La Villa’s Head Chef Thierry has just updated his already comprehensive menu to feature some excellent additions, with some rarities that are sure to surprise and delight even the experienced sommelier.

La Villa’s “wine book” now has a selection of 30 wines, to make the total number of wines at La Villa an even 230. All have been individually chosen by Thierry.

Ton, Thierry’s co-worker of eight years, has been appointed junior sommelier – he will exclusively focus on helping La Villa’s guests choose the right wine for the occasion. There are few (if any) restaurants in Vietnam with dedicated sommeliers, bringing a much needed addition to Saigon’s – and, in fact, Vietnam’s – fine dining scene.

Dominated by a list of French wines, the wine menu also contains great new and old world choices. French wines have their region mapped out, informing customers exactly where the grapes come from, making searching for the perfect wine pairing an educational experience.

The menu boasts 14 house wines – reds and whites by the glass. There are 12 champagnes, ranging in price, with the Louis Roederer at the top price point. The most expansive collection consists of Bordeaux’s, starting below VND 1 million and pushing well over the VND 100 million mark with Chateau Petrus 1995 – one of two bottles in the country. Bordeaux, Burgundy and Cote Du Rhone are all strongly represented here – with fewer wines outside of France.

There has been a great effort to sustain the continuity of vintages. Vietnam has historically been the Asian country to receive “the leftovers” – any vintage that could be acquired was accepted. Thierry wishes to change this; and since he has a great relationship with distributors, this has turned out to be a minor issue.

If someone finds a wine they like, there is a chance Thierry has included other years for the customer to try and compare – every bottle on the menu has the year listed for easy identification. There are some superb examples of vertical vintages, such as the Chateau de Beaucastel, available in ‘98, ‘99, ‘05 and ‘06 vintages. There are some rarities amongst the verticals as well, such as a 1988 Chateau Mouton Rothschild.

Of course, red wines age better than white – the richer the wine the easier it is to age. Expect to find more vertical vintages from the red wines in Thierry’s selection. However, the wine world’s perception of aging is changing. Thierry recalls the story of Finnish Divers who found crates of well-preserved 200-year-old champagne and beer – both very much drinkable. The the lack of light, the constant temperature and other important factors all contributed to two centuries of steady aging.

Chef Thierry has several recommendations for those first delving into his new wine menu at La Villa:

  1. France: Saint-Emilion Grand Cru from Chateau Beau-Sejour Becot (‘97, ‘06, ‘09 and ‘12).
  2. Champagnes: Bollinger Special Cuvee, Dom Perignon 2005 and Thierry’s personal favourite, Krug Grande Cuvee.
  3. New World Wine: Opus One from the Napa Valley from Baron Philippe de Rothschild.
  4. Italy: Moscato d’Asti from the Piemonte region of Italy.

Notable additions to the print menu include a premium list in the back that selects 16 of the finest wines on the menu and places them all on one page, making for a stunning collection of available wines. La Villa is one of the few places in Vietnam to have so many rarities in a single location. Thierry has purchased the proper glassware for all of his wines, once again from the trusted glassware provider Riedel