There can be few locals who have not come across Dicey Reilly’s Pub and Restaurant, which is part of the Marriott Hotel complex on Second Road. It seemed an unlikely venue for a wine tasting, but the organisers had provided an attractive al fresco arrangement outside the restaurant. Perhaps it was a bit optimistic for this time of year and there must have been a few anxious moments when ominous rolls of thunder could be heard during the afternoon. But by the evening, the Thunder God had trundled off somewhere else and the rain mercifully stayed away.
The lively outdoor venue, sparkling coloured lights and chirpy pop music created a kind of street-party atmosphere and very unlike some of the more somber wine tastings I’ve attended in the past. The emphasis was clearly on having a jolly good time and judging from the general merriment, that’s exactly what people were doing. The evening started appropriately with a glass of zesty sparkling wine. Some of the guests assumed it was Champagne, which is an easy mistake to make. But it was actually Prosecco, and a very good one at that from Villa Cornaro, a company based in Northern Italy. With a delicate straw colour and green reflections, the refreshingly crisp and dry wine had a delicate fruit aroma of peaches and citrus.
The DJ entertains the crowd with relaxing beats.
Presented by Marriott Pattaya and the well-known wine company Wine Dee Dee, the evening was organised by Pattana Wangthaphan (Marriott F&B Manager). The Pattaya Manager of Wine Dee Dee Bantawat Kerkpittaya was also on hand to oversee the serving of the wines by the extremely attentive and efficient staff.
On show was a selection of six carefully chosen wines from the Chilean firm of Hugo Casanova which has its origins in the nineteenth century. The company produces five main brands and guests were given the opportunity to taste an interesting selection, set up at three different serving stations.
Koonlapatporn Intarasing, Key Account Manager of the Siam Winery and Bantawat Kerkpittaya, Manager of the Wine Dee Dee Pattaya Co., Ltd.
First on offer were two wines from the entry-level Linaje (Varietal) brand, a rather lively and assertive Sauvignon Blanc and an attractive Cabernet Sauvignon. Judging by the number of people who went back for a refill, the easy-drinking Cabernet proved popular. It was a medium-bodied dry wine with plenty of fruit, a touch of smokiness and a good tannic framework. Later in the evening, the second wine station opened and guests could taste two wines from the better-quality Antaño range, which included a slightly sweetish Chardonnay and a Carmenere aged in French and American oak barrels. The Carmenere was especially interesting because although this red grape hails from the Bordeaux area, in recent years it has become Chile’s national grape. The wine came from vines in the company’s Purísima Vineyards of the Maule Valley. It had aromas of blackberry jam and dry figs, a rich and concentrated body and an attractive velvety texture.
Santiago Bonet, Assistant F&B Manager of Pattaya Marriot Resort & Spa shows off a set of wine bottles.
Finally, guests were served two wines from the middle-range Reserva brand, a Sauvignon Blanc and splendid ruby-red Merlot with intense aromas of blackberry and strawberry. For me at least, this was the wine of the evening, richly textured with a good foundation of firm tannin and a long and satisfying finish. Ten months ageing in French and American oak barrels gave the wine good structure and balance.
Somsak Tanruengsri, General Manager of Pattaya Marriot Resort & Spa, welcomes guests to the entertaining event.
Needless to say, there was a plentiful and seemingly endless supply of snack-food on offer, including a selection of cheeses, sausages, burgers and other delights as well as some of the biggest pizzas I’ve seen, created in an enormous outdoor pizza oven by the Marriott’s enthusiastic Italian chef, Andrea Brunello.
One of the staff asks, “Would you like a glass of red or white sir?”