Photography: Tan Wei Te, Art Direction: Shan
Natural wines are about leaving Mother Nature to work her magic. The grapes usually come from organic, biodynamic or sustainable vineyards. More importantly, there's minimal or zero intervention when the wine is made - it isn't adjusted for sweetness, acidity or alcohol level. Neither is it filtered to remove sediment, yeast or other flavour compounds.
1. Anarchy Wine+Brew Bar
#01-02 Pomo, 1 Selegie Road, tel: 6334-3137. $14 a glass; from $79 a bottle.
Anarchy is owner Huang Shiying’s passion project, and it started with her (ongoing) Masters of Wine thesis on the correlation between one’s personality and taste preferences. Here, the team ask fun questions to profile guests’ taste preferences, before making recommendations. This makes it less intimidating than asking, “What wine do you like?”. Natural wines make up more than half the wine list, with five served by the glass and 22 by the bottle. Shiying considers natural wines a great equaliser when it comes to wine appreciation – they’re easy to drink, beginner friendly, and fun to explore. And there’s really no knowing what a bottle might taste like. Shiying plans to update the selection every two months, so there’s always a good mix between the accessible and interesting. To make sure that customers find something to their liking, the team even offers tasting portions first.
2. Cheek By Jowl
21 Boon Tat Street, tel: 6221-1911. From $18 a glass and $92 a bottle.
Natural wines were very much a part of chef Rishi Naleendra and general manager Manuela Toniolo’s drinking routine when they lived in Sydney, Australia. The husband-and-wife team was persuaded by the drinkability of natural wines and fascinated by their unpredictability. So offering natural wines at Cheek by Jowl was a given. Sustainably produced wines make up 95 per cent of the drink list, and at least 30 per cent of them are natural wines. The bright, lively characteristics of natural wines also complement the delicate flavours of chef Rishi’s cooking. Instead of categorising the wines by region or grape varietal, the wine menu is organised by taste profile – aromatic and fresh, medium to heavier reds, sweet, and so on – so you can pick according to your preference.
3. Wine RVLT
111 Killiney Rd, tel: 9388-1436. From $12 a glass and $55 a bottle.
Wine RVLT was born out of two sommeliers’ desire to invigorate what they felt was a “stale and boring” local wine scene. It helped that they both enjoyed natural wines, which were gaining a following overseas. Today, Wine RVLT boasts more than 100 natural wines in its collection – the largest in Singapore. It has no wine menu; instead, all the bottles are displayed on the shelves, prices clearly marked. Wine RVLT only offers one white and one red natural wine by the glass. But the good news is that the wines are switched up every day, as owners Ian and Al (they decline to reveal their last names) want to keep the programme interesting for their regulars. Ian and Al are adamant about serving only wines that they themselves enjoy. Their selection makes for easy drinking – the kind of wine customers will want to keep reaching out for.
This story was originally published in the July 2017 issue of Her World.