Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Australian Wine & Cheese Evening

My second brush with the expat community at the Australian High Commission on 13th October.
I got a mail from Rohan Jelkie (friend & colleague) to confirm my attendance for the evening..I was more than happy to oblige more because this time boss was not around. I waited eagerly to savour some delectable Australian wines with Cheese under the open sky.
I was all game for a classy evening when I received a message from Rohan saying he was leaving without me. I could have killed him. Mercifully it was one of his practical jokes. He was lucky it was.

Unlike last time it was a more informal affair and definitely more interactive. People were freely mingling while sipping some amazing wines that had been laid out in front of us with their respective tasting plates.

Soon I found myself with a group of expats who were all into discussing their favourite wines. There was this girl in the group who introduced herself as Magda and we hit it off instantly. She introduced me to her husband, Mr. Marcus, who works for the Australian High Commission and they’ve been in India  for the past one year. I enjoyed the company of this gracious couple from Down Under, and shared the nuances of some excellent White & Red Wines.

There were 6 wines to be tasted along with their accompaniments.

We started with Isheeta Gupta taking us through each of the wines and then giving us time to taste them. The first wine that we came across was the Jacobs Creek Reserve Chardonnay with Soft Cream cheese & pistou crepe roll. The influence of oak in this wine was giving it its complexity of aroma and flavour.
The second one was the Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon, which came with oven fresh leek and feta cheese quiche. This was a blend of the Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. We all could get a strong guava smell in it and it was this wine that got a lot of compliments. Everyone seemed to like this for its great balance & poise!! Semillon Sauvignon is the proud owner of a Silver medal at the IWC too. My personal favourite of the evening. I loved it all the way.
The last one of the White wines was the Evans & Tate Gnangara Sauvignon Blanc. This one was a dry wine with an intense bouquet. It had the aromas of passion fruit, fig, lime, etc. - a typical Sauvignon Blanc. It had been paired with Lemon feta cheese and dry fig & pear chutney.

There were 3 Reds too.
The first one that came was a Shiraz from the Victoria region. This came with Seared Tuna and Wild mushroom muffin. We have all had the plain or nut muffins but I had never had Mushroom muffins and had it not been for Rohan, I would have missed this one. It was good.
While all this was happening, I took a break from my newly found expat friends and got some gyan from Rohan that he has collected over the years and loves sharing with everyone.
The second red was a Cabernet Sauvignon that came with lightly smoked eggplant & pomegranate seeds. Many people around me, like myself, seemed not to like this one as it came across as quite strong and full of tannins.
The third and the last one to be sniffed and swirled was the Clairault Estate Cabernet Sauvignon which had a hint of Merlot in it. This had the classic cabernet aromas. It was elegant, had loads of fruit and a great finish. It was paired with Sliced Parma ham, and soft beetroot with goat cheese & pear date chutney. Though I am not so fond of Red wines but i seemed to like this one. And mostly with the soft beetroot combination. The ham didn’t seem to go too well with it.
 This one is the proud owner of Gold medals at IWC, 5 stars by James Halliday, and many more...Cheers!!!

After so much of wine drinking, she suggested we take a look at the food counters which had live stations.
There was not much choice at the live station : Wild Mushroom risotto and Pan fried halloumi cheese with pomegranate syrup, rucola & sliced onions were the two options. While Rohan settled for risotto, that being his favourite, I settled for the Pan fried cheese with some risotto to taste (highly recommended by dear friend). Didn’t like either. The pomegranate syrup in the pan fried cheese was sour to me and I not being a risotto fan didn’t enjoy it. But looking at Rohan’s face, I could make out that he was enjoying it.
Nevertheless, i was full with the wine and the accompaniments that came with it.
Then, it was time to say goodbye. Have promised Mrs. Marcus to meet her over lunch and take her for shopping. Shall keep you people updated whether we have any more wines or not... :)

Sweta Mohanty
Manager, Tulleeho