Cover Photo: Eat and Cook

The seasoned sommelier at Eat and Cook, the 2022 winner of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants' One To Watch Award, shares his personal wine picks

Our By The Glass series sees sommeliers and wine experts share some vinous inspiration for your next pour.

Dennis Chong is currently based at Eat and Cook, one of Tatler Dining's Top 20 Restaurants in Malaysia in 2022. However, he has worked for reputable restaurants around the city including DC Restaurant as well as restaurants under the Cinnamon Group, honing his skills as a sommelier.

Chong first took an interest in wines when he had the opportunity to oversee the wine cellar at Genting Club at Resorts World Genting. Since then, he has spent over 15 years in the industry, building his experience in curating award-winning wine lists. Here, Chong reveals the wines that have made an impression on him during his time as a sommelier and his choice of pours for various occasions.

See also: A Taste of Home: MasterChef Australia Champion Diana Chan Shares Her Favourite Eateries in Malaysia

An early (in your career) wine that made you go ‘Wow! I want to be a sommelier’

Château Lafite Rothschild 1989. It opened a whole new world of wines to me and that’s where I started my journey as a sommelier.

Most memorable pour

A 12-litre Champagne Drappier Carte d’Or during the wedding dinner of my mentor. It was a touching moment to see him embark on a new journey. He still has the bottle of champagne with my initials on it.
 
Tipple for a Tuesday

Sons of Wine, Pet Nat 2020. A wildly refreshing bubbles from Alsace with crisp acidity and ripe apricot. There's no specific wine o’clock to enjoy this wine.
 
Sun, sea and…

Chardonnay in different expressions—champagne, Burgundy, unoaked and oaked, traditional or modern style.

Wine of the moment

Majas Orange 2020, which is a skin contact wine, also known as an orange wine. Due to the extended contact with grape skins, it has more texture, skin tannin and a crisp acidity. It’s currently paired with the seafood course at Eat and Cook. 
 
What you wish a customer would order (so you can taste it—for taint, of course)

Henri Bonneau, Marie Beurrier Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2008. A true legend of Châteauneuf. He has been making wine since 1956 from his tiny holdings in the famed La Crau sector of the appellation.
 
What's one bottle you're saving for a really big moment?

I do not have any wines for my big moment yet. But I think it would be a bottle of rare Madeira that can age for generations.

Best from your ‘by-the-glass' list

Bodegas Ximénez-Spínola Exceptional Harvest 2019, which is an incredible and different off-dry white wine from Jerez made entirely from Pedro Ximénez. It is a great accompaniment to any savoury poultry dish or aged cheese.

What you love to recommend to guests

Under-explored grape varietals which are Chenin Blanc, Gruner Vetliner, Cabernet Franc and the list goes on.

A special something

Krug Vintage 1998, to celebrate with my dearest partner.
 
Bottle to bring to a dinner party

Definitely bubbles!
 
What’s in your cellar?

Burgundy, Champagne, natural wines and rum.

Last glass you’ve had

2018 Familie Joffreau Clos de Gamet, Cahors. A traditional, bold and structured Malbec from its home in France.
 
It’s your last meal, what bottle are you having with it?

A bottle of rare, aged rum.

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