Dec 03: As an ensuing chapter to the resounding success of the maiden Indian Wine Day celebrated last year, in six The LaLit hotels in India and London, the Indian Wine Academy (IWA) partnered once again with The LaLit group to showcase Indian wines at all their properties in India (namely Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Jaipur, Udaipur, Chandigarh, Goa, Kolkata) and London on Friday, November 16, 2018.Gargi Guha, the committee member of the Bangalore Wine Club that again powered the event in Bangalore this year, reports
Young and lively….somewhat fresh, stumbling a bit…but shiny eyed nonetheless. The Indian wine industry has stumbling blocks along the way, with flaws to its name by way of inconsistencies in bottling, storage, taxation and whatever else has served to impact and impede its ascension…but, there is still much to laud. When wine expert, Jancis Robinson visited the vineyards of Nasik last year, she expressed her surprise at what she saw, taking special note of the sparklers.
One can’t but sit up and notice the strides that Indian wines have made, beating the odds. Growing up pangs notwithstanding...more wines are being ordered at the bar much like in Europe. The pivot of celebratory events, wines has now become the gifting option of choice and many are reaching out for the home grown Sula, York, Grover Zampa or Krsma.
So, when a glittering showcase to celebrate Indian wine…. lending them a pride of place came about, we in Bangalore, gave it our all. Taking full advantage of the famed, temperate evenings of November in the ‘luru, guests at the Indian Wine Village swished in ethnic ….raising a toast to the evening last month, on November 16.
Setting the stage for this beautiful evening were Sula Brut Tropicale, a blend of red and white (Pinot Noir in predominance with Syrah, some Chenin and Chardonnay) with aromas of passion fruit and peach leaping out from its familiar paisley patterned confines and into the eager glasses, finishing on a prolonged, memorable note of red berries on the palate. Grover Zampa Soiree Brut with its noteworthy fresh and youthful notes of lime and toasted brioche jostled for attention with the new Fratelli Noi…. a pleasing bubbly for all seasons, though a tad on the sweet side.
As the blush of dusk turned darker, guests made their way to the two long tables on the Verandah of the Lalit Ashok Hotel overlooking the balmy poolside, mellifluous strains of flute setting the note for amuse bouche. Often intended to be the tantalizing tease which the amuse bouche promised to be….a succulent and most unexpected galouti of young jackfruit made a star appearance, encased enticingly within the wisps of hickory smoke. Krsma Sauvignon Blanc 2018 made well as the opening note, making way for SDU Reserva Chardonnay 2013 whispering citrus notes with a smooth, long finish. Aah, the joys of a surprise!
The pairing was a stellar curtain raiser for the evening, with diners gasping with surprise at the moist, juicy tenderness of the young jackfruit, easily displacing the coveted stronghold of traditional meats, rendering themselves to the name and fame of a galouti.
Carrying forward the spirited mood of the evening, succulent kebabs like murgh tulsi malai, ajwaini mahi tikka to name a few, were in step with the Big Banyan Rosa Rossa 2016, a 100% zinfandel …supple, medium bodied with cherries on the nose ...slightly off-dry, making way for an elegant, KRSMA K2 2017,with berries and vanilla on the nose and a lingering oaky finish.
By this time, the evening was well on its way as a jovial, upbeat soiree of sorts, the warm conviviality of laughter mingling with the clink of glasses as an unexpected guest made an appearance.
Bernie, the designated Chief Happiness Officer of The LaLit Ashok, Bangalore was rescued several years ago from an abandoned cement factory, his now enormous, furry frame belying the deplorable condition he was found in. Bernie’s warm presence iterated the brand’s encompassing inclusive policy, which is refreshingly welcoming of varied beliefs and thoughts.
The major act of a sit down gourmet meal is always the Main Course and this time it was the showcase of a fine Indian meal , replete with Pulao Aatishe Anar…a long grained pilaf, speckled with ruby red pomegranate, khatta meetha baingan or delectable sweet and sour aubergines and paneer for vegetarians and a succulent murgh khurchan and their signature achari nalli or marrow, done to perfection with delicate spices and a hint of tartness for those that ventured beyond. It may be fair to say, that the lush, creamy Dal Baluchi, didn’t just appear on the sidelines but most certainly vied for centre stage, deservingly so. Slow-cooked to perfection and delicately spiced, this humble bowl of lentils had certainly been elevated to another level.
And….how else, might one pair a wine with this memorable bouquet of fine flavours, but to shine the spotlight on the chosen! Fratelli Sette 2013, with 60% Cab Sauv and 40% Sangiovese was easily the pick of the evening. This wine’s consummate Tuscan expression, perhaps one of the finest handcrafted signatures of winemaker, Piero Masi….with bright fruit, smooth tannins, great structure, notes of vanilla and chocolate made for a lasting impression..
The stellar finishing note of the 2nd Indian Wine Day in Bengaluru was a sparkling dessert showcase. The seductive, dark depths of the nightclub, Kitty Ko came alive with a bountiful flow of Sula Brut Tropicale, Grover Zampa Soiree Brut, Fratelli Noi and Sula Brut Rose as heady, rose scented Gulab Papdi Kulfi overtook the senses while a comfortingly, warm malai kheer proved a reassuring parting shot.
The evening, powered by Bangalore Wine Club was a befitting homage to the tradition of saying Jai Ho in style. “Indian Wine Day is a celebration of the growing stature of wines from India. A young India is at an inflection point to embrace ‘wine culture’ as part of a changing lifestyle!” said PK Mohankumar, President, Bangalore Wine Club, summing up the vision of this annual showcase of Indian vino.
Someone rightly said, that the Indian Wine Industry, nascent as it is, needs our patience, tenacity and bolstering.
But…..how about a long, slow clap to a spectacle that’s beginning to gently pick up pace?
Gargi Guha is a hotelier, handling communications for the luxe Four Seasons brand in Bengaluru. The best part about her work she says, is meeting interesting people, storytelling and enjoying the bounties of the table….most often, fine wine. Moonlighting this year, as a committee member of Bangalore Wine Club, she can be reached at email@example.com