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Delhi Wine Club
DWC: An Evening with Flavors of Tinazzi wines

Posted: Tuesday, 28 August 2012 11:16

DWC: An Evening with Flavors of Tinazzi wines

August 28 : Flavors Restaurant in Defence Colony was the venue for a casual trattoria-style evening for the Delhi Wine Club members a week ago with cuisines from the Puglia and Veneto regions of Italy accompanied by wines from the same regions from Tinazzi Wines, writes Arun Batra.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Click For Large ViewIt was an idea that the Club President Subhash Arora just could not remove from his mind. Cav. Tarsillo Nataloni, a long-time member of the Delhi Wine Club and in his own right a corporate honcho- turned trattoria owner, discovered some time ago that he and the wife of the Italian Ambassador in India, H.E. Giacomo Sanfelice, hailed from the same region in Italy –Puglia, also home to red wines like Primitivo, Negroamaro and Nero di Troia. In addition, half her family hails from Veneto.

Coincidentally, Tinazzi Wines whose owner Mr Tinazzi and their export manager Gianmaria Peter had met Subhash earlier this year at their Veneto winery near Lake Garda, also produce wines from Veneto and now own a winery in Puglia as well. So the germ of an idea was planted by him in Tarsillo’s mind to organise a casual evening of wine and food from the Veneto and Puglia regions of Italy as the theme for a dinner of the Delhi Wine Club at his Italian eatery Flavors in Defence Colony.

Subhash was quick to follow up with Tinazzi Wines too in order to get them to send Indi-born Peter to present their wines to our members at the dinner (#11 /199 ). With Flavours dishing out perennial favourites of the kind of Italian fare that the Delhiites so love, Tarsillo had his work cut out to develop a menu to impress the 40-odd discerning palates with food representative of his homeland and Veneto, matched with 5 wines from the producer.

Click For Large ViewThe Internet came to the rescue and Tarsillo was kind enough to share the recipe links with our members in case anyone who liked the dishes enough to crave to prepare them at home, could do so; a great idea for future dinners where the Chef could share his recipe of a dish or two on the menu for the night.

Standing on the patio outside Flavours with a glass of aromatic aperitif in the form of a Tinazzi’s white Malvasia  and Chardonnay blend Malvasia Bianca Salento IGT in hand, one was  confronted by a sea of green and it was surprisingly quiet, considering we were only a hundred yards from the noisy and busy Moolchand flyover. This calm oasis in the otherwise bustling Defence Colony is a great location to have a restaurant with easy access and parking. For the hungry, there was plenty on the pass- around in the form of Focaccia , Panzenella salad and a variety of Panzerotti –with no link to Rommel’s Panzers but more of an affinity to what could casually be termed as an Italian samosa with veg and non-veg fillings.

The call to move inside the air-conditioned restaurant for the sit-down part of the evening was accepted with surprising alacrity by the members-even though it had rained earlier in the day, it was a hot and humid evening. Though it was termed a casual evening, the pristine table settings with adequate glassware and the specially printed menu, was evidence of careful planning and preparation by Tarsillo who had been in constant touch with Subhash from 6000 kms away in Italy till a day before the dinner on 21st August.

For starters, we had fried sardines with a delicious zucchini salad. Sardines - a must for a lot of coastal Italian cuisines - are rarely found on tables in Delhi and the gesture was well appreciated and liked by all. The unique sharp taste of the sardines was well matched with another easy drinking white, Ca de’Rocchi Custoza DOC. This golden coloured wine with a greenish tinge is made from an equal blend of the ubiquitous Garganega and Trebbiano grapes of Veneto and had a dry mouthfeel.

Click For Large ViewAnd so onto the reds which really are Tinazzi’s strength, with a Ca de’ Rocchi Dugal Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot IGT. Whilst we were waiting for this Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend to be served, Subhash took a few minutes to bring us up to speed on the preparations for the 10th anniversary 200th dinner of the Club next month and to introduce to us Gianmaria Peter who gave us a synopsis of Tinazzi wines and their operations.

I was eagerly waiting to see how the Puglianese pork risotto matched up to the Cab Sauv - Merlot, as the first sips of the wine indicated a full structured wine with plenty of fruitiness. The risotto was tasty, meaty but had unfortunately lost heat and more importantly moisture somewhere between the kitchen and my plate. A moist risotto would have made the rice glide through the mouth very much like the smooth in the mouth sensation the Cab Sauv-Merlot produced. The vegetarian risotto was very well made with the delicate flavours of the pumpkin coming through distinctly.

A second main course was on the cards –Orecchiette pasta with spicy chicken balls for the carnivorous and ricotta cheese for the others. Orecchiette is pasta shaped like a small ear and is typical of Puglia (Subhash told us that they also make it by mixing the local Primitivo wines in the dough, giving it a Burgundy-like colour) . Its name comes from its shape, for in Italian ‘orecchio’ means ear, and the suffix '-etto' means 'small'. The vegetarian option with some excellent ricotta cheese scored well over the chicken option.

Click For Large ViewThere was more food to come yet!! A duck liver brioche with a mushroom vegetarian option was well appreciated by all including my neighbour on the table, who ate his way through just the duck liver pate of five brioches – Yo, the big bro was watching you, buddy!!! The sharpness of the duck pate was contrasted by the smooth and velvety concentration of fruit in the well balanced Monterè Corvina della Provincia di Verona IGT- with 100% Corvina grapes but packing a 14% alcohol punch.

For those who still had space, Tarsillo had personally hand carried a variety of cheeses from Puglia and Veneto – excellent cheeses each with their own distinctive flavour counterbalanced well by the sweetish ‘Since 1974’Primitivo di Manduria DOC. Easily the best wine of the evening, this is 100% Primitivo – a typical grape of Manduria, an area that makes a full bodied high alcohol wine that the locals like to call Amarone of Puglia because of its full body, structure, fruitiness and similar alcohol levels.

Long after the special guests H.E. Giacomo Sanfelice and his wife had left, there were still the lingerers-on who were nursing their pre drive- home cappuccinos when a distinctly relieved and upbeat Tarsillo joined us along with a bottle of Grappa (not usually encouraged at the club dinners) which didn’t last long and we all tottered off into the night.

Our thanks go to Tarsillo and his staff for a thoroughly enjoyable themed evening with delicious wines from Tinazzi and robust and rustic Italian fare. We now begin the countdown to the continuing Click For Large View10th anniversary celebrations and the extra-special 200th event on the 21st of September with the Hyatt Regency as the partner. Subhash has once again used his charm and roped in Rolex, the king of luxury watches with the promise of 10 wines including Drappier champagne, Croft Pink Port cocktails, Chablis from Joseph Drouhin, Napa Valley Chardonnay from Cakebread Cellars, Caballo Loco, Cesari Amarone and the high-ended Mas de Plana Cabernet from the house of Torres. Keep an eye on red Saparevi wines from Georgia, he says, revealing for the first time, the secret of wines to be served that day.

We look forward to seeing members of the Club in full strength at what Subhash promises to be the “mother of all wine dinners”. Ciao!

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

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