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Delhi Wine Club
DWC Wine Dinner: Aussie Wine Experience at The Grill

Posted: Monday, 19 September 2011 14:04

DWC Wine Dinner: Aussie Wine Experience at The Grill

Sep 19 : After the memorable Gaja dinner last month, the Delhi Wine Club members were treated to an Aussie Wine Experience last week at The Grill, Hotel Lalit where eight wines from Shaw, Kamberra, Canonbah and Borchardt wineries in New South Wales and Canberra were matched with 5-course authentic French cuisine crafted by Chef Francis Luzinier with the visiting winemaker Ken Borchardt presenting the wines and the region, writes Subhash Arora

Photos By:: Adil Arora

The Grill on the top floor at the Hotel Lalit has been known for wholesome continental cuisine, great service and an excellent ambience with a beautiful panoramic view of saddi Dilli. The relatively small capacity of 36 covers makes it quiet, private and cozy but too small for regular Delhi Wine Club dinners and as such escaped the radar of the management committee.  But when CCS Trading Company from Australia expressed a desire to organise a small dinner with the members of the Delhi Wine Club, this was an obvious option.

Choosing the Menu for the Aussies

Chef Francis Luzinier, executive chef at The Lalit is a hot-blooded, passionate French Chef with deep roots despite his 20 years life in Australia. That would make a good story-line for our dinner with the Aussie wine experience and so the other options were shut out instantly as we decided on the French cuisine with the Aussie wines imported specially for the dinner, which arrived after a month of paper-work, formalities and substantial costs. Handing the list of 2 white and 6 red wines, my brief to the Chef was simple and precise-our traditional 5-course meal in his personal French style-the best he could rustle up and take us through a culinary journey of South of France from where he hailed so I could match the 8 wines with the dishes. After the usual tweaking exercise to factor in the taste preferences of our members, we were ready for the big evening where food would be the king and the wines, the accompanying mate, giving the true pleasure.

Hors- d’oeuvres with 2 wines

The evening did start with a big bang. The Shaw Semillon Sauvignon 2010 was juicy and delicious, fresh and crisp, chilled and perfect for the proceedings to begin with the hors- d’oeuvres.  It was delicious match with the L‘andouille a la moutarde de Dijon- a succulent pork dish, a Chef specialty. Making a short detour from our usual style of serving light whites for aperitif, we followed up the white wine with a red Shaw- Merlot-SHAW  2008. This turned out to be a brilliant stroke as it was an absolutely natural mate for the Tartare de tenderloin with quail eggs, even if some members might not have recognized the meat variety. The semi fried eggs with the soft yolk wrapping the small beef patties in the mouth was an excellent experience on the palate with the luscious Merlot, making the taste buds come alive.

Focaccia Crostini was a perfect mate with the white Semillon Sauvignon whereas the crisp White Asparagus and black truffle vol-au-vent that melted in the mouth, perfectly matched the SHAW Merlot as well. The chef was emotionally so taken up by the members enjoying his hors-d’oeuvres interactively  that he prepared a prosciutto canapé on the spur of the moment and many of us were even privy to a special edition of the Tartare with white truffle oil which took it to yet another orgasmic level, with the Merlot from Shaw plying in unison.

Petit Starters and Warm Entrée

Duck terrine with the foie gras and the Sauternes jelly bonbons was soft, well textured and a good pairing  for Kamberra Viognier 2010 although many members used to lavish Sunday brunches failed to spot the  foie gras and felt the Chef had not been generous enough with it. The light-bodied Viognier was fairly spicy and full on the palate though a bit short on length but was a good match for the dish. Borchardt Numbers Shiraz Petit Verdot 2010 is an interesting blend of 60% Shiraz and 40% Petit Verdot as Ken Borchardt pointed out. Extremely popular in China, it had a very interesting, tantric looking label which he said proudly was designed exclusively for the Indian market. Many members noticed the label and had positive comments about it. Used more to drinking Shiraz, some members felt that the Indian palate would need some time to get used to the flavour which was quite unique and pleasant.

The warm goat cheese entrée was perhaps one of the dishes that people simply loved. Creamy texture, flavourful cheese was a delicious match with both wines though I distinctly preferred it with the Borchardt Numbers that was designed to be its mate.


Although both were vegetarian soups- garlic soup of perigord and the cauliflower soup there was more debate on who liked what better rather than the match with the two reds from Shaw- a Cabernet Merlot and  Shaw-Shiraz Red 2008. The latter might have had an edge of the Shaw-Cabernet Merlot Red 2008 but the cab-merlot was expected to be no-match with the soup. But since, it had to be a vegetarian soup there had not been much of a possibility to pair the soup with wine. It is a tough preposition of matching a fine wine with vegetarian soup on best of occasions. But there was ample scope of discussion over the choice of soup and wine to make the evening more interesting as we went along slower than usual to give Ken Borchardt more time to talk about the wines at the end of each course. A few members found the salt-garlic flavour in the garlic soup a bit too strong but I was quite happy with it as the spicy Shiraz seemed to cut into the salt and yet let me savour the garlic flavour which is an intrinsic part of the recipe.

Plat de Resistance

The main Course had Duck leg Confit with all the condiments that matched both the red wines Canonbah Bridge Ram’s Leap-Shiraz 2007 and Canonbah Bridge Drought Reserve Shiraz 2005 rather well. But the Drought Reserve Shiraz was certainly the darling of the crowd. Full bodied, dark cherry red colour wine was homogenous, with soft and rounded tannins, full of berry flavours and the right amount of oak vanilla on the palate, quite elegant in personality- a perfect match with the Confit. Unfortunately, one cannot say the same about the chicken dish which seemed to be undercooked, and appeared to have been made as an after-thought. It left those who had ordered the dish feel sorry for the folks in the South of France, if it was their recipe.

The desserts were perfect to top off another interesting dinner where Chef Francis and his capable team of Indian chefs reassured us that the quality of food at this restaurant having a ring of romance to it was still a venue to consider for a dinner for any occasion. As a member aptly put it while leaving the hotel, one may discuss and debate the dishes and the wines and how well they matched but at the end of the evening it is the overall experience one would recall later.

Click For Large ViewAnd so far as the experience goes, this would be a memorable evening, he said. We will drink an Aussie wine to that-Shaw, Kamberra, Canonbah or  Borchardt . Cheers!

Subhash Arora

The visiting producers and their advisors are looking for importers for the Indian market. Those interested in the products are encouraged to visit their respective websites. We have no interest, commercial or otherwise-editor:

Shaw Wines:
Kamberra Wine Company:
Canonbah Bridge Wines:
Borchardt Wines:


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