Wine bars in Bangkok – Water Library Thonglor

February 28, 2013

Water Library

Virtual visit only

You might know by now that Bangkok is the capital of Asian gourmets. Thai’s are obsessed with food, they hunt for the best bargains, and constantly photograph what they were eating. Social media sites in Thailand are cluttered with pictures of dishes right before consumption. These pictures are shared with friends and family, so that everybody knows about the best food in town.

Also the wine bar scene is very lively. You can find all kinds of wine bars, at the lower price end or the high-luxury one.

The latest craze in Thonglor where I used to live, seems to be the Water Library, a wine bar cum restaurant with excellent reviews. I admit that I have not been there in person as yet. I visited “virtually”, meaning I looked at their website.

Tripadvisor rated the Water Library as 46 out of 6,862 restaurants in Bangkok, which is very impressive. Water Library has received six reviews, all rate the place as excellent.

I studied the wine list which has 19 pages in a pdf-format. The list is impressive too. Largely, it seems to be about “point-drinking”. Mr. Parker must be very happy about this. Very few wines on the list do not show the Parker rating. Prices are considerable, and I admit, way above my budget.

A ‘2007 Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Riesling Spaetlese’ by Joh. Jos. Pruem, a wine from my beloved Mosel, is an excellent drop, but 2,800 Bath or Euro 72,- is a bit much for me (the 2011 vintage sells for 19,40 in Germany).

But what I take really issue with is the fact that not a single Thai wine has made it’s way onto the list of Water Library. As an advocate of new latitude wines, I think that every place with a bit of a reputation should include some of the excellent wines produced in Thailand, on Thai soil, and by Thai vintners.

Nonetheless, I will check out the place and report back to you.

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Wine from Thailand: GranMonte 2011 Heritage Syrah

February 27, 2013

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2011 Heritage Syrah by GranMonte Family Estate

My private situation is not conducive to blogging at all. And in fact I should take a complete break, I think at times. But then I just withdraw from my current world to escape into the illusions I have cultivated over the last weeks.

I needed to treat myself to something nice, and my choice was an obvious one, a ‘2011 GranMonte Heritage Syrah’ by GranMonte Estate in Khao Yai, Thailand.

I just love the dark red colour and the intense red berry aromas. The wine is elegant, and I very muchnenjoy the balance of tannins and spicy acidity. I did not give the wine a chance to improve with cellaring but might do this with one or two bottles at a later stage.

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Spear ribs and morning glory

My girls had cooked dinner, spear ribbs with morning glory. The ribbs were marinated in an Asian plum sauce, and caramelized glazing was just delicious. The contrast with the morning glories was stricking, and the white rice “glued” it all together.

What a lovely family dinner this was. Thai wine and food with an Asian heritage.


TerraMater – Sauvignon Blanc from Chile

February 18, 2013

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2011 TerraMater Sauvignon Blanc

It was a hot Sunday in Bangkok, and I was longing for a fresh and refreshing wine. I went on a wine shopping tour to our local Wine Connection shop in Thonglor, just a 15 minutes walk away from my home.

I browsed through the shelves and found a few white wines which matched my desire. One of them was a Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, a ‘2011 TerraMater Premium Vineyard SB’.

This is a very solid wine, with pleasant aromas, lovely acidity and a reasonable finish. I also loved the golden colour of the wine. For a mass produced wine in this low price segment, this wine is value for money. I can only recommend it.

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2011 Sauvignon Blanc Premium Vinyard Wines by TerraMater

TerraMater is based on a family wine business going back to the 1930s. But in 1996 the three Canepa sisters (Gilda, Edda and Antonieta) reinvigorated their family enterprise through the construction of a new winery and the restructuring of their production portfolio.

The visit of the company website makes you anxious for the premium range of TerraMater wines, especially the Carmenere and other reds. I wonder if Wine Connection does import some of them to Thailand. TerraMater also produce olive oil and apples.

I was very pleased with my choice. Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favourite whites anyway, and the Terra Mater SB from Chile fully satisfied my wine drinkers desires.


A spittoon

February 15, 2013

Spittoon

A spittoon at Weingut Karthäuserhof in Eitelsbach

When we had the open day at Weingut Karthäuserhof last August, I took this photo of a spittoon in the tasting room. I do not particularly like these receptacles but in serious wine tasting they are a necessity.

I will have to do more wine tastings to appreciate their usefulness, and wonder when this will happen.

Does anybody have other photos of spittoon for wine to share?

Have a good weekend.
Cheers (despite lent, I will have a few glasses of wine in the next weeks).


My Valentines: Australian wine industry outlook

February 14, 2013

I know it is Valentines day, but I could not care less. Today I would like to draw your attention to a topic right at my heart, the Australian wine industry.

The questions which occupieds me most is what can we expect during the next few years after the “wine lake burst its banks”, overproduction made producer prices drop and many businesses collapsed in the wake of overplanting and overproduction.

Is the boom and bust of the primary industry in grape and wine production coming to an end any time soon?

According to a recent study by the International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR) commissioned by Vinexpo, this will not be the case. The Australian wine industry is contracting further (by about 15%) whereas global wine production will,only shrink by less than 3%.

But in the long run (longer than 5 years from now) prospects are much better. And this is what I am interested in. Sure there will be less volume, but better quality and better prices. The adjustment will not make everybody happy though.

But I am confident that I can continue my boutique vineyard once the restructuring is completed. One of my daughters is also keen to let this opportunity not slip away. This should make me optimistic too.

Cheers to you all, and happy Valentines day.


2011 Goldtroepfchen GC – A Riesling from the Mosel

February 11, 2013

Kettern 1

After a couple of weeks without a Riesling from my beloved Mosel, I came across a bottle of ‘2011 Goldtroepfchen Gran Crue’ by Weingut Lothar Kettner in Piesport, Mosel.

I had no idea where the bottle came from. I must have bought it in Bangkok, I thought. But right when I opened it, I knew it was what I needed to celebrate the New Years eve of the Chinese Year of the Snake, the spring festival, as it is also called.

The golden colour is intriguing. The aromas are infatuating. Green apples and white stone fruit came to mind. A Riesling from the Mosel, a wine I adore. What wine would be better to prelude the New Year?

Kettern 2

Faith – Love – Hope is the motto of the family winery Weingut Lothar Kettern in Piesport, Mosel. This is represented by the three symbols in the logo of the winery: the cross, the heart and the anchor. The vintner tradition runs in the family for about 200 years. The son of Lothar, Philipp Kettern, also know as ‘the wine pirate’ is now running the estate.

Kettern 3

The Kettern family only grows Riesling grapes. Steep slopes, with cooler climate, are the preferred vineyard locations, so that vintage is late. Low yields, perfection regarding leave removal and environment friendly techniques are the key to success. The wines are hand crafted in the true sense of the word.

I will have to see that with my own eyes, next time I visit my beloved Mosel.


Schnapps made in Thailand – Licci by PB Valley Estate

February 9, 2013

Licci 1

My twin daughters 18th birthday in November last year, was accompanied by a dinner party. The Great Hornbill Bistro in Soi Sukhumvit 39 had kindly provided the venue, the food and the wine.

Together with about 20 of their friends, Lucy and Charlotte held a celebratory birthday dinner at the mezzanine floor of the bistro. I had selected the wines. My choice was the entry level wines of PB Valley Winery, one of my favourite Thai winery.

The ‘2010 Sawasdee Khao Yai Chenin Blanc’ and the ‘2010 Sawasdee Khao Yai Shiraz’, both very fruity and lively wines, seemed to be ideally suited for newcomers to the world of fine wine.

Licci 2

My daughters had asked me to serve them shots when the meal was over to conclude the event. It was also a signal that the night was still young and that they could troupe out to spend the rest of the evening at a place of their choice, probably near Khaosan road and surroundings.

Fortunately, PB Valley Estate produces a fine Schnapps (40% alcohol) distilled from fresh Lychee fruit grown in Northern Thailand. The kids, used to shots of vodka and other taste-neutral alcohols, could not believe it. The intense Lychee aromas just blew them away. They all liked it.

For me, it was also the first time that I had a go at this “Schnapps”. I just loved it. Licci, although not cheap (quality has its price), is a great product and ideally suited as a digestive after a beautiful Thai or Western meal.

PS: PB Valley Estate is currently celebrating their vintage festival. You should visit. Have a look and enjoy to explore Thai vineyards and wineries. The Khao Yai national park is just next door.

Address:
The Great Hornbill Bistro
59/3 Soi Sukhumvit 39, Sukhumvit Road,
Klongton Nua, Wattana,
Bangkok, Thailand 10110
Opening hours: Mo – So. 11-22 h
Tel.: +66-2 262 0030
Email:hospitality@pb-partners.com

The Great Hornbill Bistro is the cellar door of PB Valley Khao Yai Winery in Bangkok.

PB Valley Khao Yai Winery
102 Moo 5, Phaya Yen,
Pak Chong 30320, Thailand
Tel.: +66 (0) 2 262 0030
www.khaoyaiwinery.com