Bangalore raises a toast to wine dinners

It’s not often that wine lovers get a chance to taste some good wine with an excellent, paired dinner. When they do, it’s a red letter day.
And Bangalore has been having more than its share of red letter days of late. Mid-February saw not just one, but three wine dinners happening over a two-day period. And judging by the sold-out responses at all, Bangalore is clearly developing a new fascination for classic wine and food paired dinners.

The first was a dinner hosted at Toscano, the fine dining restaurant run by Chefs Jean Michel and Gautham, by the Wine Society of India. David Banford, director, WSI, and Myles Myall, wine educator, introduced the charming Victor Urrutia Ybarra, 5th generation winemaker from Rioja, Spain and his excellent CVNE Rioja Reserva 2006 at a four-course dinner which included specialities like slow-braised lamb shanks with caramelized shallots, turned carrots and pesto and grilled Canadian John Dory with fennel flavoured vegetables.
The second wine dinner had a distinctly Australian flavour. Ista Hotel, Bangalore, played host to Howard Duncan of Peter Lehmann wines and a group of wine lovers. The evening saw five paired courses which showcased wines from the Peter Lehmann range including the Peter Lehmann Barossa Riesling 2008 (paired with fresh water prawns served with garlic cream and warm blinis), pan-seared Basa/tomato and basil risotto with the Peter Lehmann Weighbridge Chardonnay 2008. Also served: the Peter Lehmann Barossa Clancy’s Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2007, the Barossa Shiraz 2008, and the most-appreciated Futures Shiraz 2007.
The next day, guests at Chef Abhijit Saha’s new Mediterranean restaurant Fava had the opportunity to taste Australia’s Bird in Hand wines from the Adelaide Hills, paired with a 4-course sit-down meal. Here, Justin Nugent, owner of Bird in Hand winery introduced his wines and the menu included unusual pairings like Turkish style chicken with pistachio ravioli with tomato basil sauce and the Bird in Hand Merlot 2008.
And Bangalore’s wine lovers are loving every sip. For wine aficionado V Natarajan, the paired sit-down dinners mean two things: “I get a chance to taste new wines, plus I learn more about how the food-and-wine pairings are being done. And the pairings lately have been getting very interesting.” At the Toscano-WSI dinner, Natarajan enjoyed the pairing of the pan fried Champagne & Wild Mushroom Risotto with grilled Vegetables and Parsley sauce with the Chianti Colli Fiorentini Lanciola 2008 and the CVNE Rioja Reserva 2006.
Clearly, with several talented chefs in the city and an array of new wines finding their way into town, pairing wine with food in Bangalore is rapidly becoming a match made in heaven!

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