The winemaker dinner hosted by the Leela and Paula De Martino and her son Sebastian De Martino from the Maipo valley was a gastronomically delightful and memorable affair thanks to the craftsmanship of Italian Chef Maximiliano Cotilli, writes Suneeta Sodhi Kanga.
Combined with the warm and hospitable ambience at Stella, it was a great way to celebrate the winery’s 75th Anniversary. De Martino is one of Chile’s most premium brands which produces wines with a distinct personality. These wines come from seven different valleys, representing a wide selection of the most special and unique terroirs in Chile.
Decanter magazine chose De Martino as the “New World Icon of Tomorrow” and one of only three Chilean wineries to be so selected. It received the trophy for the “Best Red Premium Wine of the Year” two years running and Marcelo Retamal, their head winemaker for the past eleven years was chosen, “Winemaker of the Year”.
Our sumptuous dinner, spread over a six-course menu commenced with Crab carpaccio and mango yolk. It was a wonderful match to the De Martino Sauvignon Blanc 2008 which was incredibly intense on the nose with notes of citrus fruit, herbs and green apples. It was fresh and lively on the palate with a pleasant and surprisingly long finish.
Chef Max’s ingenious creation of prawns parcel and quail was a visual delight. What accompanied this appetizing combination was a classic De Martino Legado Reserva Chardonnay 2007. Well balanced again, it was creamy with mineral notes that are typical of the Limari Valley. Next, Salmon cooked in olive oil and Semolino gnocchi pampered our taste buds along with the very exclusive and delightful De Martino Legado Reserva Carmanère 2006. This Carmenère was by far the most favourite wine of the evening with its intense notes of ripe red fruits and black pepper. It was full bodied and concentrated with a long aftertaste. Am I glad that I live to eat – and drink wine… !
The De Martino Legado Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 was served with Duck truffle honey cheese and Rigatoni. The wine was ripe, with red fruits and vanilla from oak ageing. In the mouth, it was full bodied with fresh juicy tannins, and many layers of taste; definitely very pleasant and with a long finish.
Angus seared goose liver and the lovely Crispy Saffron Risotto was served with De Martino Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. The grapes that go into this wine come from an 8-year-old vineyard in Cauquenes planted on clay soil with a moderate amount of gravel. The characteristics of the soil coupled with a moderate climate lend the wine tremendous fruit expression and volume. The grapes are picked by hand, and the wine spends 14 months in French oak barrels. Deep red in colour with intense aromas of black fruits, the palate is soft-textured and balanced with a tremendous concentration of flavour.
The dinner ended on a sweet but surprising note of Tuscan chocolate and Indian spiced custard cake. The spice was our desi haldi, used with a flourish that resulted in a very interesting preparation that I will remember for a very long time. It is to the absolute credit of the De Martino family’s efforts that we will soon have access to their wines.
The De Martino wines will be marketed by Berkmann Wine Cellars India Pvt. Ltd.