Posted: Monday, 15 August 2022 14:32
From Archives (2006): Indian Wine Showcase by Indian Wine Academy impresses international lawyers
Lex Mundi is an international elitist organisation of lawyers. It holds annually, a conference where about 150 top international lawyers congregate in different parts of the world. Last year’s venue was Malaysia ; next year it will be Singapore. This year it was organised in India by the internationally acclaimed law firm of Amarchand Mangaldas. Presumably, they discuss how to make more millions and how to make’em faster at such conferences. This is also the only time, when they sport a natural smile and don’t bill their clients.
When Mrs. Pallavi Shroff, a senior partner of the firm approached the Indian Wine Academy to organise and present Indian wines for two of their events, we were thrilled to accept the challenge-provided wine would be the only alcoholic beverage served at the tasting. It was her idea to showcase top Indian wines and we heartily concurred.
The process of selection was quite methodical. After short-listings, only four producers reached the semi-finals: Indage, Sula, Grover, and Vinsura which barely missed making it to the Finals. During tastings spread over 5 sessions, more than 20 wines were tasted by a panel of a dozen wine drinking lawyers who sacrificed their expensive time to come to a unanimous decision: Sula Brut, Grover Viognier, Indage Ivy Chenin Moscato and Sula Dindori Reserve. Due to non availability of the much-in-demand Ivy Moscato Chenin, it had to be replaced by their weaker substitute, Chantilly Chardonnay.
The second event- dinner at the beautifully manicured Shroff Farms saw a repeat of Viognier as a unanimous choice. Grover’s Shiraz Rose and La Reserve were chosen as the red grape representatives. For the bubbly, a special exception was made for Freixenet Cava to be re-inforced with Sula Brut if the occasion arose.
The wines certainly rose to the occasion. People drank Brut as if it were (Indian) Champagne . Chantilly passed the muster with the novices but buckled under when facing the spiciness and complexity of Viognier. Said Ed Lawson, an American lawyer from Milwaukee, now based in Shanghai,’ I usually drink red but I cannot let go of this Viognier’. He did shift to Dindori finally, but only after a few refills of the white.
Dindori was the queen of the show. There was not a guest who did not have a second helping. Its rounded and soft tannins, a fruity flavour and buttery texture matched with the beautifully lit edifice and the garden-their office, where the tasting took place, the soft music from the 60s adding a degree of alcohol to the overall effect.
The Shiraz Rose` at the dinner on the second day did not turn out as exciting as we had predicted and had few takers. Perhaps, it was a bit too chilly at the Farm and the red La Reserve was the perfect companion, especially with the delicious Kashmiri cuisine from the ‘Seasons’ caterers. It is difficult to say if the wines added to the charm of the place or other way around. Exclaimed Jim Duffy, a Connecticut lawyer practicing in Monaco ,’ ‘the whole of Monaco would have been absorbed in these lawns!’ It was certainly gratifying to see that the young and rich lawyers have adopted a lifestyle where wine is an integral part of their having fun and letting the hair down.
So what was the majority verdict? Sula Dindori was certainly the top scorer with Grover Viognier closely behind at the second place. Grover La Reserve and Sula Blanc were tied at the third spot. But the real winner was India and the Indian wines. Visiting delegates from the globe were truly impressed with the presentation and the fact that India is making such decent, quaffable wines. Had the hosts organised a sale of the wines tasted, there would have been a long line of buyers. Let us hope they will soon find these wines in their neihbourhood wine shops.
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