Food and wine pairing: Gran Monte 2012 Sakuna Rosé with a spiecy seafood pasta

January 4, 2013

Spicy seafood pasta

Delicious spicy seafood pasta

I love pasta, especially spicy pasta. And what is very refreshing in a tropical climate? A seafood pasta. That would be my answer to the question, what to eat?. All kinds of fresh garden salads can be consumed with such pasta. All of this is easy to make, a quick kitchen, so to speak, and, needless to say: it’s all delicious

The question, what wine to drink with this meal, I answer with a counter question: have you tried a rosé from Thailand? Have you heard about Gran Monte Sakuna rosé?

If not, then it is high time that you familiarize yourself with new latitude wines in general and Thai grape wines in particular.

Sakuna 2012 one

2012 Sakuna rosé by Gran Monte Estate

This wine, made by wine-maker Nikki Lohitnavy of Gran Monte Estate, has the most amazing colour, you can imagine. Lollypop, lollies and bonbons come to mind. The colour entices you to learn more about this wine.

It is made of 100% Syrah grapes, strictly following traditional rosé-making methods and rules. The strawberry aromas are fresh and crisp. This off-dry wine and it’s discreet and subtle sweetness are the perfect accompaniment to a hot and spicy dish, either of a Thai or a non-Thai descent.

We had the above spicy seafood pasta for lunch, and it turned out that the selected wine was a perfect match. This young wine, which was already awarded a silver and a bronze medal at international wine shows, is the just perfect for hot days and with spicy food.

Sakuna 2012 two

What a beautiful colour

PS: The new Gran Monte wine collection of the 2012 vintage will be released soon.

Greek fish stew with Riesling from the Nahe wine region

October 22, 2012

Greek fish stew

I love the recipes from Jamie Oliver. In his book: “Jamie does…”, the Aegean Kakavia, a Greek fish stew, is presented.

These days, as you know, there is some kind of weariness between Greek and German people because of the currency and bailout issues. So a Greek dish with a German wine seemed the right pairing; hinting at some kind of reconciliation or just because fish and Riesling harmonize so well?

I don’t know.

The recipe is dead simple. The beauty is that any fish will do. We had flounder and prawns. Chop some onions, tomatoes, garlic, celery and potatoes and cook it in some vegetable stock, with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. At the end add some fresh parsley and dill, and voilà, here we are.

2010 dry Riesling by Emrich-Schoenleber

I love Riesling and hold the wines made by Emrich-Schoenleber Estate in Monzingen, Nahe in high esteem. They remind me of my childhood and the time I spent with my maternal grandfather in Martinstein, just a couple of kilometres to the West.

This low alcohol (11.5%), bone dry Riesling is a fine specimen of what the Nahe wine region can produce. The wine is fresh and zesty, with intense lemon aromas, well balanced acidity and a long finish. I could have a bottle every day…but since I live in Bangkok, this is hardly possible. The more I treasure this fine Riesling wine.

If you happen to pass by the Nahe, visit the winery of the father and son vintner duo and enjoy a 250-year tradition of grape-growing and wine-making. The cellar door of the Emrich-Schoenleber family is a beautiful place to taste fine wines. You will not regret it.

GranMonte harvest festival 2012

March 4, 2012

GranMonte Vineyards in Khao Yai, Thailand

About two weeks ago, my family was invited by Khun Visooth, the owner of GranMonte Family Estate, to attend this years harvest festival at GranMonte vineyard in Khao Yai, Asoke Valley, Thailand.

The four of us had rented a car and drove up country for a day of fun, food, entertainment and excellent wines.

Rows of vines at GranMonte

The Adam family: Margit, Charlotte, Lucy and me

We were some of the first guests, and used the time to walk around the vineyards and inspect the cellar door. It was a big event, about 120 plus people were expected.

Chenin Blanc grapes

Chenin Blanc ready to be harvested

Syrah grapes

Beautiful bunches of Syrah

I did not take any pictures during the evening meal. We were just to busy enjoying ourselves. And my little camera is not good at night either. The following pictures were taken while we waited for the start of the harvest festival.

The terrace of the restaurant where dinner would be served later

The restaurant

The GranMonte cellar door

The award winning wines of GranMonte

The entrance to the winery

This is where the event started, the entrance to the winery. We had nibblies and various wines, including freshly fermented grape juice, which we call in German “Federweisser”.

Stainless steel tanks

What would wine be without oak.

Selected wines on oak barrel

Khun Visooth and his family thanking the guests

The party was just wonderful. We enjoyed the food and the free flow of wine. The band played nice music even with some songs from my youth.

One highlight of the evening was the release of the ‘2010 Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah’, the award winning flagship wine of GranMonte. It was poured from 1 1/2 litre bottles. Delicious stuff.

Unfortunately, we had to leave the very same evening at about 10 in order to get back to Bangkok. I had to leave for the airport the next day at 5 h in the morning. The other guests slept in a nearby hotel and could enjoy a second day of play, wine and food.

We made the best of our time. I loved the music and the band as well as the volunteers singing and dancing. We left fully satisfied with a couple of boxes of GranMonte wine in the car.
Thanks Khun Visooth for inviting us.

If you holiday in Thailand you should set a day aside and organise a day trip to Khao Yai. The mountains are beautiful, the trip is pleasant and in the Asoke Valley a few wineries with restaurants are waiting for you; one of them GranMonte.

GranMonte Vineyard & Wines
52 Moo 9 Phayayen, Pakchong,
Nakornrachasima, Thailand 30320
Tel : +66-81-923-200-7 , +66-84-904-194-4
+66-81-900-828-2 , +66-80-661-755-5

2011 party at Two Hills Vineyard

February 20, 2011

From time to time we organize a big party at Two Hills Vineyard; that’s what we did on January 2nd, 2011. We invited some of our neighbours, friends and family to spend an afternoon with us.

We were very lucky, the weather played along. The second of January turned out to be a splendid summer’s day. We were busy preparing the food, cooling the wine, getting soft drinks for the kids and so on.

We put out the garden furniture. I prepared the grill which is a man’s job in Australia. The “barbie” as they call it, is something like the holy grail for the weaker sex, the hormone driven, muscular men of down under.

According to some expert witnesses, I did well. Not bad for a “semi-vegetarian”, I guess. We had lashings of food and buckets of wine. In the following I will introduce some of our guests.

fltr: Ruby, Helen, Jenny, Timo and Michael

fltr: Heidi, Steve, Brownie, Helen and Michael

The kids table

Netsi and Stacy

Rhonda, Jenny and Hilary (background Timo and Richard)

Our lovely neighbours, Richard from down and Hilary from up the road

And now some cool dudes:



Timo (should anybody say winemakers cannot play cricket)

Cricket was the game of choice of the kids and adults alike

Australian crayfish from our dam

Persian spicy mango by Ali

Meagan’s Pavlova, the Australian dessert

Men in black

Busy talking friends

Rhiannon and Bill

My love for turbans always shows when I have got a few drinks.

I do not have photos of most of the food. I was just too busy. The yabbies (a kind of Australian crayfish) came from our dam where we caught them with nets. They were superb. I just got one of them.

We drank of lot of our 2004 Merlot and other wines and beers.
Thanks folks for following our invitation and making our day.
It was splendid indeed.
See you at Two Hills next year.

Rural life – fishing in the dam

April 10, 2010

It took me a while to resume blogging. I did not keep my promise to post at least a photo a day. I am sorry about that. My first week of holidays on the farm was very eventful and I had a lot of things to do. But today it is raining and I have some time on my hands. Work can wait.

Yesterday was one of these beautiful autumn days. We decided to go fishing in the dam. Some years ago we had stocked the smaller dam with some silver perch. We took the fishing rods, got some scrubworms and off we went to check out if the cormorants left some fish for us humans.

To cut a long story short, Lucy was the first to catch a silver perch,then came Charlotte and finally Helen, all with their first ever fish. The fourth fish was thrown back into the water. Three beautiful fish should suffice for a hearty country meal. Later Margit pan-fried the perch with a few local herbs and butter. It looked beautiful, but came up a little bit muddy. This was possibly because of the rain and yabby activity. We threw in a couple of yabby nets, which should provide us with a nice lunch in a few days.

Lucy with her first ever fish

The silver perch

Lucy searching for a suitable worm

Charlotte and her first fish

Another silver perch – Lucy, Helen, Charlotte and Michael

Food and local wine at the dam

Of course, we tasted a lot of local wines. I chose a bottle of ‘2003 Kinloch Estate Pinot Meunier’ and a bottle of ‘2004 Two Hills Merlot’. I love the Pinot Meunier Malcolm Kinloch makes. A bottle of our own wine

The fishing party

Beautiful silver perch

Ready to be eaten

Needless to say that we had a wine with the fish. I selected a ‘2009 Sauvignon Blanc cleanskin’ from Steve Sadlier, our friend and vintner. which he had given to me the day before. That was a wonderful choice. The Loire style Sauvignon Blanc from the Yarra Valley complemented the flavour of the white fish perfectly.

Wine economists unite

October 30, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, Karl Storchmann made me aware of the American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE). I somehow got sidetracked, visited the website once but that was it. Now I revisited the AAWE and found out that they held their first ever congress in my dear home town of Trier in 2007. I couldn’t believe it. Their second conference was held in Portland, Oregon in 2008 and for 2009 they have selected Reims/Epernay in France as venue. This makes me somehow proud to come from this small town tucked away in the Mosel river valley in the far West of Germany.

The AAWE (please do not confuse it with the American Association of Wind Engineering or the Association of American Wives of Europeans) is a private, non-profit, educational association open to members from all over the world. The Association publishes a semi-annual journal – the Journal of Wine Economics, organises scholarly conferences and forums for wine economics research.

On the website you can also find a very interesting blog ( and I strongly recommend visiting, brousing through it will give you many insights in the wonderful world of wine, this time from an economics perspective. Have fun.

Holidays, at last…

July 14, 2008

We are on our way to Europe, having a break at Singapore Airport. Its a great place for spendind a couple of hours before “jumping” from Asia to Europe.

There the Mosel is waiting for us, and we will spend a couple of days with my mother in Trier before moving on to Franconia for another family visit.

I hear a whisper: wine, wine, wine, delicious wine!

My orchids must know…..

July 12, 2008

My garden is my treasure, as you probably know. We were very lucky to have such a splendid place for so long. Living in Asian capital cities finds garden enthusiasts like me often in dire straits as far as nature is concerned.

Most of my orchids were passed on to me by my friend Peter Hagen before he and his family left Indonesian after many years. I will pass them on to a friend as well.

The other day another one of my orchids, an orchid which was not very generous with blooming in the past, bloomed. Wandering about the garden, I wondered if the plant knew that I am leaving soon.

I know of course that the onset of the dry season is also the season for many orchids to bloom. But a nicer good-bye I could not have imagined.

A “special” Orchid…

..and the “normal” ones.

The Lion sleeps tonight?

June 30, 2008

Well, he did not sleep but he watched the football final between Spain and Germany from 2 this morning till 3:30.

Congratulations to the Spaniards, they were the better team. What to do with this Monday morning?

I experimented with video clip downloads on my blog. Well, its not always fine wine and delicious food.

It can be dancing too. How about a dance in the backyard?

Please watch first the cartoon character clip, then you’ll know what the “real people” in the second clip attempted to do. Not easy to follow examples, it seems. Enjoy the show.

We were not the only people who were inspired by the song. On You Tube is one of rather under-dressed young women trying to follow the same dancing instructions.

PS: Note – This is only a temporary blog entry.

Restaurants in Asia – Top Hat, Kuala Lumpur

May 15, 2008

I do not know what it is with these three letter words for restaurants, but another one of my favourite eating places in Kuala Lumpur is “Top Hat”, located in Jalan Kia Peng, the centre of town (

It looks very romantic not only in the night

The interior is very colorful

The food is amazing (here a typical Nyonya style appetizer)

The had a vegetarian pasta. Right, it is not true Western fusion or any Asian cousine, but I felt like having one. The food at Top Hat is excellent and shows great variety blending different local and foreign traditions. The desserts are to die for. The service is good as well. I can only highly recommend the place.

The wine was a “simple red” from Churchview Estate ( from Margaret River, in Western Australia. Their ‘2004 Cabernet Sauvignon’ won the trophy for best CabSav in Australia at the Cowra Wine show.

I choose the ‘2004 Shiraz Premium Range’, a very deep red wine with intense dark fruit, plums and cherry aromas. The Shiraz was spicy and fresh which went very well with my pasta and some of the Asian dishes my friends had. It’s a big wine (15% alc.) with a good structure and a memorable finish.

If you intend to entertain friends or just yourself at Kuala Lumpur any time soon, pay a visit to this very memorable place.

Top Hat Restaurant
No. 7, Jalan Kia Peng
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Te.: +60-3-21428611