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Delhi Wine Club
DWC: Dining under the Stars at Eros

Posted: Wednesday, 12 November 2014 13:40

DWC: Dining under the Stars at Eros

Nov 12: The Terrace at the Eros Hotel Nehru Place was the unusual but well-selected venue for a scintillating wine dinner for members of the Delhi Wine Club recently with delicious food accompanied by top notch handpicked wines from three leading wine producing countries served in an unparalleled ambience under the stars with an uncommon sight of South Delhi at night from the venue

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Click For Large ViewFor those members who might wonder at the perceptible slowdown in our Wine Club events, may I say at the outset that it is not for any lack of effort on behalf of our Club President Subhash Arora who has had the unenviable task of rescheduling many of the events still in the planning stages. No, it wasn’t also due to a lack of venues because the goodwill of the Club has now become so impeccable after 230 wine dinners over the last 12 years that Subhash has probably more venue offers at one time than the fingers on his right hand.

The culprits are the denizens and mandarins who inhabit the corridors and offices of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India who in their insatiable quest to make life difficult for the lover of good foods and wines have instituted a whole new slew of labelling requirements which have seen items like Parma ham vanishing off menus and gaping holes appearing in the imported wines section of wine lists in fine dining venues across the country.

Click For Large ViewWith the supply of imported wines drying up Subhash called in a few favours and was able to organize enough wines for the wine dinner from 3 separate vendors due to hassles in sourcing from a single importer- the normal club practice. Of interest to our members, was perhaps a first time entry for a Cru Beaujolais from Joseph Drouhin, one of the most renowned family-owned wine producers of Burgundy.

It was on the 26th of October that we gathered in the bar of the Hotel Eros Nehru Place at 7.30pm for our aperitif section of the evening. The focus of this section was on the Carpené Malvolti Prosecco –a light (11% alcohol) effervescent and fruity Prosecco from the Treviso region of Italy. As Subhash pointed out it is perhaps the oldest Prosecco producing wineries in Italy and that he has visited the winery in Conegliano a couple of times. I would agree with Subhash who in his welcoming remarks for the evening made an observation that in his opinion, the Carpené Malvolti was the best Prosecco available in India today. Keeping up with the quality of the Prosecco were some fine short eats on pass around amongst which I thought the Chicken Tikka Mousse was outstanding.

Click For Large ViewAs it was a Sunday, the timing of the event had been advanced to 7.30pm, a move which was well appreciated by the sparse gathering of members which fell well short of the normal robust turnout. So by 8.30pm we moved to the 12th floor terrace which the hotel permitted us to use as a special case. The weather was great for alfresco dining and the setting was enhanced by some excellent lighting – all in all it turned out to be an outstanding location for a wine dinner.

To begin with we had the Babich Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – from the capital of Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand- Marlborough. The wine surely lived up to its promise –it was clean, fresh, supple and fully fruit driven. For a palate used to the more pedestrian Indian Sauvignon Blanc, the Babich was truly heavenly. The Ceviche of Yellow Fin Tuna with avocado, grapefruit and baby greens was a perfect accompaniment – in fact I find this Peruvian dish is pretty versatile to handle most white wines.

Moving on we had the Moulin-A-Vent Joseph Drouhin 2012 – a Cru from the Beaujolais region of France and made from the Gamay grapes. A plummy, cherry mouth leads on to fairly well-structured wine with a reasonably long yet smooth finish. The Corn fed Roulade didn’t do much for the pairing so I had more of the Babich Sauvignon Blanc and kept the Moulin-a-Vent for the lamb trio which followed next.

Click For Large ViewThe chef’s signature offering that evening was the Degustation of Lamb which consisted of New Zealand lamb chops, seared loin and lamb pithivier. The stronger and meatier flavours of the chops and the loin paired excellently with the Moulin-a-Vent whilst I found the lighter structure of the Babich Pinot Noir Marlborough 2012 did a better job with the chicken. The Pinot Noir, though not light in the alcohol department at 13.5% was otherwise a very agreeable wine with plenty of strawberry on the nose and tannins well in control for a smooth mouth. The chef needs to be complimented on his lamb Pithivier –a dish not seen too often – though with a reduction in the pastry, a better balance with the minced lamb will be achieved.

The Camembert Brûlée – a delightful variation on the standard Crème Brûlée with the addition of Camembert – brought the evening to a close. F&B Director Arindam Chakraborty and his team did a great job not only in the setup and décor as mentioned earlier, but in the service department where the well trained staff ensured smooth movement of glass and tableware without a crash!

The quality of each wine this evening was top notch and with wine organized for 40 pax there was no shortage and I also did not notice any unusual wastage! So did we exceed our 0.8 l per person – I am not telling – or maybe I will when we meet next in the first week of December for a farewell to our long-time supporter, the Chilean Trade Commissioner Nestor. So do please show your appreciation of his efforts by attending the dinner – details of which Subhash will be having on its way to you soon.

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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