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Phuket Dining: The other Kiwi juice



PHUKET: Rain squalls, flooding and high winds put a bit of a damper on the recent Steve Bennett MW New Zealand wine dinner held at the Holiday Inn, Patong Beach, but having heard many good reports about this form of Kiwi juice I brave the elements and turn up on time. granita is served to cleanse the palate and I explain to the assembled wine lovers why in France this is called a “trou Normand” (literally a Normand hole). Given the complexities of translating this from French to English to Thai, I can only imagine the resulting confusion.

Other complexities arrive in the shape of our first red, a 2008 Discovery Point Pinot Noir from central Otago, which has been oak-aged for 10 months. This Chablis-like red is served with a beautiful grilled lamb rack to bring out the rich cherry-stone flavor, clean acidity and soft, dry finish that I so love with Pinot Noir. The ever attentive Khun Anuchit notices how I linger over the smell and orders two large burgundy glasses in order to fully appreciate the delicious aromas of dark berries and plums with hints of spice.

Just as I think it cannot get much better, the pièce de resistance arrives in the form of a roasted duck breast stuffed with foie gras or, as it is called in France, Magret de Canard Rossini. This superb dish is paired with the rare Kairos ‘Fait Main’ Martinborough Pinot Noir, which spends 14 months in oak and then a further two weeks gaining tannins from leaving in the grape skins.

All ideas of bad luck have by now disappeared as the “bottled sunshine” we are quaffing is a full, burgundy-style, hand-made nectar with rich plum and pepper notes.

By this time Khun Anuchit confides to me that he would give “10 out of 10” for the food pairing and that one wine buyer at the table has already set up an appointment the following day. Chocolate mousse, coffee and petits fours served on dry ice follow and we all retire to the bar to listen to the dulcet tones of Les Martin singing Fly Me to the Moon.

As I drive home, I feel lucky to have attended such a convivial evening, despite the black cat that runs in front of my car and the ominous clunk that follows. Luck comes in a variety of guises.

— Marc Mulloy


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