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

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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.


One of these days – food by phone

April 9, 2012

During the holidays there is always the odd day out where nobody wants to cook and/or prepare a meal but people are still hungry. The natural solution to such a challenge is: yes, right – food by phone.

We all know it, we all experienced it. Here in Bangkok, food by phone is well organized. We all craved for pizza, and pizza it was. Needless to say, it was a delicious pizza.

Pizza Margeritha, my favourite

From the super market, we brought home a bottle of ‘2009 Jacob’s Creek Shiraz’. According to the bottle, it had won a gold (in 2011) and a bronze medal (in 2010) at some wine competition. However, ever since our days in China (1990-96), my wife hates Jacob’s Creek wines, regardless what medals the wine has won.

Jacob’s Creek Shiraz

I did not let it breathe enough, I guess. But after “warming up” it was a very nice wine, with supple plum aromas, a good structure and a reasonable long finish.

I was very pleased with myself, that I had bought this wine despite the strong negative feelings my wife holds towards this brand, and anyway we needed a bottle of wine to go with the pizza.

Hurrah, we had a great dinner, and all four of us went to bed duly satisfied.


Glorious days in the vineyard

April 6, 2012

Visitrs have arrived at Two Hills Vineyard

As the cars indicate, we had visitors at Two Hills Vineyard in Glenburn, Victoria. It was one of these occasions when we wanted to dine and wine with old friends. There is never enough time. We usually take it, as it comes and fortunately, Tony, Helen and Joe dropped by for a meal. My brother-in-law, Michael and his wife Helen completed the group of diners.

The weather was wonderful, warm and dry, a typical summer’s day when farmers all were busy taking care of their hay. In the background of the picture above you can see the hay bales produced by our neighbour Victor.

The table was ready

We were busy since the morning to prepare various dishes. And as is customary in Australia, the senior male in the family is in charge of the grill. Alas, under the watchful eyes of my brother-in-law Michael my barbecue skills have improved over the years.

My “little” barby in the shed

Australian beef

The quality of Australian meat is outstanding. We usually buy it from the butcher in Yea, a lovely little country town about 30 k to the north of Glenburn.

I am always a bit nervous when grilling the meat. I am afraid to ruin these wonderful raw materials. We had pork, lamb and beef, various vegetables and some Italian salad. Needless to say, all delicious stuff.

The diners on “the lawn” under the gum trees

What a glorious day in the vineyard

Having friends over it always a great opportunity to sample all kinds of wine from Australia as well as abroad. With the strength of the Australian dollar, imported wines become more and more affordable. In fact there are more and more imported wines available these days.

The ‘2010 Casano Nero d’Avola’ from Masala, Sicily was one of the many different wines we had with our meal. Casano Vini was founded in 1940. Ever since it is producing quality wines. Remarkable are their ‘TerrAntiqua’ and the ‘Classics selection’. The bottle we had was one of the Casano table wines. The red fruit aromas and the solid structure make this a great wine with red meats.

Casano, Sicilia – Nero d’Avola

But we also sampled a few local wines. From our neighbours in nearby Murrindindi (this is also the name of our shire), we had a ‘2008 Family Reserve Shiraz’ by Murrindindi Vineyards was an excellent choice for the meal.

Murrindindi Vineyards produces the family reserve wines only in outstanding years of high quality fruit. The Shiraz was spicy and full of flavours. In our cool climate Shiraz produces outstanding wines, not every year though, but often enough.

Shiraz Family Reserve – Murrindindi Vineyard

After the meal, we had to move into the shade. We opened the shed doors and sat in the cool of the mud brick building. The sampling of wine did not stop, of course. What a jolly good day that was.

“Those were the days, my friend
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day
We’d live the life we choose
We’d fight and never lose
Those were the days
Oh, yes, those were the days”.

These song lines from my youth (Mary Hopkin) come to mind.

Come on, sing along with me.


Best Syrah in 2011 – 2008 Cornas by Thierry Allemand, Cornas, Northern Rhone

March 12, 2012

Human memory is anything but perfect. In fact it is one of the most fallible of human organs there is. In hindsight we clear out memories we do not like any more. We add and subtract from it, we construct stories which never happened in the first place; we make sense where there was none before. Our memory seems to possess an independent creativity that bears only a passing resemblance to actual events.

That’s why wine geeks keep tasting notes, isn’t it? But even if we do, aren’t we deceiving ourselves, mixing up things, are influenced by the circumstances, the sympathy we have for the people we tasted the wine with, the location and the situation when we finally write it down as in a blog entry?

We humans like a narrative. We love to connect the dots even if there is little connectivity, no correlation not to speak of causation in the first place.

Please join me while reminiscing about the past year. What was the best Syrah I drank in 2011?

Well, this is not an easy task. 365 days of wine-drinking gone bye, need to be scrutinised. Pages of tasting notes need to be mastered. I’ll make it short for you

Please allow me to take you to my “winner”. It’s a wine by Thierry Allemand from Cornas village, a small wine region in the Northern Rhone, northwest of Valence, the charming small French town at the Rhone river.

I guess you have heard about the vintener and wine-maker Thierry Allemand.

The best piece on the internet about Thierry Allemand, I found on http://www.wineterroir.com. Thierry Allemand is one of my favourite French wine-makers.

Here you can indulge yourself, see the man, learn about his vision, his vineyards and his wines.

The first Cornas by Thierry Allemand which was served to me was by my good friend Timo Mayer at his home in the Yarra Valley. It was the 1996 Syrah Reynard cuvee from Cornas. The wine tasted like burned rubber which is sometimes labelled as a fault. But I liked this funky wine. It was wonderful complex and full in the mouth, with thr right spicyness. One feels like in paradise while the wine slowly winds it way down the throat.

Timo Mayer presented me with the 2008 vintage of this wine (last Christmas while at his house). It is difficult to describe this awasome drop. In comparison with the 1996 vintage, I would call this wine “domesticated”.

It is not wild as the 1996 vintage. It caters to the more mainstream taste, of what Syrah should taste like. I was not disappointed, not at all. However, I prefer the funkyness of the older vintage.

How can I get access to this wine in Bangkok? Does anybody have an idea?


Four Buckets – Sevenhill Cellars, Clare Valley

January 28, 2011

2007 Four Buckets Shiraz, Touriga, Grenache

On a cools summers’ night, red wine is my wine of choice. We had bought half a dozen of reds offered by Sevenhill Cellars through the Family and Friends Wine scheme (we had bought white wines too).

The stylish 2007 blend of Shiraz, Touriga and Grenache called “Four Buckets” is a very nice wine. It goes with and without food. We had it after dinner to enrich our evening when we were sitting in front of our shed enjoying the sunset.

Dark red colour

The blend is rich and luscious. Lots of red berries, full bodied with a good structure and a long finish. We loved the wine. It made our evening. Look out for it. You might download the order form from the internet and send it to the winery.


2008 Big Betty Shiraz, Mayer Vineyard, Yarra Valley

August 22, 2010

It is my birthday today and I am not in a blogging mood. But I had a great day starting with a birthday cake (Schwarzwaelder), some prosecco, followed by a meal prepared by my daughter Charlotte with red wine from my friend Timo Mayer from the Yarra Valley.

His ‘2008 Big Betty Shiraz’ is a ripper of a wine. The colour was an almost deep purple red. The fruit is big with lots of forest fruit. The wine has a great structure, good mid palate weight and a long finish (alc. vol. 14%).

You can read more about the Mayer Vineyard at James Halliday’s website ‘wine companion’. I also wrote about the South Pack, a group of young, funky wine-makers from Victoria to which Timo belongs.

Timo gave me this bottle to take home to Bangkok. My birthday was just the right occasion. Unfortunately, there was only one bottle. Well, that’s just tough luck.

2008 Big Betty Shiraz, Mayer Vineyard, Yarra Valley

What a beautiful colour

Since I had a ripper of a day (with lots of good music, for instance from the Sky hooks), here is some funky music for you: Spider Bait and Black Betty. Enjoy.