One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
 February 04 2012, 10:55

Click For Large ViewMy travels took me beyond the centre of Bangkok today and on to Samut Sakhon, where I visited Siam Winery. As their German winemaker Kathrin Puff was in Australia with my contact, Kim Wachtweitl, I was cordially received by her assistant, Chanon Archalaka, photographed here before their (in)famous floating vineyards located near the winery. The estate's finer wines, though, are from the seven year old vines in Tap Gwang northeast of Bangkok and even younger plantings in Hua Hin Hills, a beach resort south of the capital. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised by their flagship range, with the 2010 Cuvée de Siam Blanc that we tasted from cask being my favourite. A blend of colombard and chenin blanc that had already spent about one year in large oak, it was surprisingly pure and Loire-like in its aromatics, with a full bodied crispness on the palate. In a blind tasting, you would never think this was from Thailand. That said, production of such true domestic wines is tiny. Their bread and butter is made from imported bulk that is sometimes blended with local juice, but nonetheless often declared as, for example, Breede River from South Africa for their Mont Clair range. Their cash cow, though, is the 'Classic' wine cooler, the heart of a line that does 135 million units a year. Apparently, you can make money with wine in Asia. Their modern installations, select use of wood and attention to detail reflect both a sense of perfection and the funds to make it work. Be that as it may, this is still work in progress. Comments


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