The Cliff Hotel’s Beautiful and Distinctive Red Wines - Part 1
The Cliff Hotel’s wine list comprises over 35 varieties, many of which are not easy to find on the island. Each has been carefully chosen to pair well with the excellent cuisine from the property’s hotel Zest. (From left) Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma), Château Mont-Redon Côtes du Rhône (France), Ruffino Chianti (Tuscany), and Paraduxx Proprietary Red (Napa Valley).(Photo: Garfield Robinson)

Guests had the opportunity to imbibe some beautifully distinctive wines during The Cliff’s inaugural Gourmet Getaway event. The hotel’s wine list comprises over 35 varieties, including rosé and ice wine. What caught Thursday Food’s eye was the number of bottles that are either hard or impossible to find elsewhere on the island. This week we’ll feature reds, and next week, whites.

Many of us have heard the antiquated saying, “spice is the enemy of wine.” However, the Food and Beverage team at The Cliff, along with wine consultant and certified sommelier Rimple Nayyar, have created a wine programme that pairs exquisitely well with the menu from the hotel’s restaurant Zest. The wines, too, can be enjoyed by themselves, sipped pool- or cliffside.

“Wine drinking should be fun,” said Nayyar. That philosophy has informed his career and how each bottle was chosen for The Cliff’s wine list. Though a trained environmental engineer, Nayaar found the oenophilia beguiling. In 2002, he opened a wine bar so he could “teach people about wines and make it more accessible without the intimidation”. His knowledge and approach to wine have made his services sought-after across the world. His résumé includes positions at the tony Peter Island Resort and Spa in the British Virgin Islands and Schramsberg Vineyards in Napa Valley.

The four reds that Nayyar and Thursday Food chose to highlight are Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma), Château Mont-Redon Côtes du Rhône (France), Ruffino Chianti (Tuscany), and Paraduxx Proprietary Red (Napa Valley).

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon

A beautiful expression of char, juicy black fruit and chocolate flavours. Its medium-weight tannins make it ideal for pairing with spicy foods. It’s soft and smooth, with flavours of black cherry, plum and “baking spices” dancing on the palate.

Château Mont-Redon Côtes du Rhône

You could say that this wine has everything that makes a lower tannin red particularly appealing. Black cherry and liquorice top notes give way to Herbes de Provence and black peppercorns. Its “soft fleshy mouthfeel” and “elegant, medium-length aftertaste” make this wine a choice pairing with curry goat, oxtail, and butter chicken.

Ruffino Chianti

This is the sort of red that you could easily sip all day! It’s mouth-watering with a delicate bouquet comprising plums and floral notes that lead to a spicy finish. This red, along with Rioja, Valpolicella, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, is an excellent complement to spicy cuisine.

Paraduxx Proprietary Red

This critically acclaimed wine is a triumphant blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Tempranillo, and Merlot. It is “rich, luxurious, and complex” and possesses “alluring aromas of ripe cherry, red currant, cranberry, and blueberry, along with sophisticated notes of sandalwood, clove, anise, and black tea”. It’s magnificently lush, and there are even hints of toasted coconut. A perfect island wine, if there ever were one.

Rimple Nayyar is a certified sommelier, the hospitality manager at Schramsberg Vineyards in Napa Valley, and The Cliff’s wine consultant. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
The Cliff’s wine consultant Rimple Nayyar (second right) discusses the versatility of the hotel’s red wines with (from left) General Manager Vernon J Johnson, Food and Beverage Manager Hitbal Bennett and IT and Purchasing Manager Bradie Boothe. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Nayyar believes that “wine drinking should be fun”. It’s a philosophy that has informed his career and the wine programme at The Cliff. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
The Ruffino Chianti is the sort of red that you could easily sip all day. The Cliff’s wine programme boasts wines that perfectly pair with the Caribbean cuisine served at Zest. They can, too, be enjoyed by themselves, sipped pool- or cliffside. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Nayyar enters the Thursday Food frame with two California reds from areas close to where he now calls home. The Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon (left) is from Sonoma County, and its medium-weight tannins make it ideal for pairing with spicy foods. Paraduxx Proprietary Red, from Napa Valley, is a triumphant blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Tempranillo, and Merlot. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

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