Posts Tagged ‘wine’

I-Beam, Wine & More – Vientiane, Laos

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Exterior shot of I-Beam

A comfortable place to enjoy Tapas and French Snacks from 17:00 – 23:00 daily.  A good selection of spirits, wine and beer are on offer.



Tartine of the Day

Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair 4-6 November 2010 – Hong Kong

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010


Hong Kong’s star soars over the world of wine

Hong Kong’s increasingly high profile as a wine hub within the world’s most vibrant economic region will ensure that the global wine industry’s focus will be firmly on the HKTDC Hong Kong Wine & Spirits Fair 2010, which takes place at the downtown location of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 4-6 November, 2010

Since the elimination of duty on wine and beers by the Hong Kong Government in 2008, local wine-related business has experienced robust growth. Total wine imports into Hong Kong increased by 80% in 2008 and by a further 40% in 2009, reaching a value of US$500 million. In addition, the city is now the second largest centre for wine auctions in the world, having overtaken London, and is now behind only New York.

The SAR is well poised to take advantage of the growing demand for wine in the Chinese mainland. In February, Hong Kong and the mainland signed a co-operation agreement covering customs facilitation measures to ease the passage of wine entering the mainland through Hong Kong. This will enhance co-operation on wine-related matters and strengthen Hong Kong’s position as a regional wine-trading hub. Figures for the first five months of 2010 show that 33% of wine exports from Hong Kong were destined for the mainland.

Australia is to be the 2010 fair’s Partner Country, becoming the first New World wine-producing country to enjoy this honour. Australian wine will be spotlighted in a series of events including the Vino Syrah/Shiraz Forum. In addition, Argentina, France, Italy and Spain have also committed to staging group pavilions.

Last year’s show saw the inaugural Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition, which returns this year after a very successful debut. In 2009, some 1,300 wines from around the world were judged by a pan-Asian panel. The competition, which was the world’s first authentically Asian wine competition, is again organised in conjunction with London’s renowned International Wine & Spirit Competition.

Cocktail Reception

The guest international judge for the second edition of HKIWSC will be Tim Atkin MW, the multi-award-winning wine writer. New for this year is an additional wine-and-food-pairing trophy for Best Wine with Sashimi, joining the four existing wine/food awards for Best Wine with Dim Sum, Kung Pao Chicken, Braised Abalone and Peking Duck respectively. A black-tie dinner will be held on the first evening of the fair, which also provides the occasion for the awards presentation ceremony.

The Wine Industry Conference is an integral part of the show. Also taking place during the show is the Asian Top Sommelier Summit, for which Gérard Basset from the UK, World’s Best Sommelier 2010, is one of the guest speakers. The fair also incorporates a series of public forums, wine-tasting sessions and master classes.

The Wine Gallery features a showcase display of Shiraz wines from around the world. Also on view are winning entries from the HKIWSC and entrants in the Most Beloved Wine contest.

The popular voting game, the Most Beloved Wine & Spirits, features two categories – white wine and red wine – and is open for voting by trade buyers and public visitors.

The 2009 edition attracted almost 12,000 trade buyers from 62 countries and regions. Among them was Mr Stéphane Boutiton, Associate, Vinomania, of France. Speaking at the show, he said: “Hong Kong is the place to be for business; the city offers a good platform to grow business in Asia and even worldwide. This fair is very professional and I am pleased to see so many young wine lovers here.” He was at the fair to find partners in Asia to open franchise wine bars & restaurants.

Mr Gianander Dua, Director of Hops Marketing in India, was visiting the fair for the second-year running. “There is an expansion in the variety of wine products on display this time with new exhibitors from countries like India and Korea,” he said. “I’ve found some good Italian products as well as Korean and Hungarian wines. I cannot find a better fair elsewhere in the region.”

Ms Lin Abbott, Founder & Vice President, Australia China Food and Beverage Association Inc., Australia, was at the show with 45 companies including wine importers and restaurant operators from Sydney and Melbourne seeking to explore business opportunities. “The fair is very well organised and offers us a great chance to taste wines from different countries such as Spain, Italy, India, Korea and Japan,” she said, adding that it had been a very rewarding experience.

Hong Kong Again Ranked World’s Freest Economy
Hong Kong remains the world’s freest economy, for the 13th year in a row, according to the findings of the Fraser Institute of Canada’s Economic Freedom of the World: 2009 Annual Report.
The report ranks 141 economies on policies that support economic freedom. Hong Kong has been holding the top place since the annual survey was started, and it pays tribute to the city’s commitment to free trade and open markets, and the elimination of barriers to trade and investment.
The findings take into account the size of government; legal structure and security of property rights; access to sound money; freedom to trade internationally; and regulation of credit, labour and business. With the highest overall score of 8.97 out of 10, the city was also ranked first for freedom of international trade, scored 9.6.
All these factors make Hong Kong very attractive to companies around the world that invest in or trade with the SAR.
The Fraser Institute is an independent economics and public policy think-tank; it first published the report in 1996. The 2009 report ranked Singapore and New Zealand in second and third places, respectively. The institute’s findings are consistent with the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, published by The Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based think-tank, and The Wall Street Journal, in which Hong Kong has topped for 16 consecutive years.


Tasting of Tenuta Setteponti Wines from Tuscany at Giusto Restaurant – Bangkok

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

At Giusto Restaurant’s ultra-modern upper bar, an intimate tasting of Tenuta Setteponti wines from Tuscany was held by G Four Co Ltd. and hosted by Luca and Tamara.

Morellino 2006 DOC 83 Wine Spectator

Morellino 2006 DOC 83 Wine Spectator,
Grapes: Sangiovese with a small percentage of Alicante
Aging: 15 days for maceration and fermentation, 8 months in stainless steel tank, 2 months in bottle.
A typical Scansano area wine, fruity with more freshness than concentration. Pleasant to drink.

Poggio al Lupo 2004 IGT 92 Wine Spectator

Poggio al Lupo 2004 IGT 92 Wine Spectator
Grapes: 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Alicante, 7% Petit Verot
Aging: 25 days for the Cabernet and Petit Verot, 20 days for Alicante maturation in French barriques, additional 6 months in bottle
Deep purple color with jammy black berry and cassis overtones with a long penetrating finish

Crognolo 2004 IGT 91 Wine Spectator

Crognolo 2004 IGT 91 Wine Spectator
Grapes: Sangiovese with a touch of Merlot
Aging: 20 days for maceration and fe3rmentation, maturation in Frencch barriques, additional 6 months in bottle
Soft tannins and more elegance than the others wines, with a good finish and a great deal of freshness and fruit

Oreno 2004 ICT 95 Wine Spectator

Oreno 2004 ICT 95 Wine Spectator
Grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese
Aging: 25 days for maceration and fermentation, maturation in French barriques, additional 12 months in bottle
Full bodied with masses of fruit and super velvety tannins
It might be added, that the winemaker missed his flight from Italy and did not arrive until the tasting was over.

I personally liked the Morellino for its freshness and its qualities of being pleasant and easy to drink and the Poggio al Lupo for its strength and forwardness along with the Crognolo, which was soft and elegant.
Note: All of the four wines were not given sufficient time to recover from the overseas shipment due to the winemakers schedule and should be tasted again after they rest and results might vary.

Giusto is among Bangkok’s most notable, top-flight Italian restaurants, in company with the following elite group, which are listed in alphabetical order:

Beccofino 02-392-1881,

Belguardo 02-610-9380,

Biscotti 02-255-5443,

Enoteca Italiana, 02-258-4386,

Gianni 02-252-1619, no website

Giusto 02-258-4321,

La Scala 02-344-8899,

Mezzaluna 02624-9555,

Zanotti 02-636-0002,

Enoteca Italiana – Bangkok

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Enoteca Italiana
39 Sukhumvit Soi 27
Klong Toei
Bangkok 10110
Tel. 02 258 4386
Opening Hours: Dinner Only 6pm until late (call)
Credit Cards: All Major

My first visit to this restaurant was shortly after it opened about four years ago when it was an entirely different venue. It has developed from an enoteca serving an assortment of cold cuts into a full fledged restaurant.
If you have not visited before allow a little extra time to get there and probably it is a good idea to call for directions beforehand or en route. If you are going by taxi do not expect that the driver will know where the restaurant is located. Now, with that little piece of business out of the way you will arrive at a charming little house and garden with a warm and friendly interior design.

I would suggest starting with a selection of salumi and from there segue into a pork scaloppini with sautéed artichokes or another main course.
There is a selection of desserts if you have any space left.
The exceptional wine list is filled with well chosen Italian vintages and selections of wines by the glass are also available.
The owner, Niccola Bonazza is very obliging and will try his best to please you.
All in all I experienced an exceptionally pleasant evening.

Gianni Gagliardo Wine Dinner, Rossini Restaurant – Bangkok

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Rossini Restaurant
Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit Hotel
250 Sukhumvit Road
Tel. (66) 02 649 8888
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate-Expensive

I was invited to attend a small dinner party at Rossini Restaurant in the Sheraton Sukhumvit Grande Hotel to taste the wines of Gianni Gagliardo, a celebrated wine maker from Piedmonte. Bravissimo!

Gianni, who is a delightful man who loves to travel, first explained, how his sons are taking care of the vineyards—and it definitely remains a family business. The production is about 350,000 bottles per annum.

The dinner began with a first course of, and for lack of another term; a Sicilian seafood couscous served in a mason jar (very interesting with intense flavors). To go along with this dish, a lovely and slightly frizzante wine called Fallegro, Vino de Tavola Bianco 2007 was served, made from 100% Favorita grapes—young, fresh and delicious. This course was followed by a well-made, attractively presented and ultimately edible dish of raviolis filled with vegetables and fish, to purposely show how it would pair with the accompanying red wine, Batie Langhe Nebbiolo made from a blend of mostly Nebbiolo with a small percentage of Barbera before it was matured in barrels, 2005. The pairing worked extremely well!

The following three Barolo wines in various styles and nuances accompanied what appeared to be a braised beef cheek, (an advance menu was sent to me by the distributor, however Mr. Gagliardo changed the menu at the bar with the chef just before the dinner, and what turned up at the table was not even vaguely similar to the original menu I received). This was all for the better, as the chef and the wine maker worked out the menu to best fit with the wines presented, to the advantage of both sides.

The Barolo’s presented were:
Barole Preve: a combination of Barolos with contrasting characteristics; one an elegant wine with great finesse and the other with structure and body 2001.

Barolo Serre: a wine with greater concentration and a fuller body 2004.
Barolo Reserva: aged for ten years and now beginning to show its full potential 1997 (one of the best years in Piedmonte).

The finale was a dessert served in a glass containing granita on the bottom and spooned on top was a layer of chocolate mousse. A low alcohol 4.5% lightly sparkling, Moscato was served along with this dessert and the flavor of this juice, loosely called wine, was so intense that I though I was eating freshly picked Moscato grapes straight from the vine!

Robert Mondavi Dies at 94

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

I remember well when I first met Robert Mondavi, it was at my French restaurant in Hollywood called Au Petit Café. He was visiting all the best restaurants in Los Angeles to promote his own wine from his newly formed Robert Mondavi Winery, after an unhappy break-up from the family business.

Obit MondaviIt was difficult to tell him that I could not put his wine on my list, due to it being a French restaurant, which had an exclusively French wine list with all the best Grand Cru and other top French vintages; and that is what my customers expected. I did however, offer to change my cooking wine and give him that business; you must remember at this point California wine was not recognized as fine wine—and in the future he changed all of this. He did not accept my offer and left very disappointed.

Above: AP Photo (originally provided by Departures Magazine)

I sold his wine years later, including Opus One in my wine bar called Bouchon, in Brentwood CA, where we offered 100 wines by the glass and had many selections of California and other New World wines. I was invited to attended some wine functions at the winery and went on several occasions.

When Robert Mondavi and Baron Phillippe de Rothschild formed a limited partnership to bring out Opus One in 1979, Miklos Dora, then head of world-wide promotion for Mouton Rothschild and I discussed how it might go over with such a large price tag for a wine grown in California. The reality is, It became a big success due in no small part to Robert Mondavi’s unfailing persistence.

He was indeed, a major influence in the California wine industry and my sympathetic thoughts go out to his family and friends.

Faraglioni Restaurant – Capri, Italy

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

FaraglioniVia Camerelle, 75
80073 Capri (Napoli)
Tel. +39 081 8370320
Credit Cards: All Major
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate – Expensive

The Faraglioni Restaurant is about a two minute walk down Via Camerelle from the Grand Hotel Quisisana, and in the evening it is a very popular place to be seen, it means booking is essential. You can choose to sit outside, very pleasant or inside not as ideal. The restaurant attracts an international crowd and you may sample all the Caprese dishes as well as cooking from other regions and in addition they have a very comprehensive wine list to accompany the menu. Try to book one of the straw covered tables on the other side of the street, this is the A section.