Friday the 20th November 2015 saw a lovely evening with scrumptious food, delightful wine and great company held at the JW Marriott, Aerocity, New Delhi. The event, called “The Reserve Table” was held outdoors in the courtyard of the hotel with lovely hanging lights and very innovative place settings. The weather too was perfect, and didn’t play spoil sport like last year when the event had to be shifted in doors. To make this year’s event even more special, Jacob’s Creek had Mr. Ben Bryant, the chief wine maker at Jacob’s Creek in attendance.
The wines for the night were a combination of two reserve wines and two classic wines, with the reserve wines being the more premium wines.
According to Mr. Bryant, the reserve wines are from single regions (and not blends) that the Australian equivalent of the appellation system had to offer- which is why they are premium wines.
As the event started, the first wine of the evening was the Jacob’s Creek sparkling wine. According to Mr. Bryant, this was an 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir blend. On the nose, it had wonderful citrus notes and aromas of fermentation (bread, butter).
Dinner was announced and we were presented with the ‘amuse bouche’ for the evening- Blue Cheese with Fig. This dish was wonderful. The blue cheese contrasted sharply with the sweetness and the crunchiness of the fig, making it a delightful appetiser. This was paired with the first wine of dinner- the Jacob’s Creek Classic Chardonnay. The attack of the wine was soft, and the mid palate had a mild evolution. The wine had the fatty texture typical of Chardonnay. With a hint of vanilla on the nose, this wine was a hit with the fig but not as much with the blue cheese for me.
Next, the same wine was paired with the first course- Sweet onion and Goat Cheese Slab with Zucchini Salsa. This course had some interesting textures- the salsa was crunchy and had citrus notes, and the creaminess of the goat’s cheese paired well with the fatty texture of the wine.
The next course was a salad of Macerated Baby Asparagus and Citrus infused Ruby Grape fruit with Smoked Curd and Candied Walnut Grains. This was one of my favourites of the night. It was paired with the Reserve Adelaide Hills Chardonnay which had aromas of white peach, nuts, wood, and fig. This wine had a fatty evolution and a finish that lasted at least 6 minutes. I liked this course because of the combination of textures and flavours. Sweet, citrus, crunchy, smooth, all combined to form a harmonious, well balanced dish which paired exceptionally well with the Chardonnay.
After this course we moved on to the red wines, beginning with the Classic Shiraz Cabernet. This was a wine with typical Shiraz peppery notes, and red fruit/ cherry aromas but with soft tannins and a smooth 5 minute finish. It was paired with the slow cooked Lamb Croquette (mixed berry juice, baby jacket potato and salmon caviar). This dish was another favourite of the evening with a combination of textures on the plate. The croquet was crunchy on the outside but melt in the mouth tender on the inside and it paired extremely well with the peppery Shiraz.
The lemon basil sorbet was next, which was a delightful break between courses.
The wine for the main course of the evening was the Reserve Barossa Shiraz. This was a full bodied red Shiraz wine with a good dose of spice, jammy black fruit, and a hint of vanilla. The food pairings available were the Thyme Roasted Chicken Breast, the Pan Seared Sea Bass or the Tian of Creamy Polenta. I chose the Pan Seared Sea Bass with Dill Mustard Potatoes, Wilted Spinach, Saffron Butter Emulsion and Tapioca crisp. Although the official pairing of this dish was with the Reserve Barossa Shiraz, I personally felt that it didn’t work well together. Individually, the fish was cooked to perfection and the potatoes were simply delicious. The Reserve Barossa Shiraz was a lovely full bodied wine with rich, powerful fruit notes, certainly something to enjoy on a cold winter evening. But together, I felt they didn’t complement each other because the tannins from the red wine were a miss on the delicate fish.
This brought the wine pairing element of the dinner to a close. Desert for the evening was Chocolate Pave with Dehydrated Strawberry Coulis, Almond Dacquoise. It was an incredibly chocolatey pastry and was a nice way to end the meal.
To conclude, The Reserve Table with Ben Bryant was a delightful event, one which I hope to attend again next year.