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Previously under the Jacob’s Creek portfolio, St. Hugo Wine now stepped out from the shadow and stake its claim as a stand-alone brand, we were invited to the coming-out party held at Las Carretas, USJ.

During the event, we got to sample wines from St. Hugo as well as Jocob’s Creek and Wyndham Estate.

St. Hugo Wine at Las Carretas, USJ Taipan
St. Hugo Wine at Las Carretas, USJ Taipan

Incidentally, I last went to Las Carretas at USJ a little more than 8 years ago. It was the first proper Mexican restaurant I’ve visited in Klang Valley, and I believe I actually had my first taste of margarita there.

I am glad that the restaurant still thrives, and now even spots a branch at Ampang.

Steve Meckiff, Global Wine Ambassador at Pernod Ricard Winemakers
Steve Meckiff, Global Wine Ambassador at Pernod Ricard Winemakers

Our night started out with a variety of appetizer, including mille feuille of tuna spread, baked tartlet of Emmental cheese, and cream puffs. The bite size snacks were good, especially when you had Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir  to wash them down. I like the sparkly’s crisp finish and citrus flavour.

Steve Meckiff, the global wine ambassador at Pernod Ricard Winemakers, then told us about the story of St. Hugo wines, and how it rose to prominence for a brand that started in 1983, relatively young for this industry.

baked Norwegian salmon with George Wyndham Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012
baked Norwegian salmon with George Wyndham Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Our first course was baked Norwegian salmon presented on a robust lemon butter sauce. The fish is paired with George Wyndham Semillon Sauvignon Blanc – 2012.

I’ve always like semillon sauvignon blanc, with semillon giving it that extra fruity taste that goes very well with fish or poultry. The pairing is definitely spot on and  very easy to drink. The fish was expertly prepared and not overly baked either, almost as good as those prepared sous-vide.

crab meat chowder and a sorbet as palate cleanser
crab meat chowder and a sorbet as palate cleanser

Next we had crab meat chowder with Jacob’s Creek Reserve Chardonnay 2012. The chowder simmered in root vegetable and thickened with Idaho potatoes with a hint of aged cherry. I’m not so sure about the cherry part but the chowder was most excellent, something that I can have for breakfast at least twice a week.

The chardonnay has attractive aroma that pairs well with the chowder.

slow cooked grass-fed Australian lamb rack, St Hugo Barossa Shiraz
slow cooked grass-fed Australian lamb rack, St Hugo Barossa Shiraz

Our main course was the slow cooked grass-fed Australian lamb rack, presented with on a ginger and thyme infused sauce that was so irresistible. We tried the St. Hugo Barossa Shiraz 2010 as well as the St. Hugo Connawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 to go with the red meat.

I like the Shiraz with the slightly spicier note, while the Cabernet Sauvignon will suit those who enjoys elegant fruit characters, toasty oak and long, fine tannins. You can’t go wrong either way.

KY, Latha, Evelyn, Dennis, and Steve Meckiff
KY, Latha, Evelyn, Dennis, and Steve Meckiff

It was certainly a most enjoyable wine and dine session, thanks to the good people at Millennium Associates and Pernod Ricard for the invitation. You can find St. Hugo’s wine at major wine retailers.

map to Las Carretas at USJ Taipan

Las Carretas
No 29 USJ 10/1F
47620 Subang UEP

GPS: 3.047943, 101.583163
Tel: 03-5637 3058

A few days before the Malaysia GP at Sepang International Circuit where Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 team finished one-two with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, there was another race at KLCC park with the two drivers, and we were among the few who was invited to the event.

Before that, I would like to congratulate the two drivers for the historic win. It was the first one-two by the Mercedes factory team since 1955!

Nico Rosberg and team, with Lewis giving advise?
Nico Rosberg and team, with Lewis giving advise?

This was an invitation where top scorers from the PETRONAS Primax Challenge facebook game got to claim their prize – teaming up with the F1 drivers for an up close and personal session playing the final round of the game.

team Lewis working hard
team Lewis working hard

After some intense driving (with the keyboard), Nico’s team, with his partner Kenny, won over Lewis’s team in the challenge. It was a fun and relaxing session, I can’t imagine what must go through the drivers’ mind as they are getting ready for the weekend’s race.

interview with Raja Mazhar Mohar Bin Raja Tun Mohar
interview with Raja Mazhar Mohar Bin Raja Tun Mohar

We also got the opportunity to have a chat with Raja Mazhar Mohar Bin Raja Tun Mohar, head of PETRONAS Customer Experience Department. He explained that the fuel used in the Formula 1 cars basically used the same base as those we find at every PETRONAS station, except with a higher RON rating of about 100 (we can get PRIMAX 95 and 97).

Through this partnership, PETRONAS also came up with higher quality lubricant that can penetrate the thinner crevices of the Formula 1 engine. The same fuel and lubricant (SYNTIUM) is used in every circuit on the calendar, and PETRONAS PRIMAX fuel powered every race for the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 team.

the PETRONAS Team with Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg
the PETRONAS Team with Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg

During the session, we also discussed about how PETRONAS view their fuelling stations as something more than a place where you only go when your tank runs empty, and this is achieve by adding other conveniences like the Mesra store, partnership with banks in hosting their ATMs.

He also mentioned how PETRONAS is committed to improving the customer experience by constantly finding ideas to enhance their service.

At the end of the session, we asked him about Sunday’s race. The man predicted a one-two with Lewis coming ahead, and boy he was right.

After the successful launch of the new A-class, Mercedes-Benz now introduced the new CLA, a four-door premium coupé in the intermediate market segment during the Mercedes Petronas F1 party (which also coincide with the successful one-two finish in the Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix).

Mercedes-Benz CLA 200
Mercedes-Benz CLA 200

The new Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 is a thing of beauty, with a gentle sloping roof contour, a design element that provides the CLA with a coupé-style character from the rear. A four-door coupé that is.

First off, lets look at the skinny:

  • Engine displacement: 1595 cc, 4/in-line, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Mixture formation: Electronically controlled direct petrol injection with piezo injectors, exhaust gas turbocharger
  • Transmission: 7G-DCT automatic transmission (yes, that’s 7 speed)
  • Front axle: McPherson suspension with spring strut and wishbone, coil springs, gas pressure shock absorber, stabilizer bar
  • Rear axle: Four-link rear axle, coil springs, gas pressure shock absorber, stabilizer bar
  • Braking system: Internally ventilated disc brakes at front, solid disc brakes at rear, electric parking brake, ABS, Brake Assist, ESP®
  • Steering: Electromechanical rack-and-pinion power steering
  • Wheels & Tyres: 7.5 J x 18, 225/40 R 18
  • Output: 115kw, or 156 hp at 5300 rpm
  • Torque: 250 Nm at 1250-4000 rpm

LED daytime running light
LED daytime running light

The above information basically means that the car is able to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 8.5 seconds and has a top speed of 230 km/h while only having a combined fuel consumption figure of 5.2-5.5 L/100 km.

In another word, it consumes less gasoline than some bigger displacement motorcycles and be able to fit five adults with a week’s worth of luggage.

The exterior of the car is breathtakingly beautiful, with LED daylight running lights arranged in a way that create a “flare effect”. The front is classy yet aggressive, with a width-emphasizing rear that radiates power and athleticism.

the interior of Mercedes-Benz CLA 200
the interior of Mercedes-Benz CLA 200

The sporty appearance of the CLA continues inside the car, with round vents in high quality electroplated finish and every part that reveals meticulous attention to detail. For example, the free-standing display screen features a black piano-lacquer-look front panel and seats that feature coloured contrasting stitching.

The front seats are electrically adjustable with memory function, and the steering wheel comes with 12 function buttons. Then there’s also a high-resolution 11.4 cm colour display in the instrument cluster, things you expect from a Mercedes-Benz.

rear view of Mercedes-Benz CLA 200
rear view of Mercedes-Benz CLA 200

On the safety side, the Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 is certainly not lacking. There are four phases of safety approach built into the car.

Phase 1: safe driving
Adaptive Brake Lights (flashing), Attention Assist, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), headlamp assist, Collision Prevention Assist (issues warning when the system detects the danger of a rear-end collision, activates when traveling faster than 7km/h), and Adaptive Brake system all come standard.

Phase 2: in critical situation
Anti-lock braking system (ABS), Acceleration skid control (ASR), and Brake Assist System.

Phase 3: in an accident
Airbags for driver and front passenger, active engine bonnet, ISOFIX child seat attachment, kneebag for driver, sidebags for driver and front passenger, and windowbags

Phase 4: after an accident
To reduce consequential damage, the engine can be turned off automatically and the fuel supply can be cut off, hazard and emergency interior lights can activate automatically, door locking mechanism can be automatically released.

The performance, design, and the frugal gasoline consumption are awesome, but what really impressed me the most is the host of safety features in the CLA.

If you’re in the market for a new car in this segment, the CLA 200, priced at RM 235,888, is certainly worth taking a look at.

For more information, kindly log on to or visit Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Facebook Page at

F1 season is dawn upon us again, and last in conjunction with the Formula 1 race at Sepang International Circuit, PETRONAS Motorsport put up a show at KLCC area for the racing fans a weekend prior.

I was lucky enough to be invited as a member of media to this prestigious event and got to meet Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg up close and personal yet again!

PETRONAS F1 Demo Run, 2014
PETRONAS F1 Demo Run, 2014

The roads outside KLCC was cordoned off with hospitality tent and spectator stands set up just for this event. If you’re a petrol head, this was something that you would absolutely love.

For those who are familiar with F1′s new regulation going with the 1.6 turbo engine for the 2014 season, this event was also one of the last chances to witness and to hear the high revving engine of the F1 racing car’s engine from 2013. It was absolutely thrilling and ear-drum shattering experience.

the 2013 Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 race car being prep
the 2013 Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 race car being prep

The event started with track inspection by drivers and riders while the technical team gets busy preparing the racing cars and bikes. The F1 car in a beautiful machine if you ever get to see one up close and personal. Every piece of body work serves a purpose, giving the car more downforce, dispersing heat, and so forth.

Stunt show by Aaron Twite and Nick Brocher
Stunt show by Aaron Twite and Nick Brocher

The first show that came on was the stunt riding by Aaron Twite and Nick Brocher.

They could do things on bikes I wouldn’t even dare on bicycle. The two experts did plenty of wheelies, stoppies, making donuts, and even standing on top of their heavily modified Triumph Speed Triple’s fuel tanks.

It was an awesome show of talent. I was very impressed.

Safety Car demo run
Mercedes DTM safety car demo

Next up was the Mercedes DTM safety car heading out on the street. While technically not a racing car, this is still a mean machine capable of exhilarating speed with an impressive exhaust note. I love the livery of Syntium gold with PETRONAS green.

The DTM car was driven by Daniel Juncadella, and a few lucky participant got a taxi ride in it too. I can only imagine the G force that machine can pull.

PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix bikes
PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix bikes

On two wheels, we had PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championship bikes doing their rounds. They include PETRONAS Yamaha riders such as Md Affendi Rosli, Shariffudin Shamsuddin, Ahmad Fazli Sham, Abdul Muhaimin Roslan, Md Izrul Huzaimie Amran, and Md Azam Omar.

These are the names that could rise up the rank to compete in bigger cc bike categories in the future.

Pillion Ride session with professional rider Shahrol Yuzy
Pillion Ride session with professional rider Shahrol Yuzy

They said lighting doesn’t strike the same place twice, but I was lucky enough to be chosen as a pillion rider again (I did  last year too!).

Shahrol Yuzy was yet again our rider. We donned full leather and complete safety gears, then hang on to dear life while Shahrol rode the 600cc Supersport Yamaha bike up to 210 km/h right in front of KLCC.

There were light rain last year and I think we went a bit slower, the condition this year was perfect so he went all out. I sweated a bucket load, but the experience was awesome!

Asia Cup series race car
Asia Cup series race car & F1 drivers taxi ride

Another racing vehicle that got on the road was the Asia Cup series race car. That “baby F1″ machine was not any less impressive.

A few lucky guys, including my buddy Willy, got to be passengers in taxi rides driven by Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in Mercedes A45 AND Mercedes A250 respectively as well. It was surely an experience of a life time.

Nico and Lewis also demonstrated the F1 routine in PETRONAS PRIMAX fuelling session, the only time we get to see this up close and personal with KLCC as the backdrop.

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, after demo run with F1 race car
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, after demo run with F1 race car

The two professional drivers then showcased their skills on the F1 race car as well, racing down Jalan Ampang in front of KLCC and burning tyres doing spins right at the intersection of Jalan Ampang and Jalan P. Ramlee. An impressive sight to say the least.

Lewis Hamilton introduced as PETRONAS Primax's Technical Performance Consultant
Lewis Hamilton introduced as PETRONAS Primax’s Technical Performance Consultant

At the event, Lewis Hamilton was also announced as PETRONAS Primax’s Technical Performance Consultant. In this role, Hamilton, together with his team of experts will provide input to the PETRONAS team to continue innovate PETRONAS PRIMAX to deliver greater efficiency and performance.

PETRONAS PRIMAX fuel is the result of the knowledge, technology and innovation obtained through the PETRONAS Fluid Technology SolutionsTM (FTS), a formula that maximises engine performance, available at over 1000 PETRONAS stations nationwide.

It was safe to say that the drivers had a great week in Malaysia, as they ended up finishing One-Two in  Malaysia Grand Prix!

It is 2014, the year of FIFA World Cup. The good thing – awesome football action participated by 32 countries in the world. The not so great thing – you have to stay up all night catching the best actions. The greatest thing – you can actually win a trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and watch the game in person!

win a trip to world cup 2014

Now personally I’ve gone through a lot of online competitions, many of them requires a hand eye coordination practise that you’ll never use again, or requires taking photos of yourself in silly costume/situations/poses that you might not want anyone else to see 5 years later.

But this one, is different.VISA’s new 2014 FIFA World Cup Financial football game is something else altogether. It is actually a game that is educational, fun, and rewarding all at the same time.

Before we start, lets ask the most important question.

Visa Financial prizes

So what you can stand to win? That’s the ultimate question isn’t it?

Well, here’s what the Grand Prize includes:

  • round-trip coach class air transportation between Kuala Lumpur and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • participation in a four-day, three-night hospitality program
  • two category two tickets to see a FIFA World Cup in Brazil
  • one US$300 Visa prepaid money card.

The 2nd to 5th placed finalists will each win Sony and Adidas merchandise.

The 6th to 10th placed finalists will each win an Adidas merchandise pack.

On top of that, the entry with the highest score each week will win an BSN Premium Savings certificate (BSN Sijil Simpanan Premium) worth RM1,000.

I hope I captured your attention.

The game itself is fairly straight forward, and I think, rather quite ingenious.

2014 FIFA World Cup Financial football game

  • step 1: visit
  • step 2: register and login
  • step 3: click on “Play The Game” and select “Single Player”
  • step 4: ready to start the game
  • step 5: select question difficulty: Hard, Medium, or Easy
  • step 6: answer the questions correctly to advance
  • step 7: score to win
  • step 8: post your score

2014 FIFA World Cup Financial football game

I actually learned quite a lot from the questions, such as the meaning of being a “good credit risk”, or how to minimize interests while paying down multiple credits, just to name two.

There’s also a time factor in this game, the faster you answer, the more goals you can score, and thus, more points!

Here’s the scoring matrix:

Financial Football scoring matrix

The contest is on-going and will last until 16 April 2014, so start playing now! The top ten scorers will be invited to compete at the Grand Final on 23 April for a chance to win the trip to Brazil.

To learn more about personal finance, which not only will help you score better in this game, but most importantly, managing your money better in real life, VISA partners with consumer advocates, educators, and financial institutions to develop the Practical Money Skills program.

Check out and where you can find great educational resources related to the topic that will help increase your knowledge and awareness, and perhaps send you on a trip to Brazil!

So,  head to and play the game today!

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