BY CK Lam
In taking the pleasure of wine and dine pairing to new levels, Asiaeuro Wines & Spirits has teamed up with The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat for the Banfi Wine Dinner. The 5-star retreat sanctuary in Ipoh boasts an amalgamation of natural caves, jungle, waterfalls and geothermal hot springs.
It was a unique limestone cave dining and wining experience at the Jeff’s Cellar for guests from Ipoh, besides those traveling all the way from the states of Penang and Kuala Lumpur. The cellar features comfortable seating surrounded by formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
Guillaume Blanchard, the Regional Manager of South Asia of Castello Banfi was at the event, sharing his expertise on the wines from the Banfi cellars which were paired with courses whipped up by Head Chef Boon Lee.
Also present at the event was Alex Castaldi, the General Manager of The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, and also William Chong from Asiaeuro.
The variety of Italian wines include the Banfi Fumaio Toscana IGT 2014, Banfi Piemonte Principessa Gavia Gavi DOCG 2015, Castello Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio Toscana IGT 2014, Banfi Chianti DOCG 2015, Castello Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG 2007 and Banfi Piemonte Rosa Regale DOCG 2013.
First up was the amuse bouche of smoky scallop duck ships, enriched by lump fish caviar and carrot puree. It was paired with the Banfi Fumaio Toscana IGT 2014, made with a tempting blend of sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. The slight acidity and intensely fruity and fresh aroma made it perfect to match with the delicately cooked seafood which had a good smoky flavor.
Other wonderful delicacies include the poach lobster tail paired with Banfi Piemonte Principessa Gavia Gavi DOCG 2015, and quail consomme. The quail consomme with succulent foie gras and ricotta ravioli in a clear yet concentrated broth was paired with the Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio Toscana IGT 2014. Made with 100% Pinot Grigio, the wine has fullness of fruit and plenty of acidity on the finish.
Guests thoroughly enjoyed the surprising ways in which the chef accentuates the dishes, especially the playful sorbet. The chef incorporates explosive pop rocks candy in this palate cleanser, giving diners a loud pop and fun kick feeling.
After the sorbet, we moved on to the main course, and we savored two: braised cod and the sous vide black angus beef loin.
The chef chose the braised cod to pair with the Banfi Chianti DOCG 2015, a blend of comforting merlot and sangiovese. Exhibiting a symphony of cherry and blackberry, the wine was soft and harmonious on the palate.
The second main course was the sous vide black angus beef loin. The meat was served sitting on seasonal vegetable and truffle whipped potato, topped with beef jus. The flavors of the dish were paired with Castello Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG 2007. Prepared with selected grapes of Sangiovese, the red wine aged in French oak barrels was simply charming. It shows complex aroma with hint of cherry, red fruits, tobacco and note of liquorice. On the palate, it is harmonious, with a long, persistent finish.
The meal also included a cheese board with hard and soft cheese to share before the serving of dessert – coffee cheese cake.
The coffee cheese cake infused with local white coffee was presented with toast chips topped with kaya (caramel egg jam) alongside cotton candy. The dish was made all the better with sips of Banfi Piemonte Rosa Regale DOCG 2013 which showcased the Brachetto varietal. The sparkling red wine with crisp acidity and fresh fruity aromas of raspberries, strawberries and hints of rose petals is pretty enjoyable.
To mark an end to the event, guests were presented with mignardises, served in a box.
The food menu, ambience, music and company made this wine pairing dinner an enjoyable one.
The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat
No. 1, Persiaran Lagun Sunway 3,
Tel: 05-210 7777
* Many thanks to Asiaeuro Wines & Spirits for laying on this invitation.