For many, especially the ladies, the DeVine Wine Club dinners are an ideal opportunity to put on their finery. The reception wine was the Casillero del Diablo Sparkling Brut Chardonnay from the Chilean Limari Valley, and was definitely a fun sparkler to put sparkles in the eyes as well.
The “Devil” ladies.
President Ranjith Chandrasiri addressed the club members before the dinner began, pointing out that Casillero del Diablo is the largest producers of wines in Latin America, a fact that most of the members were not aware. The winery commenced in 1883 and was listed in the New York Stock Exchange in 1994.
As is usual, the DeVine Wine Club has water to drink as well, so that the members have a clean palate when they try the different wines. This time it was a very refreshing German Gerolsteiner sparkling, with this company dating back to 1888. I must say that I enjoyed the Gerolsteiner very much.
The choice of items for the dinner lies with the Royal Cliff’s executive chef Walter Thenisch, who never repeats himself and at every dinner comes up with something new and different. Even the butter carving had a Xmas theme.
The first course was a spiced tuna loin tartare and beetroot marinated graved laks with Wakame seaweed salad. This was a very popular dish with the Thais, with its spiciness reminiscent of an Isaan larb. The wine with this was a rather astringent Sauvignon Blanc 2011, and not to everyone’s taste - but as always, wine appreciation is a personal thing, and there were those diners who loved it.
The second course was one of my favorites on the night. A snow fish roulade wrapped in Serrano ham, washed down with a very pleasant, well-rounded Chardonnay 2010. This wine scored 88.5 from the Wine Spectator.
Spiced braised Australian beef ribs were next with sweet potato mash and pumpkin chip, and the first of the red wines was introduced here, being of a Carmenere grape, 210 vintage. This was a 90 point wine which had won the gold medal from the German tasting. A reasonable solid wine with a fair amount of tannins.
Som Corness, Aoy Thenisch and Suphaporn Robinson enjoying the reception wine.
The following course of a pepper crusted rack of lamb on saffron couscous with roasted onion and garlic had two wines with it. The first was a Pinot Noir 2010, which had been aged eight months during its maturation. The second was the star of the night, the ‘Gran Reserva’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. Initially this was served a little too chilled and the first impression was one of bitterness, but as the wine warmed up after 30 minutes, this was a totally different tasting wine. Ranjith even stated that in another 30 minutes it would be better again, and I believe him. It really was a superb wine.
Pastry Chef Horst Rautert again excelled with his dessert of an almond-chocolate chip pudding with a strawberry panna cotta and lemon-ginger ice cream, complete with two miniature “fried eggs”. This was taken with the Monsoon Valley Muscat 2010, slightly sweet only, as the dessert was very sweet.
Chef Horst’s dessert.
And that was another spectacular evening at the Royal Cliff, where the members of the DeVine Wine Club were once more introduced to new tastes, flavors and textures.