On a very wet evening of 19th July, 2013, the iconic Taj Mahal Palace and Towers saw wine lovers determinedly make their way to learn more about Australian wine and enjoy a specially crafted menu while at it. Conceptualized by Nikhil Agarwal of All Things Nice, the evening was hosted by Andrew O’Brien of Penfolds Winery in Australia, who gave visitors and people from the media a dekko into the history of wine making in his country and also provided an insight into what sets Australian wine apart from its peers from other parts of the world.
The event, which was priced at Rs 5,500 per person, was as educational as it gets. Nikhil Agarwal shed light on the varieties of grapes produced in Australia and different styles of wine that the country produces. He also suggested various types of wine that can be adroitly paired with a variety of food to tickle one’s taste buds.
Andrew O Brien then took the floor and spoke about Penfolds Winery. Besides highlighting the types of wine that his company manufactures he also took questions from various guests. When questioned why some wine bottles are screw-capped rather than corked, he replied, “It is estimated that 5% of all corks fail, resulting in oxidation of wine. Screw cap has proved itself to work wonderfully and Australian wine producers believe that this kind of sealing is the answer.”
Impressed by the growing interest of Indian consumers in internationally and locally grown wine, he was very buoyant about the prospects of Australian varietals. His only grudge was the high duties imposed on import of wine, which he felt was perhaps the biggest hurdle that Australian wine faces today in India.
The guests were also treated to a fabulous pre-set menu crafted by Chef Hemant Oberoi, which was perfectly complemented by the selection of the finest wines from Penfolds Winery. The winery, which is known more for its red than the white variety, used this occasion to showcase its white wine like the Penfolds Bin 311 Henty Chardonnay 2011.
While not many in the audience were aware of this, Penfolds Winery also has some iconic creations to its credit. The luxurious 2008 Penfolds Grange is one such, which was sadly missing during the event, because of its limited availability. In fact, it’s available only in the Penfolds Museum and in select auction houses where wine connoisseurs bid to buy the wine. Pity, because the presence of this particular creation would have taken the event to whole new level for wine lovers.
[learn_more caption = “Wine Dinner menu for 19 July 2013”]
Pan seared Scallops
Multigrain French toast, Coddled Cream Chilli Maple
Goat Cheese and Truffle Cigar
Macadamia nut Cream, Baby Beet
Penfolds Bin 311 Henty Chardonnay 2011
Pearled Wheat and Duck Confit
Parmesan Air, Fennel Surprise
Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2009
Osso Bucco of Lamb
Wild Mushroom Tart
Mustard and Brie Ravioli
Taro Yarn, Lemon Mint Emulsion
Penfolds RWT Barossa Shiraz 2010
Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Sous-vide of Peach
Home made Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Basil Mascarpone Cream, Peach Leather
Ed: Cover photo is of Andrew O’Brien.