Myanmar the Next Wine Region

Myanmar the Next Wine Region

Located near the famous Inle Lake, in the southern Shan State of the Union of Myanmar, the Red Mountain Estate produces the best wines of the country.  However, you probably won’t see any wines from the Red Mountain Estate reviewed in the next Wine Spectator.  In fact they can only claim to produce the best wine in the country because they produce the only wine in the country.  It will be a long time before Red Mountain is competing with the likes of Napa Valley in California or the Bordeaux region of France, but this is your chance to say I tried their wines when…

While I am not planning on investing in Red Mountain’s future barrels just yet, if you have an adventurous palate the winery is a great place to spend an afternoon.  The winery is still in it’s infancy, having only produced wine for three years.  They are getting help from the right places, having imported all 400,000 plants from Spain and France, even their vineyard manager and winemaker is imported from France.  The website proudly boasts that the wines are made in the tradition of western wines with all new technologies and modern equipments, but they don’t taste like western wines.

The view from the outdoor tasting room at Red Mountain Estate Vineyard and Winery

We biked up to the vineyard and sat down for our tasting, sweating profusely from the climb and hot temperatures.  The small outdoor tasting room provides a commanding view over the terraced vineyard as well as a wonderful breeze.  Beyond the rolling green hills you can see glistening Inle Lake and on a clear day you can also enjoy the surrounding mountain landscape.  Once we finally stopped sweating we looked over the tasting flight and decided to try all five of their wines on offer.

The tasting notes provided were intriguing with descriptions such as “a toasty flavor, like burnt toast” for the Pinot Noir, “superb attack”  for the Shiraz and “salmon pink”  for the Rose.  I mean is salmon pink even a flavor?  Eager to find out what “animal notes” they were referring to in describing their Shiraz Trempanillo we had them bring the first glass.  It was a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, which happens to be the favorite wine of the winemaker.  Trying not to get my expectations too high after reading the tasting notes I take my first sip.  Definitely a dry wine with a nice citrus nose, but the taste didn’t follow the nose.  The wine was sour with a bitter finish.

Each of the four wines we tasted after the Sauvignon Blanc had a promising start and then let us down just like the first one, but none were completely undrinkable.  While claiming the wines aren’t undrinkable isn’t a glowing review I would recommend you tasting for yourself.  After sipping all five wines in the flight, half of the wines Red Mountain produces I feel confident in saying they have a bright future.  In fact had we been traveling back home post Myanmar I would have brought a bottle of their Late Harvest to share.  The sweet, but not too sweet wine would have gone wonderfully with a delicious bleu cheese.

If you are heading to Myanmar Inle Lake is a must-see stop and renting a bike to see the countryside was a highlight for us, so give yourself a little extra time to make a stop at Red Mountain.  Even if the wines don’t live up to Napa Valley the scenery does.  Being that Myanmar is new to the wine scene you will likely have the winery to yourself and a friendly inquiry can easily get you an exclusive “behind the scenes” tour.  Besides you can’t beat the prices, bottles start at just $10 US dollars and top out at about $20 US dollars.  Your bottle of Myanmar wine will definitely provide a conversation starter at your next dinner party.

WHEN YOU GO:

Rent a bike, you can get to the winery by taxi or with a tour, but it’s only about a half an hour bike ride from the center of Nyaung Shwe.  If you’re worried about the climb I mentioned at the start of the post, there’s no shame in walking your bike past the vineyards and taking in the view at a slower pace to reach the top.

Get directions, if you decide to bike make sure you get directions and a map from your guesthouse.  The route is fairly straightforward, but not very well marked.

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Comments

» Bka :
Oct 1, 2011

I still claim you called half in the bag from Italy, exclaiming the virtues of mer-LOT, with a hard “T”……seems like yesterday……speaking of new life experiences I am going grouse hunting With Joel Friday…..he declares he is a better shot than Cheney…….peace……..dad

» Mom A :
Oct 3, 2011

Looking forward to joining in your International Wine Research Program in Australia and New Zealand and learning more about your perspective on the world’s wines! Hope you are keeping a separate list, with observations, on all the appellations you have visited and the wines tasted with observations for comparison!

The periodic beer reviews have been great! Keep that worldwide log going!

Since beer and wine are often the safest things to drink or anything with boiled water I can only urge moderation since water quality is dubious in so many places.

A toast to your travels!
Here is a toast to your travels!

LOCAVORista Reply:

Mom, we’re always looking for more tasters for our international wine research program! We’ll have to update our beer reviews to include the Chinese lagers, thanks for the toast!

» Carrie :
Aug 28, 2012

Love reading about your travels in Myanmar! It’s my favorite place on earth and I’m going back for a visit in November. Can’t wait! Sadly, I won’t make it to this winery. Ah well. :)

thinkCHUA Reply:

Carrie, we love Myanmar too and can’t recommend it highly enough! You’ll have to get to this winery eventually on one of your visits.

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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