So here it was “The Longest Reserve Table” that India has ever seen laid down to perfection from one end to the other. As I walked around the room meeting known people and new I stopped at the bar to get myself a glass of bubbly from the house of Jacob’s Creek. It was the Pinot Noir Chardonnay which was being served as an aperitif along with Tomato & Mozzarella crostini. The mild straw green bubbly with a decent gas bead was citrusy with lemon and lime flavours and a hint of fruity character on the nose. The citrusy flavours dominated at the palate and the acidity for me was pretty high but not at all unpleasant. I thought it was a great wine to start the proceedings and boost my appetite for the much anticipated lunch. But I forgot that it only takes 30 minutes of rain to bring Delhi to a halt and that’s exactly what happened which resulted in late arrivals and delayed the lunch proceedings (but I am not complaining, I was enjoying my bubbly :).
As we all proceeded for lunch I discovered that interestingly though Bangalore is also having its first “Longest Reserve Table” at the same time as Delhi and some other cities will have them soon too.
The first wine to be served was the Classic Chardonnay paired with Sous Vide chicken. The pale yellow Chardonnay with aromas of fig, melon, subtle spice and a hint of oak was refreshing on the nose. The creamy and buttery notes on the palate were a good match with the chicken but the vegetarians on the table would have enjoyed it better with the Goat cheese and beetroot coulis. While the chit chatting on the table continued we were served the first reserve for the day, which was also a Chardonnay but distinctively different from the classic that we tasted before. While the colour of this one was close to the classic, the aromas had a different story to tell. Coming from the cool Adelaide Hills of Australia this white had pronounced aromas of citrus and stone fruit. The flavours on the palate were richer than the Classic with lemon citrus and a creamy mouth feel (owing to the malolactic fermentation). This one had clearly spent more time ageing in the oak and the crisp acidity of the wine complemented the Asparagus salad it was served with but a few cubes of Feta cheese in the salad might have been better.
While I appreciated the wine and food in the short interval before we were served our main courses I was particularly impressed with the smooth service and how 100 people were being served a dish of their choice all together.
As we moved forward I was excited for my favourite white wine, the red wine! Given the choice of Red Snapper, Corn Fed Chicken or Ravioli, my carnivore instincts took over and playing safe I opted for the Corn Fed Chicken served with cous cous and country style potatoes. This time we were served both the reds together the Jacobs Creek Reserve Shiraz and Shiraz Cabernet.
The Shiraz Cabernet with its light garnet colour and aromas of plum, blackberries, chocolate and black pepper was a wake up call after all those glasses of wine. The flavours on the nose were easily transferred on to the palate with strong but well integrated tannins and long finish. Although the chicken (with some fresh ground pepper) was an excellent choice, a Filet Mignon with Pepper and Mushroom sauce and sautéed spinach would be my dream dish (that’s just me fancying a steak :).
The Reserve Shiraz on the other hand seemed a bit muffled to start with but I gave it a few minutes and a couple of swirls to release the dark berry fruits and the pronounced black pepper on the nose. The tannins on this one were softer with flavours from the oak and a long finish. While I thought it was a good Shiraz served at a right temperature from the world famous Barossa region known for this grape varietal some of the mates at the table would have liked the wine a bit cooler.
The cherry, lemon and mascarpone tart served with Jacobs Creek Ice cream looked alluring even for someone like me who is not an admirer of desserts. Paired with the bubbly rose I was of the opinion that both the dish and the wine were great on their own but this was the only combination that failed to impress me.
All in all I think Chef Pawan Kumar did a great job to create dishes which complemented some truly great wines coming from the first commercial winery in the Barossa valley. The team at Pernod Ricard and the F&B staff of JW Marriott did exceptionally well to put together the first of its kind Reserve Table ensuring that the guests went back impressed.