DeVine Wine Club goes “Oo-la-la!”

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The DeVine Wine Club hosted a French Wine Dinner for its members who were welcomed by Antonello Passa, the GM of the Royal Cliff Hotels Group.

Leading the members through the intricacies of wines and wine appreciation was Ron Batori, President of Bangkok Beer and Beverage, who very ably took on the role of wine specialist for the evening. Ron Batori was a co-founder of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and has subsequently joined the International Distillers and Vintners in Napa Valley as the Vice President of Market Development for three leading California Wineries. Ron also knew Gerard Bertrand personally, so was able to speak with conviction about the GéBertrand wines.

“Play us a song, you’re the piano man … for we’re all in the mood for a melody, and the (wine’s) got us feeling alright.”

In his opening address, Ron Batori conjured up the image of slipping into a warm hot tub in describing the wines we were to experience. He also said that these were “trendy” wines and he was not going to describe the nose and flavors, such as a “well-worn saddle”! It was also of interest that French wines were once again the number one imports to Thailand, having supplanted Australian wines, pushing them to a number two slot.

GéBertrand wines are renowned for expressive aromatic experiences with great intensity of colour, flavour and true varietal expression driven through 4 fundamental values; excellence, authenticity, conviviality and innovation. Its excellence has been confirmed with 46 accolades, two trophies and being named Signature of the Year in 2015 in the Bettane & Desseauve Wine Guide.

This European Winery of the Year French Wine Dinner was a great opportunity for French wine lovers to indulge in the excellent GéBertrand wines which are personal, rich and profound expressions of the terroir of Languedoc Roussillon.

After the pre-dinner hospitality, the members and guests found their places in the Royal Grill Room and Wine Cellar and prepared themselves for an extraordinary evening of food and wine.

I never feel embarrassed to mention the Royal Cliff’s Executive Chef Walter Thenisch, an amazingly talented man, who despite being king of the kitchens and having previous records of menus over the years, manages to come up with new ideas and concepts each wine dinner.

An example of this was the first course of Norwegian salmon with pickled beetroots and white Balsamic vinaigrette, beetroots not being a vegetable well known in Thailand. This was taken with the Reserve Speciale Sauvignon Blanc 2010.

Ron BatoriRon Batori

The next course was my favorite of the evening, a lobster poached in fennel with a potato and fennel mousse. A very delicately flavored dish, taken with a Gris Blanc Rose 2013, a very delicately flavored wine. They went together well.

The main event was a Herb-Cepes mushroom crusted black Angus beef tenderloin with red-wine braised onions, homemade potato crisps and a Bordelaise sauce. The beef was certainly tender, and the wine chosen to accompany this was the Reserve Speciale Syrah 2011. This was an excellent full-bodied wine and was on sale that evening at B. 1,300, which I thought was an absolute bargain.

A cheese plate was next up with Chevre cheeses, wild greens and pistachio taken with the 6th Sens Rouge 2011, a more complex red that the Syrah in the previous course, though, for me, the Syrah still was the top wine of the evening.

The final course, a dessert, had an amusing twist to it, with what appeared to be a mini-hot dog, actually being a soft pipette filled with raspberry, giving those who bit into it a red surprise! Taken with a Cremant de Limoux Blanc 2010, this was a wonderful end to another wonderful wine dinner for the DeVine Wine Club.

Many thanks to Antonello Passa and Walter Thenisch and their crews for another outstanding wine dinner.

The final course, a dessert, had an amusing twist to it, with what appeared to be a mini-hot dog, actually being a soft pipette filled with raspberry, giving those who bit into it a red surprise!

The next course was my favorite of the evening, a lobster poached in fennel with a potato and fennel mousse.The next course was my favorite of the evening, a lobster poached in fennel with a potato and fennel mousse.