Vang Dalat: A Taste of Vietnamese Wine

When I travel, coffee is a necessity. I need it first thing upon waking up, and the thought of having to shower and get dressed before my first cup is not appealing at all. When I travel with my daughters, we don’t just stock up on coffee; we also make sure to have easy-to-prepare food items like bread and muffins. This routine ensures that our mornings start smoothly, even in a new place.

Our First Evening in Hanoi

On our first evening in Hanoi, after a bit of shopping and photography, my daughter Sam and I searched for a grocery store. We picked up eggs, cheese, bread, fruit, and, to my delight, giò thủ (Vietnamese head cheese). As we were browsing, Sam asked if she could get some beer. I agreed and decided to get a bottle of wine for myself. Sam, intrigued, decided to skip the beer and join me in choosing a wine.

Discovering Vang Dalat

We found the usual selection of wines: French, Italian, and then something caught our eye — Vietnamese wine, Vang Dalat. We thought, why not? When in Vietnam, try everything Vietnamese, right? We chose a bottle of red, paid the bill, and took a Grab ride back to our apartment.

Settling Into Our Apartment

Our apartment in Hanoi was lovely and spacious, especially considering it was just the two of us. It had a well-equipped kitchen with basic utensils and tools, hot and cold water, dishwashing liquid, cooking oil, condiments, plates, bowls, cutlery, and even chopsticks. After showering and watching some TV, we were ready to try the wine.

Preparing for the Wine Tasting

We had planned to slice the head cheese and cheese, arrange them on a plate with wedges of dragon fruit, pour the wine into glasses, and take photos for my blog. Sam prepped the meat, cheese, and fruit plate while I grabbed the wine. To my dismay, I discovered we needed a corkscrew, which we didn’t have. It was our first day, and we hadn’t thoroughly checked the kitchen supplies. We had no choice but to get a corkscrew the next day.

The Wine Tasting Experience

The following day, we bought a corkscrew along with other supplies and finally opened the wine in the evening. The first sip of Vang Dalat tasted of tart berries. The second and third sips felt more acidic. Reading the label, I learned the wine was made with mulberry and grapes, explaining the tart berry taste.

Midway through My Second Glass

As I continued drinking, a strange aftertaste formed in my mouth. I couldn’t quite decide if it was bitterness or acidity, or a mixture of the two. It wasn’t pleasant. I gave up after my second glass, and Sam also didn’t finish the bottle. We re-inserted the cork and set it aside.

Reflections on the Experience

Looking back, I should have joined Sam in getting beer. I’ve heard great things about Asian beer, and Vietnamese beer is reputed to be excellent. While Vang Dalat wasn’t the best wine experience, it serves as a reminder that not all local specialties will suit everyone’s taste. If you’re simply looking for something alcoholic, Vang Dalat will do, but don’t expect a refined wine experience.

Conclusion

Traveling is about exploring new tastes and experiences, and sometimes they don’t all live up to expectations. Vang Dalat might not have been the highlight of our trip, but it added a memorable chapter to our Hanoi adventure. Next time, I might stick to the local beer and leave the wine for another occasion.

Leave a Comment