In town recently, Negociants Wine, shippers of fine wine, hosted a wine pairing session at Prego, Taj Coromandel, Chennai. Handpicked wines from three different brands were brought to the table over a three-course meal at the Italian fine-dining restaurant. Tim Herrmann, Regional Sales Manager - Asia Pacific of Negociants International first presented the Viognier 2011 from Yalumba, which happens to be Australia’s oldest winery. Story has it that way back in 1970, the chief winemaker of Yalumba was visiting northern Rome and loved a certain wine he tasted there. He wanted to grow the same grape variety back home in Australia. The wine was Viognier and now, Yalumba boasts of one of the biggest plantings of Viognier in the Southern hemisphere. It’s a distinctly South Australian wine made with grapes sourced from three different regions.

Paired with the entrée at Prego, the Viognier 2011 features peaches and apricots on the nose. The young wine is fermented in stainless steel. The wine had a creamy texture with a hint of cinnamon and spice which balanced out perfectly on the palate. Despite being a wine which could be paired really well with Indian food, the Viognier turned out to be the perfect complement for our first course as well.

We dug into small panzerottinis stuffed with cherry tomato and gorgonzola cheese and salmon fritter placed on top of fatty foie gras and served with a dash of orange jus.

The next wine to be brought to the table was The Cigar 2009, Yalumba. A new wine from Yalumba’s Coonawarra estate, the Cigar is made from 100 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon. The name is interestingly coined after the unique cigar-shaped strip of rich red terra rossa soil, which defines Coonawarra’s wine region.

The bouquet from this crimson red wafts towards you even before you take a sip. There are floral high tones of violets and lavender underscored by bass notes of cherries and dark chocolate. The wine also has notes of fresh red fruits such as cherries and currants sweeping the palate followed by the melted chocolate texture of its soft tannins. An ideal wine for both vegans and vegetarians, the Cigar was accompanied by red pepper ravioli with leek sauce and tagliatelle with lamb ragout.

With a dessert degustation to end the wine pairing with, we were presented with a very dry Lodge Hill Riesling 2010 from Jim Barry Wines. The straw-coloured wine has notes of pink grapefruit, lime citrus and a hint of spice. The palate is enhanced by a zingy natural acid and flavours of mandarin, white peach and strawberry. The crisp, zesty wine was a perfect finish to the lunch with Australia’s finest.

(This article was published on August 13, 2012)
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