Wineweek 56: The Start of 2015 Wineventures in Asia

This week the weather conditions improved significantly. Starting from zero degrees in Stockholm we moved to plus 36 degrees in Bangkok. It’s hot and humid after the rainy season,  feels like a sauna when walking outside. But it is lovely. This years tour will include Bangkok, Phu kok island, Ho Chi Min City and Singapore. I suspect the latter to be the best destination in Asia for wine (you never know if Ho Chi Min surprises).

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Browsing for some wine at Arlanda airport…a Bollinger VVF would be nice (if I could afford it)
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Ready for takeoff! Thai served Veuve Cliquot as their welcome champagne.

If you were following the Winecurious last year you might recall my frustration and lack of wine in Bangkok. You can read about it here.   This time we came slightly better prepared. M had looked up a few new places where we could find a decent glass. What I find disturbing though is the way that many locals here treat wine. We have seen boxes lying around, waiting outside in the hot sun to be picked up by restaurant staff. Wine is not something many locals drink (due to the heavy subsidization of local beer and whiskey), so many don’t know how to treat it. At nice places, you can of course complain if the wine tastes odd. So better stick to those.

This first leg is just a short stop in Bangkok. Tomorrow we set off towards Vietnam. However we already had the chance to check out one of the bars on the list, the Okura hotel bar. The Japanese five star hotel is located in Phloen Chit, right next to the Sky Train station (convenient). The hotel looks very fancy, but I had no problem walking in wearing a sweaty t-shirt and sneakers. The service was also spotless. We just sat down in the lobby bar and ordered nice cold glasses of white: one Riesling and one Sauvignon Blanc. Serving temperature was great and the wines were both good, however, a bit uninteresting. No problem, as long as I can fight off the wine-deprivation (I suspect it will get worse in Vietnam). The list of wines by the glass was long to be Bangkok (usually it is just a choice between red and white): one sparkling Prosecco, five whites and five reds.

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Coffee stop at Roast Bkk
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Waffe breakfast at Ink and Lion
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A cool glass of white at Okura Bangkok Lobby Bar

We also passed a new place in Ekkamai (on our way to coffee places of course), which is the area where all the expats live. A french bistro that advertised it sells 35 different French wines by the glass. That should be interesting to try out when we return in around three weeks to end our journey.

The best place, I suspect, is still the @494 at the Grand Hyat. Even though I usually adore hotel bars, this one has been the best wine experience I have had in Bangkok. Even on an international scale it would be ok. Hopefully M’s list has some other good places I can report to you about in three/four weeks.

Now it’s off to bed for me. Tomorrow will be a travel day. I am hoping to snag a few bottles at the airport to have as backup if Phu kok island has nothing to offer. We are staying at a French hotel though, so usually they have at least something. Otherwise I will settle with beer.

xx Soile

 

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