Wine tasting in South East Asia – an ongoing endurance

Being partial to cheeky glass of wine (or three), when the opportunity to visit a vineyard rears it’s head, we are usually the first on the scene. After managing to find the only one in Myanmar, we thought we’d do the honourable thing, martyr ourselves and conduct a thorough review of the regions’ wine producing capabilities. 
Red Mountain – on the shore of Inle Lake, Myanmar
As a location for a wine tasting, this couldn’t really get any better. The vineyard has spectacular views of the Inle Lake valley. There is a good selection of whites and reds on offer, and the tasting menu is a four glass affair. Two whites, a red and a desert white. Being brutally honest, the quality didn’t really live up to the price as a general rule, although we did each find one or two that slipped down easier then the rest. Conclusion: well worth doing for the experience and the setting, if not the quality of the wine! 
Prasat Phnom Banon Winery, Battambang, Cambodia

Again, the country’s only foray into wine making. A short drive south of Battambang (where, incidentally, there is an excellent wine shop selling a wide variety of wines from all around the world), the small vineyard is in the village of Bot Sala. The tasting menu is, in theory, cheap ($2.50), but only includes one red, a brandy, a two shot size glasses of juice – a grape and a ginger. It is fair to say that this is probably the only time where we have been grateful for small portions at a wine tasting. The juices were pretty good, but the wine was possibly the worse we have ever tasted and the brandy was something else entirely. By that I mean that it could not be described as brandy. The guide book describes it as “tasting favourably to turpentine”, but we don’t think that really does it justice. Just see Tom’s reaction! 

I think it’s safe to say that we won’t be importing Cambodian wine any time soon!!


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