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Posted: Tuesday, 05 June 2018 12:49

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Déjà Vu at Antinori Wine Dinner by Hyatt Regency

June 05: The Antinori Wine Dinner at La Piazza, the iconic Italian cuisine restaurant at the Hyatt Regency was an exciting evening for the 50 invitees who enjoyed four wines from the producer whose family has been in wine business since 1385, writes Subhash Arora who had Déjà Vu moments because of a similar dinner here of the Delhi Wine Club on 20 January, 2006 with nine wines, with the star Tignanello missing this evening which had another star- the Italian Ambassador H.E. Lorenzo Angeloni

As I returned fresh and excited from a Tuscan trip last week, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation from Hotel Hyatt Regency to attend a wine dinner with Antinori wines with the Shanghai-based Export Manager Elia Atzori and the CMS certificated level 3 Sommelier from Berkmann Cellars India, Viraj Sawant (The CEO Farhad Bhabha is still in Hong Kong post Vinexpo). I had just been to the iconic winery in their Bergino in San Casciano Val di Pesa campus and so the prospects of tasting and talking about Antinori wines were thrilling and I immediately accepted the invitation.

Marchesi Piero Antinori is one of the top producers, not only in Tuscany but also in Italy, who has now spread his wings in other countries as well, with the active support of his 26th generation 3 daughters Albiera, Allegra and the youngest Alessia who has been to India many times before and is now based in the US.

Villa Antinori Bianco 2016, Peppoli Chianti Classico 2015, La Braccesca Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2013 and Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino 2011 were served-in that order. Welcome drink was an interesting cocktail made from Prosecco at the Polo Lounge where the Taiwanese Ambassador and his entourage enjoyed the cocktails with innovative snacks.

The dinner last night brought fond memories of one of Alessia’s visits to a Delhi Wine Club Dinner-also at La Piazza, on 20 January, 2006 when 9 wines were served including my favourite Tignanello – one of the earliest Super Tuscans that still rules the roost as one of the top iconic wines of Tuscany. Not many people knew about it then and even now the name is well-known generally (not the pronunciation (teenya-nel-lo like nyayalaya in Hindi) but it is not available very easily and retails for Rs. 14,500 in Delhi and around Rs. 19.000 in Mumbai. I I wonder how many people know it is from Antinori. Incidentally, Antinori wines were then imported by Sanjay Menon of Sonarys, who had worked with the Delhi Wine Club during that visit of Alessia.

Antinori believes in making the best possible wine with every grape variety and at each price point. Villa Antinori Bianco 2016 is the workhorse white wine from their Umbrian Estate. Produced for the first time in 1931 by Piero’s father, Niccolò Antinori it is considered the first white wine that was a blend of local grapes Trebbiano and Malvasia, Pinot Grigio with international varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and a bit of Rheine Riesling. Very fresh, crisp wine with citrus and mineral mouthfeel , the wine is perfect for Indian summers and went well with tuna tartar and the grilled aubergine with burrata foam-though I found the dish paired better with the next wine- Peppoli Chianti Classico 2015 which kept silent with the Spring Tomato Gazpacho which was cool and tasty but did not need wine but perhaps a bit service of more quantity. In any case, for a cold dish I felt a cold wine like Antinori Bianco would have been better pairing. The Chianti Classico from San Casciano was perfect with my grilled aubergine though.

La Braccesca Vino Nobile 2013 from a warm vintage was very well rounded and had an excellent structure and di go rather well with Gnocchi with parmeggiano, which finished well before the wine in the glass.  The pièce de résistance for the meal was certainly Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino 2011 and it went superbly with sous vide lamb loins that went superbly with the well-rounded smooth, elegant and good-structured with silky tannins rather well. Even the slight sweetness of caramelized peach underneath brought out the shades of the sweetness of the wine on the mid palate. The wine danced on my palate at every sip even without food and it would have been surely fine for those who ordered the sea bass which I believe was simply superb.

 Chef Alessandro Sandrolini and his team did a great job behind the open kitchen counter. Even when everyone had gone home and I was left with a couple of wine friends and ordered the ever-special pepperoni thin crust pizza to try with the queenly Brunello, it was excellent to the last bite and the last sip of Plan delle Vigne 2011! Great show by the serving staff, especially the wine service, thanks to the beverage director Shaji Paul who stayed put throughout the evening, making it a smooth evening. The presence of H.E. Mr. H.E. Lorenzo Angeloni might not have been a fair substitute for Alessia Antinori but it did add the typical Italian charm to the evening, even the presence of Alessandro de Masi, the Commercial Counsellor.

Shaji did promise another evening with wines like Tignanello, Guado al Sasso and Ornellaia (not Antinori but from Frescobaldi) and perhaps Alessia for another wine dinner not far away into the future. I look forward to be invited.

For similar related Articles, please visit:

TIGNANELLO: Drink Tuscan VFM Wine at Hyatt Delhi for Value

Antinori King of Labels in India

Antinori Wine Dinner at La Piazza, Hyatt Regency (#1/81)

Antinori Wine Dinner at La Piazza, Hyatt Regency (#1/81)

Subhash Arora

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