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Delhi Wine Club
Want to get heady? Ask for a Sicilian

Posted: Saturday, 19 January 2013 13:06

Want to get heady? Ask for a Sicilian

Jan 19: Sicilians have been known to hawk bulk wine but that has been changing with the emphasis now shifting to high quality wines some of which will be available for guided tasting at Masterclasses being conducted in four cities from 21-24 January by a Master of Wine from London and a group of producers led by Diego Planeta, the wine brand ambassador of Sicily, writes Sourish Bhattacharyya

I was initiated into the luscious world of Sicilian wines in Verona. It was 2003 and I was at Vinitaly, the annual fair where all of Italy's wine industry turns up.The Sicilians looked almost apologetic for being there.

For long, the rest of Europe saw them as poor cousins hawking bulk wine - and I suspect they got their moment in the spotlight because a leading light of Italy's wine aristocracy, Gianni Zonin, had invested in a vineyard in Sicily.

The experience is etched in my memory - the wines were oozing character and were as warm and welcoming as the Sicilian sun. That's when I discovered Nero d'Avola, Sicily's signature red wine grape. Ten years on, the Sicilians are on a mission to woo India.

Starting tomorrow, a delegation of top Sicilian wine producers, led by the region's wine ambassador, the redoubtable Diego Planeta, will set off on a four-city tour from New Delhi. It will take them from the ITC Maurya on Monday to ITC Sonar Bangla, Kolkata, on Tuesday, ITC Gardenia in Bangalore on Wednesday and finally to ITC Grand Central in Mumbai on Thursday before they return home. A dinner has been planned with the members of the Delhi Wine Club at Ritu Dalmia’s Diva restaurant in Greater Kailash-II, where Chef Carmelo Floridia, who has also come from Sicily to showcase his region’s cuisine, will present the five-course dinner with six wines.

Packed with members of the families that own venerated wine labels such as Tasca d'Almerita and Giuseppe Benanti, the Sicilian government-sponsored delegation will be shepherded by Subhash Arora, President, Indian Wine Academy, and English wine journalist Michele Shah, and will include a Master of Wine (MW), Susan Hulme, who's one of the 220-odd privileged people who have qualified for the exalted title.

Click For Large ViewThey'll share their wines, including ones (Donnafugata, for instance) whose producers won't be present, with aficionados in the four cities. And Hulme will conduct masterclasses, which will be a first for India, because no other MW has done it before.

"Some of the flavours of Sicilian wines seem ideally suited to Indian food and the climate, much more so than spirits," Hulme assures us. The Sicilians would love to dine out on these words.

Sourish Bhattacharyya

This article has been published in the January 19 edition of Mail Today, New Delhi ( and the Daily Mail of London (, and is being reproduced with the author’s permission. — Editor

Tags: Diego Planeta, Sourish Bhattacharyya, Sicilian wines, Vinitaly, Gianni Zonin, Nero d’Avola, ITC Maurya, ITC Sonar Bangla, ITC Gardenia, ITC Grand Central, Delhi Wine Club, Diva, Chef Carmelo Floridia, Tasca d’Almerita, Giuseppe Benanti, Subhash Arora, Michele Shah, Master of Wine (MW), Susan Hulme, Donnafugata, Sicilian wines



Subhash Arora Says:

I know there are 300 but as a rule we don't change such figures when someone else writes. But thank you Niladri sicne this gives me a reason to publish as your Comment.Subhash Arora

Posted @ January 28, 2013 11:01


Niladri Dhar Says:

"the wines were oozing character and were as warm and welcoming as the Sicilian sun" - exactly what I feel whenever I have the opportunity of sampling Sicilian wines (especially reds, most of which are definitely warm, without being flabby - at least the top ones). Just a small correction...there are about 300 MWs in the world today. Cheers, Niladri

Posted @ January 28, 2013 10:57


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