2008 Aspen Estate Semillion Sauvignon Blanc

September 6, 2009

Wine prices in Bangkok are somehow comparable to what we call in German “pharmacy prices”, meaning a price for a slightly overpriced product; the reason for the price being that if you buy such an “ordinary product” in a pharmacy you pay top notch prices as for a “luxury” good.


Every time I go shopping in our supermarket around the corner in Thonglor, I have this “pharmacy” experience when buying wine. Take my latest buy, a ‘2008 Aspen Estate Semillion Sauvignon Blanc’, a simple mass-produced, industrial wine which is shipped to any place in Australia for about A$ 5.40 per bottle plus a A$ 0.90 surcharge for shipping. This wine costs a whopping A$ 17.30 (about 10 Euro) in my supermarket. With such prices one tends to consume only medicinal dosages of fermented grape juice.


Mind you, because of the great wine glut in Australia, companies are flogging their wines for much lower prices than in the past. Therefore, wine prices in my supermarket have come down a little. We also have more choices at the lowest price point (350 to 500 Bath/bottle). Even a Yering Station white you can have for 650 to 800 Bath which is not bad. It is just the taxes which kill us here in Thailand.

I know already your suggestion: why on earth are you not turning your back on Thailand and moving into vintners heaven? Well, eventually I will, be patient mate.

….and then came lunch!

April 28, 2008

Sunday lunch is always a treat. Especially now, that I have to travel so much, the four of us enjoy the little time together that we have, and Sunday is prime time.

After our “late” breakfast cum brunch, we sat down to a hearty meal of “Osso bucco in bianco” (oxtail/veal in white), gratinate potatoes, celery gratinated with cheese, a fresh tomato salad and some fresh bread.

For wine, I choose a Ross Estate Barossa Valley ‘2002 Semillion (unwooded)’ with 12 % alcohol (for US $ 11.20/bottle in my local wine shop). It was the perfect wine with the food. I do not drink much Semillon, I must admit.

But ever since my friend Alan Wall has pointed me to the Hunter Valley Semillon wines, I look out for this variety and buy a bottle here and there.

I love the golden colour of the wine and its full body. It had the typical fig, lemon and pear aromas, was creamy and “fat”, a great complement to our food.

Rod Chapman, the winemaker at Ross Estate, has extensive experience (including 18 years making Grange at Penfolds), and is committed to excellence. The Semillon vines at the estate are at least 35 years old and produce outstanding fruit.

Old Friends and Good Wine

April 6, 2007

According to Plato “only philosophers have what it takes to venture outside of the cave into the sunlight”. And what do they do there (apart from eating as we know from my last blog entry)?

They drink good wine of course!

When our friend Alan Wall came over from Canberra they other day, he brought with him, as usual, some bottles of good wine. Alan is one of these people who has forgotten more about wine then many of us will ever learn. He has a fine collection of about 3,000 bottles which are stored in his insulated garage.

We started with a single vineyard wine, a Mount Pleasant 2000 Lovedale, Hunter Valley Semillion. The bottle was decorated with five trophies of gold and top gold medal signs. What a wine this was. It displayed honeyed toast and hay aromas but it also showed some lemon and grapefruit character as many young wines do. It could have easily be cellared for much longer but when old friends meet, good wine has to flow. Of course we had food with it, a delicious seafood pasta.

The Hunter Valley, one of the oldest wine regions in Australia, is famous for its Semillions and its Shiraz. Whoever plans to visit Sydney should also include into their program a trip to the Hunter Valley just a 2 hours drive north of cosmopolitan Sydney.

The main dish was grilled beef (on my Weber) and with it we drank a Coonawarra Rymill Shiraz of 1996, a very well aged and harmonious wine of great depth and with a long finish. What a delight this was with it’s spicy peppery character and the blackcurrant flavours.

After the desert we continued with a wine from Sonoma County, a Chateau St. Jean Merlot of 2004 which displayed all the good Merlot charactereristics which we are looking for, deep cherry and plum aromas, with good texture, some weight in the mid-pallate and a long finish.

Of course the company was what really counted. Drinking wine we discussed about electoral systems, political party and democracy development and the future of the young Indonesian democracy. Life is just too short to drink bad wine.


The Yarra Valley in Victoria