I was lucky enough to have a European holiday this year, in Marseille & Montpellier in the South of France and one of the things I did was a wine tour of vineyards in the Provence region. This tour here. I once worked in a long gone wine shop in Bangkok, the Vinotek, which sold a large selection of foreign and Thai wines, so it was interesting to learn about the French vineyards from Gaetane the friendly tour guide.
Marseille was stunning but touristy at the old port. The port is like a car park for boats, but none of the rich owners hang around there, only visiting tourists. Montpellier, which I'd never heard of before, was a really clean bustling old town, near the beach, and with a modern side with good facilities.
While at the vineyards many of the people told us that wine goes well with spicy food. Since I bought some bottles to take back with me, naturally this is something I have to try.
I'll cover spicy crab curry in a future post, but for now, I want to cover the three wines I'm trying out:
Chateau Vignelaure, a mature vineyard with a high reputation and a large cellar of very old wines.
Mas de Cadenet, a family owned vineyard, with a 7th generation family vintner.
Paradis, a modern vineyard, that make a very refreshing white wine, and also a raising mustard I highly recommend. That was a real surprise to me, the raisins make a pleasant sweetness and texture and the mustard gives it a kick.
After trying all three, I have to say I kind of agree with them, at least for the red. The red wine from Chateau Vignelaure sort of smoothed out the spicy taste. It was still spicy but the sharpest tastes were gone, leaving more of the crab flavours behind. The white Paradis and the Mas de Cadenet Rose, were lost.
I won't be drinking French wines with Thai food often, we Thais prefer water with food and whiskey as drink, but for something a little different, I may give it a try.
I'll cover Thai wines in the near future too. We have plenty of sun and in the cooler northern provinces like Loei they also have plenty of water, and grow vines for wine making. It's not traditional, but much of Thailand is changing now, and wine making is just one of those changes.
One final thing, in Thailand we believe that the deeper the indent in the bottle the better the wine. The vintner at Mas de Cadenet explained to me that this is not true, it's just there to make pouring the bottle easier! So much for my wine expertise.