Hard Rock Hotel hosts exceptional Beringer California Wine Experience

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There’s little doubt that you’ve arrived at the right place. The car park of the Hard Rock Hotel is full of enormous gleaming motorcycles, especially BMWs and Harley-Davidsons. There were probably a few Kawasakis and Ducatis parked there too but I was more interested in what was going on inside. Or to be more precise, what was going on inside the Soul Lounge because this rather dark but elegantly furnished room was recently the venue for a tasting of Beringer wines.

The name, in case you’re wondering, is pronounced with a soft “g” as in “Germany” and not surprisingly, that’s where the family originated. In 1868 Jacob Beringer travelled from his home in Mainz to New York. He eventually made his way to California’s Napa Valley but probably not on a Harley-Davidson. Jacob and his brother bought land there in 1875 and established one of the first wineries in Napa Valley. Today, Beringer is one of America’s most respected wineries and owns many extensive vineyards throughout California.

Teera Weerawan, National Sales Manager of Independent Wine & Spirit, displays a bottle of wine.Teera Weerawan, National Sales Manager of Independent Wine & Spirit, displays a bottle of wine.

The evening was organised by Hard Rock’s F&B Operations Manager Zack Ngamsmai and the wines were provided by Independent Wine & Spirit (IWS), which has been importing wine and spirits to Thailand since 1999. The wines were introduced by IWS National Sales Manager Teera Weerawan, who gave an enjoyable, informative and entertaining talk.

John Manley, the Executive Assistant Manager of the Hard Rock Pattaya and Hard Rock’s F&B Operations Manager Zack Ngamsmai.John Manley, the Executive Assistant Manager of the Hard Rock Pattaya and Hard Rock’s F&B Operations Manager Zack Ngamsmai.

The tasting began with a Stone Cellars Chardonnay, with bright tropical fruit and citrus aromas leading to refreshing flavours of white fruit. This wine had a long soft finish with a pleasing soft creaminess. It was followed by the Founders’ Estate Chardonnay with a rich and creamy aroma. Some of the grapes were aged in seasoned oak to add to the wine’s depth of flavour and buttery mouth-feel. Both these wines were served with carefully chosen and creatively presented food. The service by the many waiting staff (or “band members” as the hotel likes to call them) was attentive, cheerful and extremely efficient.

The reception table with two charming HRH Band members ‘Yuuyee and Pinto’, giving the guests a warm welcome.The reception table with two charming HRH Band members ‘Yuuyee and Pinto’, giving the guests a warm welcome.

The Stone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon was served with a Wagyu beef patty in a carbon black bun, which I suppose most people would describe as a hamburger. The dry wine had a full aroma of sweet dark fruit, chocolate and vanilla with a good dash of acidity and a fruity long finish. It was followed by the Founders’ Estate California Merlot, served appropriately with Risotto al Porcini and Morel mushrooms. This elegant wine had aromas of black cherry fruit, a touch of spiciness, firm tannins and a typical hint of earthiness.

The final red was the Founders’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon which came with Port-glazed grilled rack of lamb served with a sweet potato purée. With plenty of ripe fruit on the palate, this charming medium-bodied wine had aromas of cherry and spice, flavours of ripe fruit and vanilla oakiness and lovely soft tannins.

Some of the guests are seen enjoying the wine tasting night.Some of the guests are seen enjoying the wine tasting night.

The final offering was a sparkling Beringer White Zinfandel, served with flambéed strawberries and cherry zabaglione with a white chocolate sauce. White Zinfandel isn’t actually white. It’s pink, because after the grapes have been crushed, the juice is left in contact with the red grape skins for about three hours to give it a delicate pink hue. The winemakers then used slow, cool fermentations to preserve the vibrant, fresh strawberry, honeydew, and citrus aromas and flavors.

Beringer wines are available at many top hotels but you can usually buy them at Villa, Big C and Foodland. If you missed this enjoyable event, the hotel’s Executive Assistant Manager, John Manley told me that there will be another wine evening at the Hard Rock Hotel in November, featuring wines from five continents.