Roast venison from Schoden and a Riesling from the Mosel

December 20, 2012

It has been a while since my last blog entry. Somehow my work does not allow regular blog entries any longer. You will have guessed right: I was on an extended business trip to Germany.

After my official program was completed I also visited my mother in my home town Trier, just for a short weekend only. It was a cold and rainy day when I arrived late in the evening. My beloved Mosel lay in the dark.

Fortunately, a splendid meal was waiting for me. My friend Heinz had prepared roast venison for me. It was the last piece of meat he had left over from his hunting days in Schoden, Saar. In spring 2010 Heinz and his friends had lost their hunting rights to a group of hunters from Luxemburg.

Fortunately, he had the freezer full of delicious meat: venison, wild boar, wild sheep among others. The last piece of a young deer was just the right stuff to make me happy. As you can see from the two pictures below, the meal was awesome.

Wild 1

Roast venison with noodles and vegetables

Wild 2

What a fine consistency

What wine would go with this meal? Well, since the meat came from the Saar, the wine had to come from the Mosel. Fortunately, we had a bottle of ‘1999 Neumagener Rosengaertchen Riesling Spaetlese’ by Rainer Krebs, a winery in Neumagen-Drohn, Mosel.

MSR 1999 1

1999 Neumagener Rosengaertchen Riesling Spaetlese

The wine was amazing. It had the nose of petrol fumes, was full and buttery. Despite its age, the wine still displayed its great character. I do not know how many more year it would have lasted.

MSR 1999 2

It complemented our meal in a perfect way. We were reminiscing about the glorious hunting days in Schoden, the nights we spent together sitting in the cold and waiting for deer or wild pigs to show themselves. It was a wonderful time, and I am sad that the hunting rights could not be retained. But such is life, good things come, and go.

I salute all the hunters who treasured their time in this fabulous place.

Address:
Rainer Krebs
Weingut in Neumagen Dhron
Hinterburg 14
54347 Neumagen Dhron
Tel.:+49-6507 / 5934


PB Valley Wine tasting at the Great Hornbill Bistro, Bangkok, Thailand

December 6, 2012

GHB

Friday last week I was invited to the presentation of the new vintage of PB Valley Khao Yai Winery and the tasting of the newly released wines. The event was conducted at the Great Hornbill Bistro which is PB Valley cellar door in Bangkok, one could say.

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The place filled up quickly. I met old and new friends from the Thai wine industry, gastronomy, and journalism. There were also some wine bloggers like myself.

Khun Prayut

Khun Prayut, chief wine-maker of PB Valley

Khun Prayut started the event with a brief overview of PB Valley, it’s grape production and wine making. Lots of things have happened since the start in 1992, the first vintage in 1998 and the international recognition of PB Valleys contribution to the wine industry in South East Asia. In 2011 PB Valley was awarded the Asia Wine Pioneer Award in Singapore.

With a total area of 320 ha of which almost 50 ha are under grapes, PB Valley is not a small enterprise. About 10 ha are for table grapes, the rest is planted with wine grapes such as Shiraz, Tempranillo, Chenin Blanc, Colombard, Dornfelder, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Durif and Petit Verdot.

The flagship wines are Chenin Blanc, Shiraz and Tempranillo. Total production is about 65% red and 35% white, but demand is more on the red side, 80 to 20. Some of the residual white wine juice is distilled. To the “grappa” or “schnaps” some lichee juice is added which makes a beautiful “digestivo” called Licci Schnaps.

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The capacity of the winery is about 450,000 liters. Total production comes to 100,000 to 150,000 bottles per year. The newest vintage is, with the exception of PIROM Supremacy Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, all under screw caps!

After that the wine tasting proper was about to start. Khun Joolpeera Saitrakul, wine-maker at PB Valley, introduced the three whites, one rose, and four red wines. He explained all the individual wines, how they were made and what their qualities were. I will come to this in a later blog entry.

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Khun Prayut at our table

At this point suffice it so say that I loved all the wines, but especially the whites. I never thought much of Chenin Blanc before coming to the tropics and tasting tropical wines.

The reds grown in new latitude locations need more time to show their true potential, I think. But a glass of cold Chenin Blanc or a Rose from a winery in Thailand is not easy to beat. I loved the PIROM Chenin Blanc best with his passion-fruit aromas, and the fine acidity. The residual sugar is about 5 grams.

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The four reds in the tasting

Of the four reds, each has its strong points. The PIROM Supremacy is out of my price range (2000 Thai bath/bottle), but delicious. The Sawasdee Shiraz is for easy drinking, the PB spicy Shiraz is good with a piece of red meat and the PB Tempranillo I suggest to have with a South American barbecue.

The team

The success team from PB Valley

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Dr Piya Bhirombhakdi presenting gifts

I was a lucky draw winner of a bottle of PB Valley wine and took it from the hands of the famous Dr. Piya.

After that the buffet was opened, and we all indulged in the delicious food of the Great Hornbill Bistro. The evening continued with discussions about wine, food and everything. To sum it up, this was a great event, well prepared and executed by the very motivated staff of the Bistro and PB Valley.

My verdict: try some Thai wine next time you are in a restaurant in Bangkok. Ask for it, even if they don’t have it, make it known that you want to “taste the land”.

PS: I also learned why there is so little Thai wine on offer in the many wine bars in Bangkok. Importers of foreign wines give concessions to the wine bars, meaning they only have to pay for the wine after they have sold it. Thai wineries cannot afford this level of generosity.


Wine from France: 2011 Carignan Vieilles Vignes by De Chansac, France

December 5, 2012

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Beautiful colour of the Carignan Old Vines by De Chansac

The other day I bought some wine at wine connection in Bangkok. On special was some wine from France. Frankly speaking I do not buy much French wine these days.

Today, I opened one of the bottles, a ‘2011 Carignan Old Vines’ by De Chansac Winery in l’Herault, a French wine region.

De Chansac 2

2011 Carignan Old Vines by De Chansac

The wine is made from 40 years old Carignan vines. The grape variety, originating from Aragon in Spain, is usually used in blends (in the wines from Rioja for instance) as a colouring component. It’s average yield is very high (11 t/acre).

Varietal wines are the exception rather than the rule. I assume that 40 year old vines have much lower yields and therefore it is worth making a varietal wine such as this one by De Chansac.

The wine has a dark red, almost purple colour. The alcohol content is 12.5% only. The dominant aroma is blackberry. The wine is full bodied, fruity, round, soft, almost velvety.

And did you see in the picture above? Even the French come around to screw caps these days. I was so surprised.

Of course we had the wine with some food. The pasta (below) was delicious and the wine went very well with the intensive aromas of the all amatriciana. I buy this wine again.

Matriciana

All Amatriciana


PB Valley: Sawasdee Khao Yai Shiraz 2011 – new release

December 3, 2012

Sawasdee Shiraz 2011

2011 Khao Yai Shiraz

On Sunday we had a bottle of the newly released ‘2011 Khao Yai Shiraz’ by PB Valley, Khao Yai, Thailand with our lunch.

This wine is from the newest collection of Khao Yai wines which was presented on November 30th to a group of wine critiques, journalists, trade representatives and marketing experts at the Great Hornbill Bistro in Bangkok.

This wine from the Sawasdee label is for easy drinking. It is fruity and dry with aromas of blackberry and a hint of chocolate, in short a wine easy to understand also for beginners.

I like if it is served slightly chilled. In the tropics “room temperature” is just a no go. Who wants to drink a red wine at 30 degrees Celsius?

I will report about the wine tasting of the newly released PB Valley wines at the Great Hornbill Bistro later this week.