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Delhi Wine Club
Viva España at Leela Gurgaon

Posted: Friday, 28 October 2011 17:56

Viva España at Leela Gurgaon

Oct 28: Torres , the well-known Spanish winemaker had flown their Chef Sergio to Delhi last week to co-host a Spanish food and wine evening at the Leela Gurgaon on the eve of Spanish Food Festival, writes Arun Batra who was one of the invitees to this special event.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Traditionally the owners of large vineyards and wineries in Europe focussed solely on the production and sale of their wines to all parts of the globe. Over the last few decades with cut –throat competition from New World wines, survival in the business was not guaranteed just by producing good wine. So most large wine houses saw a potential in wine tourism and started developing strategies to pull the tourist wine drinker and their holiday spends to the vineyards.

Torres, the Spanish wine family , has been making wines in the picturesque Penedes region of Spain for over the last 300 years and have earned the reputation of a high quality producer with a good value for money products designed for different palates and price points. The family bodega in Vila France del Penedes is the centre of their wine tourism efforts and every year tourists by the thousands come to visit the Torres vineyards, wine cellars and dine at the Torres private restaurant in Mas Rabell.

We met up with Chef Sergio Millet, the chief chef at the Torres restaurant who was on a visit to India in conjunction with the premium hotel chain Leela to promote the Torres name through a series of wine maker’s diners. The private dining room attached to Spectra, the all-day dining restaurant of the Leela Gurgaon, was the venue for the Delhi dinner. An extremely plush and well upholstered room it was just the perfect setting for a dinner for thirty or forty guests.

Chef Sergio wanted the dinner guests to experience Catalonian cuisine which is very different from the standard image of Spanish food being paella and more paella and so started the evening off with a chilled Gazpacho teamed with a Torres Vina  Esmeralda 2010. Described by Miguel Torres, the founder of Torres wines, as “a ladies wine for intelligent men’ the Vina Esmeralda was a 85% Moscatel and 15% Gerwurztraminer mix. With a lush palate of melon and citrus fruit, this wine is a great all-rounder at a value for money price point.

Mushrooms are an integral part of Catalonian cuisine and I chose the sautéed mushrooms with iberico ham over the grilled haloumi. The mushrooms with were matched with the Torres Vina Sol 2009 another entry level wine which was a bit sharp on the palate and a hint of spice on the finish.

The first red of the evening was the Torres Sangre de Torro 2007 - an old entry level war horse of the Torres cellar which has been around for some time in India. This robust wine with reasonable tannin probably would have gone better with something spicier like a Patatas Bravas with peppers, onions and garlic, rather than the lemon sorbet.

With the artfully presented main course dish of a Braised Duck leg , was clearly a step up to the mid-level Torres Atrium Merlot 2009. The duck, which probably underscored Chef Sergio’s apprehension’s about the quality of the local produce, left a bit to be desired in the area of tenderness and texture. The Atrium was a middle of the road traveller as far as length, acidity and body was concerned.

The best wine of the evening was the unusual Torres Muscatel Oro- which was an excellent pair to the dessert of a dark chocolate cream with a toffee sauce.  The Torres hand which has stunned the wine world way back in the ‘70’s was clearly evident. With a concentrated nose of orange, this was an intense sticky, smooth and sweet on the palate wine with good length.

The efforts of Torres in reaching out to wine drinkers must be appreciated – it sure does cost a fair amount to fly a top class chef half way around the world to cook for select audiences. However if Torres could have given us a shot at their top of the line wines such as the Mas La Plana or the Fransola it would really have brought home to the guests the awesome wines with which Torres growing from strength to strength in the international wine market.

The Leela Gurgaon must be commended for taking the time out from day to day hoteliering to promote wine and co-host a well-executed dinner like this.  If only more of the leading hotels in Delhi took the Leela Gurgaon’s example, then there would be far more opportunities for international winemakers to showcase their entire range of wines to an increasingly discerning Indian wine lover.

Arun Batra



Ashok Shah Says:

who is normally invited for such events?

Posted @ November 02, 2011 12:41


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