Premium wine tasting affair at JW Marriott, Phuket, Thailand
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phuket Leisure: Wine tasting affair at JW Marriott

 Premium wine tasting affair at JW Marriott, Phuket, Thailand

In Phuket however,lavish wine-tasting affairs are rare.It came as quite a surprise then,when Gian Carlo de Cesare of Italasia Group invited us to a premium wine tasting affair at JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa.

Living in San Francisco, professional wine tasting affairs are just an hour's drive away. Available any time of the year, any day of the week, all one has to do is hop in the car and drive to vineyards in Napa Valley where tasting the best Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, Cabernets and chatting with vintners' representatives are customary. In Phuket however, lavish wine-tasting affairs are rare. It came as quite a sur prise then, when Gian Carlo de Cesare of Italasia Group invited us to a premium wine tasting affair at JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa.

The elegant JW Marriott provided the perfect venue for this event. Richard Goodine, the regional manager of Castello Banfi presented an entertaining and informative session to a small group. He began the afternoon with some background information about the winery.

As a family-owned vineyard estate and winery in the Br unello region of Tuscany, Castello Banfi has been recognized by wine aficionados the world over. Capt uring honour after prestigious honour, the American-owned estate was declared "International Winery of the Year'for an unprecedented fifth year at the 2001 VinItaly Wine Competition. The official recognition was based on the judgment of a jury of over 100 wine professionals and journalists from all over the world. They blind-tasted 2, 500 wines from 28 countries and granted Castello Banfi wines more medals to generate a higher cumulative score than any other Italian vintner.

At JW Marriott Phuket, the first wine Richard introduced was Chardonnay Fontanelle 2000. Wine Spectator's comments on this varietal were, "This complex and distinctive Chardonnay from Italy blends toasty, spicy oak aromas with ample fr uit and nutty nuances to make a concentrated, focused, nicely balanced whole. Long on the finish and thoroughly enticing. "

Then it was on to Chianti Classico 1999. "Chianti may well be the single best-known wine in the world, " said Richard, "an historically celebrated and universally revered red vintage wine that has been enjoyed for cent uries. " It is produced in the "Classico' region of Chianti between Siena and Florence. It is a dry, fr uity, well-balanced red wine with a full bouquet reminiscent of violets.

Rosso di Montalcino 1999 was next. "It is a wine of noble origins and impressive original thinking, " said Richard, "made from 100% select Br unello clones. " It is an outstanding companion to veal, red meats and cheeses. We then moved on to Br unello Montalcino 1996. It is a rich garnet colour and according to Wine Spectator, "Of all the great names, Br unello, Castello Banfi may well be the most consistently outstanding. "This was my personal favourite at this wine tasting, although most people voted for the next wine, the Summus. Summus 1997, the last wine was the highlight of the afternoon. It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Each wine is separately vinified and aged one year in an oak barrique to develop its unique style, then masterfully interwoven with the other. The result is spectacular. It won a well-deserved round of applause.

In the Italian tradition, wines are appreciated for its intrinsic value. At the dinner table, the decision to be made is not whether one should have wine but rather, what kind of wine one should have. Syntio Camilleri, the Food &Beverage Manager at Le Royal Meridien Phuket Yacht Club, in regards to serving Italian wines at the resort 's Regatta Restaurant says, " the Regatta is the Pavarotti of Italian food, a theatre of passion creating mid-modern Italian cuisine. A vast wine list with Italian wines is available, with different balances of taste, boutique and body, each reflecting the greatness of the heart and soul of the Italian countryside and its viticult ure. One should remember that in the Italian mind, wine belongs beside food, both being an integral part of the great Italian feast. "

The same Italian tradition -where wine and food are inseparable -gave birth to a new movement called Slow Food. Leftist journalist Carlo Petrini founded the International Slow Food Movement in 1986 in a determined effort to wage intellect ual war on the homogenisation of food around the world. Spurred by the opening of Italy's first McDonald's in Rome, Carlo started the organisation in order to save regional foods and small producers from extinction. His aim was also to revive and celebrate taste. International Slow Food Movement has a worldwide following and Gian Carlo de Cesare of Italasia Group is forming a new chapter in Phuket. "Our aim is to bring knowledge and traditional products to Phuket. We will create events to promote "Slow Foods', " says Gian Carlo. .

It alasia Group i mpor t s t he f i nest brand product s t o Thai land. I n addit ion t o premium wi nes, such as t hei r lat est , Gaja Wi nes, it i mpor t s world famous Il ly cof fee and t op brand past as. For member ship i nfor mat ion on "Slow Foods ' and product si mport ed by It alasia Group, Phuket.

Contact Gian Carlo de Cesare.
Tel:(++66 76)381 792, 381 992, Fax:(++66 76)381 792,


- May Issue, 2002

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