Wine appreciation in Bangkok, among Thais and expat residents alike, has been flourishing over the past few years, and despite the heavy taxes imposed on reds, whites, and sparklings, the demand for high quality vino continues to grow. As a result, the number of specially curated wine tasting events and wine pairing dinners across town has increased substantially. This month there are several events that every oenophile should know about.
From September 8th to 11th, at Bo.lan Restaurant (24, Sukhumvit Soi 53 Alley), a very unique wine and cuisine pairing night gets underway as three women—all leaders in their fields—come together to curate an event full of passion, skill and knowledge. Be treated to freshly cooked Thai food that concentrates on local, organic, and seasonal produce, prepared by Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava (voted Best Female Chef in Asia 2013), using interpretations of century old recipes. The meal will be paired with new latitude wines from Thailand’s own Gran Monte vineyard, where Nikki Lohitnavy (pictured, left)—the first and only fully-qualified Thai winemaker—creates the family’s award-winning vintages. Pairing the wines and food will be Benjawan ‘Ben’ Wisootsat, the woman behind Bangkok-based Fin Wines. It’s well known that pairing wine with Thai food can be challenging, which is why a detailed knowledge of the cuisine and the wine is definitely required. The dinners run from 6pm to 10:30pm, and you can reserve a table by calling 02 260 2962 or visiting www.bolan.co.th.
Another notable series of wine dinners are those being organized by locally based wine importers Gfour Fine Wines. From September 27th to October 1st, at Jojo restaurant in the St. Regis Hotel (159 Ratchadamri Rd), two-Michelin star Chef Ciccio Sultano, from Duomo Restaurant in Italy, will be preparing amazing 5-course Sicilian baroque style dinners. For more information contact: www.gfour.co.th.
Meanwhile, events running on a continuous basis include Tuesday wine nights at the Diplomat Bar at the Conrad Bangkok hotel (87 Wireless Rd). Here the theme, for the next few months anyway, is 100 percent French; meaning superb French wines, delectable French cheeses, and French chanteuse performing French songs accompanied by a small band. The wines—white, red, and rose—are available by the bottle but also by the glass, giving customers a unique opportunity to try stellar vintages such as the Gigonda, Les Reinages 2011 (B840/B4,200) that was available the evening I visited. The cheeses, priced in 50g portions, are also top-notch—don’t miss trying the Fourme Au Sauternes (blue cheese) and the deep orange Mimolette Françoise (pressed cheese).
An upcoming daytime event, organized by Wine Garage, will be the Strings & Grapes: Spiritual taking place on September 11th at the Neilson Hays Library (195 Surawong Rd). The matinee program will feature “spiritual music” pieces by Mozart, Beethoven, Sibelius, Fauré and Ravel and will be performed by the Bangkok Chamber Orchestra, and conducted by Laurent Couson. Tickets are B800, which includes a glass of wine, and the event starts at 5pm. Call 02 233 1731 to reserve a spot.
Finally, wine lovers in the north end of the city will be happy to know that Godfather Wine Boutique, the specialty wine store located on the 5th floor of Central Embassy, has just opened a 2nd branch at Crystal Park, the sprawling lifestyle shopping mall on Praditmanutham Rd (Ladphrao). The wood-cellar themed interior is inspired by the classic 1972 film The Godfather, with dimmed lighting and dark wood finishing similar to the flagship store. The majority of wines sold here have been scored between 90 points to 100 points from the Wine Spectator and Robert Parker rating systems. Meanwhile the knowledgeable staff can answer all your questions about wines, whiskies, and cigars. This new outlet is semi-integrated with Brassiere by Water Library restaurant, and products purchased at the shop can be consumed in the restaurant without corkage fees.