Some overseas members of my family stayed at the Centara Grand Mirage this year and said it was indeed very “grand” and at any time he expected Indiana Jones to pop up behind a lost ark. So when the charming PR lady Khun Deta invited the Dining Out team to come for an Italian Wine Dinner, there was only one answer: “Yes!”
The Italian concept was evident on the wines that were chosen for the evening with two from Sicily and three from Tuscany. Presenting the wines were two genuine Italians, Alberto Moretti Cruseri, is the owner of Tenuta Sette Ponti wineries in Italy (Tuscany and Sicily), and Sergio Armenio (Sam), the sales consultant for the Eastern and Southern regions of Thailand for GFour Fine Wines & Spirits. Trying to keep the hand-waving to acceptable levels was Ramneek Lamba, the EAM for Food and Beverage.
The wine dinner was held in the Acqua restaurant, just off the main lobby, a very spacious and sophisticated outlet.
After the reception bubbles, we adjourned to the main area and were plied with a Fuedo Maccari Grillo 2016 from Sicily. An excellent and smooth white, paired with marinated tuna with avocado, tomato tartar and Robiola cheese. This wine was universally popular, with tasting notes a rich, lofty nose with quality fruit dominating. On the palate, balanced fruit and acidity, with solid peach notes. A long layered, lingering finish.
The next course was prawns with ham and sage with a white bean puree, roasted garlic and cocoa. This course and its wine had more of a mixed reception. Prawns still sporting their heads, need a trip to the guillotine before being cooked. The wine with the prawns was the Fuedo Maccari nero d’avola 2016 again from Sicily. This wine had a dark red ruby color, was pleasant on the nose but had too much tannin for my palate. The wines were also kept in ice buckets, a trifle cold, though as Sam Aemwnio pointed out that by letting the wines settle, the temperature does rise. However, as I always point out, wine appreciation is very personal.
The third course was a delightful Ravioli with whisked cod fish on a potato Parmesan cream and black truffles. The wine was a Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo 2015, pleasant without being memorable.
The main course was a roasted rack of lamb in a herb bread crust with vegetables. This was a great concept as lamb can adapt itself to any wine. However, the Tenuta Sette Ponti Orma Bolgheri 2014 was simply excellent, bold and lingering on the palate. This Super Tuscan from Italy’s west coast, was one of the best Super Tuscans to come from Bolgheri. It is one of the country’s oldest wine regions, but was not recognized for its terroir—or “flavor of the earth”—until producers here began creating Super Tuscans with the addition of a small quantity of other grape varietals. A sunny, dry and windswept region, the soil there is perfectly suited for growing grapes of Bordeaux origin, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, which are used to make Super Tuscan wines.
The finale was a sweet dessert with an acidic grappa and not popular, but the dessert was great for chocaholics.
What is an excellent idea came from Sam Armenio, and that is holding private wine tastings. These would not be ‘grand’ affairs but more of a meeting of like minds discussing some excellent wines. Sam mobile+66 (0)63 227 1881.
Acqua restaurant, Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort, 277 Moo 5, Naklua Banglamung, (take Soi 18 from the Pattaya-Naklua Road to the bottom, turn right and the Centara Grand is on you left), tel 66 3830 1234, secure parking in the resort’s grounds.