Saturday, April 10, 2010

Indian Wine Dinner at Olio

Olio located on Main St. in The Fan hosted an unusual and gutsy wine dinner featuring Indian cuisine. The price: $30 per person.

About 30 diners attended. Jason Savedoff provided the menu and Carol Colby from Republic National served up the wine.

As Carol pointed out pairing Indian food with its myriad flavors and intense heat to wine can be tricky, but Olio was up to the task.

To start we had S.A. Prum "Essence" Riesling, Germany with Raita Yogurt Sauce, Grilled Vegetables, and Bread (Naan). This turned out to be out favorite wine for the nice. Light and fruity, but not too cloying on the palate. The raita sauce was subtle, but we liked the shaved slivers of veggies in the sauce, especially the red onions.

Next was J. Lohr Vineyards "Wildflower" Monterey County, CA with Vegetable/Potato Samosa Dumpling and Tamarind Chutney Sauce. The wine was an interesting blend of Valdiguie (a relative of the gamay grape), Petit Verdot, and Riesling. I was not a fan of this wine on its own, but it paired beautifully with the samosa and tamarind chutney. My husband, on the other hand, liked the wine by itself and did not like it with the samosa.

The main dish featured Edmeades Zinfandel, Mendocino County, CA with Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan. I really liked the chicken and all of us liked the sauce so much that we ran out of naan to sop it up. The Zin was fairly fruity and while it paired with the chicken dish, if the entree had been any hotter/spicier the Zin would not have been a good choice. Hats off to Jason and Carol for recognizing this subtlety.

To end we had Michele Chiarlo "Nivole" Moscato d'Asti, Italy with Green Tea Cheesecake with Fortune Cookie Crust. Who can get mad at Moscato d'Asti? Sweet, fizzy, and a shoe-in for dessert. A fortune accompanied the cheesecake which was a nice touch. The cheesecake was good - truly baked, not mouse-like, but we were not able to pick up any green tea flavor.

We had a wonderful time. Met some foodies and explored an unusual branch of food and wine pairing. The price was more than right and we were served enough food to satisfy. A couple of wishes and this may be due to the price. The wine pours were a bit skimpy. The glasses were fairly small and we were served a 1/4 to 1/3 of a glass for each course. The small pour for the dessert was fine, but I would have preferred a 1/3 to 1/2 glass for the other courses. This way, I could sample before the food, drink with the course, and then finish without the food to compare to the original taste. Because we were served family style there were no clearing of plates before dessert. At the end of the 3rd course I had raita sauce, tamarind chutney, and tikka masala vying for space. Because the tastes were so different, picking up any leftover sauce from another dish would have greatly impacted the food and wine pairing.

Despite a couple of wishes, this wine dinner was a bargain for the money. The atmosphere was bright and casual and a great way to learn about pairing food and wine. I recommend that you check it out.

Olio on Urbanspoon

No comments: