December 10, 2008
Today some Thai colleagues invited me for dinner and presented to me a Thai wine. What a pleasant surprise that was. We tasted a ‘2004 Kirimaya Syrah’ from Gran Monte Family Estate Vineyard. The vineyard is located in the Khao Yai region north-north-east of Bangkok in the Asoke Valley.
The Gran Monte Winery is set in 800 acres of beautiful land. The varieties planted are: Syrah, Tempranillo, Chenin Blanc, and Clombard. My friends told me that the vineyards are family owned and operated. About 40 acres are under vines mainly Syrah and Chenin Blanc. The ‘2004 Kirimaya Syrah’ won a gold medal somewhere ( I could not identify it because it was too dark in the restaurant).
I loved this wine; it was very yummy. It showed all the characteristic of a well made Shiraz. My Thai friends promised to bring me some more bottles and suggested I should go and visit. The owner-winemaker supposedly worked for some years in Australia.
Great prospects, I would say, and another exciting plan for 2009. The Asoke Valley and the Gran Monte Winery are waiting for me. I’ll keep you posted.
August 22, 2008
On a recent flight from Bangkok to Jakarta, I flicked through the airline magazine and found an interesting article about Thai wines. Yes, also the Thais grow grapes these days.
At Baan Khork Chang you can find the HuaHin vineyard (www.huahinhillsvineyard.com), near the seaside resort of Hua Hin.
As a unique feature they offer elephant rides in the vineyard. Who can beat this? The estate, though called a “boutique” vineyard, is not quite small but covering 400 acres (what would they call our 4 ha vineyard if 400 acres warrants the label “boutique”).
The article says that the vineyard was planted on the site of a former elephant corral. Another feature difficult to beat.
A photo collage from the magazine of Thai Airlines (see above) gives a glimpse of the adventure waiting for the casual visitor. Why the guy on the elephant’s back is holding a hoe is not clear but he must be up to something. When we finally live in Bangkok, I will check this vineyard out and sample some of its wines.
According to the website, Hua Hin grows Tempranillo, Brunello/Sangiaovese, Shiraz, Black Muscat, Chenin Blanc, and Colombard. The wines must be quite good because the Hua Hin Vineyard has been awarded four international wine medals. I will definitely see what this is all about.
Who of you has tasted the wines as yet?