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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Monday, 03 May 2010 12:40

We Recommend: Chateau Mouton Rothschild at Wildflower Hall

The wine list of the Oberoi’s super- premium property Wildflower Hall Hotel in Shimla offers some extremely well priced wines, the best buy being the First Growth Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1997 as a Bin End special offer and is highly recommended for those with palate and wallet for top end wines at great prices. writes Subhash Arora who took a break and spent a couple of days at the hotel last week.

Regularly priced at Rs.40, 750 a bottle, it is a great bargain at the special price of Rs.23,200 only which includes all taxes without which (20% VAT+10% service charge) it would be Rs. 17575 (US$390); it retails for around US $350 in the US! The second wine is a white wine, also a value for money premium Chardonnay with a shade of Sauvignon Blanc, Rossj Bass 2005 from Gaia. Regularly priced at Rs.9, 400 it is currently available at Rs.5,100 (Rs.3865 without taxes and other charges); The listing at US $86 compares rather well with the average retail price of around US$80 in the US (source:

As the new General Manager of the hotel, Rob Mason explains, ‘When we have limited stocks of the vintage for premium wines which are superior wines that continue to improve with age, we classify them as Bin end wines and offer them at very special rates.’ .

Some of our readers might be perplexed how we can jump from recommending  Malambo- a banquet wine to Mouton an absolutely top world class wine. These two wines rather cover both sides of the spectrum, both great value-for-money.

A word of caution for those who believe that ‘Mouton’ implies the best red wine from France and often boast of drinking Mouton Cadet- while both these labels are from the same producer- Chateau Mouton Rothschild, is the top wine of one of the five First Growths of Bordeaux (1997, while the other is a decent quaffable wine (selling for around US$ 9

Other winners

There are fair amount of wines in the regular list which are great value-for-money wines and anyone with some knowledge of wines can order great tempting wines with or before the meals. Some of the other winners in terms of excellent buy at the hotel are:

Louis Roederer Brut Champagne NVRs.5,500
Sauvignon Blanc La Isla Viña Tarapaca 2008  Rs.1,150
Pinot Grigio Danzante 2008 Rs.1,200              
Chianti Ruffina Riserva Nipozzano 2006 Frescobaldi  Rs.2200

I ordered a bottle of the Chianti Riserva, a good buy at Rs.2200, especially when you realize that my wife and I loved it with caramelized salty almonds as a pre-dinner aperitif. For main course, she had a bacon based Risotto and I had stir-fried Chicken and the wine displayed versatility without any fuss, as an aperitif and with both the main dishes and was smooth and pleasing. The second day was for the La Isla Sauvignon Blanc from the Chilean Tarapaca-which was very crisp, fruity and fresh, with a full mouthfeel on the mid palate, an adequate aperitif wine- a bargain at Rs.1150 a bottle (AI-all included) and one can highly recommend to those on a budget.

Be Indian, Bye Indian

One must warn our Indian readers to stay away from the Indian wine section though. Even the expats might think twice before ordering these wines at Rs. 1600+ a bottle. The Riviera Chardonnay Ugni Blanc Riviera at Rs. 2400 is highly avoidable. At Rs. 450-475 a glass the Indian offerings are two expensive and not competitive with the range of imported wines. The Tarapaca Sauvignon Blanc at Rs.300 a glass would be a phenomenal hit; as of now it is not available by the glass.

Men behind the magic

The credit for making the above wines so affordable and reasonably priced goes to the new General Manager from South Africa, Rob Mason and his deputy Wilfred d’Souza, F & B Manager who according to Rob, ‘is an extremely knowledgeable and passionate person so far as wine is concerned and one of the fist things I did when I took over as the General Manager with my wife Storm in March, was to sit with him and revamp the list and although I did want to rationalize the list and get some more New World wines, there has been a go-slow policy on wine purchasing and we could only make some of the wines really attractive to our guests.’

Wilfred likes to give the credit for the aggressive policy to Rob and Storm Mason. They are both passionate about wines and wanted to device a pricing policy that would be attractive for our guests, he say.  Storm is clear in her mind that ‘the idea of pricing  wines is that the guests should be able to buy them-there is no point in keeping them on the shelves.’

Wildflower Hall is a hotel with many attractive features and the additional attraction of value-priced wines make it an even more desirable stress-buster resort. Undoubtedly, if the wine-pricing adopted by the management is followed by other properties or other hotels, not only would it help liquidate their slower moving wines and increase their sales, but will help spread the wine culture to a wider clientele.

In the meantime, if you are planning to spend a leisurely and luxurious getaway to the Wildflower Hall, I would highly recommend a bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild- Wilfred would be only glad to suggest proper pairing of the food, if you so desire.

Subhash Arora 



Subhash Arora Says:

Frankly I did not try. If stored properly, these wines should still have many years left. I'd appreciate it if you share the wines you ordered and the vintage. I was told that no one had complained about the wine quality. Subhash Arora

Posted @ May 07, 2010 10:42


Yog Raj Says:

Mr Arora We had a bad experience with Bin Ends at the Uday Vilas. The wine was tired and well past its age and obviously not been handled well in storage. I hope you have tasted these wines before recommending them and not recommended only o the basis of the price.

Posted @ May 07, 2010 10:38


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