*This article was published in the New Straits Times (Life & Times) on 16th October 2010.

The Villa Maria wine dinner held in Penang bought many food connoisseurs together for a night of fine indulgence. This event was held in the trendy Cassis Restaurant, the fine dining restaurant outlet in the bustling Pulau Tikus area.

Villa Maria Wine Dinner Extravaganza at Cassis, Penang

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The guests were greeted with a warm welcome by William Chong from Asiaeuro Wines & Spirits and Villa Maria’s Asian Market Manager, Charlotte Read. The enchanting night saw the serving of the refreshing white, Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009. The taste was delightful, vibrantly bursting with flavors of ripe gooseberry, passion fruit and fresh citrus lime!

Villa Maria Wine Dinner Extravaganza at Cassis, Penang

Charlotte introduced the varieties of wines offer from the different regions in New Zealand which was paired with the six-course meal. The dinner started with the versatile Villa Maria Private Bin East Coast Gewurztraminer 2009. This wine was blended from fruit sourced in Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Auckland, Marlborough and Waipara.

This aromatic wine was paired with the rich Foie Gras, seared with its side slightly crispy and melt-away tenderly on the inside. It was a fine pairing, as the delicate and classic varietal aromas of rose petal, quince and ginger spice went hand in hand with the foie gras.

Villa Maria Wine Dinner Extravaganza at Cassis, Penang

Gewurztraminer – a pleasant and full-bodied wine

The next course of Scallop with hon shimeiji, truffle cream and chervil was paired with the Villa Maria Reserve Chardonnay Marlborough 2007. This rich complex wine with a youthfully tight nose and core of lemon and mineral is slightly acidic on the palate, with a long lingering finish.

Villa Maria Wine Dinner Extravaganza at Cassis, Penang

Villa Maria Wine Dinner Extravaganza at Cassis, Penang

Followed up was the Duck Breast served with wild rocket, poached pear accompanied by black pepper jus. I was pleased to discover that the gamey flavor of the duck goes well with  the rich red wine of Villa Maria Cellar Collection Hawkes Bay Syrah Gimblett Gravels 2006. This full bodied wine with soft tannins was packed with dark fruits of ripe blueberry, red plum and peppery spicy aromas.

The Syrah fruits are source from selected sites throughout Hawkes Bay region, which is known for producing some of New Zealand’s best Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot due to its ideal climate and type of soil.

Villa Maria Wine Dinner Extravaganza at Cassis, Penang

The Atlantic Salmon is a lovely fish fillet laid on spinach, truffle mash in Villa Maria cab-merlot reduction. The full flavored fish was deliciously fresh with flaking meat and paired well with the chilled Villa Maria Private Bin Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2008.

Villa Maria Wine Dinner Extravaganza at Cassis, Penang

This wine is delightfully easy on the palate! Featuring sweet elements such as red cherry and raspberry, its taste is further enhanced with fine grained tannins! Simply delightful!

Villa Maria Wine Dinner Extravaganza at Cassis, Penang

Villa Maria Wine Dinner Extravaganza at Cassis, Penang

Another highlight for the evening was the Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007. The wine was crafted with fruit from several vineyards in the Awatere and Wairau Valleys of Marlborough.

Dissimilar to the other wines for the evening, this complex yet spicy ruby red wine was perfumed with ripe cherries and raspberry fruits. Silky fine-grained tannins defined the wine strongly, but it was absolutely optimum for immediate consumption.

Villa Maria Wine Dinner Extravaganza at Cassis, Penang

Villa Maria Wine Dinner Extravaganza at Cassis, Penang

The main course of pork belly was soon served. The rich flavor of Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Merlot 2005, worked well with the piece of pork marinated with cherry. The succulent piece of pork was served on creamy white bean puree, topped with watercress foam.

A dense nose peppered with black berries, floral violets and spices would be a fine way to describe this wine, it is simply seductive as any great Merlot should be!

Villa Maria Wine Dinner Extravaganza at Cassis, Penang

Villa Maria Wine Dinner Extravaganza at Cassis, Penang

The night ended with dessert of White Chocolate Mousse with Fresh Berries and Cookie Crumbs, echoed by the many more clinking of glasses. It was a fantastic event and I was absolutely intrigued by the vast variety of wines from Villa Maria. More information of the Villa Maria wines can be found at http://www.villamaria.co.nz/

What2seeonline had the pleasure to attend this event at the invitation of Asiaeuro Wines & Siprits.


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This entry was posted on Thursday, September 16th, 2010 at 4:37 pm and is filed under Events, Fine Dining, Invited Review, Media Preview, New Straits Times (Life & Times), Penang, Pulau Tikus, Wine Champagne and Spirits. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 comments so far

 1 

Oh gorgeous! I love Villa Maria – drank tons of it when living in good ol NZ. Always wondered why they didn’t market it more extensively in M’sia. Hope this means they’ll be more widely available from now on!

September 16th, 2010 at 7:27 pm
 2 

nice wine, I can see it from the color ! must be a full bodied wine ! such a fine dine ;-)

September 16th, 2010 at 9:16 pm
 3 

hhahahahha…. what a coincident, i was there this afternoon for lunch. that was my 1st visit…

September 16th, 2010 at 10:12 pm
 4 

elegant! so nice! good hangout place for saturday nights~

September 19th, 2010 at 11:00 pm
Charlotte Read
 5 

Delighted with your professional coverage of this event – and the exquisite food photography. Was great to present our Villa Maria wines to such an enthusiastic audience paired with top class cuisine.
Regards, Charlotte Read

CK Lam Reply:

Thank you for your comment, Charlotte. It was a pleasure meeting you too!

October 1st, 2010 at 12:17 pm
William Chong
 6 

Dear Minchow,
Villa Maria always available in Malaysia Market but only in Hotel & Restaurant.

William Chong Reply:

Hi CK,

Well done

October 2nd, 2010 at 1:28 pm

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