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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Monday, October 12 2009. 11:50

FWM-MTB: It takes Two to Tango

FineWinesnMore, the Mumbai- based wine importer is ready to tango with Costaflores of Argentina with the launching of its private label MTB in collaboration with the  wine producer from Mendoza, the famous wine region, with a white Torrontes and a red Malbec. Subhash Arora reports

The cities to be covered in the first phase have been identified as Lucknow, Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore and Mumbai. In the next stage it will also target the export markets like UK, Hong Kong and Mauritius where there is a sizable Indian population; next year has been pencilled in for exports.

Beginning of Private Label Series
‘We have been planning for a series of private labels for some time now. After a lot of soul searching and analysis of the possible winemaking sources, we decided to start with the famous region of Mendoza in Argentina,’ says Dharti Desai, CEO and Founder of FineWinesnMore, adding ‘we also zeroed in on the two signature grape varieties of Argentina- Torrontes for white wine and Malbec for the red variety, both of which seem to flourish in Mendoza.’

What added to their choice of the two varietals was also the fact that both Malbec and Torrontes have recently become very popular in the US and UK markets and have been gaining ground. With Malbec already well-known in India as the great Argentine varietal, it is a matter of time and proper education that Torrontes will also be the darling grape for white wines, she feels.

After identifying the grape varieties, coincidently Dharti met Mike Barrow. ‘Nestled within the protective embrace of the imposing Andes, we discovered the Costaflores vineyard and Mike Barrow, proprietor and winemaker,’ says Craig Wedge, the Senior Vice President of FineWinesnMore. Mike is no stranger to India; he has been regularly visiting India for many years.

‘Resplendent in a white corduroy suit, bespectacled, with a shaggy mop of unkempt hair, your archetypal new world winemaker, what I garnered from talking to Mike was he had an extraordinary love and fascination for India, and was driven by the single conviction that he could produce a world class wine with the Indian palate and landscape  in mind,’ says Dharti about their early encounters.

‘And by all accounts he has succeeded,’ interjects Craig. ‘The first releases from Costaflores, ( a certified organic enterprise mind you) with the interesting moniker of MTB (Mike Tango Bravo),and the first of the private labels of FineWinesnMore, showcases the wonder of the terroir of Mendoza and the extraordinary appeal of these two grape varieties and their subsequent potential in the hands of a  gifted craftsman.’

Savour that flavour

‘The Malbec has an added touch of a proportion of Petit Verdot in the recipe, and like the symbiotic relationships between other known grape varieties like Shiraz-Viognier, Semillon-Sauvignon, Cabernet-Merlot that spring to mind, it produces a wonderful mouthful of goings on!’ exclaims Wedge, who is originally from Australia and has been a sommelier and wine consultant for many years before taking the role within FineWinesnMore to assist Dharti with her ambitious expansion plans.

‘The deep reddish purple invites the eye, and the rich brooding chocolate berry fruit bomb continues the journey on the nose. The deliciously seductive mouthful of ripe spicy fruit is further enhanced with a fabulously balanced structure and enduring finish.’ is how Craig poetically describes the MTB red.

Craig is even more ecstatic when he describes the white wine which he feels will go perfectly well with Indian food and palate. ‘The 100% Torrontes is one of those little gems of the wine world that, tasting it, you ask of yourself why you waited so long to discover it. Extravagantly floral nose of mango and mandarin blossom, intertwined with white peach nuances. A subtle whiff of gun-smoke and wet river pebbles adds a further intriguing dimension. The wine balances fresh zesty, lip-smacking acidity with a deliciously juicy mouthful of flavour and texture. This is good stuff!!!’ he beams with delight while talking about this wine.

Of course, both are excellent examples of single vineyard organic Malbec and single vineyard organic Torrontes. Mike Barrows proudly says, ‘organic viticulture requires more intensive care to achieve oenologically ideal conditions. Soil cultivation, conservation, and the micro-organisms are the key. We attain better soil fertility by natural means (compost, manures, pruning), and weed control is managed manually and with farm animals. Pests and diseases are prevented by using non-toxic substances and with aromatic flowers that attract benevolent insects. In the end, we get a product we are proud of and the viticulture is sustainable too.’

Unique Launch Pads

FineWinesnMore in their own unique way, are introducing the wines to the Indian market in a series of well planned events across four major cities. “The wines and sounds of Argentina” is the theme of these events planned to enthral wine lovers with good food, the MTB wines and with  Argentine music legend Natalio Faingold and Space Garage coming as special guests for the launch parties in these cities.

The first of the events kicked off in association with the Genesis Club in Lucknow last Friday. The road show then moves to Delhi and the Earth and Den Restaurant in Gurgaon features on Wednesday, the 14h and the ITC Maurya on Thursday the 15th.. Back to Mumbai for the last leg and a launch with a difference at the Blue Frog on Tuesday the 20th and finally the Club in Andheri on Wednesday the 21st.

It looks like MTB, the contemporary wines from Argentina, are ready to make a splash in the Indian market with Dharti Desai planning to sell around 10,000 bottles within 2009-10, which seems to be an Achievable target with the marketing plans she has devised with her team. It takes two to tango and with the Costaflores and FinewinesnMore partnership, it promises to be a great performance.

Subhash Arora


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