A wine expert wellknown in India and a long time SI writer, Dr. Ariff Jamal (pictured, left, with Jaswinder Narang) was in the country recently to introduce Markus Molitor wines from the Mosel region of Germany. Dr. Jamal, who has worked in India and supervised two vintages at Grover Vineyards in 2009-2010, was in Pune just for a day. Brinda Gill met him at a wine dinner hosted by Le Meridien at its Italian fine-dining restaurant, Favola.
“I am very glad to have with us Dr. Ariff Jamal who has been in the international wine industry for over 20 years and has worked and travelled extensively across the world. He hails from a family of scholars and I warmly welcome him,” said Jaswinder Narang, General Manager of Le Meridien.
On the occasion, Master Chef Roberto Boggio prepared a wonderful meal paired with the fine wines of Markus Molitor, a winery in the Mosel Valley in Germany, whose 2011 vintage Dr Jamal was deeply involved with.
As guests came in they were offered a a crisp and fruity Markus Molitor Qualitatswein Haus Klosterberg Riesling and were introduced to Dr Jamal, who said it was a pleasure being in India and presenting wines of Markus Molitor, 90% of which are available only on allocation.
Markus Molitor is the largest single owned vineyard in the Mosel Valley and the winery focuses on producing grapes that achieve the correct balance between alcohol, sugar and acidity in a natural way, and harvesting them when they are just right for winemaking. 94% of the vineyards are covered with Riesling vines, 3% with Pinot Noir and 3% with Pinot Blanc. The wines are an idea match with flavourful food, according to Dr.Jamal.
“The exciting part of being in India is that if you travel from North to South India over three weeks and sample the different styles of preparing just one variety of dal, there will be so many delicious variations. So really what is an Indian taste? As Indian food is so flavourful you need wines that will meet the challenge, and with their balance of alcohol, sugar and acidity, these wines are ideal with Indian food, Asian cuisine or any flavourful cuisine.”
To enjoy the wines, Dr. Jamal advised, “Take a comfortable sip, let the whole mouth take in the wine, then swallow it. Take a small breath and then experience the feeling. ”
The superlative four-course meal presented Markus Molitor Kabinett, a light, fruity Riesling with just 7.5% alcohol paired with the Asparagus Pudding and Shrimps Ragout; Pumpkin Soup with Basil Pesto Crostini; Chicken alla Cacciatore served with Polenta, Vegetables & Chicken Ravioli served with Markus Molitor Pinot Noir; and a delightful Zabaglione Bavaroise paired with the Markus Molitor Spatlese, a late harvest wine with the richness and body that made it apt for wrapping up the meal.
Over Petit Fours and illy coffee, Dr. Jamal and Mr. Narang chatted with guests about the wines. It was a most enjoyable and informative evening of tasting acclaimed wines with a fine meal.