It is that much more satisfying when wine recommendations and in particular this column, are prompted by the demands of a particular cuisine with which they are to be partnered: Nowhere more so than when a leading Thai restaurant in Norwich, nestling conspicuously opposite the far-famed Adlards in Upper St Giles Street, requested a specific range of wines to marry the demands of lemon grass, galangal, lime leaf, chilli and fish sauce, all staple ingredients of Thai cooking.

As any wine merchant will happily bemoan, there are still wines in this global village of ours that are all too often overlooked by many newly confident wine consumers. The first and most common candidate is the region of Alsace with its Hansel and Gretel villages alongside the heavily wooded Vosges Mountains in North Eastern France.

The other desperately underrated area is modern-day Austria.

I am not alone in my duality of opinions regarding the former Austro-Hungarian empire in that the white wines are probably the best kept secret in the wine world and such wines are some of the purest and finest, bottled anywhere on the planet. The whites in particular, range from crackling dry and refreshing for the youthful indigenous grape variety – Grüner Veltliner, through the rich full Riesling and Gewurztraminer grapes to the racy, sweet botrytised wines from the edge of Europe’s largest inland lake, the Neusiedlersee.

I visit the country’s wine regions every two or three years and it has always proved one of the most educative and exciting trips I am fortunate to undertake.

Never have such wines had more relevance than to the modern outlets of Thai, Chinese and fusion cooking than today.

For the finest examples the regions of lower Austria in the northeast of the country, and most particularly the area of Wachau, is the place to start. The Wachau contains a breathtakingly beautiful stretch of crags which rise majestically above the Danube just upstream from Vienna. These near vertical, south-facing crags harbour man-made granite ‘window boxes’ from the river’s edge to the highest peaks. Within these terraces, established by French monks from Burgundy in the Middle Ages, vines are planted wherever and whenever possible. From the lowest point on the slopes come most of the Grüner Veltliner influenced wines whereas further up, where the sun plays for most of the day, come the finest Rieslings in the world. However exports of this particular grape were decimated when in 1985 some unscrupulous wine merchants in their attempt to instill body to certain wines added a harmless, but totally illegal substance to their wines.

Unfortunately this substance, diethylene glycol, was an ingredient found in antifreeze. What ensued was a global press headline not dissimilar in its effect to that recently fateful story of Coca Cola admitting to launching its new sparkling water from the same area of greater London as Dell boy and Rodney, i.e. Peckham. The result of Austria’s national disgrace was the establishment of some of the strictest wine regulations on the world. The red and white band  (the colours of Austria’s flag) now found on the best of Austria’s bottle necks, provides a unique tracking system and proves adherence to the best possible production methods as well as rigid details of official quotas. As this particular episode will haunt many of Austria’s wine-makers (the majority of which were clearly not implicated in the scandal) to their graves, the resultant disciplines put in place would shame many a shambolic wine practice elsewhere in the world. Austrian wines rise to fame since this debacle has been equally dramatic so much so that the great bulk of its production is drunk within its national boundaries rather than exported. Anoraks like myself have long since championed the wines virtues and I am pleased to say some posh-people’s supermarkets are beginning to put their toe in the water, but its exposure in Great Britain is still woefully inadequate. Beyond the joys of Thai cuisine our increased demand for seasonal, regional and local food in Norfolk especially fish and shellfish could not wish for a better partner.

One charming aspect of wine tasting and purchasing in Austria is the establishment of the concept of Heuringer, (this season), so not only is a new vintage available at the winemaker’s door but heuriger is now accompanied by a bar ,or more increasingly a family owned restaurant where the new wine harvest is available. The same tends to happen in France under the term nouveau or primeur but without the accompanying hospitality.

If you’re there around springtime, a stunning signature dish in many heurigers alongside the Danube is the wild garlic soup crammed with white asparagus tips, the combination with local Riesling is heaven-sent.

To finish any cuisine, our newly increasing conversion to dessert wines rather than Port or Brandy can be more than satisfied. Once again, Austrians produce world class botrytised sweeties and the leading players on the present stage include Helmut Lang and Willi Opitz. On the damp misty lake-side in Rüst and Illmitz a quiet revolution of noble rot and Eiswein (ice wine) is also taking place. Nothing would strike you more bizarrely than Helmut’s stand alone philosophy over dessert wines, his botrytised Pinot Noir was selected year after year for representation on the Concord’s former flights. If you manage to get your hands on some of the former vintages you’ll be in charge of sublime wine made by angels and sent to earth, and at a quarter the price of Château Y’Quem.