My friend Robert MacIntosh, who founded the European Group on OWC to overcome the traditional distinction between Old World and New World in wine, should be pleased by this piece of news: Old World and New World are old news. Now one talks about World Wines.
How did I get this critical information? On Thursday I went to an international tasting organized by my friend Catherine Mell at the Crillon Hotel in Paris. Such an event is very rare in France: wine consumers are not fond of foreign wines, not even vaguely interested. This event met an incredible success – over 500 people showed up and tasted many of the wines offered. Importers and winemakers poured wines from the US, Australia, Austria, New Zealand, Russia, Greece, Hungary, Cyprus and many other countries.
My information on world wines came from a very interesting character, Laurent Metge-Toppin, who was for 10 years the winemaker of Siam Winery in Thailand and is now their rep in Europe. Metge-Toppin is an enologist trained in France but who was living in London when he met Chalerm Yoovidhya, an industrial making a “wine cooler”, kind of a refreshing drink based on wine. Metge-Tappin moved to Thailand and started working on the wine cooler. Quite by accident, he figured out he could make a decent wine with the local grapes. In 1998, Monsoon Valley was born: in the buddhist calendarthis 1998 vintage is the 2541 vintage! Metge-Toppin is now selling his wine to restaurants and wine consumers. He hired Sakom Series, enologist trained in Bordeaux and former employee of Château Pape-Clément, to create a great wine. His definition of Thai wines? “A different wine, not New World, not Old World. A world wine unique by its taste and characteristics…”
I tasted some of the Monsoon Valley wines: the Rosé Shiraz 2008 (Malaga Blanc, Colombard and Shiraz), the Colombard 2008 and the Blended Red 2008 (Pokdum and Shiraz) – they’re unusual, unique and totally different. I’ll be very happy to taste them with thai food. Should we meet in a thai restaurant soon?