So many wines, so little time

Virach Siriprasert, MD, VS Classic wines and Michel Conrad, Commercial Director, IWS, Chitra and Ranjith Chandrasiri.

I was privileged to attend the “IWS Roadshow 2022”, a spectacular wine tasting event held at the Hilton Hotel Pattaya recently, organized by leading wine and spirit company, IWS showcasing more than 130 wines from all over the world and delicious heavy cocktails prepared by talented Hilton chefs. The top wine producers and spirit distributors featured at the event were Banfi, Talamonti, E. Guigal, Torres, Zonin, Lindeman’s, Planeta, Ethicawines, Kendall Jackson, Penfolds, Matua, Concha Y Toro, Wolf Blass, Cosmopolitan Diva, 19 Crimes, Choya and Bacardi.

You may be wondering how can you possibly taste so many wines, where do you start? Of course, you don’t need to be a wine judge to taste wines and you don’t need to be a connoisseur to enjoy wine. Tasting involves using your senses. Everyone knows about senses. It is with two of these senses, “smell and taste” that you can truly “taste” wine. It is not about drinking like a fish.

Charlotte Terouanne, Europvin representing E. Guigal France.

I can’t speak for others who were present, but my game plan was to taste as many wines as possible. I started off with lighter white wines smelling and tasting conscientiously, smelling and tasting again and spitting, and making mental notes and taking notes on my mobile device.

As the evening progressed, having tasted almost all the wines, my task transitioned from tasting to evaluating “which wines do I like, which ones are more carefully crafted and which ones are more expensive”? Obviously, it would not be possible to write about all the amazing wines that I tasted.
There were all kinds of offerings, sparkling wine to red, rose and whites and I particularly enjoyed Franciacorta which is hard to find in Thailand.

Every sparkling wine fan knows that the world of bubbly doesn’t begin and end in the Champagne region: America produces some delicious sparkling wines, Spain has its famous Cava, Germans drink Sekt, even France has its own sub-genre on non-Champagne sparklers known as Crémant. And, of course, Italy has Prosecco. Like Prosecco, Franciacorta is a sparkling wine from Italy. Made in the Franciacorta territory, an area just south of Lake Iseo in the Lombardi region. When it comes to styles of wine, prosecco isn’t Italy’s take on Champagne, Franciacorta is.

Andy Wall, Cosmopolitain Diva Sparkling wines.

For red wine fans, Chilean wine, Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon was a standout red which has received top marks from well-known wine critics. The 2019 Don Melchor stands tall as one of the world’s top Cabernet Sauvignons, competing well against Bordeaux, Napa Valley, and other major Cabernet enclaves. Very perfumed and aromatic with blackcurrant, sweet-tobacco and cedar character. Full-bodied with ultra-fine tannins that build on the palate and take the fruit and other flavors to an endless finish. There is a combination of elegance and power, with subtle mintiness and harmony. I have to admit that I not only tasted this wine but drank it too.

Ranjith Chandrasiri is a veteran hotelier, food and wine connoisseur, multilinguist with a wealth of knowledge and international hotel management experience in luxury hotels and iconic brands including InterContinental Hotels Group in Europe, Australia, Cambodia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. He is the Chairman of Sirius Hospitality Consulting in Thailand, former Group General Manager of Jetwing Hotels Group, Sri Lanka and Royal Cliff Hotels Group, Thailand, Founder/President of Royal Cliff Wine Club and deVine Wine Club, Bailli Honoraire (Honorary President) of Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, Pattaya, Thailand.