The Sommelier India Women’s Wine Circle got off to an excellent start on May 9. Italy was the flavour of the day – starting from the venue to the wine to the food. As the guests arrived at Enoteca, the wine bar adjoining Travertino at the Oberoi New Delhi, they were welcomed with a glass of chilled Ti Amo Prosecco.
To begin with, as guests arrived, the concept and future plans of the SI Womens’ Wine Circle were explained followed by an introduction on the virtues of a good Prosecco.
Prosecco is a lighter and simpler sparkling wine that does not go through a second fermentation in the bottle as does Champagne. However, Prosecco makes a pleasant, fresh and fruity aperitif that can be enjoyed with food.
The best Proseccos are creamy and refreshingly dry, and come from Valdobbiadene and Coneglino. Look for these towns on the bottle label. As a food-friendly, guest-friendly, value conscious, festive drink, Prosecco is a sure bet.
As appetising canapés made the rounds and our glasses were refilled with the Te Amo sparkler, the discussion and exchange of ideas became livelier. We were fortunate to have Giorgia Nanut, who is a qualified sommelier, with us. She made valuable contributions to the discussion and elaborated on the technical aspects of the wine when asked.
A question that cropped up repeatedly but had nothing to do with technical details, was where could one buy these wines and repeat the pleasant experience of drinking them at home. (SI will be doing some research on this to see how we can make the wines available to our members).
The talk then moved to the two wines which were served during lunch – Livio Felluga Illivio Pinot Bianco Chardonnay and Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Reserva Sangiovese.
After five generations of winemaking and fluctuating fortunes, Livio Felluga today is one of the most recognizable and presitigious labels from northeastern Italy, largely due to the determination and indefatigable efforts of the patriarch, Livio.
An exceptionally lush, crisp and well balanced wine, Illivio was created by Livio’s children as a tribute to their father on his 85th birthday and reflects the patriarch’s personality, uniting strength and elegance.
Identified by a sticker with a black rooster on the bottle, Chianti Classico wines are governed by strict regulations and production norms. They are a far cry from the mediocre wines presented in a straw covered bottle that were so common some years ago. (Do you remember seeing them placed on tables with checked tablecoths as candle holders and lamps at little Italian trattoria?)
Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Reserva Sangiovese is a seriously good wine from a family owned vineyard estate and winery in the Brunello region of Tuscany. Described as a wine for every dish, it pairs particularly well with meat dishes.
The chicken breast and sea bass dishes, as prepared by Travertino’s, Chef Davide, made a delicious pairing and proved to be a felicitous match, because the wine’s tannins were gentle and supple. The Castello Banfi Reserva was a lovely ruby colour, with intense but velvety tannins and the Sangiovese varietal notes of cherry and plum.
The lunch stretched well into the afternoon and the talk continued. Dessert was followed by tea and coffee, to rest the palate after all the wine that was consumed.
Before everyone left (still chatting about the wine and the WWC) Giorgia picked a lucky winner who got to take home a bottle wine. No, it was not one of the wines we drank at lunch but Big Banyan Limited, an Indian wine made with Italian collaboration from the personal cellar of the editor, who chose it as an appropriate reminder that India too is producing excellent wines for the discerning enthusiast to try.