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Unexpected Destinations for Wine Lovers in Asia

 

Italy and France aren’t the only destinations a world-travelling wine lover should have on their bucket list. Let's explore three unexpected Asian destinations offering unique wine experiences for discerning travelers:

Khao Yai, Thailand

 

Believe it or not, there’s more to Thailand than just beaches and jungle. In fact, Thailand is home to what many consider to be Southeast Asia’s most promising wine region. Most of the wine production is centered on an area known as the Phurua Highlands of Khao Yai, Isaan –an area which also happens to be world-famous for its wildlife. With a climate that closely approximates the south of France, with considerably less rainfall than the rest of Thailand, conditions here are said to be ideal for classic varietals. After a few years of experimentation, the area’s first and most well-renowned winery, GranMonte Asoke Valley Winery produced its first premium vintage in 1998. It has, since then, refined its techniques and is said to have state-of-the-art facilities capable of producing world-class wine –mostly Syrah, Petit Syrah, Tempranillo, Chenin Blanc and Viognier. The production, though, is mostly geared at satiating the demand of Thailand’s rising middle and upper-class, with a mere 20% of its output reserved for export –so if you’re keen to try some, you’ll probably have to head to Thailand to do it!

 

Inle Lake, Burma

Burma is relative newcomer to the game, only producing its first marketable wines in 2010 after a lengthy trial of some 10,000 vines imported from France. But while Burma is new to the game, it may very well be the region’s dark horse. In an area known as Red Mountain, a mere 20 kilometers away from the thriving (and amazing) tourist center of Inle Lake in the Shan State, Red Mountain Estate is already producing wines that are praised by critics as being on-par with the Old World wines of Europe. Sitting at around 1200 meters in elevation, its cool climate is said to give the grapes a distinct and pleasant aroma. Red Mountain’s 2010 Sauvignon Blanc received an 83 out of 100 from acclaimed critic Jeannie Cho Lee – a score high enough to earn it a bronze medal in the World’s Best Chardonnay Competition in 2013. Red Mountain is also highly acclaimed for its Muscat, and produced 11 different wines in all, including a fantastic Pinot Noir that the author can personally vouch for. The winery has become a popular attraction with tourists in the area. Complete with a visitor center and its very own resort, it has a surprisingly pleasant atmosphere that will be sure to add some variety to your Burma Tour. It’s exceedingly easy to pair a trip to the utterly astounding Inle Lake with a visit to the winery for a sample of its offerings. As of now, Burmese wines are sold in Burma and nowhere else –so it’s a unique opportunity!

 

Dalat, Vietnam

Dalat, not far from the renowned beaches of Nha Trang, is area that is known for its favorable growing conditions for wine. While there has been a push in recent years by the country’s more reputable brands such as Premiere Vang Dalat and Dalat Wine Company to produce higher caliber vintages, the market in Vietnam is mostly dominated by table variety wines which are known to be slightly sweeter and a bit less sophisticated than other wines in Southeast Asia. The upside of this is that wine in Vietnam is incredibly cheap and, if you’re in the mood for it, can set the stage for a fun night with family or friends –not exactly a connoisseur’s dream, but not bad if you want to try something different. You can even pair your Vietnamese wine with some surprisingly delicious locally produced Russian caviar in Dalat at a variety of hotels and restaurants in the area.

 

Tours with Wine Tasting

A wine tasting in an exotic location is a great way to add value to any tour itinerary. For wine lovers this can be an amazing way to experience wine from a completely new perspective and provides a great story to share with fellow wine aficionados back home.

Below is an example of how Buffalo Tours can incorporate wine tasting into a full itinerary:

Essence of Myanmar Tour:

http://www.buffalotours.com/Myanmar-Tours/Luxury-Tours/Essence-of-Myanmar-5984.html

 

More Tours for Wine Lovers and Foodies

 

Bali Sommelier Master Class, Indonesia:

http://www.buffalotours.com/Travel-Style/Master-Class/Bali-Sommelier-7692.html

 

Chalong Bay Rum Master Class, Thailand:

http://www.buffalotours.com/Travel-Style/Master-Class/Chalong-Bay-Rum-7684.html

 

Dinner with a Master Chef, Indonesia:

http://www.buffalotours.com/Travel-Style/Master-Class/Dinner-with-master-chef-7680.html

 

Mrs. Wans Home Cooking, Hong Kong:

http://www.buffalotours.com/Travel-Style/Master-Class/Mrs-Wan-Home-Cooking-7689.html

 

Peranakan Home Cooking, Singapore:

http://www.buffalotours.com/Travel-Style/Master-Class/Peranakan-Home-Cooking-7691.html

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