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Delhi Wine Club
Doc Ariff Jamal of Markus Molitor of Mosel

Posted: Tuesday, 30 July 2013 11:42

Passing By: Doc Ariff Jamal of Markus Molitor of Mosel

July 30: Dr. Ariff Jamal, the Burgundy-based wine consultant and currently the Chief Operating officer, Export for the well known Mosel producer Weingut Markus Molitor was in India when Subhash Arora met him for an enchanting evening last Thursday at the Dum Pukht Restaurant at Hotel ITC Maurya where he had an opportunity to taste four variants of Riesling and a Pinot Noir

I wasn’t surprised by Dr. Ariff Jamal's visit, whom I have known for the most part of this millennium. He lives near Beaune in Burgundy and was working with Maison Albert Bichot when I first met him in Burgundy about a dozen years ago. He had written to me that he would be visiting India in July. I came to know only when Farhad Bhabha, CEO of Berkmann Wine Cellars India invited me for a dinner with Molitor wines at the Dum Pukht Restaurant at the ITC Maurya on July 25, that he was currently working with Markus Molitor.

‘Do you know that Markus Molitor Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 2011 received the rare 100 points from Robert Parker!’ he said when I met him at the appointed hour at the hotel. He had to cut his trip to Delhi short, only for a few hours as his son who had also come with him had been taken ill at Bangalore. As I was being poured the nicely chilled Haus Klosterberg Riesling QbA 2011, a fairly dry and aromatic wine, he explained to me that he wanted to surprise us all by announcing his current stint with Molitor after working a complete vintage of 2011. He was naturally proud that his presence helped the wine get the rare distinction.

The well-known German Guide, Gault Millau gives Markus Molitor 4.5/5 grapes as a winery and rates it as one of the six best wineries in Mosel. Joel Payne, Editor of the Guide says, ‘Markus Molitor has a rich, unctuous, sometimes over the top style that some people love and others find less typical of the region. Of course Robert Parker likes this style.’ The 2011 vintage of Molitor’s had received  a very respectable 94 points from Gault Millau.

I have visited the Molitor winery 3 times and once when Markus knew I would be visiting, he had waited just to meet me. A very modest man in his mannerisms he does not speak English but he has done wonders to the winery since he joined his father 30 years ago and expanded it from 3 hAs to 38 hAs. ‘No, it is now 45 hAs –and all of his holdings are in the Gran Cru Vineyards,’ said Ariff as I sliced the delicious Kakori Kabab with my fork and leisurely let it melt in my mouth, chasing it with the MM Riesling Spätlese 2010. The Executive Chef Gulam Qureshi had just come to our table to relate a few anecdotes and shared the background of the Kakori with Ariff as I was polishing off the succulent Murg Chandi Tikka which I could cut through with a butter knife as I alternated between the MM Riesling Kabinett 2011 as well.

Ariff explained that Molitor now has 18 parcels in different parts of Mosel and with over 6 different labels from each of these parcels, the total number of labels from Molitor runs in three figures!

So what does his current designation signify, I ask him as the main course arrives and the Assistant Manager of the Restaurant Karanbir Singh Gulati who Rishi Raj Singh, the Beverage Director at ITC Maurya tells me, is a WEST-3 qualified Sommelier, explains that he has paired the MM Pinot Noir 2008 with the Raan-e-Dum Pukht, the leg of lamb stuffed with onions, pickled garlic and cheese and cooked in Dum Pukht style and Murgh Handi Qorma.

‘My job is to streamline the winery operations besides setting various procedures for production and exports,’ the erudite Doc tells me while I am struggling to pair either of the dishes with the Pinot. Unfortunately there was no sound of symphony in my ears of the palate, I told Karanbir. I did request some Riesling Spätlese to try with the chicken Qorma but like a classic wine dinner, the staff conveniently avoided the change in serving pattern and ‘forgot’ to refill my glass, leaving me wondering which of the Rieslings could be a possible match with the Qorma.

By the time the dessert came, Dr. Jamal was ready to leave for the airport. The Gulab ki Kheer could easily have been given a miss, though the Wehlen Sonnenuhr Auslese 2007 (the 2011 of which has received 100 points from Robert Parker) by itself was a perfect example of why one should consider drinking 30 mL of an excellent dessert wine as dessert. The 2011 had been a warm year in Mosel with high alcohol and lower acidity prevailing throughout the region. As Joel Payne tells me, it was something unusual for the producers who had always only de-acidified their wines but for the 2011 they added acid in heaps. I would have loved to get the inside story from Doc, as he is fondly called by his friends. But perhaps I will wait for another time, when I get to taste the wine too.

Farhad Bhabha has pulled a rabbit out of the bag by adding Markus Molitor to their portfolio. The modest and soft spoken Farhad admitted that it is a part of the portfolio with the London–based parent company. Although he already has another quality Mosel producer, Selbach-Oster, which is already listed in the top hotels including ITC, he is hopeful of doing well for this label too.

One thing is for sure - the gems of Mosel, the First Growths of Mosel are now available in India including Molitor and it is for the discerning and affluent connoisseurs to recognise the ‘precious diamonds’ or have them appraised by friends like us and enjoy the best Mosel has to offer.

For an earlier article about Molitor, please visit: Mosel Wineries: Touching the Top

Subhash Arora

Food-Wine Match with Molitor Wines

Tags: Dr. Ariff Jamal, Weingut Markus Molitor, Burgundy, Gault Millau, Joel Payne, Mosel



Ariff Jamal Says:

Dear Subhash, Excellent article – Thank you. With this success I am sure Farhad will want me back in India sooner then we both expect. It’s funny when I am in India I am referred to as the French Guy as you have also done, but when I am in France and Germany, I am upgraded to “the Indian”. It may interest your readers of delWine that the Wine Advocate had tested 53 wines from Markus Molitor 2011-and 46 were awarded 90+ points! Also 2 of our Rieslings were out of the 3 Top Rieslings of Germany. Only 2 other German wineries Hermann Dönnhoff and Schloss Lieser have received 100 points earlier. Best Personal Regards, Doc.

Posted @ July 31, 2013 17:42


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