Thai Wine at Bordeaux en Primeur

I know what you’re thinking. You went all the way to Bordeaux for en primeur and you ended up drinking Thai wine?? How did that happen? Believe me, I didn’t even know that any Thai wine was going to be available when I trundled up to Chateau Angelus, a Premier Grand Cru Classe in St.Emilion for a tasting of their en primeur. I had already tried their wine earlier in the day but we decided to stop by the chateau and see what other wines they had on tasting. The en primeur tasting of the 2010 Ch. Angelus as well as it’s second label and other wines from around St. Emilion were sequestered upstairs in a private tasting room overlooking the vines but on the ground floor of the visitor’s centre, as you walked in to the right, they had set up a tasting of wines that Ch. Angelus consults on in various parts of the world. And this is where I encountered two smiley, happy faces as a I walked by. I lived in Thailand for a few months back in my English teacher days and have always found the Thai people to be extremely hospitable. How could I not stop and try the wines? Also, I was intrigued to find a Thai wine in a Premier Grand Cru Classe chateau in the middle of Bordeux. Nikki Lohitnavy, GranMonte winemaker and a Thai sommelier working in California, Tina Tepmsomket, were behind the table happily pouring wine. “Would you like to try the wine”? Tina asked me. There was a selection of 1 rose, 1 white and 2 reds. I inquired about the rose and Nikki told me it was off dry, like a California zinfandel. That did it for me, white it was. The GranMonte 2009 Sole chenin blanc, a blend of 95% chenin blanc and 5% viognier that had been made with wild yeasts. I sniffed the wine, hmmm, floral, white fruits on the nose, then, a sip, swish and spit. Creamy...

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Anakena ’06 S. Blanc and Tempus Two Botrytis Semillon

I’d like to thank the academy…(me and the Tempus Two) So, continuing on with my dinner with Ana and Nigel. By now, we were done with the food and moved onto a straightforward Chilean sauvignon blanc because somebody had brought it and we couldn’t really leave it there all by itself in the bag, now, could we? The Anakena 06 Sauvignon Blanc from the San Antonio Valley was a typical offering from that part of the world. Tropical fruit nose, a slight grassy-ness mingled with asparagus and the aromas of stewed gooseberries. On the palate, loads of starfruit and pineapple with notes of bell peppers and a softness in the mouth that you just don’t get from those sometimes bracing NZ sauvignon blancs. It was much more subtle with a pleasingly long lemon-lime finish. We thought it would go down well with seafood like fresh oysters or poached salmon. But that wasn’t the end, nooooo, somebody (ok, me) had the bright idea of popping next door while Ana, the voice of reason, was in the ladies room (this is where The Wine Rack comes into play) for a dessert wine to finish off a wonderful vinous evening. I didn’t have high hopes but The Wine Rack has a much better selection then the old Threshers it replaced. And, lo and behold, they had a Tempus Two Botrytis Semillon dessert wine from the Hunter Valley. Nigel gave us a bit of history on the winery since he had visited it last year. The winery is owned by Lisa McGuigan, one of the few Australian wineries conceived and run by a woman. The Tempus Two winery is famous for their annual concert season where big names such as Elton John and Rod Stewart perform for the entertainment of the grapes (and the 10,000 people in the winery amphitheater paying big bucks to hear them sing). They’re also known for their unusually shaped bottles, an example of which is at the top of this blog. El Dorado...

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Ch Minvielle 06 White Bordeux and 07 Gerard Metz Gewurz

By last Wednesday, I’d sufficiently recovered from the EWBC in Rioja to face a bottle or 3 again. Now it was time for some white wine. A new Korean joint, Cah Chi, has just opened up in my neighborhood and the best thing about it is that it’s BYOB, something of a rarity in London and the corkage fee is a very reasonable. I’d arranged to meet my friends, Ana and Nigel (both of whom are involved in the wine trade) for dinner. Conveniently enough, there are two off-licences nearby, The Wine Rack (ex-Threshers) next door (which would come in handy later in the evening) and across the street, a local independent, Wines of the World. I’ve popped into their shop in the past and they always have a rather eclectic, exciting selection to choose from, as well as dispensing great advice. We started off with a white Bordeaux, Chateau Minvielle ’06. A classic bordeaux blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon, this was a crisp little number with a lovely citrusy, white flower nose. We all agreed that it was medium-bodied and slightly waxy on the palate (due to the semillon) with citrus flavours dominating the palate along with hints of white pepper and a refreshing lemon peel finish. An excellent way to begin the evening while we were perusing the menu. Since we were having spicy Korean food, I’d chosen an ’07 Alsatian gewurztraminer from Gerard Metz, a small producer located in the heart of Alsace on the eastern slopes of the Vosges Mtns. This wine had the typically spicy nose associated with gewurz – chinese five spice prominently displayed with elderflower and a touch of honey and grapey-ness hanging around the edges. It was not too complex, fresh but medium-bodied. White flowers, jasmine, dried apricots and maple syrup were all competing for attention in my mouth. Once we started eating the spicy Korean BBQ, the tastes of rose petals and white peaches really jumped onto our tongues. They served watermelon as a...

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Cricket in the park and Teres Rosé

I was introduced to the mysterious (for an American) game of cricket last weekend. My friend Ayesha’s husband plays occasionally in Regent’s Park and they invited me down one sunny Saturday afternoon to while away the day at the cricket pitch. Despite Ayesha’s best efforts to explain the game to me, I’m still mystified as to why is has so many devotees. The real reason I went was to have a chat with Ayesha, enjoy the sunshine and the lovely rosé that I had brought along. I stopped by Wines of the World  in Earlsfield to pick up a bottle. WotW is my local but I rarely stop in, even though they have a great selection of wines to choose from, probably because I get home so late from work that they are usually closed when I pass by. I chose a rosé from Provence, more precisely, it was a Vin de Pays des Maures, which is a relatively new (in existence for about 7 years) VDP in Provence. The wine is from the well known producer, Ch. du Rouet. The Teres 2007 (12.5% alc),  is their entry level rosé. It’s a blend of primarily grenache with a bit of cinsault thrown in for balance. The vineyard is situated on the Mediterranean coast allowing the grapes to enjoy the sea breezes coming off the sea. This in turn keeps the grapes cool and the sugar levels low producing light, dry, yet fruity wines. The wine was a  pale pinky/salmon colour, it didn’t have very intense aromas on opening, we detected wafts of raspberries and red fruits emanating from the plastic cup (hey, we were in the park). Drinking it was a delightful surprise. Strawberries and cream, raspberries, sour cherries, full of fruit but crisp and smooth. It effortlessly slipped down our throats. A perfect wine for a summers’ day in the park. It was so easy to drink we couldn’t believe how fast the bottle emptied. Oh well, it was a good thing we...

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