Wine News: Interview with The Sanchaya’s Sommelier Stanley Chang
In life, we are all collectors, whether it be memories of our pasts, keepsakes from our journeys or goals for our futures. We constantly create, compose and gather our ideas, symbols, stories and travel experiences, storing them in the recesses of our minds and in our homes. These collections can be expressed in different ways, tangible and intangible, limited only by our imaginations.
The Sanchaya is such a collection. A unique interpretation of the cultures and histories of this region, this collection reflects our very personal discoveries and passions.
The Sanchaya’s Sommelier Stanley Chang
Spanning 15 years, Stanley’s career has seen him work in boutique hotels and resorts worldwide including in Thailand, The Maldives, South Korea and the United States.
Hailing from South Korea, Stanley started out studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was awarded the Dean’s Honors List for academic excellence. Never one to rest on his laurels, Stanley has since accrued an impressive list of qualifications and awards, including as Sake Service Institute (SSI) International’s ‘Best Kikisake-Shi (Sake Sommelier)’ in his native South Korea in 2012.
What is your favorite wine region?
This is a very difficult question to answer because I honestly cannot narrow the vast selection down to one or two regions. Each region is unique, particularly in terms of its history, product and even matching food. My palate shifts as time progresses and it also depends on which part of world I am living in.
I used to love big and bold wines, particularly red wines from California, USA and Bordeaux, France, when I started my career as a sommelier. Currently I am moving towards refined Burgundy reds from France, Barbaresco wines from Piemontes, in Italy’s northwest and refined whites such as Albariño wines from Rías Baixas in Spain. I believe these are foodie wines and highly enjoyable.
During the holidays, do you have specific wine recommendations that pair with the traditional foods?
If you are travelling to a wine region, follow how the locals eat and drink. The wine and food have evolved to be paired in those areas.
If you are travelling here to Indonesia’s scenic Bintan Island, home to The Sanchaya where I am a sommelier, it’s ideal to enjoy refreshing whites such as New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or Provence Rosé.
What is your favorite wine and why?
Actually, my all-time favorite beverage is a sake called Hiroki. As it is ‘very small production’, it’s subsequently very hard to find outside its own turf and is the quintessential finest sake.
In 2012, I had a truly surreal experience with Hiroki sake paired with sushi in Kinza, Japan. As a sommelier, it’s second nature to thoroughly analyze any beverage you sip and that sake was unbelievable. If you encounter Hiroki sake in your life, don’t miss the opportunity to try it.
What are the best wine/menu pairings at The Sanchaya?
I take food and wine pairing to a very personal level, as there are many options and everyone has their preferences. I like to ask the diners questions to find a wine that is a delight at the table. While there are a few guidelines, there are no fully set rules to food and wine pairing.
I assist our guests at The Sanchaya with pairing an array of wines, ranging from the classic old world wines to emerging modern new world wines, with our dishes, cheeses and other gourmet delights. I provide the optimal pairing suggestions, customizing wine tastings to the guest’s liking or to set themes including chocolate and wine, Old World New World comparison, and top end wines with canapés and
top end wines with canapés or even better with home baked white bread and the best olive oil to cleanse the palate.
Guests can indulge in wine and food pairings and wine tastings at our wine, cheese and cigar lounge called The Salon and Library, which also houses Decanter, the estate’s glassed wine cellar. However our guests instead imbibe wine to a backdrop of the shimmering South China Sea, rather than looking at the undulating hills fringing a winery.
If you stay with us at The Sanchaya, you should not miss our all-day-dining restaurant The Dining Room’s signature dish called Berkshire Korobuta Pork Belly, slow cooked in five oriental herbs, caramelized and served with braised soya egg and warm pickled red cabbage, paired with Château de Beaucastel’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône 2009 or Château Beychevelle, Saint-Julien 2005. The marriage of the dish’s delicate yet perfumy sauce and the complexity of the character of either of these wines is truly divine.
For our Tasanee Grill’s Thai Beef Salad, a beautifully executed dish by Chef Hade Mahadir and his talented team, with a lovely kick of chili, I usually recommend Dr. Loosen Riesling Kabinett ‘Wehlener Sonnenuhr’ Mosel 2014 or Clos Henri Pinot Noir New Zealand 2012. The residual sweetness of the Riesling cools the salad’s spiciness and its refreshing acidity will clean your palate before you take another bite of the salad. The Pinot Noir complements the salad’s succulent beef tenderloin.
Does the Tropical weather shift your wine preferences?
Absolutely. There are wines that perform better in tropical climates. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Chablis are top performers. Lighter reds such as Burgundy, Beaujolais and Valpolicella reds are also good choices. Let’s also not forget about Rosé and CHAMPAGNES!
What is the best “by the pool” wine at The Sanchaya?
A classic Ruinart Rosé is my top recommendation. Chilled and refreshing, it makes for an elegant sipping choice by The Sanchaya’s Olympic-sized infinity pool.
Set on the pristine sands of Lagoi Bay, the luxurious Sanchaya Bintan is a short transfer from Singapore. From Changi International Airport, it takes 15 minutes to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, where high-speed ferries are waiting to whisk guests to the island in 45 minutes. The Sanchaya is the only property on Bintan with its own VIP lounge in the terminal, specially created to ensure guests enjoy a seamless arrival and departure experience. Express immigration and customs clearance is handled by The Estate Artisans. Registration takes place prior to arrival in The Sanchaya Lounge at Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal, a mere 15-minute drive from the property.