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Aalto Restaurant Banfi Wine Dinner Review

We recently attended a wine dinner held at Birmingham’s Aalto Restaurant, at Hotel La Tour, hosted by the charismatic “Dante Cecchini” of Castello Banfi and held in the intimate private dining room of Hotel La Tour’s Aalto Restaurant, guests of the exclusive dinner were transported via wine glass and plate, to the sun drenched hills of Tuscany.

Castello Banfi is the spiritual home of Brunello di Montelcino, a vineyard recognised the world over for its dedication to excellence and which has sparked a renaissance in the art of Italian winemaking.

Dantes knowledge and passion for Castello Banfis wines was a pleasure to listen to. His fun and informative approach was a refreshing change, to some of the stuffy atmospheres these types of events can create. One particular quote from him that raised a few laughs was “not liking wine is like not liking oxygen!”

Head Chef “Alex Penhaligon” created an Italian inspired 4 course menu which complimented the wines, and as expected succeeded in showcasing the best ingredients that Italy has to offer.

Over introductions we were presented with a glass of “La Rime” Chardonnay / Pinot Grigio, Castello Banfi 2010 a light unoaked blend of the old favourite, Chardonnay, and the new favourite, Pinot Grigio, producing a bright, light citrusy summer wine.
Lightly Seared Scallops set on creamy Cauliflower Puree with crisp Pancetta opened the evening, accompanied by a crisp and refreshing “San Angelo”Pinot Grigio, Castello Banfi 2010 .
The intermediate course was a rustic delight of plump green Olives, Pork Belly, cured Meats and marinated Artichokes – everything that’s great about Italy all served on an individual wooden platter. The wine switched onto an easy drinking red the Centine Rosso, Castello Banfi 2008 a wonderful blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese.
Mains was slow cooked shoulder of lamb, served with a big bold Brunello di Montalcino Castello Banfi 2005, a classic of Banfi’s production obtained with clones of Sangiovese selected after 20 years of research on this unique grape variety.
To conclude the evening a beautiful creamy Pannacotta with oozing red berries was served with a stunning red sparkling wine called “Rosa Regale” Brachetto d’Acqui, Banfi 2010.  Close your eyes and you would have been fooled into thinking you were sipping a classic Kir Royale – no Cassis in this wine though, just the pure Blackcurrent notes from the grapes themselves. Not a usual choice as a dessert wine, but certainly one that received the most compliments and won’t be forgotten in a hurry….

More information on Aalto Restaurant, Chef Alex Penhaligon and Hotel LA Tour, Birmingham Here

Wines by www.bibendum-wine.co.uk

Review by ETM October 2012 (c). Thank you to Hotel La Tour.

Chef Alex's Berry Panne cotta

Chef Alex's Berry Panne cotta

Anti pasti Selection for the Banfi Dinner Hotel La Tour

Anti pasti Selection for the Banfi Dinner Hotel La Tour

Lamb Dish Aalto Restaurant

Lamb Dish Aalto Restaurant

Seabass Dish by Chef Alex Penhaligon

Seabass Dish by Chef Alex Penhaligon

Scallops and pancetta Starter by Chef Alex Penhaligon Hotel La Tour

Scallops and pancetta Starter by Chef Alex Penhaligon Hotel La Tour

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