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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Saturday, October 31 2009. 13:58

World Wine Symposium: Impressive Kick off Eve

If the evening before the Davos of Wine to debut on 31 October and 1 November at Villa d’Este is any benchmark, the future of the event is certainly bright, with the organizer, Francois Mauss and his team turning it into a well-organized, well attended royal feast for the delegates, reports Subhash Arora.

Francois Mauss

The evening that was to start at 6 pm was pushed back to 7 pm, keeping in view that the venue was Italian and the 6 pm IST (Italian Standard Time) meant a ‘few minutes delay’ in the start could be considered natural. But a true royal tasting was in action with the wine of kings and king of wines, Barolo being the protagonist as a run-up to the dinner.

Barolo and Barbaresco Tasting

Luciano Sandrone was being assisted by his daughter Barbara Sandrone pouring out the 2001, 2000 and 1999 vintages of Barolo, the last one being simply outstanding. One wonders which one would be available through the importer, Berkmann Cellars India.

On the next table was Pio Boffa, owner of Alba based Pio Cesare, choking with either the emotion of being invitede to taste at such a historic event or simply losing his voice. He had brought 5 labels of 2004 (too young), 2001 (delicious), a classic and a modern Barolo of 2000 vintage and a 1999. He is as popular in India where he is exporting through Sovereign Impex.

Next to be seen was Alessandro Ceretto, whose cousin Federico was in India a couple of years ago and who launched his wines through Aspri at a dinner organized by the Delhi Wine Club especially to mark the occasion. Ceretto has 3 vineyards in Barolo, Barbaresco and Alba. For this historic event, he had brought the young 2005 labels from Bricco Rocche, Prapó and Brunate vineyards- all with the 14.5% alcohol which seems to be the emerging de-facto alcohol standard for Barolo.

Domenico Clerico, Conterno Fantino (both in 2004 and 2001 versions), La Spinetta 2006 Barbaresco Vignete Bordini were some of the other royal gems I tasted, besides Cocito, Bruno Rocca and a couple of deviations- DOC Monferrato from Lagobava, showcasing what a good blend of Barbera and Cabernet Sauvignon can do for a good winemaker.

Aperitif Ferrari

The time for celebration started with 25 magnums of Ferrari 2004 poured into the glasses of the guests before dinner. The Trento DOC bubbly was the most popular pour at the Trentodoc stand at the entry of the Wine Show in Torino earlier in the week. The reason was not difficult to assess. The bubbly made from the Champagne grapes, Pinot and Chardonnay  and the first one in Trentino to use the Methode Champenoise, is considered the next best thing to Champagne. Easy and yet elegant, the bubbly is anytime companion-for any celebration and what better occasion than the Davos of Wine!

Dinner Magnifique

Francois had promised his guests a memorable gastronomical experience as a part of the conference and today’s menu and the food and service quality did set it apart from similar events. For one thing, the 6-course meal with 7 wines had some great wines like Malvira DOCG Roero Arneis (by now quite a popular varietal from Piemonte in India), Vajra Riesling, Sandrone Barbera d’Alba, Chiara Boschis Cannubi Barolo and the iconic Gaja Sori Tildin (imported by Brindco).

The menu was outstanding and Piemontese. Taking advantage of the current white truffle season, Chef Maurilio Garola from the starred restaurant La Ciau del Tornavento prepared a dish made from fresh farm semi boiled eggs with a generous portion of white truffle shavings covering the top. Truffle experts suggest that the best way to relish the white ‘gold’ is to disperse it over eggs, pasta or fresh meat. I could not decide if it was outstanding or heavenly so I had a second helping sneaked in before deciding it was  somewhere in the middle. Arneis was a natural partner in pleasure for my palate.

Luciano Sandrone Pouring his wines

Braised Mutton cheek glazed with Barolo and served with Gaja Sori Tildin could not get less than 100/100 points. though the iconic ‘Barolo’ (appellation laws do not allow it to be termed a Barolo and Angelo could not care less-the Sori Tildin vineyards do not fall within the Barolo territory/ appellation) would be best drinkable after a decade, it was a fantastic pairing with the mutton- a perfect example of what synergy a proper paring can bring to the wine as well as the food). Michelin star Chef Massimo Camia from Barolo deserves kudos for creating a dish that did not need a knife to eat and a white meat buff like me could also savour.

Zupetta di mango Fresco, Gelato allo Yogurt Intero was a fresh mango soup with yogurt ice cream and lavender flavoured popcorns (I could not figure out the purpose as they kept on interfering with my palate) was surely put on the menu, keeping the solitary Indian in the guest list- it was simply yum.

For those who had to do some post dinner exercise, it was a happy though not early end to an evening to remember. One wonders about those who went for a cigar and single malt afterwards and how they would make it to the early morning start of the conference at 8:30 am.

But we’d let Mr. Mauss worry about that!

Subhash Arora
Villa d’Este
Lago di Como


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