The venue for the dinner was Stella, the new Italian eatery at the Leela hotel, and each member left their respective offices in all corners of the city exceptionally early in order to be on time for the dinner. This was perhaps a first amongst any social circle! But when the invitation comes from Silvano, one of the only wine sommeliers in the city, nobody wanted to miss even a minute of merriment.
As we entered the restaurant, the air was brimming with excitement. Silvano led us to the private seating area, which was cordoned off to us for the rest of the night. The first thing that caught our eye were the wine glasses. They were arrogantly majestic and each setting had 6 wine glasses, all of different sizes. Their large mouths and long stems were inviting us to savor all the delicious wines. The head chef of Stella worked with Silvano to organize the perfect meal for the perfect wines and special personalized menus were crafted just for us.
The first course was a minestrone soup, paired with 2 same varietals wines from two very different regions across the globe. The first was a Stag's Leap Sauvignon Blanc, 2004 from the famous Napa Valley. Immediately after, we tasted another Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region in New Zealand. There were significant difference between both of them, with the Stag Leap's showing tangy flavors and lime-lemon tones while the Montana label from the 2004 vintage was bold with crisp acidity, mineral tones and floral aromas, a typical characteristic of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Next, for starters, we enjoyed our delicious buttered Pumpkin pasta with a light bodied Santa Cristina red wine, from the Tuscany region in Italy
For the main course, I personally opted for the Pomfret grilled to perfection on a layer of potatoes. Before we ate, Silvano asked us to try the wine and give our reactions. Most of us commented that the wine was spicy and had lots of tannins. Then he said, “Now you eat, then we talk.” After taking a bite of our entrée, we sipped the wine again. The results were startling. The wine no longer tasted spicy. It was smooth and as a matter of fact fruity. Silvano explained that this is why it is imperative to team up the right food with the right wine. Different foods will bring out different flavors and emotions in a wine.
As the night progressed, conversations flowed just as freely as the wine. Silvano began sharing his experiences on his extensive travels throughout the world. Perhaps the highlight of the dinner was when Silvano added one final wine in our evening's repertoire- a bottle of Chateaux Palmer 1996 from Margaux, one of the great first growth Bordeaux, compliments of the house!
4 hours and 7 varieties of wine later, we finished our meal with a delicious Tiramisu, which our dessert-loving members claim was the best Tiramisu they have had in Bombay !
All in all, the night was a resounding success. Admittedly, every member left the dinner a little intoxicated, but definitely more knowledgeable. From all of us at the Wine Club, thank you to the staff, the Chef, and Silvano for their meticulous planning that made this night so memorable.
The Bombay Wine Club plans to hold similar dinners, events and trips in the near future. If you are passionate about wine and would like to meet others who are, please contact us at the Bombay Wine club. Until then , À votre santé!
Food for Thought:
When you drink wine, you have to involve all your senses.
Touch the glass correctly, always at the stem.
Smell the wine, always putting your nose snugly into the glass.
Taste the wine, giving all your taste buds in your mouth the chance to savor the flavors.
See the wine, against a white surface, to gauge how young or old it is.
Feel the wine, never the alcohol, to feel what place, moment or emotion it reminds you of.