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Delhi Wine Club
Wine Club Dinner: Schoen Evening Born at Sevilla

Posted: Tuesday, 12 October 2010 14:36

Wine Club Dinner: Schoen Evening Born at Sevilla

Delhi Wine Club celebrated Oktoberfest with a difference last Thursday at the Sevilla Restaurant of Hotel Claridges, with the members enjoying the newly introduced Piper Heidsieck champagne as aperitif wine and four wines from the Franconian estate Graf van Schönborn,  paired with 5-course meal crafted by Chef Ravi Saxena and his team, writes Arun Batra. 

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Putting together a wine dinner for the Delhi Wine Club is not an easy task as our Club President Subhash Arora will tell you- one faces all sorts of odds, be it from the wines for the evening arriving in typical Japanese ‘just in time” inventory management fashion to last minute cancellations due to multiple reasons-as in this case the good old Commonwealth Games.

With the Navratras scheduled to commence from the 8th of October, Subhash had decided to offer our members on the eve, an opportunity to taste a few wines from  Franconia (Franken),  one of the wine regions of Germany, at the Mediterranean cuisine specialising Sevilla Restaurant at the Claridges, located smack bang in the middle of Luytens Delhi, which was criss-crossed by the dedicated CWG traffic lanes.

Would the members and guests be able to reach the venue given the ominous warnings of traffic doom during the CWG being given out by the media? What would be the best route to take? With the police control room being centered in the hotel would we be allowed to enter the restaurant at all? These and similar queries on Subhash’s Blackberry couldn’t have done his acidity much good though he was as optimistic and bubbly as always.

For all the prophets of doom, things turned out very smooth indeed-turning on its head Dilbert’s saying of what’s the point of being punctual as there would be no one around to appreciate it! Kudos to the people of Delhi most of whom stayed home that evening and to the cops who smoothed the way for the rest, for making the drive to the Claridges a breeze, irrespective of where you were coming from.

Well before our STA (Standard Arrival Time) of 8.30 pm, there was large enough a quorum to warrant early opening of the Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne – a wonderfully crisp flag bearer of the house of Piper Heidsieck owned by Remy Contreau and easily the best quaff of the evening . And given the fact that a fair number of members and their guests were from the German expat community, we had all hands on deck by 8.45pm- surely a DWC dinner first!!

With the theme of the evening being Germany and Oktoberfest, we were set up to taste a line-up of German wines from the Franconian VDP Estate (there are less than 200 such elite estates in the whole of Germany) of Graf von Schönborn- a reputed producer from Franconia, which is also known for its excellent estate in Rheingau. This was a welcome tweak from our recent multi- producer line up; after a long time, during the sit down part of our dinner, we had a single producer tasting across varietals and blends.

To guide us through this relatively uncharted geographic area in the northern Bavaria for our wine club members, was the noted wine expert from Germany- Joel Payne, who kept the gathering enthralled with his deep knowledge despite the fact that the Champagne had run out mid way thru his chat!!

Two whites commenced the Graf von Schönborn lineup –the Weisserburgunder Kabinett and the Riesling Kabinett 2009 vintage. Both these easy drinking wines had a faint undertone of sweetness and were overshadowed by the star of the evening –the ravioli with a flavourful and rich tomato sauce topped with crispy Black-forest ham.

To go with the main course was a light Rose Kabinett 2009 and a Rotwein Cuvee 2009. With the theme being Oktoberfest, I chose the specially imported Grilled Bratwurst and Nuremburg sausages for my main course. From the raves around my table, I should have perhaps chosen the fish in beurre noisette sauce instead. The sausages being bland were not complimented by the rather watery Rose though the Rotwein and the two German wine princesses from Franconia (Franken) in their “dirndl’s” going from table to table and talking about the wines and the region, retrieved the situation somewhat..

Sevilla is one of the hidden gems on the New Delhi premier food circuit. Its greatest asset is its ambience –how many up-market restaurants provide the option of dining in a beautifully lit open air area crisscrossed by water streams and bridges and under the shadow of some hundred year old trees? Though the restaurant has gone through many identity iterations, Sevilla has now settled on a pan Mediterranean positioning to bring in the diners.

Despite this, Corporate Chef Ravi Saxena and his Sous Chef, Rahul Srivastava acceded to our request for keeping the Oktoberfest theme in mind and give us as much of  ‘German’ dishes as feasible. They took on the challenge of pairing the Graf von Schönborn wines with some typical German fare --and very successfully too. It was a pleasing sight watching a whole lot of Chefs giving the final touches to the plates and Chef Ravi giving the final touches to each dish on the outside bar counter.

Our thanks also go to Roopak Gopalakrishnan, the restaurant manager who oversaw the smooth and professional table service and saw us leave with memories of a very congenial and schoen (beautiful) evening born out of one of the premier wineries of Franconia.

The Delhi Wine Club wishes its members a Happy Oktoberfest! With a difference!!

Arun Batra

 Arun Batra is a Delhi based  food and wine enthusiast and a long time member of the Delhi Wine Club

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