Wine clubs in Pattaya began more than a decade ago as an addition to fine dining, and the Royal Cliff Wine Club, as the deVine Wine Club was known then, was the forerunner.
Those that have followed have tried different methods of hosting these events, but the deVine Wine Club has been staying with a more traditional approach of a sit-down dinner plus education on the features of the wines. Wine drinkers have as many ideas on promotion as there are vineyards, but for me, I like to come away from a wine dinner having learned something, as well as having enjoyed the dinner courses and different wines matched to the food.
The March dinner featured premium wines from Beni di Batasiolo, one of Italian’s finest vineyards. Over the course of its 30-year history, Batasiolo has received many recognitions and is a member of Burgundy’s prestigious “Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin”, an exclusive club of wine enthusiasts whose activities include elaborate chapter dinners and other culinary events where Burgundian wines are served. It is also a member of the “Grand Cru d’Italia”, a prestigious committee consisting of the most prestigious Italian wine companies representing the highest standards of quality.
It is worth reminding those who appreciate Italian wines that the letters DOC or DOCG on an Italian wine label mean Denominazione di Origine Controllata, and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, the government guarantees of the wines’ origins with the latter superior to the first.
Representing Italy and the Batasiolo winery was the export manager of Italian Fine Wines, Davide Vacchiotti and Andrea Bizzarri of Batasiolo itself.
The night (notta) began with a sparkling Prosecco Extra Dry Spumante NV. The Italian spumantes being a wonderful way of getting a group of people, like the deVine Wine Club, in the best of moods. A range of canapes was on offer, including some very sweet oysters.
Moving downstairs to the Royal Grill Room and Wine Cellar, the first course of a poached Dutch veal tenderloin with capers, tuna mousseline and spring leaves salad was teamed with a Gavi del Commune di Gavi Granee DOCG 2015. Gentle flavors from the dish were echoed by the gentle flavors of the wine.
The next course featured a pan roasted fillet of Mediterranean loup de mer with carpaccio of mushrooms and porcini foam.
This very enjoyable dish was paired with a chardonnay Langhe La Promessa DOC 2014. Most enjoyed this wine, though a couple of diners found it too “flinty’ for their liking. Remember that wine appreciation is a very personal taste.
A break was called and time for a Limoncello sorbet, smooth and beautifully lemon.
The main course was a baked lamb loin fillet with a pistachio-herb crust, which I found was a trifle too salty, but when taken with the Barbera d’Asti DOCG 2013, the wine was strong enough to balance the lamb loin.
Cheese was next, with a Barolo Com Eravamo DOCG 2012, with Davide in forming the members that he covered 10 percent of all barolo’s.
Desserts were taken with a bottle inscribed “Moscato” if anyone mistook the sweet moscato taste.
Another interesting night, with animated discussions going well past closing time.
This had really been a night in Italy, with the voluble Italians Andrea and Davide keeping everyone informed and entertained.
The next deVine wine club dinner date will be printed in the Pattaya Mail, or you can contact the Royal Cliff GM Prem Calais, through [email protected].