Elgin Vintners Sauvignon Blanc 2006, $38
YOU know Singaporeans are drinking better when supermarkets such as FairPrice Finest are offering blue-chip Bordeaux wines.
Not too long ago, just the mention of 'supermarket wines' brought to mind mass market labels.
But over the past few years, a quiet revolution has taken place with Jason's and Carrefour supermarkets featuring gems in their wine selections.
With the set-up of FairPrice Finest in Bukit Timah Plaza - the most upmarket outlet in the FairPrice chain - shoppers now have a choice of 800 labels that range from your everyday below-$25 varieties to collector items such as Vieux Chateau Certan 2001 ($235) and Leoville Barton 1989 ($208).
The latter are stored in a glass cellar, instead of the usual wine fridge. A large blackboard announces details of weekend tasting sessions.
'Singaporeans are now better travelled and more informed about their wines, so our wine selection has to reflect the trend,' says Roel Quimba, FairPrice's wine, beer and spirits manager who also plans to organise meet-the-winemaker sessions.
Regular FairPrice shoppers can also look forward to affordable new wines, such as Elgin Vintners, a South African label which was established in 2003.
While Stellenbosch may be the best known wine region in South Africa, Elgin has been called the next big thing for two decades.
It is blessed with cool climate, good soils and high altitudes - conditions ideal for winemaking. But its wineries have failed to rise to prominence as they have been overshadowed by the region's fruit produce.
But belief in the region's potential prompted six grape growers to band together to form Elgin Vintners.
They own vineyards that spread across 12km, an asset they believe will help them achieve wines of character.
True enough, its Sauvignon Blanc 2006 has already won a silver medal at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards.
Predominant gooseberry notes with a touch of minerals and limey acidity.
Vietnamese spring rolls, seafood tempura or sushi.
Major FairPrice supermarket outlets.