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About this Episode

Maria Valetta, wine educator, and certified sommelier, and Robert Tas talk Thai food and wine at Lamaii. This cozy, inviting restaurant offers a wine list that focuses on rieslings, chablis, and, of course, Champagne, which are perfect for pairing with Thai food, but they also offer specialty cocktails, and reds. In addition to excellent pairing suggestions, Maria offers a little background information on how to identify the sweetness levels in rieslings and reds that work with Thai food to help you make a more informed choice.

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2020 Carl Graff Himmelreich Spatlese Riesling

  • Domaine Petit et Bajan Obsidienne Grand Cru Brut

  • 2020 Röettgerding Winninger Riesling Trocken

Transcript: Lamaii

Lamaii Restaurant Chinatown Las Vegas

RT: Hello  Everyone,  welcome back to CorkRules. The wine podcast that’s here to help YOU navigate all your FAVORITE  restaurant wine lists.

I’m Robert Tas, along with Maria Valetta, wine educator, and certified sommelier, also known as Maria The Wine Blonde. Welcome back Maria

MV: Hello Robert! Today we are talking about Thai food and wine… so stick around everyone!

RT: That’s right Maria, but before we get started, let’s talk about CorkRules. CorkRules was created to help you navigate the wine list so you will always love the wine you drink. With CorkRules in hand, you can easily and confidently make selections from the wine lists based on your wine preferences of flavor, style, region, and even price point. Plus, you can check out the wines your friends tried and order them yourself. So have a listen to our podcast as our top Sommeliers help you find those hidden gems, value wines, and those special celebration-worthy bottles.

RT: Step off the LV strip and head over to Chinatown for a flavor-packed meal at Lamaii, a modern Thai eatery and wine bar. Head Sommelier and co-owner Bank At-char-awan’s 20 years of experience in the food and wine industry was helpful in creating the perfect wine list to complement spicy curries, fresh Thai herbs, and umami-rich meats and sauces… Maria let’s jump into this wine list… this going to be fun.

MV: I agree, this is so great to see, in fact, you may be taken back… as this restaurant is set on the end of a strip mall near a department store, but walk in and the first thing you will notice is the beautiful temperature controlled glass-enclosed wine cellar, just on the left of the host stand… not something you see often in a small Thai restaurant. They want you to know they are serious about their wine.

RT: So what do you think of the list Maria?

MV: Well I have to say it certainly exceeded all of my expectations, I would like to see them expand a little bit on the wines by the glass but maybe they're selling a lot more by the bottle. The list starts with champagne and sparkling wines then onto an excellent selection of white wine broken down by grape variety and then on to red wine which again is also broken down by variety,

if you're going to go by the glass I would say start out with a glass of the Domaine Laporte  Sauvignon blanc, 2019 a refreshing and crisp option from the Loire Valley in France or I would suggest a glass of the Carl Graff Himmelreich spatlese Riesling,2020 which it's actually a little off-dry but not cloyingly sweet- you get all that fruit up front and that little hint of sweetness on the tongue - I'm telling you that's what's going to go really well with that spicy Thai food and trust me things can heat up here.

RT: I can imagine… what about exploring the by-the-bottle list?

MV: well I feel like champagne also works really well with Thai food the bubbles uplift the palette works well with rich sauces

Try the Domaine Petit & Bajan Obsidienne Grand Cru Brut, and newer established estate, this is Blanc de Noirs meaning a white wine made with all black grapes in this case 100% pinot Noir…

Now If you're celebrating,  go for the Krug Vintage 2004 what a great price, or even the Jacques Selosse Initial Grand Cru Blanc de blanc (which is all chardonnay)

RT Those are great prices for both of those top-notch champagnes.

MV: Oh yeah! Shhhhh

RT: OKAY so talk us through the whites and which whites you feel go best with the spice of Thai food because this kind of food has a lot going on

MV: yes you are right about that Robert, so the last time I was there we ordered a bottle of the Chenin Blanc, they have one of my favorite producers on the menu the Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec Le Mont 2021, this is a Chenin Blanc done in the dry style but it has this beautiful sense of richness about it, and because of that it stood up to all the complex sauces, it was perfect with the wing ZAAP which are spicy fried chicken wings especially good with the tom Kah Gai soup, which has that coconut in it and really brought out the ginger in a couple of the dishes.

if you're looking for a wine that's a super value and are willing to try something different and like a floral style of wine then try the Union Sacre Belle de Nuit 2018, this is actually a dry Gewurztraminer a lot of them are a little off-dry and get this. It's from California normally we see most coming from Alsace… so this is your chance to try one from California soils. Because this variety has flavors of lychee and green tea and ginger and pineapple and flowers it is actually going to play really well with the herbs and all the ginger and the curries and the sweetness and spiciness of the dishes in Thai food. and it's a steal for under $50.

RT: That sounds like a perfect pairing .. now I see they have a great selection of Rieslings can you talk us through those and which ones you would suggest for us?

MV: yes this is where they have the most wines I like that they kind of break them down into different categories of dry and fruity which helps guide you a little bit here they have a lot of them from Germany and then a few from Austria as well just a great little tip is that the Austrian Rieslings are always going to be on the drier side compared to the German Rieslings.  A few standouts for me are 2020 Röettgerding Winninger Riesling Trocken, now troken in German means dry so that's how you know you're getting a Riesling here in a dry style, this is from super steep vineyards the vines are struggling… they're 40 plus years old so super quality wine here.

Another favorite the Knoll-Ried Loibenberg Smaragd 2019 from the Wachau in Austria.. Smaragd on bottle basically means it’s a reserve wine., Smaragd-designated wines are made from the ripest grapes in the Wachau, and have a mandated minimum alcohol level of 12.5 percent. but these are not sweet as the sugar gets fully fermented into alcohol.

RT: Great educational tip for our listeners Maria…

MV: Yeah… now I also want to recommend some of the Rieslings with a little residual sugar in them because if you like your Thai food at a spice level of 8 or above like me, then that little bit of sweetness is going to help calm down the spice when your tongue is on fire -that a little bit of sweetness is going to put the fire out and I honestly think it's way better than milk WAY better

The Spreitzer Winkeler Jesuitengarten Spatlese 2018 from the rheingau… now this is fruity…this is about 8%alcohol.

And another special bottle.. the jj Prum Wehlener Sonnenhur Auslese GK 2001… incredible vintage lots of ripeness here and yes Riesling can age.. it’s the acidity that makes it age worthy! This and the Gang pu… which is a very spicy cab curry served with rice noodles for dunking.. wowa.. amazing!

RT: That crab dish sounds killer.. now big question of the day can we do a red wine with Thai?

MV: yes you can do red wine you just have to be careful of the tannins …you don't want something that's very heavy in tannins that's going to be way too dry and it's going to intensify the spice and could definitely make some of those seafood based dishes taste a little metallic so when I'm looking at the list I'm looking for a red wine that's going to be more fruit forward (now not sweet) but has strong fruit aromas and also has a plushness to it. We had the William Selyem PAPERA Vineyard Zinfandel 2014 from RRV, worked with just about everything except the super delicate lobster dishes.. a red blend would be another great option. The Saxum Vineyards The Hexe 2016… this mixes Syrah, Grenache, Petite Syrah and Mataro (aka mourvedre)  the tannins will be smoother because it has some age on it and also thanks to the addition of the grenache. This and the ground pork rice paper and lettuce rolls, or the steak tartar, or the Grilled Ribeye with N Eastern Style dipping sauce is going to be insane!

RT: Wow… okay I like this.. so many great options! Promise me we will go here next time I’m out in Las Vegas!

MV: You got it!

RT: RT: Well thank you Maria for making some perfect wine suggestions for the Thai food at Lamaii in the Chinatown of Las Vegas. Thank you everyone for joining us today you can find more wine tips from Maria on Instagram @Mariathewineblonde. Remember the only rule in wine is “drink what you LOVE”.

MV: Have a favorite wine list? Let us review it here. Send us your requests at info@CorkRules.com You can find previous episodes on your favorite podcast platform and on

The CorkRules website. Be sure to follow @CorkRules on Instagram for episode and app updates. Prices and selections subject to change, please drink responsibly.






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