A gracious Ripasso from Pra, Veneto

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If you drive from Verona to Lake Garda you shall pass the Valpolicella Classico zone. Likewise, if you go east to Venice, you will pass the venerable Soave Classico area. Smacked in the middle between these two areas is the lesser established Valpolicella DOC; in 2001 Graziano founded his red wine adventure here in Morandina.

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Graziano describes his philosophy “…the production of food is a gastronomic act. To be a source of food pleasure, the food must be good, but also pure and correct: it must be the result of sustainable agriculture that respects the environment and workers’ dignity. When we buy food, we choose also an agricultural model. This is a fundamental issue that determines the future of the planet: its survival or its destruction.”

“A long search for the perfect vineyard brought Graziano to the higher marl slopes of the Valle di Mezzane. Sitting on white soils deriving from chalky rock, ancient clay and marine sand, La Morandina is located on 500 mt altitude on rubble and schist that envelop the vine from the trunks to the roots as they burrow down in their search for water. The grape yield is obviously very low giving more body to the wines. This was Graziano’s aim when he decided to adopt organic agriculture that doesn’t interfere with the natural balances that have been established over time. The high levels of chalk and surface marl are the main elements needed to obtain wines that are very fine and elegant with good freshness, medium body and low ph. making them perfect for long aging and easy drinking.”

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The local grape varieties contribute unique characteristics to the final wine: Corvina gives spiciness and cherry aromas, Corvinone gives glycerine and vibrant freshness, Rondinella adds delicate fruit and light floral aromas whilst Oseleta provides colour and robust tannins. The grapes are dried in a fruttaio (drying room) from 20-30 days then vinified. Maturation in 20hl casks for 18 months.

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This vintage can be described “Graphite minerality, and some earthy notes plus a hint of Christmas in this, with orange peel tang, cloves and lovely semi-dried figs and prunes. A big rich wine with great length, but elegant nonetheless.

Domaine des Enfants, Cotes Catalanes

Domaine des Enfants was founded in 2006.  More than half of the 23 hectares of vines were planted before the Second World War, and some of the vines were even planted over 100 years ago. From the beginning the intention was not only to make great wines, but to also preserve the cultural landscape and heritage of the region. We try to show other ways of cultivating using horses and plows instead of herbicides, exhausting handcraft instead of mere efficiency. 

 

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The owners work naturally yet in a most classical fashion, making wines from organic soil, with a terroir that has soul. They are realizing their dream – to be themselves, people around them and with nature. “The love and energy being invested in the care of our powerful and exceptional vines, gives us peace and satisfaction. To witness how these frugal plants thrive and gain strength due to our care, fills us with pride, and is an enormous gratification. With our work we want to use our creativity in order to create something extraordinary, which not only gives us and other people pleasure, but also brings everybody closer together. We hope that our wines will be able to present people with new ideas, imagination, and maybe even touch them on a deeper level. “

 

We really enjoy both the reds and the whites from the area, especially when Maccabeo is in the blend. The reds are interesting especially if you already like Rhone Valley wines. Here the translation of the poetic text on the label of L’Enfant Perdu: “Inside we feel empty. We exist, but do not really take part in life which gives us a feeling of unreality.  The reason is that we lost the inner child, which leads to not having a connection with ourselves.  The survival of our planet is dependent of our comprehension that we are all one. This feeling of being in unison with everything that is alive, we can only feel when we experience ourselves as an entity.”

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Carrie explains L’Enfant Perdu is our secondary wine, without being a typical secondary one. The constellation differs each year, depending on which vineyards are chosen for our top wine, but it always contains all of our four types of grapes, namely Grenache, Carignan, Lladoner pelut and Syrah.  Generally our secondary wine consists of two thirds grapes from our younger vineyards which have an age range from 10 to 50 years. Half of this wine is developed in French barrels holding 300-600l and the other half finds its place in concrete tanks.”

Domaine des Enfants Enfant Perdu

“The saturated inky colored 2014 IGP Côtes Catalanes l’Enfant Perdu checks in as a blend of equal parts Grenache, Carignan and Syrah, with a splash of Lladoner Pelut that was raised in equal parts barrel and tanks. Spiced plums, violets, mint and hints of chocolate, as well as an undeniable minerality emerge from the glass, and it’s rich, full-bodied and nicely concentrated on the palate. Despite all its size and richness, it stays fresh and pure, and is a sexy wine that will benefit from short term cellaring.” 91 points, Jeb Dunnuck for Robert Parker

Gift Certificates, Bangkok June 2019

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Below you will find the list of names we work with. They will be happy to receive your visit. Names Listed in alphabetical order, thai baht is the value of each value.

  • 100 Mahaseth @ thb 3,400 (Isaan Nose to tail; literally eat your heart out kind of place by talents Chalee Kader & Randy); Bangrak area; read here
  • The Accidental Butcher @ thb 2,000 (a favorite for premium meat and sausages; mainly from Australia but some local as well); Sukhumvit area, read here
  • Baan @ thb 2,000 (delicious home cooked recipes by Chef Ton of Le Du; manned by his brother Tam); CBD, read here
  • Baan Rabiang Naam @ thb 2,500 (Frederic is the host at this super riverside restaurant which is also known as River Tree House; yes its out of town, but worth to take friends out); Nonthaburi area, read here
  • Broken Eggs @ thb 2,000 (Jacobo started out as a private dining chef in Bangkok, before opening this Spanish Tapas bar near Ekamai Soi 12); if you live nearby, do visit; Sukhumvit area; read here
  • Cactus @ thb 2,000 (Yenakat super slick and relaxed hide away bar on top of Cagette); Sathorn area, read here
  • Empty Plates @ thb 4,000 for 2 persons (private dining by Steven John, with rotating menu, carefully sourced products; writes one of the nicest monthly newsletters); Ladprao area, read here
  • Tables, Grand Hyatt @ thb 2,900 (casual fine dining set above the Hyatt’s lobby; managed by very knowledgeable French cheese expert Sylvain), CBD, read here
  • Haoma @ thb 6,400 for 2 persons (visit DK and his team, and let them do the explaining of Bangkok’s first urban farm restaurant); Sukhumvit area, read here
  • Harvest / Woodshed @ thb 2,500 (Who doesn’t like nice ambiance and Jazz music? This area in Sukhumvit Soi 31 shall see more F&B soon); Sukhumvit area, read here
  • Il Fumo @ thb 3,500 (innovative menu from Portugal; team working hard, day and night to make the produce from Iberia better known); Sathorn area, read here
  • La Dotta @ thb 1,500 (same group as Via Maris, Il Fumo and Vesper, La Dotta focusses on fresh pasta); Sukhumvit area; read
  • Char at Indigo @ thb 2,500 (great views, and specialized menu by Nik who is quick to come up with a creation for most requests); CBD; read here
  • Kika @ thb 3,000 (Sathorn’s Latin bar and eatery; lots of fun, food, music around Roy!); Sathorn area, read here
  • Le Boeuf @ thb 2,500 (there are days, where simplicity matters; no fuss, just a taste of the old world); CBD and Thonglor; read here 
  • Pizzaria Mazzie @ thb 2,000 (Brooklyn pizza by Jon & Celina; very homey feel!); Sukhumvit area, read here
  • El Mercado @ thb 2,000 (Bangkok’s food market; go eat at the restaurant or use the voucher for home shopping in the grocery store); Rama 4/Sukhumvit area and Suanplu; read here
  • No Idea Pub @ thb 2,500 (surely started out as a pub; but Dave’s love for vino is unstoppable; prices hard to beat on top); Sukhumvit area; read here
  • Oskar @ thb 3,000 (Soi 11 all rounder; fun house, tasty food, good drinks around the clock); Sukhumvit area; read here
  • Paleo Robbie @ thb 2,000 (home delivery; ingredients and pre-cooked, healthy choices abound); anywhere read here
  • Peppina Commons @ thb 2,000 (when hanging out at Commons, this is always a good choice especially with kids); Sukhumvit area, read here
  • Pesca @ thb 3,000 (succulent seafood, but also people’s choice grilled meats); Sukhumvit area, read here
  • Punjab Grill @ thb 2,500 (enjoy several dishes here, but actually their modern take and degustation menu has been very pleasing so far); Sukhumvit area, read here
  • Rose Natural Wine Bar @ thb 2,500 (seek a quiet moment in one of Bangkok’s first natural wine bars? during day time they specialize in coffee); Sukhumvit area, read here
  • Smoking Pug @ thb 3,500 (the pug! super hang out for smoky ribs and more, great beers, and of course wine); CBD, read here
  • Taan @ thb 3,000 (hyper local Thai with farmer’s talk dinners; well worth it); Siam / MBK area, read here
  • Thaan @ thb 2,500 (could be in Paris; tiny, tucked away, romantic and dark, go find out), Sukhumvit area, read here

Clos d’Escandil, a monument from Minervois

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Gilles Chabbert with his brother Eric had the ambition to place each of their wine in the top of their class. They managed this well, but there are others of course, yet none achieve the fine value Domaine Aires Hautes is known for in Minervois.

 

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The brothers believe in sustainable viticulture, but couldn’t be bothered to register for organic certification. This has now changed with the 2016 vintage, and they offer two entry level white wines and a couple lighter Minervois reds. The top cuvee will in the future certified as well.

Clos d’Escandil would lead any ranking for bang for the buck. Here you have a world class wine at a fraction of a price, which other appellations would command. Old vine Syrah, Grenache and Carignan, aged for 18 months in oak barrels from Burgundy. The fruit is sweet, the texture velvety, and wine very smooth. We would not be as impressed, if it weren’t for the beautiful balance and fine acidity on the palate.

A fine red wine from the South, that evokes late summer feelings. Please try!

Domaine de Viaud, Lalande de Pomerol

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As a consumer, we immediately learn about the greatness of French wines even before we touch a bottle. Quite immediately the prestigious Chateaux of Bordeaux with it’s 1855 classification and pricing pyramid with astronomical auction prices come alive in our minds. We begin to chase vintage ratings, thinking only the most praised and possibly tannic wines are worth to consider.

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We opt for a different approach and try to choose a wine first by selecting the producer and not the vintage (by the way, what you would do in Burgundy). A conscientious and skilled winemaker will work like a chef and make the most of the ingredients (vintage). Often the lowly rated harvest might become a fine every day bottle, while you patiently check the bottle in your cellar regularly, asking yourself is it time yet?

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Then much later in your buying career. You start to hunt for jewels that hardly anyone knows about. These, like Domaine de Viaud with a chest full of mature jewels, are often introduced by wine bars and independent restaurants. Unlike many Bordelais’ colleagues, the Bialle family do not solely work with negotiants; they also manage their estate similar to a domaine in Burgundy with an eye on viticulture (Note: not to be confused with Chateau de Viaud that happens to be in Lalande as well) making a wine style that is based on finesse, earthiness, and soulful aromatics that one can expect from a old school and mature claret.

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For some wine lovers, this wine may perhaps lack intensity, but this is exactly what the sandy and gravelly soil in the Lalande can offer, and also why we get so excited about classical Bordeaux wines at a proper degree of alcohol around 13%.

The Viaud 2000 is 95% Merlot, with some Cabernet Franc, aged in 1/4 new wood. The wine is ready to drink, with no decant. We recommend using the two prong wine opener, as some cork are dry.

Domaine de Viaud

Now if you enjoy this style, we can also recommend the finer Cuvee Speciale from 1996 that has a higher acidity level; in stock.

Olim Bauda, Piemonte

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In 2000 the three current owners, all siblings, decided to revive the estate and re-establish Tenuta Olim Bauda as one of Piedmont’s top producers. The estate is well known for making Barbera in varying styles including the most recent DOCG called Nizza. The vineyards are located in five different Municipalities, each of which has a different type of soil. The soils in the area usually consist of clayey-sandy marl of marine origin, with a fair amount of lime. The percentages of the main components change in every vineyard and there can be more or less sandy veins or chalk veins even on the same hill.

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The nebbiolo d’alba has become somewhat of a rarity these days, since many growers in the roero region use either roero docg or langhe nebbiolo doc. The ageing requirement of a nebbiolo d’alba is a minimum 12 month. Its important to know that a declassified barolo or barbaresco is never a nebbiolo d’alba. These are likely labelled as langhe nebbiolo doc with no ageing requirement.

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This love-hate relationship for this grape is humorously described by Madeline Puckette of Wine Folly “Imagine getting kicked in the face by a ballerina. Nebbiolo has this exact same kind of elegant brutality. One the one hand, it’s elegant. Nebbiolo is best drank from a Pinot-shaped glass so that its delicate aromas of roses, raspberry coulis (“koo-lee”), and anise waft into your nose. On the other hand, it’s brutal. When tasted, Nebbiolo has so much astringency and mouth-drying tannins that your eyes start watering.It’s a visceral experience. You’ll either love it or hate it. Naturally, we love it.”

Olim Bauda Nebbiolo

The siblings follow sustainable farming, prohibiting the use of herbicides. In the cellar, this wine is fermented in stainless steel and then aged in matured in large french oak barrels. The resulting wine is ruby red, ample and complex. Pop one open with sausages, duck, or pork. It’s higher acidity work well with tomato-based sauces. A slice of pizza from one of the more famous pizza joints in town will also work! Check out Pizza Mazzie or Masillia.

150 years of friendship between Thailand and Austria

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logosujet_kim_4c_eventpage_1920x1005The Austrian Embassy in Thailand has been busy coordinating cultural, musical and of course wine events so far this year. Coming Tuesday, February 26th, you will be able to taste 45 wines from 12 stylish producers, covering the vast array of regions and grape varietals Austria has to offer. There will be classical and natural wines, almost certified organic or biodynamic.

The line up includes wines from Gindl, Fritsch, Tinhof, Straka, Preisinger, Rabl, Machherndl, with Gruber, Zillinger, Trapl, Hoch and Tegernseerhof being present in person to meet you.

For this special occasion, Riedel Wine Bar & Cellar will offer a beautiful selection of canapes for thb 1,500 net.

The event is from 630pm to 830pm. To book please call Tel 02 656 1133 or email info@riedelwinebarbkk.com .

We look forwarding to seeing you then.

 

 

and you will be able to taste

Two Paddocks, striking gold in former goldmine

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Fusilier-HERO

When we began searching for a Central Otago Pinot Noir six years ago, the label of Two Paddocks immediately struck us, but it was the very restrained and classical style that was love at first sight. Even Francophiles might be tempted to try what Lisa Perotti-Brown, Master of Wine, calls “a very natural, almost leafy style of Pinot Noir”.

The fact that Hollywood actor Sam Neill is behind one of the most recognized names from Central Otago helps of course, but it is their philosophy in the vineyard which resonates most. Sam says his viticulturist Mike Wing is the most important person in the estate and the two have been busy searching for new plots, with the last purchase in Bannockburn, at the end of Felton Road, an area in stature similar to Vosne Romanee in the Cote de Nuits.  This vineyard now produces fruit for the Estate blend, and also the limited reserve named “Fusilier”, referring to Sam’s grandfather, who was a Wine Merchant and Soldier.

2016 Two Paddocks Media

Sam explains the estate is “committed to an organic and holistic farming model that we believe produces the very best expression of our sites and intrinsically cares for our soils, our animals and our people.” Vintage to vintage they continue to move ahead of the pack. Today we propose the winery’s main wine, please enjoy and let us know!

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Two Paddocks Pinot Noir Estate 2016, Central Otago

“A blend of the Bannockburn, Earnscleugh and Gibbston vineyards. This leads with ripe sweet cherry-berry fruit aromas ahead of a spicy and meaty background. Plenty of youthful appeal. The palate is succulent and packed with vibrant flesh, attractive red cherry fruit and plenty of lithe, juicy tannins.” James Suckling 92 points

Larry Cherubino, Margaret River

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Acclaimed winemaker Virginia Wilcox of Vasse Felix assesses “Most great Cabernet in the world is grown with a maritime influence, close to the sea where you have that breeze. But Margaret River also has a Mediterranean climate where we have that warm dry summer and a beautiful long dry season. We’re not under pressure to harvest our grapes early because of rain, because of disease, because of rot; all the things that winemakers are under pressure to harvest for. The beautiful sea breeze is what buys us weeks of ripening. It keeps the berries in tact and means they come in as a perfect round berry without any shrivel, without any issues, so you end up with a beautiful soft tannin ripened until the end of the season where the tannin profile is perfect”. Hence experts and collectors rank Western Australia’s Cabernet Sauvignon among the top echelon with Bordeaux, Napa, Bolgheri, Maipo Valley and even maybe Waiheke Island.

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Larry Cherubino first cut his teeth with Houghton in the corporate environment, before embarking on his own. The region of Frankland is where is heart is, about 300km inland from the coast, a lesser known region, allowing for a darker inkier wine than famous Margaret River. From the small beginnings this dynamo amassed over 120 hectares and makes an abundance of wine styles and ranges. One can say he is one of the most acclaimed winemakers in Australia today.

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It is not by chance that his wines rank with the best in value and top prizes. According to the The Sydney Morning Herald “The ratings don’t lie… 20 of his 27 wines tasted for Halliday’s 2016 Wine Companion received the ‘value’ symbol, signifying wines of extremely high value for their price, while 12 were rated between 95 and 98 points. Extraordinary.”

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His Pedestal range intends to offer upfront fruit, set in nice frame with some wood and soft tannin. Despite being one of the greatest values out of Western Australia, you can cellar this wine up to ten years.

We urge you to enjoy it with your next steak – grilled or smoked; a classical Cabernet Merlot with telltale perfume of blackcurrant, aroma of cedar, chocolate and bay leaf.

94 Points – James Halliday’s Wine Companion

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