Food + Wine

Alternative Wine Trails

by Evan Rail

Khao Yai, Thailand

With beautiful Khao Yai National Park standing just beyond their vines, the decade-old group of vintners in central Thailand's Asoke Valley has to compete for attention with lush natural beauty like the Haew Narok and Haew Suwat waterfalls—as well as such spotlight-stealing wildlife as giant monitor lizards, monkeys, and herds of elephants. So is this the South Africa of up-and-coming wine trails? Perhaps, though to judge by the medals earned by the elegant syrah from the region's GranMonte winery—silvers at both the 2011 Decanter World Wine Awards and France's 2011 Syrah du Monde competition—Khao Yai might compare most favorably to Australia, where GranMonte's winemaker (and Thailand's first female oenologist) Nikki Lohitnavy once studied. In addition to good syrah, look out for other spicy reds, like the rich tempranillo from PB Valley winery (pictured), which picked up a gold at the 2007 AWC International Wine Challenge in Vienna. Both of these wineries offer simple guest rooms, and both also produce elegant whites from underexposed old-world varietals like chenin blanc and colombard. Just watch out for the monkeys!

Next: Grape new trend in India >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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