At a recent “pop-up” fine dining event, organized by Fin Wines and held at Eat Me restaurant, wine lovers were treated to a curated food and wine pairing led by Mr. Ralph Hochar, the grandson of Gaston Hochar, founder of Chateau Musar (the iconic vineyard that brought Lebanese wine to a global audience). This family of winemakers has suffered through much since the founding of their winery back in 1930—including one world war and one civil war—but the business has always managed to not only survive but thrive.
The intriguing wines served at this particular dinner included a 2008 dry, oak-aged rosé that almost resembled a sherry. Of the three reds on offer, diners sampled vintages from 2004, 1997, and a very rare aged bottle from 1991—and this 25-year old was, amazingly, still intact and robust with flavour. Meanwhile the food pairings included signature items from chef Tim Butler’s most recent menu, including tamarind glazed quail, grilled veal tongue, and a generous loin of venison resting in a medley of mushroom, pistachio and chocolate stout reduction. However, I personally was most taken with the exquisite smoked swordfish belly (which paired nicely with the initial rosé).
Those interested in sampling some of these Lebanese “cult wines” can do so at some of the city’s top hotels as well as restaurants such as Gaggan, Le Du, Whale’s Belly, and (not surprisingly) Nadimos, where fine Lebanese cuisine is also on offer. Or, feel free to contact Fin Wines directly at www.fin-wine.com
Another recent wine dinner event showcasing the best of the kitchen and the cellar was held at La Bottega di Luca, where Chef Andrea Ortu shared the delights of his native Sardinia. The five course meal included stand out selections such as the roasted octopus salad Algherese style, the slow cooked lamb belly served with broad beans and dill, and the lorighittas—a pasta specific to the chef’s birthplace—with venus clams and salicorn (a type of salty fish egg). The accompanying wines, also from Sardinia, included a 2015 Costamolino Vermentino di Sardegna, a delicious full-bodied white, and a 2013 Iselis Monica Superiore di Sardegna, which provided a magnificent finalé. Wine dinners such as these provide not only a great way to discover new wines, but also a way to rediscover some of Bangkok’s best and most established fine dining restaurants.
As for upcoming wine events, there are plenty of wine paired dinners on offer during this month’s SO Sofitel’s SO Amazing Chefs event. Each evening, from November 11th to the 18th, the special gourmet chef’s dinners being served are available with wine pairing (for a slight additional cost). In addition, on November 11th, from 7pm till 9pm, there will be a two hour ‘Wine and Cheese Tasting’ event at Mixo. The event will be hosted by Patrice Marchand, co-owner of one of the oldest family-run dairy producers in France specializing in cheese, and master restaurateur of Les Frères Marchand restaurants (price is B600). For more information or to make reservations, visit www.sofitel.com.
Finally, on Saturday, November 19th, the Ambassador of France to Thailand and Madame Gilles Garachon, with the support of the Pullman G Hotel and the Francophone associations in Thailand, invite wine lovers to discover the Beaujolais Nouveau 2016 collection at the Résidence de l’Ambassade de France (33 rue de Brest, Charoenkrung Soi 36). Tickets are B1,300, and for this price guests will enjoy an exquisite French buffet, served in a lovely garden setting, as well as a sampling of extraordinary new releases from France. Tickets are limited so book by calling 02 670 4200 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.