Thailand’s Monsoon Valley believes it has produced an exceptional 2021 vintage after more than two decades of making wines in tropical climate.
Founded in 2001 in coastal province Hua Hin, Monsoon Valley is owned by Siam Winery and makes four ranges of wines out of some 30 varietals from Shiraz, Sangiovese, Chenin Blanc and Colombard to Merlot.
Hans-Peter Hoehnen, the German winemaker and oenologist who specialized in tropical viticulture with 25 years of winemaking experience, explained, “As any winemaker will attest, growing grapes in a hot and humid tropical climate presents many unique challenges. For example we have year-round intense heat polarized by wet and dry seasons which gives two vegetative seasons. In addition, the heavy monsoon rain and immense moisture makes the vines susceptible to disease with limited hours of daylight being so close to the equator.”
Because of this, the vineyard needs extensive care and preparation in order for the grapes to thrive. The hard work and experimentation over the years mean the 2021 Harvest season has produced some of the best quality grapes to date, says Monsoon Valley.
On top of that, the longer dry and cool December and January allowed the grapes to steadily develop the flavors and sugar level, resulting in a great balance of flavor, acidity, and potential alcohol level, according to the winery.
Suppached Sasomsin, Winemaker at Siam Winery, added, “This year’s grapes are incredibly balanced and with over 30 varietals bearing fruit, I’m really looking forward to creating wines with unique character.”
Among the grapes, the winery has tapped the potential of Merlot grape in the tropical climate and aims to release the country’s “first and finest” locally produced Merlot.
The winery says its 2020 vintage benchmarked a new milestone with the success of Merlot harvest, which have historically been very challenging to thrive in Thailand.
Having been experimenting with growing Merlot grapes for almost 10 years, and the plants have matured nicely, producing consistently well-balanced fruits over the past 3-4 seasons. “Monsoon Valley looks forward to being Thailand’s first and finest winery in releasing locally grown Merlot,” it declares.
The winery has won many awards at international wine competitions and its Monsoon Valley White Shiraz is awarded as “World’s Best Rosé” by wine critic James Suckling in 2018, beating over 150 rosés around the world in the blind tasting.