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Delhi Wine Club
Ammirato Wines Launched in North India

Posted: Thursday, 16 December 2010 11:40

Ammirato Wines Launched in North India

After launching the label in Bangalore, Ammirato wines entered the North in the presence of Dott. Claudio Ammirato, the owner of the company and the Ambassador of Italy, H.E. Giacomo Sanfelice who officially launched the range at an  exclusive welcome wine dinner hosted by the Delhi Wine Club for him at the premium Italian Restaurant Zanotta at the Leela Hotel, Gurgaon. Subhash Arora reports.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Click For Large View
Seven Musical Notes from Ammirato
Delhi Wine Club has established itself in launching new and refurbished restaurants, new cuisines and even new wine labels. So it was not surprising that when the Club had already planned to welcome the new Italian Ambassador, H.E. Giacomo Sanfelice to the Club dinner on Monday the 13th , the members also agreed to the official launch of Ammirato wines with Italian cuisine, with the Ambassador doing the honours and opening the very first bottle of Ammirato Prosecco in North India.

Ammirato is the new kid on the block- an Italian wine label introduced by Ammirato Foods India, importing nine variants of Ammirato including Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Rosato (Rosé), Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Chianti Colli Senesi, Valpolicella and Valpolicella Classico. Seven wines with a fabulous 7-course Menu might be considered royal by most standards, but the members of the Delhi Wine Club are used to working hard, doing justice to gourmet foods with matching wines.

As starters, Scallops & bacon with plum sauce and the Chicken & olive were both superb in taste, like the Arancini with saffron aioli for vegetarians. But the Award for Excellence must go to the Mushroom baked with Gorgonzola sauce as it was not only flavoursome, but the enticing aromas emanating from it would make even a Gewürztraminer lover fall from the chair. The Ammirato Prosecco, after it was officially launched by the Ambassador Sanfelice, was off dry- perhaps 9-12 gms of sugar; but it was very pleasant on the palate and a great accompaniment with the snacks. The bubbly could also handle slightly hot and spicy Indian food –even the vegetarian. The zingy sensation should have lasted slightly longer in the glass and the mouth, though. 

Dr. Claudio Ammirato who had come from Italy especially for the launch reasoned that this could be because the wines had just arrived from Bangalore by air and had not yet rested. As a rule of thumb, any wine should be made to rest from two days to two weeks after travelling; otherwise it is temporarily bruised.

The celebrity Chef Kunal who is one of the three judges in the ongoing Masterchef India was on hand to welcome the guests. Decidedly humble, this master of Indian cuisine has brought art to the Indian cuisine as one had enjoyed at the Diya Restaurant on the lobby floor and one saw several members getting pictures taken with him as he shyly obliged.

Carpaccio of Lobster and octopus with snail salad and rosemary lemon oil was an exotic dish which was well matched with Ammirato Pinot Grigio 2009. I found it a bit too powerful for the pinot which, though clean and fresh, did not leave any impression on the palate and was short. Surprisingly, about half the guests liked the mouthfeel whereas I had an equal number siding with me.

Cream of chick peas with tender lamb filet/ pepper-goat cheese roll and black truffle was  creamy and delicious, a good combination with Ammirato Rosato- a100% Sangiovese-based Rosé from a winery near Siena. But the wine was not crisp enough, though it had the cherry-like flavour of Sangiovese . It felt rather tired in the mouth and although the favourite with a few people, it did not garner enough support from the audience.

Pasticcio pasta with oven roasted corn-fed chicken and Barolo cream or optionally with Mediterranean vegetables and chanterelles ragout for vegetarians, was a favourite with most people-helping the votes were the Ammirato Valpolicella 2008 and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2008-both of which were medium bodied wines with berry flavours and good mouthfeel. As Chris Pohl, CEO of Ammirato Indian explained, these wines were simply to be enjoyed with the food and were worth keeping ‘on the table’ in a household or in a restaurant without burning a hole in the pocket.

After the four courses, the members were ready for a time-out before getting back to the work at hand- the Sorbet was a good conversation piece and most people were happy to experiment with the earlier wines before the final course was served- with the two final wines of the evening- a Chianti Colli Senesi 2007 and Ammirato Valpolicella Classico 2008.

Chris Pohl explains about the wines as Dott Ammirato looks on
The oven- braised New Zealand lamb shank was well prepared but looked like the end of the line for me-so much food had been demolished. Mrs. Sanfelice, the ambassador’s wife sitting next to me, loved her Spicy Yam stew with root vegetables and Parmesan froth- here again the Chef had shown his exceptional talent, but she could only taste it. The lamb handled both the wines well; dry but fruity with a pleasant mouthfeel and a balanced taste, with tannins only in the background, matched both the non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes.

The Chef wouldn’t let go of us so easily. The seventh course of the meal-the Trio of Granny Smith apple dumplings, Baked and Mousse and a special Italian cheese sampler with walnut bread and olive chutney would have won anyone’s heart.

There had been so many varietals and wines to choose from that the ‘Drink till you Drop’ offer given to the members to celebrate the launch was not take up by anyone. Although some pretentious, self-proclaiming sommelier would scoff at the evenings’ proceedings, it was great fun taking feedback from the members and guests about the wines of the evening. While there were staunch supporters and opponents to the Pinot Grigio and Prosecco, all the reds finished with a positive vote, with the Chianti Colli Senesi and the Valpolicella Classico sharing the top honours.

With the prices to be announced shortly and expected to be very affordable, Ammirato seems to be a potentially explosive new entrant in the wine market; it could shake up the whole wine industry. It will depend a lot on how the company handles the golden goose. But Zanotta is steaming ahead to rub shoulders with the top Italian restaurants in Delhi, with many members placing it at par alongside La Piazza at the Hyatt, San Gimignano at the Imperial and even Travertino at the Oberoi, especially because of its unique ambience and locale. The Senior Sous Chef Thapa is getting more innovative by the day. The biggest testimonial about the excellence of the food came from the Ambassador who, when introduced to Chef Thapa, complimented him in Italian, sure in his mind that such delicious Italian food could be crafted only by an Italian or Italy-trained chef.

Ammirato wines were launched in Bangalore earlier this month and this was the launching moment for them in the North. ‘We plan to get them to Delhi and Goa in our next phase,’ says Chris Pohl, the South African-German  who is the CEO of the company for India and Sri-Lanka and claims to have many aces up his sleeve-a preview of which was seen by the members of the Delhi Wine Club this evening.

Subhash Arora

Gallery              Menu



Rohit Bajpai Says:

I had the pleasure of tasting Ammirato's Valpolicella. I think it is a great value for money for the price points which Chris is introducing them in India. Definitely worth it!! Go ahead try them out !!

Posted @ December 27, 2010 17:23


Chris Pohl Says:

Dear Subhash, I would like to use this forum to thank you and everyone responsible for making the launch of our Ammirato Wines the success it was. Your open and unbiased opinion is much appreciated and valued. Our price to quality ratio is our strategy and with that we bring good quality wine to the people that enjoy wine for the first time, people that have been enjoying wine - and thus our wines can become their product of choice. From us all at the Ammirato Family in Italy, India and Sri Lanka a big THANK YOU! Best regards Chris Pohl

Posted @ December 17, 2010 17:00


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