Land and wine

April 13, 2007

It’s always good to be back in Taiwan. It is here that I started my professional career about 23 years ago at the former Land Reform Training Institute in Taoyuan, now renamed, the Center for Land Policy Studies and Training ( The class I am teaching (on good governance, decentralization, democracy and citizens participation in land administration) is very exceptional, 24 professionals from 22 countries from all over the world. They make it easy and interesting for me. This year’s group is very active, interested and discussion hungry. As always the staff of the Center is very friendly and I have the chance to catch up with many old and new friends.

On Sunday it started with a wonderful lunch in Taibei. At the “Wei Fu Lo” Restaurant we had Beijing Duck and many wonderful local Taiwanese dishes to complement the North Chinese delicacy. I later learned about a special chicken dish, called “Gu-ken chicken” which is grilled in coffee powder. We drank green tea with our meal, no wine.


But across the street from the Center is a wine and spirits shop which I used to patronize in the past. I paid it a visit and browsed through its stock. These include mainly whiskeys, brandies and cognacs as well as other spirits, but also a selection of fine wines from France (lots of Bordeaux’s, among them a Barville, Sancerre, Cordier/Saint Emilion, Baron de Rothschild, Chateauneuf du Pape, Mouton Cadet), Italy (Nero D’Avolo from Sicily, wines from Umbria and Melini from Tuscany but also a Barolo), Chile (Philippe de Rothschild), Spain, Australia (Lindemans, but also Amberly from Margret River and Goudrey from Western Australia ) and a large stock of various Blue Nun (Made in Australia) bottles. The selection included also some sparkling and desert wines (Ice wine).


My friend Jim bought a bottle of 2004 “Les Cloîtres” (Hautes-Côtes de Nuits) of Bouchard Aìné & Fils, Beaune, Bourgogne, France for the equivalent of about 17 EURO (!) which we drank together. After the bottle got some air, the wine was silky and smooth with lots of red fruit flavour, a good texture and an impressive finish. A week is not long and before I could settle in I was back on a plane heading home to Jakarta.