"When I left Verona three days ago, it was minus 5 degrees Celsius," said wine export manager Luca Ardiri, feigning a shiver at the memory. "So as you can imagine, it was a bit of a shock for my body to suddenly be in Singapore and then Malaysia, but I always love sharing my knowledge of Italian wineries and wine making. You will try five beautiful Italian wines tonight, thanks to Tamarind Hill and Straits Wine Company."

Despite Ardiri's conjecture that Thai food isn't easy to match with Italian wines ("The flavours range from sweet to sour, making pairings problematic"), Chef Phiyun Thongyun was unencumbered by the challenge, turning out deep-fried tom yum chicken and shrimp mousse for the first course, which we washed down with flutes of Col Vetoraz Prosecco Extra Dry NV.

Not unlike the narrator of a travel channel, the charismatic Ardiri provided a constant stream of chatter about our beverages, from the Marco Felluga Pinot Grigrio ("The winery is located in the Collio—that's C-O-double L-I-O—area, a very small region in Friuli-Venezia") to the Pala I Fiori Cannonau 2017 ("Sardinia is a beautiful island I highly recommend visiting, especially if you love sailing. In this particular area, the locals really live longer").

Upon reaching the Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino 2013, Ardiri passed the floor to Alison Christ, wine manager for Troika Sky Dining, to hear her two cents. "So everyone might think I'm crazy, but during blind tastings, I always think that Brunello tastes like Cherry Coke and Parmesan cheese," confessed the New Yorker.

The Braida Moscato D'asti 2018, our favourite wine of the evening, carried aromas of lychee, apricot and orange blossom. Habitually paired with soft cheeses in Italy, the dessert wine found a new bedfellow in mung bean custard, a dessert with origins in Ayutthaya, central Thailand.


What: A 3-Day, 2-Night Gin & Wine Pairing Experience

Where: Japamala Resorts, a sister property of the Samadhi Retreats group

When: February 28-March 1, 2020

Reserve: samadhiretreats.com