It was a 1-night affair. For a brief night, I got to taste and experience a delightful affair – a marriage of Italian and Chilean flavours. I had the best of both worlds.
I’m talking about the 1-night-only event at Tosca at DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur which featured a 5-course wine dinner, partnering Italian cuisine and Chilean wines from Cono Sur Vineyards & Winery from the Colchagua Valley in Chile.
I was told the restaurant was fully-booked for this special wine dinner. Hardly surprising as Tosca only holds such dinners 4 times in a year and when they do, every event is a sellout. Upon entering this homestyle Italian restaurant, we were given a warm welcome and quickly ushered to our seats. Even before I was properly seated, the service crew were already at my side offering me trays of canapes and pouring me the 1st wine for the evening – the Cono Sur Sauvignon Blanc 2011! Talk about fast and efficient service!
As we teased our palates with canapes such as Smoked Salmon on Potato Blinis & Dill Cream, Tomato & Buffalo Mozzarella Bruschetta with Pesto, Deepfried Lamb Shank & Mushroom Arancini, Tuna Tataki with Mango & Avocado, Cristian Zuleta, the Export Manager from the winery shared with us on Cono Sur wines and some tips on wine appreciation in general.
I like the Cono Sur Bicycle Sauvignon Blanc 2011 for its fresh crisp citrussy aroma. The pale yellowish-green young wine is very easy on the palate. I think I had 2 glasses of this because it just went so well with the canapes I was munching on.
Dinner started soon after and a plate of beautiful fresh Hokkaido Bay Scallops Carpaccio was served as the appetizer. Very pleasing to the eye, the fresh scallops were translucent, bathed with a light garlic shoyu dressing and decorated with baby cress, crunchy garlic chips and dotted with salmon roe. I love popping those salmon roe on my tongue and tasting that burst of marine sweetness shot on my tongue! And then wash it down with sips of the Cono Sur Chardonnay 2011. This is a 100% Chardonnay from their Central Valley, the yellow golden wine is both floral and fruity with a pleasantly balanced acidity – another delicious easy wine in my books. Both the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay retail at around RM140 per bottle.
As soon as the appetizer plate was cleared, we were served the Boston Lobster Bisque. Cognac-flamed, this thick bisque was divine! Biting into that wantan-like crispy parcel revealed a scrumptious chunk of succulent lobster meat and those bits of Avruga caviar enhanced the whole blissful bisque experience. The soup portion was really generous and there were more lobster meat in the soup too… and even so, being the glutton that I am, I wished there was more! But then I remembered I had to pace myself as there were more dishes to come.
Next was the entree of Roasted Atlantic Cod with Crumbed Cod “Mantecato”, green pea puree, braised radish, tomato beurre blanc and crispy potato noodle. A codfish fan, I had absolutely no complaint about this pristine dish. The fish was firm and fresh and just look at that mesh of perfectly-fried potato noodles! DL, who is generally not keen on radish, totally loved that long strip of braised radish! I like it too – it’s a perfect accompaniment to the cod.
Pairing with the codfish was the Cono Sur Reserve Pinot Noir 2010. It’s a 100% Pinot Noir and comes from the famed Casablanca Valley. The bright ruby red with hints of purple hues
in the wine are reflections of the raspberries, cherries and strawberries aromas andd if you sniff it deeply, you will find that there’re lovely subtle hints of coffee and cacao too. The Pinot Noir has a full palate and fruity with beautifully soft tannins.
The 2nd entree of the evening was a plate of Wagyu Beef done 2 ways: Grilled Wagyu Sirloin and Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks sitting on top of truffle polenta and plated next to these is a stuffed cocktail tomato and splashed with Barolo sauce. I’m not particularly inclined towards beef cheeks as they are usually braised till very soft & tender (which should be the way) – it’s just that I prefer to have some “bite & chew” in my meats. I really enjoyed the grilled sirloin as it’s done just the way I like my beef: almost medium! You can see that by this time, we’re all stuffed to our faces… a 5-course dinner tends to do that to you, you know!
To go with the beef, we had the Cono Sur Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, which is an excellent wine to go with red meats. Deep plum in colour, it comes from the Maipo Valley, known as the most traditional origin in Chile. The nose displays ripe raspberries, strawberries and plums, combining with some underlying spices. The fruity full flavours of the plums linger on and there’re hints of toasted oak which is not surprising as this wine has been aged 80% in French oak barrels for 10 months.
Dessert was a delightful chocolate affair. There’re chocolate & hazelnut mousse, cocoa icecream, Limoncello cream, sesame croustillant, passion fruit jelly, red velvet soil and raspberry sauce. The chef has really orchestrated this symphony well… everything comes together in harmony, in terms of tastes and textures. The passion fruit jelly has this really tangy and tart flavour which did a good job of balancing the richness from the chocolate components of this dessert platter. The Cono Sur Reserve Merlot 2010 was the last wine served for this dinner. Coming from the Colchagua Valley, it’s a beautifully dark and intense red; the aromas of the black and red fruits are well set-off by subtle hints of black pepper, coffee and sweet oak. Yes, I do realise this is not exactly a dessert wine… a recommended dessert wine would be their Cono Sur Gewurztraminer 2011.
The Cono Sur red wines as served in this dinner are priced at RM160 and above per bottle – very decent wines at affordable prices. I’m a white wine fan… I’d definitely go for their Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc!
A bit of background on Cono Sur:
Cono Sur Vineyards & Winery was founded in 1993 with the vision of producing premium, expressive and innovative wines conveying the spirit of the New World. The name Cono Sur represents wines proudly made in South America’s Southern Cone, on which western edge lies Chile and its gifted wine valleys. Their quest if to present the world with the finest grape expression and character, from Chile’s varied wine regions. Right from the beginning, Cono Sur has applied new ideas and technology to winemaking traditional methods with a goal to create expressive and innovative wines from the world’s southernmost land.
The cornerstone of Cono Sur Vineyards & Winery is innovation. The company defines itself by 3 main features, which are: creative use of technology, orientation towards quality an respect and commitment to the environment. Their philosophy is the starting point of every one of their innovative and expressive wines.
Read more about Cono Sur on their website here.
Here in Malaysia, Cono Sur wines are distributed by:
AsiaEuro Wines & Spirits Sdn Bhd
No.1 & 3 Jalan PJU 3/49
47810 Petaling Jaya
This lavish Wine Dinner was held at:
DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur
182 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur