The nascent but burgeoning wine producing scene in Thailand has been one we’ve been keeping a close eye on. Mostly centred around Khao Yai, a region a mere 2-3 hours drive north from Bangkok, Thai wineries have slowly but surely been making waves among oenophiles.
Yet one among the (not that) many wine producers there stands out with its dedication to quality and being instrumental in forming a Khao Yai Wine Geographical Indication (GI) – granting wines originating from Khao Yai a benchmark of protection and uniqueness.
GranMonte, a family-owned 40-acre vineyard and winery nestled within Khao Yai’s charming and serene Asoke Valley, is able to produce stellar wines in this unconventional part of the world (in terms of grape growing) by making full use of their location’s favourable microclimate, thus allowing tropical winemaking to flourish.
It is doubly impressive that all of GranMonte’s wines are of Khao Yai Wine GI, meaning they adhere to strict standards such as only using grapes grown in Khao Yai to make their wines. In fact, all of GranMonte’s products are currently estate wines.
The award-winning vineyard and winery has also recently formally made its way to Singapore in May via distributors Stellez Vine – though a small shipment did arrive last year – and is already available at venues the likes of Nouri, Praelum, Native, and 67 Pall Mall.
Its winemaker Nikki Lohitnavy and her sister Mimi Lohitnavy (who does marketing and PR at GranMonte), were in town to showcase their diverse range of whites and reds, and we must say that GranMonte’s wines, and perhaps by extension Thai wines, do hold their own.
Their Spring Chenin Blanc 2019, for instance, is fruitier and juicer, offering citrusy tones more in the vein of guava and passionfruit, plus a hint of mango, rather than the tart pear and lime notes we’re more familiar with. Perceptively being slightly sweet as well, it pairs nicely with spicy foods like tom yum and Thai papaya salad.
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Then there’s the GranMonte Durif 2019. The only winery in Thailand to be producing and using durif grapes in their wines, we were impressed with how it features plenty of the usual dark chocolate, blackcurrant, and oaked spice notes, but is essentially softer and more uplifting to drink than others of its kind.
Our favourite has got to be the Asoke Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah 2019. We get lots of dark berry and charred earth flavours from this full-bodied red, that’s balanced with just the right amount of acidity to give it that moreish quality, especially when paired with grilled meats. Naturally, GrandMonte is highly proud of this fruit-forward wine, and it remains the first and only Thai cabernet sauvignon produced in Thailand.
If you’re looking to really find out more about GrandMonte – such as how their ‘smart vineyard’ operates – the estate is actually very open to visitors and tourists, offering wine tastings, winery tours, and even full board at their cottage and on-site restaurant should you wish to embrace the winemaking life for a few days.
With their wines now in Singapore (also in Taiwan, Hong Kong and France), we’re happy trail blazers like GranMonte have managed to do justice to what producers in this part of the world can accomplish, and we’re sincerely excited to see more of their fine wines gracing establishments around the world.
About the Author
Dannon Har is the Managing Editor of Spill. Discovering his innate gift for drinking only at a ripe age, he spares no time trying to find more delicious drops to imbibe during his time on Earth. When he’s not minding every detail at Spill, he spends his time concocting luscious libations and sharing them with folks that visit his home bar.