Hanoi’s Wine Scene

8343259A wine lover’s dream. Hanoi has a vibrant wine scene and here’s my list of some favorite bars and restaurants with great choices in wine and tasting notes. Whether it’s pairing wine with Vietnamese and Mediterranean food, or a glass of wine with friends at sunset overlooking Hanoi’s lakes, here are some of the best spots. The most amazing bottle of wine you have ever tasted might just be the next one, so never stop searching and never stop drinking. Cheers!

My Top Favourites

La Badiane Hanoi has many restaurants that celebrate the Vietnamese-French culture so If you want to know the definition of “real French” in the middle of Hanoi, go to La Badiane. A Fusion of local and regional ingredients blended into classical French cooking. A great selection of wines, my favourites here are the Beaujolais and Premier Cru from Joseph Drouhin and the Spanish Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro with (Sweet dark cherry overlying pure red fruit with appealing wood smoke and blackberry set among grippy tannins) The restaurant setting is elegant and you’re welcome to pass by for wine and an aperitif. The restaurant delivers interesting tasting menus, including one designed with the most discerning gourmands in mind. La Badiane’s vegetarian menu is as sophisticated as its Dégustation Menu: a four course feast, with authentic flavors, which will convert you into a lover of the French cuisine. 8265104

Avalon Cafe Lounge Refreshments with a view. First I love their amazing roof top terrace with views over the lake, this is one of my favourite spots to relax with friends over a glass of wine and some very delicious snacks. You can eat here too and they have good Vietnamese & Western cuisine. Their selection of wine is varied, I would like to recommend the Pascal Jolivet blanc from the Loire Valley and Spanish Hecula red wine with (plum, fig, berriesintense balsamic aromas) The lounge bar is open all day, till late and a glass of chilled wine on the roof top late afternoon is magical. If you like, top off the experience with a snack to go along with your drinks. Both their Vietnamese and Western dishes are prepared creatively with the freshest ingredients. Then sit back and enjoy the view of the lake while the sun goes down and the city lights start illuminating the night skies. 8344295

Salmonoid Elegant fusion cuisine: There’s a new aroma and a new concept in town and it’s called Salmonoid. The idea is to create a wide range of fusion cuisines all based on salmon. Located in a beautiful villa with terraces and balconies which are filled with exotic palms sets the mood for Wine & Fine dining. A really great selection of wines, my choices would be Chateau Haut Selve, Graves with (Morello cherry, cedar, vanilla toast and black fruit notes) paired with the Grilled lamb-rack & Salmon with ginger sauce or with the Grilled beef & Salmon on potatoe puree. Also try the delicious Salmon Symphony with a chilled white wine. 8344297

Au Lac House:  I love sitting here at sunset on the villa veranda with it’s majestic columns, the black and white tiled floor and the wooden shutters surounded by shady trees it feels like stepping back in time, it’s wonderfully French-Vietnamese, and to have in my hand a glass of Chateau Paveil or Pessac Leognan. The beauty of this villa with its great selection of French wines to pair with the delicious Vietnamese cuisine on offer makes this a wonderful spot for lunch or dinner. Though I love just passing an hour or two here drinking some seriously good wine. Don’t be fooled by the French name though – the restaurant specializes in traditional Vietnamese cuisine, serving all-time favorites such as fresh and fried spring rolls, and more extravagant dishes, like roasted duck in mandarin sauce. 8344380

Sunset Bar at InterContinental Hanoi Westlake. Champagne and sunsets : In a super location with a large terrace overlooking the lake, this is the place to sit and enjoy Hanoi’s amazing sunsets. With large cane and bamboo sofas and shady gazebos it doesn’t get more luxurious than this and if you feel like splurging they have a really good choice of different sparkling wines to enjoy such as Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and Cremant. This is the go to wine spot in Hanoi as they host a Vinoteca event each month with seriously good wine. They also have red & white wines imported from famous wineries around the world. 8344292

Vine Restaurant & Wine Bar Worldly wines & innovative plates. Located in the buzzing restaurant and bar area of Tay Ho, this has to be one of my favourite wine bars in Hanoi. They have a superb selection of wines, the decor has a luxurious ‘wine cellar’ style and if you’re looking for something special this is the place. I enjoyed a Turriga Isola Dei Nuraghi 2003 with two years aging in French barriques, Turriga has notes of Mediterranean herbs, roasted coffee, spices, and licorice with a generous core of black and red fruit.) they also have a good range of Tiganello and South African wines from the Winery of Good Hope. I’ll just add they have friendly staff and really good metierranean cuisine. 8344290.jpg

Local Bar Wines in a party atmosphere, 16 Ta Hien Hoan Kiem. Aimed at a younger generation of wine lovers, this party place serves wines such as light Italian roses and crisp French Sauvignon Blancs.  If you are feeling adventurous and want to go for something out of the ordinary, test their signature wine cocktails. Drop by with your friends in the evening and dance the night away to their cool tunes or come by during the day and sit and chill.  The wines on offer change each week as choices are aimed at good value for your ‘dong’. Local Bar is in the old quarter and has those cute Vietnamese cafe chairs and tables outside the bar where you can sit and watch the ever changing panorama of the French quarter. 8344291

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Wine with Vietnamese cuisine

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Many people do not associate Vietnamese food with wine but think again. First what makes Vietnamese food special? It’s those fragrant elements which play an important role in just about every dish in the Vietnamese cuisine canon. Each dish could really have its own bottled fragrance. L’eau de Pho would be redolent of mint, cilantro, lemongrass, garlic, star anise, and ginger, with long-simmered beef bones, tear-inducing chilies, and the essential drops of fish sauce. If you are thinking of Vietnamese food for dinner be adventurous and order at least half a dozen different dishes and share with friends over a selection of wine. Now what would be the perfect wine to pair with these fragrant dishes?

Chopstic_wineThe range of flavors from spicy to sweet, to salty then sour variations within each bite can make pairing even more confusing. White wines, in general pair well, but dry Rieslings, dry Gewurztraminer, dry Rosés, many Viogniers, and Champagne (or Sparkling Whites or Rosés not from Champagne) are best because these wines tend to have a crisp, brightness, as well as a touch of sweetness that goes with the varying delicate, strong and often spicy Asian flavors. They combine well with hot, chili flavors. Particularly the slight sweetness of the dry Rieslings and Gewurztraminer handle the spiciness very well. They seem to cleanse ones palate of some of the flames, so that as you eat and sip, your mouth goes “Oooh!” “Ahhh” “Oooh!” “Ahhh!” It becomes a beautiful dance of fire and refreshment.
The heavier, fatty, salty meat dishes have always been complimented by reds
The reds that tend to work best are Syrahs, Pinot Noir, many Rhone reds (go Gigondas and Chateauneuf de Pape!), and the occasional Zinfandel.

920x920Three favourite Vietnamese Dishes with wine:

Bo La Lot (Grilled Beef wrapped in Wild Betal Leaves)
One of our favorite dishes calls for one of our favorite wines, the spunky, brash and peppery Zinfandel. Well, maybe not an over-the-top Zin, but a tasty well balanced Zinfandel. The la lot leaves (for those who haven’t tried them yet) have a unique, peppery quality, which combined with the beef and the smokiness from the grilling lead up to this Zin – Bo La Lot pairing. Pinot Noir or most all red Rhone blends would also be great. I really like a nice Gigondas with the Bo La Lot. Dry rosés are good to, especially in summer, and a Sauvignon blanc to compliment the peppery la lot is a nice choice for a white wine.

Mizuna Mustard Green and Shrimp Salad
With the nuoc cham based dressing, a dry Riesling (or Gewurztraminer) is a great choice. Sauvignon blanc, Champagne (particularly a Rosé), or a dry rose wine would also be winners. The Riesling (or Gewurztraminer) is the ideal choice, though, for a couple reasons. The sweetness of the shrimp is easier to pair with any of the aforementioned wines, but the spiciness of the nuoc cham complicate matters a bit. However, the Riesling is up to both challenges and shines with this dish.

Black Pepper Pork Banh Mi
For this one we might lean more towards a fruitier red. Something like a Syrah, or Pinot Noir. Of course, Champagne (particularly a Rosé Champ.) or a dry rosé would also be yummy.
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World Malbec Day in Hanoi

On this, the fifth edition of Malbec World Day, more than 70 events will take place in 64 cities of 50 countries around the world to pay tribute to Argentina’s flagship grape variety. Malbec World Day (April 17) celebrations, held by the Wines of Argentina organization, will take place on Friday, April 10, in the predio ferial El Dorrego (Dorrego 1850 between Honduras and Guatemala). Visitors of the Dionysian celebration can expect wine tastings, gastronomic pairings and wine counsel.

This year is to be of particular import, as vintners will be collaborating with local directorial talent to screen three short films demonstrative of Argentine culture and spirit. Chosen by the Wines of Argentina organization, the films are to work in tandem with wine samplings to capture the nation’s seductive essence. The fair is aptly titled “Lights, Camera, Malbec.”

For those unfortunately outside of this beautiful Malbec oasis of a country, further events are taking place in a myriad of cities, including New York, Toronto, São Paulo & VIETNAM HANOI…

Visit Warehouse Facebook page for events and wine tasting dates. https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Warehouse-Hanoi/441882709212316?fref=photo

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