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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Wednesday, August 13 2008. 14:58

Adios to Prasanjit at Hyatt

Continuing with my dialogue of wine and friendship, I had met Prasanjit Singh, the EAM, practically Deputy General Manager of Hyatt Regency, Delhi 3-4 years ago, with my friend Sourish Bhattacharyya, to fix a wine dinner for the Delhi Wine Club.

Since then he has become a close friend and has supported many events of the Club. After 4-years at Hyatt, I think, he has decided to move on, to handle bigger responsibilities. It was natural that we have a dinner in his farewell, even though he was a bit reluctant.

A beautifully laid out center table for 14, with 4 round tables of 9 in four corners, with one temporary wall, dividing the Ball-room into one half for us, and rolls of black cloth background with three big projectors showing the several wine dinners hosted by or held at Hyatt, the setting was complete for a Bollywood set where the millionaire hero like Amitabh Bacchan would host a private, elegant dinner for 50 special, personal guests.

There was no Bacchan and the members were paying for the meal, though peanuts compare the money spent to create the ambiance and the menu, we did have very special guests, Peter Linford (Senior Trade Commissioner, Australian High Commission) and his wife Debra, Paul (whom I fondly refer to as peter at times!) Vaughan (the New Zealand Trade Commissioner) and Andrew Steele, General Manager of Shangri-la, besides Prasan and his wife Nainika.

The food and presentation were excellent to say the least. The novel presentation of Menu printed on a beautiful cork-topped designer plate, and the superb food quality and the dexterity with which Chef Marcus and his cooking staff had prepared it were matched only by the attentive and efficient serving staff all of whom earned our appreciation before the coffee was served.

Let me end with the note that the farewell dinner for Prasanjit, did remind me of the song 'Spanish Eyes' sung by Tom Jones where he belts out 'This is just adios and not good bye'. Prasanjit will soon be looking after many top-class restaurants in the club's neighbourhood and we hope he will be as hospitable to the club there as well.


Wines Tasted:

1. Lily Farm Frontignac 2007 Grant Burge Wines

This Barossa Valley vintner gave us an opportunity to taste a delicious though slightly sweet aperitif wine from his Lily Farm vineyard. Belonging to the Muscatel variety producing grapy wine, the light-medium bodied wine produced from the French varietal Frontignac made one want to ask for more, because of its clean and crisp acidity and the perfumed tropical aromas exploding in the face. Unless, you don't go for slightly sweet stuff like Moscato or a Riesling Auslese or Spätlese, a couple of glasses of this wine would work wonders for you as an aperitif wine in our summer months, or even as a dessert wine.


2. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Staete Landt Vineyards

A young wine which has been given a mild touch of oak to give it complexity. It was a typical NZ Sauvignon Blanc, with floral and tropical fruit aromas and spice in the background. Very crisp, dry, fresh and complex on the palate with a touch of minerals. Persistent impression on the palate and distinct after-taste. A great wine as aperitif which was perfect with salad Should drink well till 2010.


3. Marama Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Seresin Estate

This dry-medium bodied fruity wine with minerally touch, matured partly in oak is a good example of the exception to the rule that most Sauvignon Blancs should be drunk young. Although the alcohol content is rather high at 14.5%, it is well integrated making it a wine with structure. Good to drink for another 4-5 years when it will develop even more complexity. It tasted like a serious food wine that can handle even chicken, salmon, tuna or fish with gravy. Vegetarians might prefer the previous, lighter wine with food.

I have yet to taste a New Zealand Sauvignon that I did not find extremely pleasing-except Azure Bay which has been a disappointment. I was not shocked to learn that it has some foreign wines mixed to make it a budget wine. If it is true, it would be a pity as the NZ Sauvignon Blancs from any producer are usually a safe bet.


4. Raupo Creek Pinot Noir 2005 Seresin Estate

This wine made from grapes grown at the organic and biodynamic Raupo Creek vineyards in Marlborough was perhaps the most loved wine of the evening. Delicate herbal aromas and a reminiscing visit to a rose garden, the wine brought clear memories of New Zealand to Paul Vaughan sitting next to me. 'This is undoubtedly New Zealand!' Slightly tannic wine full of plum and red fruit flavour handled the duck perfectly well as also the morels for the vegetarians. Alcohol content of around 14% was marginally on the high side, for an elegant wine.

I thought it was still a bit too young to give its best performance. It should peak in a year or two and keep on giving pleasing the palate for a couple of years after.


5. Filsell Shiraz 2006 Grant Burge Wines

The dark ruby red coloured wine with chocolate aromas and distinctly mint, sweet vanilla in the back-ground, it was a typical example of a fine Australian Shiraz from Barossa Valley. It had silky tannins, lovely mouthfeel and a complex end. It was a perfect match for those who had ordered lamb. But it was a bit too powerful for the duck.

The barrel aging has made it very age worthy and it will hang in there for quite a few years. It could have been decanted for 30 minutes or so to give its best as it is still young otherwise. It should peak in another couple of years.




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