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Delhi Wine Club
Vijay Amritraj Visits Delhi Golf Club

Posted: Monday, 03 March 2015 12:59

Vijay Amritraj Visits Delhi Golf Club

March 03: Vijay Amritraj, the legendary Indian tennis player now residing in California may not have visited Delhi in person but was present in spirit (correction-wine!) when both the Vijay Amritraj (VA) Reserve Collection red and white wines were presented to the Delhi Golf Club members, along with four other award winning wines by Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO of Grover Zampa Vineyards (GZV) and Subhash Arora, President of the Indian Wine Academy (IWA)

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Click For Large ViewMandla flew in from Mumbai on the afternoon of February 23rd to taste with the members-no guests are allowed for such wine appreciation evenings being presented by Subhash Arora, the two stalwarts giving apt company by Grover Zampa Brut Soiree, Grover Art Collection Series Sauvignon Blanc 2014 and followed by the Cabernet Shiraz and La Reserve Red wine with delicious snacks.

The Brut was an instant success with most members, especially the younger lot later claiming it to be the best wine of the evening. The autolysis due to the second fermentation in the bottle of this Chenin Blanc bubbly has given interesting brioche like character and that coupled with the citrus and apple-like character and the fresh, crispy flavour with the right amount of sweetness coupled with a good, persistent mouthfeel were the key reasons for the applause.

The Sauvignon Blanc has been gaining in terms of popularity and quality-no wonder it was the first-ever Indian wine to have not only won a Gold Medal in a delWine-recognised international wine competition but also the International Regional Trophy in this category in Hong Kong. In fact as Sumedh pointed out while giving the history and background of the company and their wines, especially the Vijay Amritraj Collection, he said the company had really improved the quality and won a total of 24 medals in these competitions including for the debutante VR wines. Sauvignon Blanc was well-liked for its fruity herbaceousness, freshness and the tangy flavour with the wine dancing on the mid-palate till it went down the gullet. At Rs. 620 MRP in Delhi, it is a no-nonsence white wine good for aperitifs and light textured meals like grilled fish and can be devoured at any time.

The two protagonists of the evening were presented side by side though logic would have dictated the Grover Cabernet Shiraz to come to bat before the VA red. This was to keep the VA on the center-stage and the crease together while Sumedh interpreted the wine with the help of Arora who kept filling in during the event about general wine tasting, features, grapes, etiquettes etc to the captive audience who admitted to being novices but showed a keen interest to partake in the discussions during the evening.

VA White is barrel fermented and is short aged on lees for 3 to 4 months in new French oak. The first vintage earned them a Silver in Decanter Asia Wine Awards.
It was a well structured, medium-bodied wine with floral and peachy notes and a hint of vanilla from new french oak integration.The flavour was spicy with shades of oak vanilla, medium acidity and good expression of Viognier,peach and floral layer and a long end. This is a typical food wine whose oak character needs to be tamed for a couple of years. Hopefully after using barriques with 1-2 vintages on hand would make it nicely balanced and not so oaky. There was a mixed response to the complex wine as might be expected.

Vijay Amritraj Reserve red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and about 5% Viognier was really a well rounded wine with good structure and balance-the predominant berry flavours, salivating acidity in the background and ripe and supple tannins making it a very approachable wine with or without food and which can also be cellared for a few years. At Rs. 1200 each, the wines may be slightly expensive but not if they invoke nostalgia and bring back those magical moments of two decades ago with the tennis ace for the tennis fans.

As expected, the Cabernet Shiraz tasted as if it was angular, had rough edges and less complexity as it was served after the beautiful VA, underlying the importance of the order of service for such tastings or any wine tasting. But it helped to showcase for the grand Finale, the workhorse value-for-money La Reserve red which has been enthralling the Indian palates for two decades now.  Click For Large ViewBasically a First-Class upgrade of the economy class Cab Shiraz, it has an intense bouquet of luscious ripe red and black fruits with a definite hint of spice and chocolate. The dark garnet colour wine is full bodied, elegant and homogenous with a full mouthfeel. The tannins are silky and ripe with a long and persistent finish.

The evening for which Sumedh had come personally and specially, deserves our appreciation and that of the DGC; he left for the airport immediately after the tasting, leaving a lasting impression on the palates, hearts and minds of the members who were seen in a good mood discussing the merits of various wines and seemed to have developed a better respect and appreciation of Indian wines, and more specially GroverZ wines.

We now await the physical visit of Vijay Amritraj in the Club- that of the wines and the man who is a living legend, a wine connoisseur and a fan of Grover wines for several years and has helped raise the internationalisation process a notch or two.

For the previous article on the subject, please visit
Vijay Amritraj Charms Delhi with Wine and Persona

Subhash Arora

GroverZ-our way of describing Grover Zampa Vineyards, or the drab sounding GZV- the legal name-editor

Videos : Grover Wine Tasting @DGC-     Vol.1     Vol.2    Vol.3    Vol.4

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Tags: Vijay Amritraj, Sumedh Singh Mandla, Grover Zampa Vineyards (GZV)


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