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Delhi Wine Club
Flight of Fancy at ITC Maurya Delhi

Posted: Monday, 16 April 2012 10:28

We Recommend: Flight of Fancy at ITC Maurya Delhi

Apr 16 : The new revamped wine list at the Dum Pukht Restaurant in ITC Maurya Hotel offers several surprises, including 30 wines by the glass, but the icing on the cake is the possibility of tasting all these wines in flights of 3 wines of 50 mL each at the cost of a standard glass of 150 mL, writes Subhash Arora who recommends our Delhi readers to try a flight or two based on our recommendations and enjoy several different wines at a very affordable price.

Click For Large ViewThe wine-by-the- glass programme called ‘Around the World in 30 Glasses’ gives you an opportunity to try wines and Champagne from several countries and regions, costing from Rs. 500 a glass for Indian wines (not a good value), Rs.650-950 a glass for imported wines, some of them a very good value, to Champagnes costing Rs.1250 a glass of 150 mL as the size of each glass. The Rose variant is a good value too.

There are wines from France (40%), Italy, USA, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Portugal, besides India. The expats would be happy to taste India through Sula, Grover and Nine Hills (Chivas Regal scotch people), 5 variants of which are available (don’t expect a Rosé or a bubbly though-Sula makes a delicious Rosé Brut).

Wine-in-the-glass is a good concept that encourages you to order a wine or two for your dinner. But what is outstanding is ‘Wine Tasting Samples-Our Sommelier recommends’ Section at the end of the Menu. For Rs.650 a flight, you may taste 3 wines of 50 mL each. Thus if you have time and inclination you could order even two flights, tasting 6 wines and drinking a healthy 300 mL.

Another reason why the Menu is inviting is that by choosing flights, one gets to drink more expensive wines costing Rs.950 a glass at Rs.650 only. The restaurant is not the loser either as it gets long term business from the customer, encourage further tastings of their wines or get the taster to have dinner in the restaurant after the tasting.

Here are our recommended possible combos for each flight:
White wine  (Choose any three-Rs.650 a flight)
1. Rully Premier Cru, Domaine Olivier Leflaive Cote Chalonnaise 2008 (Rs.950)
If you love Chardonnay- especially Burgundy, you will enjoy this wine from area adjoining   Burgundy.                            
2. Bernkasteler Lay' Kabinett Mosel 2010 Dr. Loosen (Rs. 950)
From an excellent producer in an outstanding region of Germany, you’d love slightly sweet Riesling
3. Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2010 Saint Clair (Rs. 950)
Award winning wine from an outstanding producer of NZ, every Indian loves this fruity style

Red wine
1. Brouilly Beaujolais Cru 2008 Maison Louis Jadot (Rs.750)
The top end Beaujolais from Brouilly  is from Gamay grape-fruity, medium, good match for Indian food.
2. Côtes-du-Rhône  Rhone Valley 2007 E.Guigal (Rs.750)
This South Rhone blend makes hearty, spicy, fuller bodied wine from a well-known producer    
3. Castello di Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva 2007Marchesi de Frescobaldi ( Rs.850)
Sangiovese goes well with Indian food-you may find it out with this wine and its spiciness.                     
4. Zinfandel Reserve  Sonoma Valley 2007 Ironstone Vineyards (Rs. 950)
Zinfandel was introduced as a Blush (pink) wine by Sula, but this is fuller bodied, more serious wine
Mixed Flight (1Wh+1Rs+1Rd)
1. Vouvray Loire Valley 2010 Guy Saget  (Rs.750)
  Fruity and elegant  wine from Loire, for those who are accustomed to the Chenin Blanc varietal in India.             
2. Tavel Rosé 2010, E.Guigal (Rs.950)
This blend of Grenache and Syrah is representative of the Rose producing Rhone Valley region in France                            
3. Pinot Noir Oregon 2009 Erath(Rs. 850)
Don’t let the screw-cap fool you. The lighter, juicy, fruity wine is fresh and great for vegetarians too.

It is disappointing that the list does not offer a Rosé or a sweet wine like Ben Ryé Passito de Pantelleria Donnafugata from Sicily. This is a dessert by itself after dinner at the Dum Pukht and is available by the bottle. At a tasting where I had a tasting  portion with ‘Double ka Meetha’ by Chef Qureshi, the food artist at Dum Pukht, who has taken over from his legendry father-in-law, Chef Qureshi the combination was heavenly ; even he could not resist admitting that the wine had added to the taste of his dish.

The Wine List has been designed by Niladri Dhar, the Corporate Beverage Manager- Wines. He joined ITC group about a year ago when he moved to India from New Zealand where he worked with as a domain expert. He has been working at revamping the wine programme at the ITC Hotels, including organizing advanced level WSET courses for the staff pan India. 

Click For Large ViewWith full support from his boss- Anil Malik, General Manger for corporate F & B, and the senior management he is working on the Wine lists for my Humble House and the Pavilion Coffee Shop- West View already has a similar list released recently. Although the Golf Bar would have been a perfect place to offer the wine flights, there are apparently some issues being worked out before it becomes a reality there. He promises to offer similar deals in all the ITC luxury hotels in the metros in India. In fact, he is doing just that these days. He is in Mumbai and will be soon in Bangalore adn Chennai looking at the lists and finalising the new wine lists. Our readers throughout India may expect to have tasting opportunities soon at affordable prices at these ITC locations.

Meanwhile, It may  be a good idea to add some Indian snacks to the Flight Menu as well, with each flight priced at slightly higher rates, offering the combo in the early evening hours- like 6-8 pm when the restaurant is otherwise not busy. The restaurant can thus give a preview of Chef Qureshi's excellent cooking. At any rate, the Wine List does offer fabulous opportunities to taste quality wines at affordable rates. A visit is highly recommended for novices and connoisseurs alike-whether you are staying at the hotel, planning a dinner at this same restaurant or any of the others in the hotel or outside. It would be nice to tell the manager you visited because of our recommendation.

Subhash Arora



Niladri Dhar Says:

Just to let your readers know that the Dum Pukht and West View wine lists at ITC Maurya have been awarded the 'Award of Excellence' by Wine Spectator...first ever for ITC Hotels. Cheers, Niladri

Posted @ July 16, 2012 12:00


Ajay Nayyar Says:

Surprising but it evokes my interest to rejoin this Awadhi cuisine restaurant in the luxary collection,i few months back left the Dumpukht Bar with old wine dossier having a lesser no. of the wines on the menus making the patrons to enters with their bottles and chasing them is a fun, but the wine administration has now open the doors for new wines infact 12 so now the Jhinga Dum Nisha would be accompanied by something else instead of obvious Norton Malbec everytym,,,,,,so assaunte to Team Dumpukht and Mr. Niladari Dhar for navigating these best one to new dossier. Ajay Nayyar-Dumpukht 2011

Posted @ April 30, 2012 10:38


Niladri Dhar Says:

Harshal, good to know that you like the concept.I think you have mixed up a 'terroir driven' Beaujolais Cru with mass-produced and catch-all BEAUJOLAIS (and possibly Beaujolais Nouveau). No doubt the wine in question is light and can also be enjoyed young but to say that they are "meant to be consumed as soon after bottling" is misleading as this particular wine shows a lot of pleasant aged characters along with the quintessential lively Gamay fruits. Also, it is not advisable to make generalisations about a particular style just based on the grape variety alone. Here's what Jancis Robinson has to say about the contemporary styles of Gamay wines - "But more and more growers, particularly those in the Beaujolais crus, are once again, like their grandfathers, making their wines much more in the way of traditional red burgundy, fermenting the grape in open wooden vats and ageing them in small barrels, so that the overall effect is a much deeper-coloured, more tannic, long-lived wine that may not be ready to drink until four or more years after the harvest. These wines still have Gamay’s trademark refreshing acidity but they also have many attributes that make them more like red burgundy." Here's a link to the producer/bottler's site where they clearly mention that the wine can be aged for 3 to 5 years - Similar argument for the 2007 Guigal Cotes-du-Rhone. See what the producer himself has so say about the ageing potential - Also, have a look at the extremely revered CellarTracker's informed community's view (note the 'Drinking Window") -, Niladri Dhar

Posted @ April 18, 2012 18:00


Subhash Arora Says:

Thanks for your comments, Harshal. I think you are referring to Beajolais Nouveau when you say that it should be consumed immediately after the bottling. Even Villages  is good for 2-3 years. Cru Beaujolais is the top appellation of Beaujolais and Brouilly is one of the better of the ten villages that are sesignated to make it. The life of this wine is easily 3-5 years. I would lay it up for 3 years. It is very much alive and kicking fresh-I tasted it so I can say that. Cotes du Rhone is a slightly different story. Again for white Yes you are right, but in red- 5 years is not uncommon, especially from a good producer like Guigal.I didn't taste it but I presume Maurya stores its wines well. Incidentaly, if you look a there are over 200 listed stores still selling 2007 and even 2006 and 2005!! Only previous vintagas taper off.

From consumers' perspective, I don't care if the slow moving or extra wine is put in that glass. In fact, I know it is a world wide practice and as a sommelier, I hope you recommend it from a business stand-point since both the hotel and consumer benefit. A couple of years ago when the chips of wine industry were down and premier wines were moving slowly, I remember at a wedding lunch where Maurya charged Rs.1500 a bottle- they were serving Guidalberto, the 'second' wine from Sassicaia. Who cares that this was because it was not moving otherwise and the finance department perhaps pushed the F & B deptt to get rid of it!. I have never drunk so much red wine at lunch. My only regret has been why I didnt think of picking up 6 bottles and paid my friend hosting the lunch and sneaking the bottles out of the hotel!!

I wish and hope more and more hotels follow this practice which Shangri-la, Delhi pioneered thanks to Andrew Steele. Remember, the hotel's neck is on the line too, if they serve a wine which is past its prime-the customer may balk too and it could be counter-productive. Subhash Arora 

Posted @ April 18, 2012 13:50


Harshal Shah Says:

Great concept here, but I would seriously question a wine flight that offered me a 4-year old Brouilly, and a 5-year old Cotes du Rhone; both of these styles are meant to be consumed as soon after bottling as possible. I can only assume that they have either been sitting in cellars in France for a long time; in the importer's warehouse for too long, or in the hotel's cellar for a number of years. They certainly are not current releases from the respective producers.

Posted @ April 18, 2012 13:28


Niladri Dhar Says:

Thank you for sharing and endorsing our recent efforts to revamp the ITC Hotels wine offerings with your readers. I have always maintained that the range and variety of wines-by-the-glass speaks volume of an establishment's seriousness to make wine more accessible to its guests, and this reflects in the wine list of Dum Pukht and West View at the moment. The wine tasting samples is just another extension of this initiative. Let me also take this opportunity to mention that we have overhauled almost the entire wine list with 85% new labels, which have been selected keeping in mind the ultimate objective to achieve a balanced wine list - in terms of grape varieties / blends, regions / appellations, price points, compatibility to our cuisines and addressing a wide range of taste preferences. Such initiatives will also be implemented in the other ITC group hotels, starting with the large luxury collection units. Although, I would have loved to share the launch dates at other locations, it will be subject to local challenges (brand registration, mainly). Also, keep an eye on new lists for ITC Maurya's Bukhara and My Humble House... Cheers, Niladri Dhar

Posted @ April 17, 2012 13:10


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