Boxing day with wine from Canada: 2007 Marynissen Estates Syrah

December 28, 2012

Marynissen Syrah

2007 Marynissen Estates Syrah

We had Canadian friends over for boxing day lunch. They had come from Beijing (where they now live and work) and were on holidays in the kingdom. It was a wonderful opportunity for a reunion, and we made the most of it.

I had prepared various meets on my barbecue (on my Weber, also from Canada): large chunks of beef and pork skewers. It was easy to select the wine.

The bottle of ‘2007 Marynissen Estates Syrah’ from Marynissen Estates, Niagara-on-the-Lake, in Ontario was just the right stuff.

I had only this one bottle which was hand carried all the way from Ontario, then stored in my mothers house in Trier for a while, until I had space in my suitcase to carry it to Bangkok.

In short: this was a true rarity.

Marynissen Syrah 2

2007 Syrah by Marynissen Estates, Niagara-on-the-Lake

When we visited Canada two years ago, we had also visited some wineries in Prince Edward County as well as near the Niagara falls. Marynissen Estates was one of the latter.

You can look up my archives of the Man from Mosel River where you will find reviews of Del Gatto Estates Winery, Closson Chase Vineyards, Huff Estate and The Grange of Prince Edward County Estates. My glands go berserk when these names come over my tongue.

Marynissen Syrah 3

The back label

2007 was a ripper of a vintage in Ontario with little rain and many dry and sunny days.

I do not know if I could taste all what is written up here on the back label. The wine is definitely a Rhone style wine. The colour is a very dark and beautiful deep red.

It stinks when you catch the first whiff with your nose. Burned tire aromas come to mind. But when you got used to that, it is the most beautiful drop of red you can imagine. Smooth and full, intensive dark fruit. I wish more wines were made that way.

My experience is that you cannot get Canadian wines outside Canada. The only exception is ice wine which is offered in duty free shops in airports, mostly from Inniskillin Wines.

But if you happen to know where to get Canadian wines in Thailand, please let me know.

The wine regions of Canada are certainly worth a visit.

Address:
Marynissen Estates
1209 Concession 1
RR#6,
Niagara-on-the-Lake
Ontario, Canada L0S 1J0
Tel: +1-905-468-7270
Fax: +1-905-468-5784
info@marynissen.com
www.marynissen.com

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

December 5, 2012

De Chansac 1

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.


Wang Ping Steak House in 桃園 Taoyuan, Taiwan

November 26, 2012

The shutters of Wang Ping Steak House when still closed

Together with my friend Jim I went to Wang Ping Steak House in 桃園 (Taoyuan) for a kind of farewell meal. The International Center Land Policy Studies and Training (ICLPST) had made a booking but we had to be there at 17.20 h already, because the place was fully booked.

Can you imagine that? Chinese gourmets seem to know what is good, and they eat early. So off we went and presented ourselves at the above time. It was a rainy day, with low hanging clouds, and it was dark when we arrived.

We had to wait a few minutes. Then we were shown to our table on the ground floor. The menu is in Chinese and in English. Straight forward so to say. We ordered in no time.

The appetizer arrangement

The salmon and mushroom arrangement was lovely and wetted our appetite. We were offered a glass of fizz, so to say, fizz with a sweet plum taste. We did not protest.

The fizzy plum drink

Both of us had ordered the mushroom soup. It came in two vessels, a soup bowl with the mushrooms lumped together like a little tower, the broth came separate. I was not quick enough to take a photo of both. The soup was good, fully flavoured, creamy and intense.

The mushroom soup

We ordered a bottle of house wine. Red was the colour we had chosen. I do not know much about French wines. When a bottle of ‘2010 Ginestet Bordeaux’ arrived, I was wondering what it would taste like.

As it turned out, Maison Ginestet is a wine trading house specializing in Bordeaux wines.

The wine was full bodied, had beautiful forest fruit aromas, and was dense with a long finish. Just the right wine with red meat, I thought. The typical Bordeaux blend is a good choice when eating beef or lamb.

Grand vin de Bordeaux

I liked the dark red colour

The sorbet

To cleanse the palate, a sorbet was offered. Again it had a plum taste. The fine acidity made sure our palates were ready for the main course.

Dried plums and plum sauce for the lamb

Jim’s main course: lamb

Beef fillet

Jim went for the lamb chops, I ordered the beef fillet. Big dishes but we were ready for it.

Chocolate dessert with ice cream

Crème brûlée in a shell

Also the desserts did not disappoint us. What a lovely way to end our farewell meal.

The service at Wang’s is very efficient. The well trained waiters and waitresses are polite and attentive. We both enjoyed the evening.

I was about to board a plane a few hours later. Jim stayed behind for another two weeks at the Centre. As always we are confident to meet again for another joint teaching engagement at ICLPST.

Chinese flower tea

Come and eat at Wang’s

PS: I highly recommend a meal at Wang’s. They have several outlets, I think.

Address:
Wang Ping Steak – Taoyuan Jhongshan Branch
No. 546, ZhongShan Road, Taoyuan
Taiwan –
Tel.:+886 – 03 – 339 1650


Leone Catani – Two litre bottles of Nero d’Avola from Sicily

October 7, 2012

Leone Catani – Nero d’Avola

Well, how should I say it? I cannot afford for every day drinking the wine on offer in 0.7 bottles any longer. Wine prices in Thailand are just too high.

Instead, we have taken to some cheap stuff. I know, that ‘life is too short to drink cheap wine’. However, some of the cheap stuff is actually quite drinkable.

The above wine is one of them, easily available in any super-market in Bangkok. Value for money, so to say, and in a two litre bottle. I feel like in the good old student days.

It is not worth to try to identify the producer or the location. No, just enjoy a drop of red for “the time in between”, I would like to call it.

Cheers from Bangkok.


Grand Khaan in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia

May 25, 2012

Grand Khaan front with the terrace

My favourite watering whole in Ulaan Baatar is the Grand Khaan Irish Pub. I love the place where half of the city seems to congregate. The end of May has chilly nights (still with minus temperatures) but glorious days with up to 25-28 Celsius.

It was exactly such a day, almost summer for the Mongolians. Many men were already in short sleeves and the women in summer dresses. I love to watch the stylish young Mongols dressed up for a Friday night out.

The days are already long, and the work to put up the structure for the summer tent in the parking lot in front of the pub was in full swing when I got there.

Busy at work

I was by myself and was seated at a small table inside. I felt a bit chilly, I admit. Coming from the tropics does not help. Many customers sat outside. I could not bring myself to that.

My beef burger

I was craving for a burger and a Chinggis beer which I ordered after a short glance at the menu. Boy I was hungry. The burger was big and solid with Mongolian beef. The side salad is more decoration, but the fries are good.

Ghinggis beer

I cannot bring myself to have a glass of wine with a burger. The Chinggis beer was just right to quench my thirst.

A pub is not a place for fine wines. However, I decided to ordered a glass of red as dessert so to say. There were quite a few wines on the menu. I settled for a French Syrah.

I will not reveal what it was. I choose one of the priciest ones though. It was what we call in Australia an “umpf” wine, big and heavy with lots of alcohol. I guess that’s what pub goers expect from a red.

I had a great time watching the coming and going of the people. Friday night is a busy time. I “cleared my brain”, the pub acted as a cleansing ale so to speak after a busy and eventful week here in Ulaan Baatar. It was my last evening and I am sad to leave. I just love Mongolia and its people.

I highly recommend to visit the place. It’s great fun.


Pomodoro, Italian cuisine in Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

June 20, 2010

The historic Peoples Committee building next to modern high rises in glass

The menu of Pomodoro

“One cannot have always Asian food”, is how some people feel when traveling in Asia. Having the opportunity to check out an Italian restaurant was just too tempting. “Pomodoro” it was called, tomato. And in fact tomatoes were to be found not only on the menu, but also on the coasters. I took one as a souvenir.

The staff in the restaurant is very friendly, helpful and flexible. I craved for gnocchi when I detected them on the menu. Just simple “gnocchi al pomodoro”. They were delicious. I just had a salad with it, which made a perfect meal.

Gnocchi with tomato sauce

The restaurant has a very impressive wine list. Unfortunately, I do not know much about Italian wines. We asked what seemed to be “il padrone” (the boss), and he suggested we try the house wine, a ‘2007 Sandiliano Salento Rosso’ from Apulia.

A beautifully presented bottle of red

As I learned while writing this blog entry, the Apulian wine region is divided into two, the North and the South. Salento is situated to the south of the Brindisi-Taranto line. It is a peninsula of low, rolling hills that extends between the Adriatic and Ionian seas to the easternmost point of Italy. Thanks to the sea currents and breezes, the climate of Sorento is not too hot.

Therefore it wines have sufficient acidity and are not boring like “sultana wines” (or raisin wines as I call them). Salento’s traditional wines were the powerful, inky reds from Primitivo, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera grape varieties. But increasingly fresher reds and rosés are produced, which show some unexpectedly bright and fruity characters.

The ‘2007 Sandiliano Salerno Rosso’, the house wine of Pomodoro, belonged to this latter category. It went very well with my gnocchi. The wine is a blend of Negroamaro and Merlot (12% vol. alc. only). It is fruity but not overwhelmingly so. It is a dark red and rustic wine, as I like them. One can taste the soil and the peasants hand.

Sandiliano Salento Rosso

Address:
pomodoro italian restaurant
79 Hai Ba Trung, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Tel.: +84-8-38238998
Fax: +84-8-38238957
e-mail: pomodoro@hcm.vnn.vn
http://www.pomodoro-vietnam.com

PS: For the Italophiles among you, I enclose herewith a little video clip on “Il padrone della casa”