unlimited wine and cheese held every last Friday of the month at the High Street Lounge, Shangri-La the Fort. Curated by Sommelier Selection, the wines "showcase quality, value and diversity" from nine different regions in France, Italy, Spain and Chile. A live jazz performance will serenade us throughout the evening.
Wine and cheese night is, of course, not a new idea. But for my close-knit group of friends, all busy women juggling work and kids, the evening feels like a little pocket of time away from all the pressure. It's an indulgence to be enjoyed only once a month. Now here's why you should consider making it a habit, too.
1. Not your usual artisanal cheeses
Artisanal cheeses are made using age-old techniques and consistently high-quality ingredients. Veiny, smelly and absolutely divine, the cheese buffet curated by Sommelier Selection is fascinating to explore. For example, there's Valencay, a soft French dessert cheese made of goat's milk; Pouligny, a triangular soft cheese from the Loire Valley; and the Spanish idiazábal, a hard cheese made from the milk of Latxa and Carranzana sheep. More familiar cheeses, like manchego, chevre and comte, are also available.
Even if you are not a caseophile (a cheese aficionado), you'll have fun assembling a selection on your plate to be complemented with such delicacies as fig and almond compote, quince jelly, breads, nuts and olives.
2. Free-flowing, hard-to-get boutique wines
Boutique wines are made in small batches by winemakers passionately obsesses with the intricacies of winemaking. Hence, great thought has been put into everything from the manner in which the grapes were crushed to the design of the label. You'll be sure to find some "undiscovered" and exceptional wines. For me, personally, part of the fun is discovering the story behind the wines (there is always one). Don't be afraid to talk to the very friendly sommeliers--the days are long past when wine was a snooty affair. A delighful conversation is often a wonderful first step to falling in love with wine.
3. It's a perfectly-timed indulgence
Held on the last Friday of every month, Wine Away With Me begins at 8 PM sharp and ends at 10:30 PM. This means there's still time to fit in an early movie, or finish up at the office before heading to the lounge. Some people will squeeze in a light dinner beforehand, but I wouldn't recommend it. Why waste all that space? And because it's held only once a month, anticipation builds so that you'll begin feeling like a kid waiting for Christmas. The ancitipation makes it all the sweeter to indulge--just once a month!
4. Choose to learn and play
With a new selection of wines and cheeses featured each month, and with experts from Sommelier Selection on hand to guide you through the choices, it's the perfect setup to learn more about wine and cheese. Discover what you like, learn how to taste, and expand your vocabulary. After a few sips and nibbles, you'll be using words like bloomy, grassy, lactic to describe the cheese. On the other hand, if all you want is a relaxing evening with no pressure, that's perfectly fine too.
Wine Away With Me is held every last Friday of the month, from 8:00 PM to 10:30 PM at High Street Lounge, Shangri-La at the Fort. For reservations, call (02) 820-0888
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