2011 Asoke by Gran Monte Winery, Thailand

January 27, 2013

Asoke 1

2011 Asoke Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah by Gran Monte

As you can see from the two pictures above and below, the newest vintage of the flagship wine of Gran Monte Family Estate, had no label as yet when I tasted this wine a few days ago.

The 2011 Asoke, a blend of about 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Syrah, is a ripper of a wine, maybe the best red, Thailand’s vineyards have to offer.

The previous vintage, the ‘2009 Asoke’ has won many medals, two gold, three silver and three bronze medals, at international wine shows in Europe and in Asia.

Asoke 2

What a beautiful colour

The 2011 vintage of the Asoke has so far won a bronze medal, but I am confident that this young wine has a great potential and will win more awards when it has settled and aged a little.

It has lots of dark fruit flavour, blackberry to me. The tannins are still a bit astringent but will mellow with time. As the previous vintage, I guess it has spent some time in new oak. It is a very pleasant wine, strong and powerful, the best red I had in a long time.

The wine-maker is Nikki Lohitnavy, the young and talented and already well known vintner of Gran Monte Estate. Nikki is getting better every vintage. In a few years time her wines will be collectors items, I guess.

Asoke pasta

We had the wine with a meal, of course. It was not red meat with which this wine would harmonize Extremely well. Instead it was a pasta cooked by my daugther Charlotte (our resident cook, my wife Margit, is absent for a while). She is a very good apprentice, and the pasta was superb.

Asoke cooks

Charlotte (left) and her twin sister Lucy

Needless to say that this simple meal with the excellent wine from Gran Monte, made a wonderful father and daughter event.

My suggestion to wine lovers in Thailand: secure a couple of bottles of this wine, put them down in a good wine fridge, and enjoy one after the other with or without food, at special and ordinary occasions, and when you want to show off. This is the thing.

The upcoming harvest festival at Gran Monte Estate, on February 2 and 3, will give you a unique opportunity to learn more about Gran Monte wines, the vineyards and the wine-maker. You should book now and/or visit Khao Yai at your own pleasure. It is worth it.

PS: While writing this on my terrace, I am drinking another one of the great Gran Monte wines, the 2012 Viognier, a beauty of a single vineyard, single variety wine.


Food and wine pairing: Sushi and Sashimi with Vinho Verde from Portugal

September 8, 2012

A selection of sushi and sashimi

We had a kind of quick lunch today. We bought a selection of sushi and sashimi. The question was what wine to have with it? Well, we had not much choice because my wine fridge is almost empty.

So I picked out of distress (I did not want to take one of my great Riesling wines) the last bottle of Vinho Verde we had, a bottle by Casal Mendes, which can be obtained in Bangkok super markets at relatively low cost.

Casal Mendes Vinho Verde

Woh, what a surprise: it worked wonders, I thought. The Portuguese Vinho Verde with its low alcohol and freshness was just the right wine with the raw fish and the rice. What an excellent choice this was. I highly recommend to try this pairing of Eastern food with Western wine.

Finally a wine fridge

February 27, 2009

After so many years living in the tropics we finally decided to buy a wine fridge. Storing fine wine in a tropical climate is just no fun. In Jakarta we had a larder which was permanently air-conditioned. Wine would keep for some time but it was stored their with all the other food items a family of four needs.


Isn’t it a nice piece of furniture?

We bought only a small wine fridge here in Bangkok. Our kitchen is small and we did not want it to be too big. Anyway, strangely enough wine does not keep in our family. The fridge holds about 30 bottles which is usually sufficient. No cellaring folks.


Treasures, somehow

You might want to know what wine I store in this fridge. Well, some bottles of our house wine (Bushman’s Gully), some bottles of Thai wine (Gran Monte), some “rarities” given to me by friends (wines from China, Myanmar) and one lonely bottle of Saar Riesling (Van Volxem) for a Sunday treat.