Gran Monte Harvest Festival 2013 – Thai wine at its best

February 4, 2013

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Gran Monte Family Estate Harvest Festival 2013

I just returned from this years Gran Monte Harvest Festival in Asoke Valley, Khao Yai, about two hours northwest from Bangkok. The Gran Monte Family Estate is a true family wine business with the whole family engaged in some part of the venture.

Overall my experience with the Thai wine industry is that all of the protagonists are very hard working, charming, committed and passionate people. This is why they have created the Thai Wine Association to jointly promote their passion for the fermented grape juice here in the tropics, creating exquisite new latitude wines.

It was the second time that I attended this lovely event. You can read about last year in this blog entry. Needless to say that it was utterly enjoyable. In fact it was the highlight of the wine season for me.

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Vineyard view from the guest house

This is the first of about three blog entries on the Harvest Festival at Gran Monte which I plan to write. The first one provides you with a general overview.

The second will deal with the local economy, culture and corporate responsibility.

And finally, in the third one I will take you on a walk through the Gran Monte Vineyards.

Please stay with me and share my Gran Monte 2013 experience.

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The map of the locality

The Harvest Festival is a well planned and organised affair at Gran Monte. We were picked up at the Emporium in Bangkok by a van and made our journey to the vineyard. I shared the vehicle with an Indian family of three and a couple from Hongkong, Ms Anty Fung, project manager from Asian Palate and her partner.

Khun Visooth had put me up at the Gran Monte Guest House. I settled in and enjoyed the vineyard views from the balcony. At about 5 in the afternoon it started with traditional Thai folk dances. The place was buzzing with local and some foreign guests. The car park was quickly filled up.

This years program was a bit different from the previous one. Much has happened sind 2012. A new vintage was just released, quality wise even better than any before.

And let me tell you a secret, if the weather plays along the 2013 vintage will be even better. Trust me, I have seen and tasted the grapes.

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Food stalls provided Thai local cuisine, and you could also start tasting various vintages of Gran Monte wines. Gran Monte had won many new awards during the last 12 months at various international wine shows in Asia and Europe.

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I have written about some of the new wines, the Sakuna rose, the Voignier and the Asoke, but there is the Chenin Blanc, the Vedelho and the Syrah about which I will let you in another time.

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The whites

The whites include the Sole and the Spring, then there is the Sakuna rose which is also available as a sparkling wine, and the new flagship wine, the Voignier which has its price.

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The reds

The reds are as spectacular as the whites. Since oak is expensive the well grafted reds of Gran Monte have their price too. And remember there is a 400% luxury tax on wine in Thailand.

I had ample time to taste the above wines during the celebratory dinner. I danced my heart out to the music of my youth.

And I met many new and old friends and engaged in stimulating discussions about wine and the Thai wine industry.

Soon more about wines from Thailand. Cheers


Capital M – Beijing

January 21, 2010

Capital M Beijing, an artists view

As always when I visit Beijing, I pay a visit to Brian Wallace, the director of Red Gate Gallery, my most favorite art gallery in China, and beyond. After about an hour of talking and catching up about Beijing’s art scene (and a quick box lunch), we also started talking about good food and inadvertedly talked about Michelle Garnaut and her newest restaurant in Beijing: Capital M.

Ever since Michelle started out in Hongkong in 1989 with 500 Dollar in her pocket but many good ideas and opened M at the Fringe, which won the Hongkong Dining Awards in 2009 as best restaurant, she has made a name for herself in restaurant and entertainment circles.

In 1999 she opened M on the Bund and later The Glamour Bar – self-declared as “Shanghai’s Sexiest Bar”.

Unfortunately Michelle was not there when we entered the bar early that afternoon for a glass of bubbly. Brian treated me with a bottle of Taittinger. But first he showed me around so that I got an idea of the place and its stunning views. We had a great time.

From Brian’s handphone camera

I will try the food next time I visit Beijing. Looking forward to it. Cheers

Adresses:
Red Gate Gallery
北京市东城区崇文门东大街9号
Te.: +86-10-65251005
www.redgategallery.com/

Capital M Beijing
3/F, No.2 Qianmen Pedestrian Street
(just south of Tian’anmen Square)
Beijing 100051 China
中国北京市前门步行街2号3层
邮编 100051
Tel +86 -10- 6702-2727
Fax +86-10 – 6702-3737
http://www.m-restaurantgroup.com/capitalm/home.html