Monday, March 23, 2009

D'Sens Wine Dinner At Dusit Thani Hotel In Bangkok

Wine dinners are tricky affairs from the perspective of an attendee. You never know exactly what to expect unless you have an intimate knowledge of a particular winery and its products as well as some idea of what the hosting restaurant is like. So you often have to take things on faith, which makes the decision on whether or not to attend the dinner based a great deal on the credibility of the establishment hosting the event. It seems obvious that the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok has quite a bit of credibility in this regard because their latest wine dinner on March 20, featuring Chateau Ste. Michelle winery from the U.S. state of Washington, resulted in a full house at the hotel’s top-floor French restaurant D’Sens.

Not knowing what to expect from the winery, but knowing the restaurant, I wasn’t sure what to look forward to but knew that at the very least I would experience a great dinner since the restaurant has a reputation for top-quality nouvelle French cuisine, having been originally created, along with the hotel, by the Michelin award-winning Pourcel twins from France. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that the wines from Chateau Ste. Michelle were as delightful as the food and were expertly paired with the dishes by the hotel staff – probably F&B Director Mohamed Elsayeh, Chef Julien Lavigne and D’Sens manager Thomas Delledalle.

Whoever was responsible, the end result was very enjoyable and the wines themselves were certainly the best I have ever tasted from the state of Washington. Many people think of Washington and have visions of an eternally rainy Seattle in their heads but Chateau Ste. Michelle is located in the eastern half of the state where the annual rainfall technically qualifies it to be a desert. This means that irrigation allows the winemakers to give the vines exactly as much water as they want and makes controlling the growth of the grapes much easier, the same advantage that California and Australian winemakers have.

In fact, the style of the wines that were served at this dinner reminded me of these other two wine producing regions with great fruity reds in the form of a 2004 merlot and a 2005 cabernet sauvignon and a 2006 chardonnay that was crisp, smooth and refreshing. Also served was a 2007 riesling which went well with the first course of various crab concoctions and a methode champenoise sparkling wine that was poured during the cocktail period before dinner. And a blanc de noir rose finished off the evening with the chocolate-based dessert and its restrained sweetness perfectly complemented the confection of the dish.

All of the pairings, as mentioned, were successful and this is the real test of any wine dinner. The chardonnay was matched with turbot ravioli accompanied by a coco bean puree and chorizo cream and this versatile wine with a citrus character balanced the cream sauce well. The cabernet offered a nice counterpoint to the earthy, slightly salty taste of crispy frog legs with wild mushrooms and the merlot was well-suited to the seared lamb and seared foie gras that it was served with, the strong fruit flavors and licorice undertones accenting the richness of the foie gras.

The restaurant itself contributed to the success of the evening, perched on the top of the hotel and providing panoramic views of downtown lights and activity. Together with the muted shades inside the restaurant and the plush surroundings it created the perfect atmosphere for a night of hedonistic pursuits. Taking things on faith can sometimes end up with less than stellar results but the Dusit Thani proved again that it is a place to be trusted when it comes to fine wines and food and the wonderful interaction that can be created between them.  

Tags: | | | | |

No comments:

Post a Comment