15 May 2007

Move Over Lafite

REGULAR READERS will know my ill-feelings towards wines manufactured from grapevines planted in absurd areas. Here follow my fluid thoughts from a tasting of those from East Asia's largest winery, Siam, home to the Red-Bull bank-rolled brand Monsoon Valley in Thailand, 'land of smiles'.
Sadly such vinous consequences, farmed from curious vineyards situated 18 degrees north of the equator (convention would prefer 30° to 50°) didn't make me want to curl my lips at the corners...

Colombard '05 (labelled Buddhist Era 2548)
From the humid Pak Chong Hills, this winter harvest wine (there are two per annum; any more after all would be just plain greedy) is initially clean on the nose. Stinging nettle soup. It perhaps even resembles a cool-clime Sauvignon Blanc. On the palate, however, after an English Bacchus flirtation, damp dishcloth, an unusual mid-palate and a greasy, grassy, albeit recognisably Colombard character appears, but does not appeal.

Malaga Blanc 2348 (with 15p/c Colombard)
This conspicously ugly child as well as the two following hark from some 12,000 acres of 'floating vineyards' strewn amongst the Chao Phraya Delta, which has some sanitation problems according to UNESCO (read report). A wine from vines with wet feet (not often their preference), it is greasy on the nose. Saline drip. A nose in distress. Damp backpackers towel. On the palate, frankly eye-watering, stomach churning flavours of off-trout surface. An unpretty finish.

Rosé 2546 (Malaga Blanc, Pok Dum, Black Muscat)
Provence pink in colour with a slight pétillance. Acrid too with a burnt character. Offensive, greasy, watery. A physical torment on the palate. Clams in brine.

Pokdum 2547 (with 15p/c Shiraz; 5p/c Black Muscat)
Sloe gin in colour and taste, underpinned by locker room sweat. Discernible oak on the palate combine with a slightly herbeacous character. Relatively round with some salt.

Shiraz 2546
The other wine from the Pak Chong hills, this evoked soiled soil and juggernaught exhaust. The palate was however fruit driven with black pepper and rock salt.
To sum up, a quote from M.V.'s web site which applies to the French winemaker, Laurent Metge Toppin: 'When he first caught sight of the floating vineyards of Thailand he knew he would be facing the biggest challenge of his professional life.'
Give me nourishment, not punishment...