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Chateau des Brumes - World Wine Tour

World Winetour 2010, Anja and Georges: Helping change lives in Laos

Thailand: the country which has earned a reputation abroad for its sun, service, and smiles might not immediately call to mind rolling vineyards on moonlit nights. But we can quite honestly now announce that the connoisseur of cordial tourism has turned its attention to wine, and it's keeping to its reputation. Near the Khao Yai National park set in Tuscan rolling hills is a trio of wineries organizing amongst themselves a retreat for wine lovers. A three hour drive north of Bangkok, you can spend a Friday evening and night sipping intimately on premium Thai wine, the following morning take an hour drive south to tour the winery which founded the Thai wine association, and then spend your last evening biking (you'll see us doing that in the next blog) around and being amazed at the majestic hills surrounding a resort winery with onsite vineyards.

Village farm, aka Chateau des Brumes, aka Wang Yai Nam Khieo Winery is the first host in this wine-lover's-delight package, and crafts wines that pay homage to the old world style. Indeed, robust and oaky with incredible refine, a first whiff and sip reminded us of its French inspiration, created by a French winemaker who closely overlooks the boutique production. We had the privilege of testing the newly bottled 2006 Chateau des Brumes "La Fluer" with Viravadee, owner of the Winery. The wine, an exquisite reserve, was completely unexpected to us coming from the 'new latitudes.' In fact, we grew suspicious as Viravadee kept joking, saying it was actually just a Chateau Latour wine she had in her cellar and had just rebottled for our arrival... In any case, it was very palatable and we thought it held very true to Viravadee's personal mission to have 'Thai Wines' be associated with refinement and style. It would definitely hold its ground to any French wine claiming a name, and with a 2005 'La Fluer' as now being part of our auction, we invite a lucky bidder to challenge it themselves!

When tasting wine, 'Open your nose, your mouth (very important), your eyes, and your mind, but close your ears to what others say.' Favorite quote of owner Viravadee, taught to her by a Thai sommelier.

The winery, a renovated farm which grew a variety of fruits, now focuses on quality winemaking, producing only 40,000 bottles per year from grapes grown on its red-colored mineral-rich soil. The winery has had vines growing for the past 16 years, and had its first vintage christened in 2002. Special to this Thai winery, the vines are harvest once per year only during the night to ensure the coolest climate for the grapes, and guests staying at the resort are offered a chance to help if there during the Crush season, which has proven quite popular (which we just missed by a few weeks!). Other possibilities for guests though include a bathing experience in wine, a swim at the pool, or a body scrub derived from grape skins (We actually missed all of these too, so we'll have to stay longer next time!)

The name Chateau des Brumes was coined by French winemaker who upon arrival, noticed the thick mist which covers the winery's slopes in the mornings. A bottle of 'La Fleur' 2005 has been donated for our auction!

The winery is sustainably minded, minimizing its use of pesticides which results in a romantic symphony to accompany the winery's delicious dinners (and it's also because Viravadee loves the bugs!), and you can enjoy the wine with an even greater peace of mind, as much of the winery and rooms run on abundantly available solar energy.

We'd like to thank Village Farm winery for our stay and bottle of 'La Fluer 2005' for the auction, a great asset which will be sure to please any auction bidder wanting to challenge the 'new latitute' wines, and till then enjoy these clips of the farm:!

During this project, Georges and Anja will travel the globe collecting wine bottles from participating wineries. All bottles will be shipped back to California thanks to JF Hillebrand, where an auction will be held at Robert Mondavi Winery in 2011. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Lao Rehabilitation Foundation Inc, helping change lives in Laos. The Charity works on a variety of projects, from caring for a school for blind children, to operating medical missions in remote areas, to building schools, building clinics, and bringing medical supplies into the country. The charity is currently supervising the construction of an aquaduct to bring water to a village of over 500 inhabitants whose fresh water supply has dried out. The funds raised by the auction in 2011 will go to help rebuild a school destroyed by massive flooding of the Mekong River in 2008.

Anja Cheriakova :
Anja is originally from Belarus and immigrated to the Netherlands with her family. She is a Master student at the Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and will simultaneously be performing research during the World Wine Tour. Fluent in many languages, she has recently turned her attention to one more: Wine!

Georges Janssens :
Georges is a California native with French background. He has recently graduated from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Having grown up in the Napa Valley, Georges has enjoyed working in several wineries there. Webmaster for the project, he is currently writing about himself in the third person.

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