Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

GD Vajra Wine at Aria June 9 2011

Thursday June 9th 2011

A surprisingly pleasant evening out of the blue at Aria restaurant in Plaza Damansara. Friend and wine sifu Karen had been invited to a tasting of GD Vajra Italian wine by Straits Wine Company and gang busted Edna and myself to join in. There was also to be a presentation on smell kits to help learn to differentiate the various aromas in wine. Greeted by Jason from Straits Wine, we got introduced to Giuseppe from the winery who sat us all down and embarked on a romantic if somewhat lengthy talk on his wines and winery and family and love for the process. We had earlier started with a sweetly crisp and slightly fizzy 2009 Moscato d'Asti which, as Giuseppe admitted, was usually better as a finisher than an opener. Notes of lychee and peach. Certainly too sweet to start a night, but a good wine for people new to drinking and appreciating. Next was the Dolcetto 2009, which I liked for its versatility - great with any kind of food. I could taste pizza, pasta, light meat and cheese going with it - but the others thought it a bit bland to chug. Light cherry and a little spice for me which came out with food. Nice structure, bit lean on its own. Giuiseppe likened it to a friend who brings out the best in you - good analogy. The Barbera d'Alba 2008 seemed to be the favourite and certainly was a main course wine - big tannin and fruit for beef - though I felt it faded in the glass. Notes claim dark fruits, spices and oak. Was full in the mouth, velvetish texture - a good glug. And same with the Barolo 2005 - good with the main or with cheese to end a meal, but I thought it was fading. Not sure if there's much shelf life in this one, or whether it will get better with age, though others seemed to think so. Notes claim tomato leaf, rustic red fruit aroma, boysenberry and truffle oil with plenty of life. Maybe it needed some air.

Apparently an entertaining session with the wine scents - we were sat down with Giuseppe and drinking his wine. We ended up having a meal at the Aria and seeing off the remnants of the tasting with Giu and Fred the scent seller and staff of Straits Wines. Fred's approach of treating every glass of wine as a potential bedmate was refreshing. Get to know it and figure out if it is a one night stand or a long term relationship or wherever in between! The food came across as Italian Malaysian fusion - italian food with chili and seemingly geared toward the local taste. I think I prefer my italian food with a little less kick. But the company was excellent - Ed and Peter from the Opus Restaurant Group, Karen, Giuseppe, Fred and the ebullient Tan from Straits Wines. Nights like this are wonderful.

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