Wine in Thailand

Which wine to drink with Thai food? What kind of wine can be found in Thailand, particularly in Phuket? Why is wine so expensive in Thailand? These and other questions are answered here by Georges Ciret, Wine Director of Mom Tri’s restaurants in Phuket.

 

Visitors to Thailand often wonder what kind of wine they can drink with Thai food. In Thai cuisine a lot of different herbs and spices are used so the aroma is quite complex, even in just a single dish. Part of Thai dining culture is to share many different dishes together, which makes it even more difficult to choose one particular wine to complement the meal. The best solution is to select a wine which is aromatic with a strong alcohol structure. The combination can be quite interesting. Wines that are ‘too light’ are easily overpowered by the strong food flavours and will taste like water.

Adelgazar Mas Rapido

One of my favourite white wines to drink with Thai cuisine is a French Gewurztraminer. A very aromatic wine, it isn’t too sweet, but dry and with a good structure. The first impression in the mouth, the ‘attaque’, is of a mild sweetness which comes from the fruit. After that it has a very dry ‘finish’.

For those who prefer red wine, I suggest a choice with not too much alcohol and softness, for example a Syrah (Shiraz). This wine has notes of black pepper and spice which harmoniously complement Thai flavours, pairing spices with spices.

Wine in ThailandOne of the pioneers on the forefront of the wine culture in Thailand is Mom Tri (M.L. Tri Devakul), a connoisseur of great food and fine wines. The Boathouse’s wine cellar was an integral part of the design, and Mom Tri enlisted experts to build an internationally acclaimed wine list.

You can also try some ‘bubbles’ with Thai food. No need for an expensive Champagne, any good sparkling wine will refresh the palate, and extinguish the occasional fire after a bite with a little too muchchilli. 

There are a few vineyards in the Kingdom but their productivity is still small. Distribution of bottles for sale is minimal, and even less is available for export. Costly imported wine technology and experts from France are needed to set up and run these vineyards, so their wines are still expensive. Despite the fact that import duties are not applicable, and the duties for foreign wines can be as high as 400 %, the price for a bottle of Thai wine is, perhaps, only about 20% lower than comparable imports.

Proper storage of wines is of utmost importance and keeping wines at the right temperature is quite a feat in a tropical country. A wine cellar needs to provide perfect storage at an unvarying 12 degrees Celsius, a constant humidity of 75% and have subdued lighting.

One of the pioneers on the forefront of the wine culture in Thailand is Mom Tri (M.L. Tri Devakul), a connoisseur of great food and fine wines. The Boathouse’s wine cellar was an integral part of the design, and Mom Tri enlisted experts to build an internationally acclaimed wine list. The hotel won the first Wine Spectator Award in Thailand in 1995, a prestigious award in later years also awarded to Mom Tri’s Kitchen in Kata Noi and Mom Tri’s Oasis, adjacent to the Boathouse. Another first in Thailand was when the Boathouse won the even more prestigious Best of Award of Excellence in 2006, a feat repeated in subsequent years. Now the Boathouse has a stock of over 6,000 bottles including almost 800 different labels.

Proper storage of wines is of utmost importance and keeping wines at the right temperature is quite a feat in a tropical country. A wine cellar needs to provide perfect storage at an unvarying 12 degrees Celsius, a constant humidity of 75% and have subdued lighting.

Proper service is another challenge. In fact here it’s better to serve red wine a little bit cooler than normal. If it’s served at the standard 18 degrees Celsius the wine temperature will have risen to 24-25 degrees after a short time only. It’s better to serve reds at about 14 to 17 degrees. Of course Champagne and white wines are easier as they’re served in ice buckets. Don’t overdo it with the ice cubes, though, as the wine may then lose its personality and character.

Carafes are useful for decanting, to separate the sediment, and for oxygenation. Young wines need a bit more air and flexibility as they’ve more tannin. When done correctly this ritual is also quite an impressive bit of theatre. People don’t come to an exclusive restaurant just to eat… they want to dress up and be entertained as well.

The Boathouse has 26 wines available by the glass. There’s a variety of countries, grapes, vintages and price. Wines range from the popular like Pinot Grigio to the more complex wines appreciated by real connoisseurs.

Georges CiretFor more information, Contact Lisa Sol, PR Manager
Mom Tri’s Boathouse, Kata Beach, Phuket 
Tel: +66 (0)76 330015 Fax: +66 (0)76 330561
Email: pr@boathousephuket.com. 
Website: www.boathousephuket.com, www.momtriphuket.com

Georges Ciret, Wine Director of Mom Tri’s restaurants
Mom Tri’s Boathouse, Phuket, Thailand, is a creation of famous Thai architect, entrepreneur and artist Mom Luang Tridhosyuth Devakul, better known simply as “Mom Tri”. Built in 1989, it quickly became a favourite with discriminating visitors, and appears on numerous lists of the world’s best small hotels.

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