Would you ever expect to attract a crowd to a wine tasting event on a weekday at Bandra-Kurla Complex, at 3:00 pm? I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into Sofitel for the grand tasting of the 2009 vintage by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux thinking I would be one of the few attendeesâ€¦. the venue was abuzz with over a 150 wine connoisseursâ€™, importers& F&B staff from all over Mumbai.
If you have never attended a UGCB tasting before, this event gives you an opportunity to taste over 80 different wines, as also meet and get to know the owners of the chateaux that produce the wine.
The 2009 vintage in Bordeaux especially the reds,have been widely celebrated for their quality. To single out any of the wines individually would almost be unfair as they were each distinctive in their own way. Each spoke of the terroir and the different techniques used by the winemakers to bring forth the characteristics & complexities of the wines. There were several that attracted the attention but the following stood apart:
Chateau La Lagune (Haut Medoc): 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot. â€˜Tasted really special although very youngâ€™ said Satyam from Juben Wines.
Chateau La Tour Figeac:65% Merlot & 35% Cabernet Franc. â€˜This was mind-blowing and I went straight to heavenâ€™ said Shagun Mehra, Director Surya Palace, Vadodara.
Chateau Lynch-Bages (Pauillac): 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot.
Most of the exhibitors were very impressed with the knowledge and awareness of wines in India. The confidence with which most of the visitors swirled, sipped and spat the wines after asking very pertinent questions was indeed an eye opener for me. They believe that there is a huge market for wines in general and the French wine in particular.
Two interesting aspects that struck me during this event were the excellent white wines from Bordeaux which is primarily known for its reds and the second impressive feature was the number of women managing and owning wine estates.
France is no stranger to revolutionsâ€¦.be it Marie Antoinette & Louis XVI. But there seems to be a new revolution going on which involves not a battle field but wine casks. While winemaking has traditionally been a male bastion, a new generation of female winemakers is breaking the mould and shaking up the wine world across the world in general and Bordeaux in particular.
According to Christine Lurton-de-Caix, President of the Executive Board of Chateau Dauzac, she was not allowed into a winery 20 years ago, as there was a belief that the quality of wine would be hampered by the presence of a woman. This was despite the fact that her father Andre Lurton who has 72 harvests to his credit and is considered a legend in Bordeaux.
The election of a Sylvie Cazes as the first female president to the regionâ€™s most high profile wine body got everyone take note globally. Although according to her being a woman in Bordeaux wine has never seemed difficult.
When asked about the â€˜snobâ€™ value around French wines, Christine Lurton stated, â€˜wine needs to be â€˜enjoyedâ€™ and there are no rules to itâ€¦.describe it in your own words and donâ€™t be afraid to try out new ones just because you cannot pronounce the namesâ€™!
Final word from Laurent Belisaire of Andre Lurton, â€œplease lower the taxes if you want to appreciate the great wines of the worldâ€.
Itâ€˜s agreat initiative on the part of Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux to expose us to the wonderful world of Bordeauxâ€¦â€¦can we look at a different venue for the next event please - it was a bit difficult to maneuver around!