It's bubbly season

Christmas Champagne Tips

“Too much of anything is bad. But, too much of champagne is just right”                                                                


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7 Ways To Keep Your Wine Cool

Hot Malaysian weather makes it hard to achieve the most enjoyable serving temperature for wine.

The Good Old Refrigerator

The obvious option, but unless you live near the poles, your good old refrigerator is your wine’s best friend in Malaysia. Yes, even the reds. If it’s at room temperature around 70ºF/21ºC, refrigerate it for 15 minutes before serving to bring it down to a more enjoyable 64ºF/18ºC. If your red is warmer (say 75ºF/24ºC), give it half an hour.

Whites and rosés will take a solid hour to be brought down to a good serving temp of about 50ºF/10ºC. If you like your wine extra cold (42ºF/6ºC), two hours in the fridge prior to pouring should do.

Ice Bucket

If you’re serious about wine in Malaysia, you must have an ice bucket. If you don’t and don’t mind the casual look, just use a bucket from your garage. If you don’t have ice, even a bucket of cold water will keep your wine at a lower temperature for a while.

Ice buckets work even better if you add salt. Fresh water cannot go below 32ºF/0ºC without freezing solid. Adding some salt to it will allow it to reach a lower temperature and chill your wine faster.

Automated Wine Chillers

More sophisticated versions of ice buckets are automated wine chillers. The Grubel and Vintec chillers perfect as you can precisely control and maintain the desired temperature.

Unconventional Ice Cubes

You can always freeze your leftover wine in an ice cube tray and later use the cubes to cool down your next wine. The only problem? You might end up blending different wines as the cubes melt. To cool down your wine without diluting or blending it, you can actually use frozen grapes. It’s fun and it makes the grapes tasty, too. However, we don’t advise to use them on expensive wines, but it’s fine with your easy-drinking summer vinos.

Put your wine in the freezer

Some may say this is a dangerous thing to do, but it’s actually fine as long as you control timing of the process. Freezing wine is horrible; cooling it down in the freezer is just fine. Use a loud timer (there’s definitely one on your phone) for 15 minutes for a mild chill, half an hour for major chilling results.


4 common wine labels

4 Common Wine Label Terms – What Do They Mean?

Both intriguing, beautiful labels and exuberant quality claims can draw you in. It’s important to know the difference between factual terms like Grand Cru and marketing terms so you can make an unbiased decision when picking wine.

Gold Medal Standard
The word ‘standard’ is misleading from the start, because there isn’t one. There’s is no official meaning or accolade given to wines calling themselves ‘Gold Medal Standard’. They haven’t actually won anything, so don’t be swayed.

Grand Vin
The literal translation of ‘Great Wine‘, this is traditionally a designation for a French winemaker’s best bottles. But once again, there are no regulations on who can use the term or what the wine is actually like.

Winemaker’s Selection
You’ve probably guessed by now that this term has doesn’t an official status. Presumably, the winemaker wanted to make it known they personally selected the wine. It could be an indication of some of the best wines from that particular winery—but it could just be a marketing term.

Reserve/Grand Reserve/Riserva
There are a few terms that sound similar, so it’s important to know which have a regulated meaning associated with them. Reserve and Grand Reserve are not regulated terms, so don’t allow them to influence your wine choice.

However, the similar-sounding Reserva, Gran Reserva, and Riserva are a different story. The first two terms given to wines from Spain that have been aged for longer periods of time in oak barrels. Riserva is a legally regulated term given to wines in certain regions of Italy, such as Chianti and Piedmont, to showcase high-quality, longer-aged wines.

How To Avoid Being Misled
Most importantly, do your homework. Learning how to decode a wine label is always a useful skill.

WineTrivia 2

Wine Trivia – PART 2


Q: True or false: An average Burgundy bowl can hold an entire bottle of wine.
A: True! Most Burgundy glasses hold between 25 and 31 ounces. A standard wine bottle contains 25.4 fluid ounces.

Q: One of the most expensive—and most famous—bottles of wine ever sold at auction was signed with the initials “Th.J”. They are rumored to be the initials of wine lover Thomas Jefferson. Which famed Bordeaux wineries were the Thomas Jefferson bottles from?
A: Chateau Lafite (Lafite-Rothschild), Chateau Mouton (Mouton-Rothschild), Chateau Margaux, and Chateau d’Yquem.

Q: How much wine does the average American consume each year?
A: About 10.25 liters.

Q: Throughout the world, how much wine is consumed in total each year?
A: Over 24.7 billion liters of wine (as of 2014).

Q: Which country consumes the most wine?
A: The United States consumes the most wine by volume, about 3.2 billion liters per year. When it comes to amount of wine per citizen, however, Europe exceeds the U.S. by far, with Vatican City and its small population of 800 people topping the list at 74 liters of wine per citizen each year.

Q: Which two U.S. presidents attempted to grow grapevines?
A: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. They both attempted—and failed—to grow vines in Virginia. Washington planted “Madeira” grapes, along with native grapes, at Mount Vernon, and Jefferson planted 24 different European grapes at Monticello.

Q: About how many bottles of wine were on the manifest of the Titanic?
A: 1500 bottles, not including beer and spirits. Champagne made up a large portion of these bottles, mostly from Moet and Heidsieck.

Q: What was used to toast both the Declaration of Independence and Washington’s inauguration?
A: Madeira. This fortified island wine became the adopted wine of the U.S. in early years and was a favorite of the founding fathers. Even though it was a small, new country, the U.S. was importing 25% of all Madeira being produced during this time.

Q: John F. Kennedy was rumored to love Champagne, but Jackie Kennedy had a favorite. What was it?
A: While JFK did serve Dom Perignon at one of his state dinners, Jackie Kennedy preferred Veuve Clicquot.

Q: What is the only winemaking country completely unaffected by the devastating vine pest phylloxera?
A: Chile. While the reasons aren’t completely understood, it’s likely that Chile’s isolation, protected by the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, have contributed to the lack of the spread of phylloxera.

WineTrivia 1

Wine Trivia – PART 1

Q: Winston Churchill was famously a fan of Pol Roger Champagne. How many bottles of Pol Roger did Churchill drink throughout his lifetime?
A: Winston Churchill estimated that he drank 42,000 bottles. That’s over a bottle and a half a day for the entirety of his adult life! The Champagne house introduced a tête de cuvée in his honor in 1984, aptly named Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.

Q: How fast can the cork of a traditional method sparkling wine fly out of a bottle?
A: Traditional method sparkling wines can launch a cork out of a bottle at a rate of 50 miles per hour! There’s a reason why a sparkling wine cork should always be covered once the cage is untwisted from the bottle; they can actually be dangerous. It’s even rumored that about 24 people are killed by Champagne corks each year (emphasis on rumored).

Q: Is all wine vegetarian and vegan?
A: No, it isn’t! Many substances used to fine wine, giving it clarity, are not vegan or vegetarian. These include egg whites, milk protein, and animal protein. Beyond that, there were almost certainly bugs in your wine at some point; wine is an agricultural product, after all!

Q: How big is the largest standard bottle of wine?
A: The largest standard bottle of wine is the Nebuchadnezzar, which holds 15 liters of wine, the equivalent of 20 regular bottles.

Q: What is the largest bottle of wine ever created?
A: The largest bottle was 13 feet, 8.17 inches tall and held 3,094 liters of wine, the equivalent of over 20,000 glasses! It was commissioned by a Swiss car importer to celebrate a new business launch, and the red wine was a blend of Pinot Noir and Dornfelder.

Q: What is the oldest bottle of wine in existence?
A: The oldest bottle of wine is over 1650 years old and has been on display at the Pfalz Historical Museum in Germany for over a century. Discovered in 1867, the wax-sealed bottle was discovered in the tomb of a Roman noble and is believed to have been produced locally in the year 350 AD.

Q: What is the world’s largest wine glass?
A: The world’s largest wine glass, made in Malta, is 12 feet, 8.36 inches tall and can hold 50,00 bottles of wine.

Q: What is the most expensive standard-sized bottle of wine ever sold?
A: The most expensive bottle of wine ever sold was £192,000 (approximately $304,000). It was a bottle of 1947 Cheval Blanc, a famed Right Bank Bordeaux from a legendary vintage. That works out to nearly $61,000 per glass!

Champagne guide - blog

Champagne Guide

1. Don’t Call It Champagne If It’s Not From Champagne

Champagne can only be made in the Champagne region of France. Period. Full Stop. All other sparkling wines are just that—sparkling wines. Champagne has a definitive flavor and texture (the result of its extremely cold climate and limestone soils). While sparkling wines can be delicious, they don’t taste like Champagne.

2. Know The Categories

Most of the Champagnes sold are called non-vintage (“NV”). That’s because they are a blend of different vintages (a good thing for added complexity). Vintage Champagnes are made only in exceptional years. And at the very top are prestige cuvee Champagnes, each of which is given a name—Dom Perignon is the prestige cuvee of Moet & Chandon, La Grande Dame is the prestige cuvee of Veuve Clicquot, and so on. Prestige cuvees come from Champagne‘s most extraordinary vineyards.

3. Dryness Levels

The two most important levels to know are Brut (very dry; “brute” like); and Extra Dry (still dry, but more mellow). As for Extra Dry, Moet & Chandon is both easy to find and easy to drink.

4. Grapes

There are three of them in Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. California sparklers are made from these three too, but Italian Prosecco is made from an entirely different grape (called Glera) and so is Spanish Cava (made from Xarel-lo, Mazuelo and Parellada grapes). Which is just one reason why Prosecco and Cava taste so different.

5. Styles

Most of the Champagne bought is golden. But there are also Rosé Champagnes (made with additional Pinot Noir). Rosés are usually a bit more deeply flavorful and sometimes richer. (They are also more rare and cost more). Blanc de blancs Champagnes are golden Champagnes made only from Chardonnay grapes. Three of the most famous blanc de blancs are the ones made by Ayala, Ruinart, and Pierre Peters.

6. Serving

Chill the bottle until cold, and you’re good to go. If you need to chill the bottle quickly, submerge it up to its neck in an ice bath of ice, cold water, and a handful of Kosher salt. The Champagne will be ready in 15 minutes. Tulip shaped or narrow white wine glasses are best.

So just how many bubbles are there in a bottle of Champagne? Once you open the bottle and the dissolved gas explodes into bubbles, there will be about 100 million. You can trust me, or you can count them.

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A Quick Guide to Wine Bottle Sizes


One-quarter of a standard bottle or 187.5 ml

Known as Quarter-Bottle or Piccolo (Italian for small), these tiny bottles are mainly used for single-serves of Champagne and other sparkling wines such as Prosecco. They’re popular in crowded places such as airplanes, stadiums, or nightclubs. Sometimes referred to as Split, Pony, or Snipe.

One-half of standard bottle or 375 ml

Known as Half-Bottle or Demi (French for half), they contain about two glasses of wine. An alternative to the by-the-glass wines at a restaurant. The French sometimes refer to it as a Fillette which translates as little girl.


It actually remains unknown precisely why today’s wine bottles contain 750 milliliters of liquid. One thing is sure, however: it has become the worldwide standard.


The Magnum wine bottle contains the equivalent of two 750 ml standard wine bottles, or 1.5 liters of liquid.

It is certainly the most popular of the large formats, and probably the only one whose name does not change depending on the region. Burgundy, Bordeaux, or Champagne all refer to the 1.5L-bottle as a Magnum.


As the name suggests, a Double-Magnum is the equivalent of two Magnum bottles and contains 3 liters of liquid.

If you’ve read about the Magnum size above, you’ve already calculated that this is the equivalent of 4 standard 750ml wine bottles and fills about 20 wine glasses.


A Rehoboam is a large-format wine bottle size containing 4.5 liters of liquid.

This is enough to fill about 30 glasses of wine, and is equivalent to 6 standard 750ml bottles.


An Imperial or Matuselah is a large-format wine bottle size containing 6 liters of liquid.

This is enough to fill about 40 glasses of wine, and is equivalent to 8 standard 750ml bottles.


A Salmanazar is a large-format wine bottle size containing 9 liters of (generally-fine) beverage.

This is enough to fill about 60 glasses of wine, and is equivalent to 12 standard 750ml bottles.


There seems to be no limit to how big a wine bottle can be.

As huge as they may be, super-large wine bottle formats have generally been given a name, after a Biblical King or historical figure more often than not.

Super-sized bottle names include:

Balthazar, which contains 12 liters of wine or the equivalent of 16 standard 750ml bottles. It is named after one of the Three Wise Men who brought gifts at Jesus’ Nativity.

Nebuchadnezzar, named after a famous King of Babylon, contains 15 liters of wine or the equivalent of 20 standard 750ml bottles.

Melchior was another of the Three Wise Men bringing presents to Jesus. The large format named after him holds 18 liters of wine or the equivalent of 24 standard 750ml bottles.


Wine Vocabulary

We all want to seem like we know what we are talking about, most of the time at least. So when it comes to “Wine Talk“, let us help. Here are some useful wine descriptions to help put in words the magic that is wine. Here is the vocab you need:

Soft / Generous / Plush / Velvety

These four common descriptors essentially mean the same thing: either the flavors of a wine are so ripe and fruit-forward that they land on the palate in a soft way, or the acidity in a wine is not pronounced, so wine is less sharp. These terms can also refer to the way a wine’s tannins feel (or don’t feel). Tannins give wine structure and balance.

Floral / Perfumed

Floral and perfumed aromas are found in both red and white wines, and they are just what they sound like. Viognier is a classic example of a wine with white floral aromas—typically honeysuckle. Pinot Noir and well-crafted Bordeaux blends often have perfumes hinting at dried flowers, like roses and violets. Gewürztraminer is often considered a truly “perfumed” wine because of its exotic scents.


Wines that are aged in oak barrels will most assuredly smell and taste like that oak, especially if it was a brand new barrel. Plus, wine barrels are often toasted (yes, with fire) on in the inside, so along with oak, you might experience secondary flavors like graham cracker crust, pie crust, tobacco, smoke, or vanilla.

Light- Medium- or Full-Bodied

“Body” represents the strength or tannin levels of the wine. Light-bodied wines are soft, easy-drinking wines, usually un-oaked and low in tannins while full-bodied wines are rich and concentrated, usually containing higher alcohol and tannins. Medium-bodied wines fall somewhere in the middle. It is the result of many factors – from wine variety, where it’s from, vintage, alcohol level and how it’s made. ABV (Alcohol by Volume) adds body. A high alcohol wine typically tastes fuller than a light-alcohol wine.


If a wine is described as dry that means all the grape sugar was converted to alcohol during fermentation. The flipside is a sweet wine with some sugar remaining. If someone likes “dry red wine”, they could be describing almost any red wine in the world, since they’re almost all fermented dry. Pepper in more of these fancy wine descriptions when talking to your sommelier to help them lead you toward something you truly want to drink!

Fruity / Fruit-Forward

If a wine is described as “fruity,” or “fruit-forward”, it means those qualities are what you’ll notice first. And though no fruit is actually added to any wine—beyond grapes—it’s true that various fruit aromas and flavors are detectable. Try this: pop open a bottle of red wine and give a glass to a friend and ask if they smell “red cherries,” and nine times of out ten, they’ll say the do. Mission accomplished.