Representing the Torres wines was a most affable young Spaniard, Gabriel Fernandez, and one who was most knowledgeable on both the history and the wines the club members were about to experience.
(L to R) Gabriel Fernandez, Export Area Manager of Miguel Torres S.A. and Wine Specialist of the evening; Ron Batori, President of Bangkok Beer & Beverages Co., Ltd.; Suchart Suksawad, Beverage Manager of the Royal Cliff Hotels Group; Maria Gequillana, PR and Marketing Communications Manager of Royal Cliff Hotels Group; Thakul Kijadetch, Sales Manager of Bangkok Beer & Beverages Co., Ltd.; Paitoon Ritdej, F&B Director of the Royal Cliff Hotels Group; Naphat Setdhanai, Assistant-Business Development Manager of BB and B; and Thara Mongkondejkun, Marketing Executive of Bangkok Beer & Beverages Co., Ltd.
Another ‘heavyweight’ in the wine business and also present at the dinner was Ron Batori, the President of Bangkok Beer and Beverage, the suppliers of the wines for the evening.
The GM of the Royal Cliff, Antonello Passa, welcomed the members and guests and handed over to the suave Gabriel, who introduced the first wine, a Vina Esmeralda D.O. Catalunya 2012 (B. 3,000). This wine had German Gewutztraminer grapes in its composition, but had none of the sweetness normally associated with the German grape. Gabriel also appraised the diners of just how a Spanish vineyard could have German Gewurtztraminer grapes. The answer was clandestine nocturnal sorties over the border by a previous generation of the Torres family, bringing home the vines and planting them for later harvesting as “Spanish” grapes!
Gabriel Fernandez, Export Area Manager of Miguel Torres and Wine Specialist of the evening addresses the gathered luminaries.
The Esmeralda was teamed with Executive Chef Walter Thenisch’s superb first course of white asparagus and Iberico ham, avocado tartare with shaved cured foie gras. This was a sensational start to the dinner, and the long finish of the Esmeralda went so well with the avocado and foie gras.
The second course (of five) featured a grilled Tiger prawn with lemon and garlic flavored onion crisps drizzled with wood-smoked extra virgin olive oil. This was taken with a Vina Sol D.O. Catalunya 2012 (B. 2,400), very similar to a sauvignon blanc. This did not have the long finish of the Esmeralda, but asking around it was 50/50 between the two white wines.
The next course was a lamb loin taken with the Coronas D.O. Catalunya 2011 (B. 2,900). Another wine with a long finish, but perhaps a little heavy on the tannins for some. However, the wine and the food matched brilliantly again.
The fourth course was a Manchego cheese accompanied by stewed spice plums. This was eaten with Atrium Cabernet Sauvignon D.O. Penedes 2007 (B. 3,000). This was a full-bodied wine and very smooth and incidentally my second best wine of the night (after the Vina Esmeralda).
The final dessert was cherry almond tart, Catalan crème brulee and orange red wine sorbet, sweet and succulent, washed down by a San Valentin Parellada D.O. Catalunya 2011 (B. 2,400). This wine was different from the usual dessert wines in the fact that it was not at all sweet.
Antonello Passa, General Manager of Royal Cliff Hotels Group, welcomes guests to the event.
This then was the least popular wine of the evening, but one out of five is not too bad when you look at the different palates in a wine club such as the deVine Wine Club. Two magnificent wines in the Esmeralda and the Atrium made up for everything as far as I was concerned, and Executive Chef Walter Thenisch is just amazing. He has been at the Royal Cliff for over 30 years and while it would be so easy for him to repeat what he did 10, 15, 20 years ago, he does not, and comes up with amazing dishes, such as the asparagus and Iberian ham, avocado and foie gras. Let’s hear a big hand for the master chef!
I walked around the tables during the night and there was no one who complained or felt that the dinner was not exceptional value for money.
Undoubtedly this was one of the best deVine Club dinners. Great wines, great food and great ambience and service. This dinner had it all.
I look forward to the next deVine Club wine dinner!
The Royal Cliff Hotels Group, 353 Pratamnak Road, Pattaya, tel 038 250 421, fax 038 250 511, www.royalcliff.com, secure parking in the hotel grounds.
Panga Vathanakul (left), Managing Director of Royal Cliff Hotels Group, chats with Ron Batori, President of Bangkok Beer & Beverages Co., Ltd.
DeVine Wine Club Members Ian Brown and Louisa Van der Marel discuss the wine.
(L to R) Dr. Iain Corness and Pratheep Malhotra, Pattaya Mail Media Group Managing Director, enjoy the Devine Wine Dinner at Royal Cliff.
(L to R) Elfi Seitz, Executive Editor of Pattaya Blatt; David Anderson, Member of Pattaya City Expat Club, and Walter Thenisch, Executive Chef at Royal Cliff Hotels Group.
(L to R) PCEC members David Anderson, David Meador and Larry Dobersh.
(L to R) PCEC members Siriwan Anderson, Janet Smith, Jane Benson, Jim Benson and Richard Smith.
The lamb loin was taken with the Coronas D.O. Catalunya 2011 (B. 2,900); the wine and the food matched brilliantly again.
(L to R) Robert Schnabel, Royal Cliff Grand Hotel Resident Manager; Suchart Suksawad, Royal Cliff Hotels Group Beverage Manager; Maria Gequillana, Royal Cliff Hotels Group PR and Marketing Communications Manager; Antonello Passa, Royal Cliff Hotels Group General Manager; Diana Barker, Elfi Seitz, Mick Barker, Panga Vathanakul, Managing Director of Royal Cliff Hotels Group; Walter Thenisch, Royal Cliff Hotels Group Executive Chef; Nual-Anong, Gabriel Fernandez, Export Area Manager of Miguel Torres; and Ron Batori, President of Bangkok Beer & Beverages Co., Ltd.