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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Tuesday, December 15 2009. 10:40

Wine Dinner: Cibo, Wine and Health at Cibo

Any doubts about the ill effects of wine were cleared at the dinner organised by the Delhi Wine Club a couple of weeks ago at Cibo in downtown New Delhi where Dr. Richard Baxter, author of ‘Age Gets better with Wine’ convinced the guests that moderate wine drinking was positively good for health. Subhash Arora, President of the club reports.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Whether age gets better or not, only statistics and the number of wine club members hitting a century would tell in the future years, but the evening at the chic Italian restaurant decidedly got better and longer with plenty of food and an array of wines leading up to Chianti Riserva 2001 and a Barolo 2001 (we must stop it now! It was the fourth consecutive time for this iconic wine from Piemonte at the club dinner!)

Not many people remember that Cibo is at the same location as the well known Mandarin Room, a Chinese Restaurant of yester years at the back of Janpath Hotel-known so well for its excellent cuisine that one had to wait at times. Not many know that it is a privately run restaurant now serving Italian cuisine and owned by Alok Aggarwal and the well-known delebrity Rohit Bal both of whom made their presence during the evening and charmed the guests with their personal gesture.

Interiors of Cibo have been designed by Rohit and one can see his stamp as you enter the compound leading up to the restaurant. The square shaped bar around which one can  start the evening sitting on the stool or just hobnobbing with friends in small clusters has been well-designed. The evening started at this bar with a sparkling wine, a German Sekt. Slightly off-dry it was good for the palate of novices or those who love their samosas and sausages spicy. 

The other interesting area is the huge Private Dining Room (PDR) which seats 24 people luxuriously with a few comfortable sofas in the corner to take a break. This is where the sit-down for an informal dinner had been selected after the initial pleasantries were exchanged and new acquaintances made.

Dr. Baxter talked to the guests about the resveratrol in wine and the anti-ageing benefits it has. He also mentioned the huge pharmaceutical offerings of pills made from resveratrol. He said the jury is still out on whether they are truly beneficial but the hundreds of studies he had to go through to write the book were a clear indication of the anti-ageing benefit of wine.

It was interesting coincidence to find that the good doctor frequents the same wine and heart health convention in Napa Valley which I have attended a few times, though we had not met there. Dr. Baxter, a practicing plastic surgeon from Seattle is a wine buff.

He was not too concerned about a few recent studies that have come up with negative effect on cancer during the two years since the first edition of the book was out. It is getting more difficult now to have studies which pinpoint the cause and effect, he said. People have such a life-style, drinking all kinds of alcohols including wine that the data cannot clearly present a true picture of wine’s effect on cancer.

His clear advice endorsed the view of delWine that moderate drinking-2-3 glasses for men and 1-2 glasses for women daily, was a good recipe for ageing better.

A couple of members were lucky enough to get the second edition of the book released a couple of earlier as a prize based on a minor fun quiz. Others will just have to order through at $15.

The food served with a Chardonnay, Chianti Riserva and Barolo for the main course was very well prepared by the Chef. The proof of the pudding lies in eating and there could be no better example than our member Tarsillo Nataloni who is a chef owner of the well-known Italian restaurant, Flavors and a good food critic at the wine dinners; he declared that the food was so good that he insisted to have a picture taken with the Chef.

The service was quite acceptable. The waiters did a very good job but it was not seamless. There were gaps that could have been avoided. The presentation could certainly be more imaginative. One felt more like being seated in a trattoria rather than a casual fine dining restaurant.

What the good doctor did not say but we announce at all such wine dinners that the amount of wine we drink on such occasions; around .8-.9 bottle, are slightly harmful-but once in a month or more, one can afford to indulge, surely!

Subhash Arora


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