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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Wednesday, 12 May 2010 14:25

Wine Dinner: Magique of Mallya’s Wines on Mother’s Day

Delhi Wine Club celebrated the Mother’s Day at the magical Magique Restaurant with wines from Mallya’s stable, with an accent on the summer wine Rosé- both bubbly and the still styles, from France, India and Australia, presented by Abhay Kewadkar, the Business Head of the UB wines division, who is on the road to promote Rose as the summer wine.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Click For Large ViewStrawberries, cherries and an angel's kiss in spring
My summer wine is really made from all these things
Take off your silver spurs and help me pass the time
And I will give to you summer wine
Ohhh-oh summer wine

Definitely in my list of the then Top Ten, the heady number from Nancy Sinatra used to have a hypnotic effect- certainly gave a heady feeling, the more one heard. She might have been referring to the fruit wine made from Strawberries and cherries but for a summer wine, there is nothing quite the same as a refreshing Rosé made from red grapes like Zinfandel, Syrah or perhaps Pinot Noir and a host of other varietals that give aromas and flavours penned in the song of the sixties.

So when Abhay Kewadkar, Business head and Chief Winemaker of UB wine division made a proposal to showcase Rosé as summer wine at a dinner with the members of the Delhi Wine Club, we did not take long to give consent. And what better day than Mother’s Day for the pink!

Failed prediction

Actually, this is one wine where I have failed miserably in making correct prediction for the Indian market. Based on our penchant to copy the styles of English and the French where the consumption of Rosé has been skyrocketing, I feel the growth in this style should have been consistently higher than 20-25%- on a much smaller existing base. However, in India where a majority of men still drink liquor to get drunk, and where wine is still considered a lady’s drink by the ignoramus , though to a much lesser extent, Rosé is still considered a female bastion- perhaps due to the invasion of sweet Mateus in the seventies and eighties. The myth has since long been shattered outside India. And hence the unprecedented growth-global warming may have something to do with it too!

Oooh- oh summer wine

Made from red grapes, most of which make it possible to produce a Rosé with a short contact of the skins in the tank, thus giving a light pink colour and then fermenting it like a white- mostly in the stainless steel tanks, gives a wine that is slightly tannic (and has the benefits of  anti-oxidants). It may be bone-dry or slightly sweet depending upon the style of the producer. For example, the Rosé introduced by the Four Seasons is made from Zinfandel, making it quite fruity and refreshing.

Angel’s Kiss in the Spring

To make the evening more interesting, we agreed to also start the evening with four starters with the Bouvet Ladubay Brut Rose sparkling from the company owned by UB in Loire Valley, France. Certainly full of strawberries and cherries, the tingling sensation on the tongue was perhaps the angel’s kiss that Sinatra was referring to.

Take of your silver spurs

For the dinner at the magical restaurant, each silver spur was equivalent to the thousand-rupee note. Mother’s are angels-so whether they kissed or not, one spur was ok, thank you. There was also a cool, medium bodied Merlot to help me pass the time. Abhay and his PR agency  had wanted the celebrities, dignitaries, p-3 types- And I will give to you summer wine, he had said. This was easy -every member of the Delhi Wine Club is a special dignitary, a celebrity of sorts and p-3 (paying type).

Ambience that welcomes you with pleasing greenery and the fresh breeze that blows over it, sets the mood for the evening. Dozens of aromatic candles both inside the air-conditioned restaurant and outside make the mood serene and seductive. Spring was in the air where the tables for forty four were laid out by Chetan Sarup, the restaurant manager, using attractive silverware and stemware. Only a few people had lost their way to the restaurant- the place is like a treasure hunt for the first timers.

Although the vegetarians loved their watermelon dish, turned exotic with feta cheese and pine nuts, it was the tiger prawns that were interestingly spiced to make them pair deliciously with the chilled Four Seasons Rosé. I carried on for a while with the sparkling Ladubay which made the tiger prawns do a gig on the palate with its prickly bubbles.

Fettuccine with Porcini Mushroom & Truffle Oil was delicious but a bit dry-nothing that a dash of olive oil or truffle oil could not have handled. Unknown to most, the truffle oil imported in India is made from chemicals and essence and only gives a dash of flavour of the real thing- believe me-I have been to the Alba White truffle fair and that stuff would be heavenly if sprinkled on this pasta- a practical impossibility. It would be nice if the restaurant keeps the olive oil on each table as a routine-maybe I didn’t notice it !

No matter how much efforts you might make, there are always die-hards who need a glass of red wine to keep their arteries clean and clear. To satisfy such members, the Australian Merlot from Gossip did an adequate job-especially since it was fruity, with ripe tannins and properly cooled at around 14° C. Most people loved their lamb though a couple of them did mutter theirs were slightly bitter. Others felt the cuts could have been better-read more meaty! Well, it is never easy to satisfy the groom’s side!

The dexterity of the staff to react to the quirks of  each individual member was truly amazing-not seen in any other restaurants-at least the stand alones. But where was Marut Sikka, our celebrity Chef owner who had done such a wonderful job at Kainoosh at the previous dinner that there was encore from a variety of members? In fact, they felt that the restaurant had outdone and outshone Olive at Mehrauli. Pretty loaded statement-since Olive still retains its old world charm and the clientele. Perhaps, they were mesmerized by the fact that Marut had made himself scarce, by not mingling with the celebrities or the important clients, but by dashing straight into the kitchen and supervising the cooking, right till the end.

If there was plenty of wine and abundance of food, right till the end with mega sized cups of cappuccino, every member would tell you that the DJ also ‘helped me pass the time’. It was a great Mother’s Day treat from their sons, daughters or husbands at the magical Magique Restaurant owned by the friend of the club- Marut Sikka who is already asking us to come back again, soon-pity there are other venues and cuisines already beckoning the members of the Delhi Wine Club for the 161th, 162nd and 163 event.

Subhash Arora  

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