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Thai Wine

Thailand has many vices (recounted in banned book splendor) and an equal number of virtues, most of which are left to the reader’s imagination. Wine, whether vice or virtue, will not appear on your mental spreadsheet but should according to the 5+ bottles of Thai wine at the Khao Lak mini-market. All wines in Thailand win gold medals, if the mini-market aisle is to be believed, and all wines in Thailand do not list their grapes on the bottles. Save one.


My featured bottle has no gold metal – aberration! – and sits on the bottom shelf of the wine and Chang beer aisle. Written prominently in small print on the back however is a grape pronouncement of Colombard and Syrah. Never heard of Colombard before so off went the 2007 dust and into the cart with the water and Strawberry Oreos.

Suprising to this uncultured drinker, Colombard is actually a high-class grape that’s allowed into the VIP ABC French parties. A. Armagnac, B. Bordeaux, C. Cognac. Each deigns to allow Colombard into their high-priced milieu. In North America, we make it into jug wine. We classy.

In Thailand though, they blend Colombard with Syrah to make a rose wine. And there are at least 3 wine regions in Thailand, of which Khao Yai makes the bottle you see above.

Thai Taste

So, Thai and Colombard pair up with a blush of Syrah to form wine. Taste? Loads of acid on the front with not many other smells, texture is stupendously flat in a very plateau-centric way, and there’s a one-note symphony of sweet lychee playing like a cello on that plateau.

Detail Up!
PB Khao Yai Reserve Rose 2007

Random Googles
* Australia’s 5th most planted grape is Colombard
* Khao Yai wine makers worry about things you don’t. Like elephants and gibbons.
* Brits recommend Spiced carrot & lentil soup for your Colombard. Thais recommend Thai food.

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New Year’s Eve could be the most overhyped day in the year (yes, i’m a curmudgeon), and if there’s one thing that’s even more overhyped than NYE it’s Champagne on NYE. Bubbly, festive, champagne. Either it’s ridiculously overpriced or it’s dreadfully wretched (wow, that sounded very British, even in the hating on France).

Better Bubbly

Fortunately however, there’s plenty of other bubbly that still tastes good and leaves you without a debt the size of the US deficit. Cava’s been my standby since the muni government days of yore, and Prosecco’s another that I found during the grad school days later on. Champagne though has just been awful.

Still, it was Chardonnay (the principal grape in Champagne) that I bought after the wine tasting at my local LIC haunt – Vine Wine – a neighborhood wine treasure. True to the NYE joy, their free tasting the Wednesday before the ball drop had bubbles. Really excellent bubbles too. So I bought my fave and busted it open (without my saber) that night. Truth be told, it was three days before NYE but totally worth the celebratory splurge.

Gruet: Ugly Name, Excellent Rose

Strawberries galore and a bit of raspberry. Unfortunately, no name of grapes on the label but thanks to winegeeks, there’s an answer. Gruet (from New Mexico – seriously?!?) only puts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir into their roses it’s easy money that this one has Chardonnay. From somebody who really detests the grape, this bottle is changing minds. Nice work New Mexico!

In sum
Rose bubbly for a night in with your special ballerina.

Detail Up!
Gruet Rose

Google Randoms
* Chardonnay is the most over-planted grape in the world. Didn’t even have to google that one. It’s just true.
* Apparently, because it grows everywhere, like dandelions.
* Champagne grapes are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, pretty much in that order.
* Spread the Champagne myth of Marie Antoinette’s breasts. Better hype than NYE.

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