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Indian Wines get Respect at Indigo Delhi

Posted: Monday, 27 April 2015 14:52

Indian Wines get Respect at Indigo Delhi

April 27: Newly opened Indigo Restaurant, also known as One Golden Mile brings the culinary acumen of Rahul Akerkar to Delhi with a wine list that is almost as exotic as in the Mumbai original but perhaps due to the non-availability of Duty-free license, the prices are exorbitant. The Indian wines get an advantage and more respect and real estate in the list, writes Subhash Arora who feels that if one searches the Menu with a fine comb, one can still order a couple of decent wines with meals

Click For Large ViewThis is perhaps the first wine list that does not list Indian wines separately but categorises them with the other wines- and some of them are priced even higher than the imported wines. Although it appears to be Sula heavy for Indian wines, it offers adequate number to give a fair choice of Indian varietal to the customer. The list is manageable and gives enough choices for the cuisine served in the restaurant.

Power of Seven

The wine prices have been generally (not all) designed scientifically, by using a multiple of 7 on the average retail price indicated on Wine-Searcher.com (VAT is extra @20%. So is the service Tax @4.94% and Service Charge @10%-common for most restaurants). Actually, it varies from around 6-8-the more expensive wines have lesser mark-ups (you may want to check out yourself by going to the wine-searcher website for any of these wines). The high list prices make wines prohibitive for Aam Aadmi.

But presumably, the restaurant doesn’t have the Duty Free License. This would make their costs much higher and in any case, gives them the license and freedom to price their wines as they deem fit-unlike in the case of 5-star restaurants which import customs duty-free wines and are under obligation to cap the mark ups to 250% - a condition few of them fulfil. (At least no hotel has come up challenging our statement so far)

Here are a few examples of the wines listed at the restaurant. The (prices) are average as indicated on wine-searcher. <Multiple> is indicated as the third parameter (Ratio of Indigo/average global retail price overseas including import taxes), if you don’t have a calculator handy:  

Life of Stone Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (S. Africa) 

Rs. 6,999  

(870)

<8.04>

Viña Tarapaca (Chile) 

Rs. 4,449

(580)

<7.67>

Coseca Tarapaca 2014 (Chile)  

Rs. 2,999  

(483)

<6.20>

Riesling Dr. L  Dr. Loosen (Germany)

Rs. 4,499

(669) 

<6.72>

Pol Roger Brut NV (Champagne)  

Rs.19,999

(3099)

<6.45>

It is pertinent to note that the prices indicated by wine-seracher.com as the suggested retail prices are usually 3-4 times higher than the ex-cellar prices.

Chandon by Sula Vineyards

The List would suggest that Sula Vineyards have taken over Chandon Brand from Moet & Chandon. Chandon Brut Rose Sula Vineyard India is listed at Rs. 3499 whereas Chandon Brut Sula Vineyards India is available at a more reasonable Rs. 2499. For the calculating minds, Chandon Brut retails at around Rs. 1200/1250 while the Rose Brut is an excellent value at the MRP of Rs. 1400/1450-at least when it was being produced and marketed by Moet & Chandon.

Wine by the Glass for ‘Bigger Bang for your Buck’

If you are used to looking at the right side of a Price List first-or are not in a mood to order a full bottle, it pays to look at Indigo’s Wine-by-the-glass List which does afford a few possibilities of ordering wine at reasonable prices, giving a bigger bang for your buck.

Ti Amo listed as Sartori di Verona Prosecco Brut, presumably a private label owned by Brindco, on the Wine-by-the-glass List sells for Rs. 500 a glass (150 mL) and is a pretty decent value-for-money Prosecco. It is listed as Ti Amo Brut in the main Menu at Rs. 2499 and is worth ordering by the bottle if there are 2 or more in the group. Sula Brut has been priced higher at Rs. 640 a glass and would appeal to the ex-pat guests only as Ti Amo is following the footsteps of Jacobs Creek in the segment of  Proseccos which are fast becoming the favourite ‘Champagne’ for a majority of wine drinkers in India.

Cadet d’Oc Baron Philippe de Rothschild is a take-off from their branded wine Mouton Cadet in Bordeaux. It sells for an average of Rs. 483 (ref. Wine-searcher.com) overseas but retails for an affordable price of sub Rs. 1000 in Delhi. In fact, some of our readers of delWine/ Indian Wine Academy have often complained that when they go to buy the Mouton Cadet in Gurgaon  they are palmed off instead this Languedoc Roussillon wine, selling at less than 40% cost of the Mouton (Cadet is the confusion-possibly created by the Baron Philippe de Rothschild or they keep a blind eye to the similarity!) from South of France. At Rs. 400 a glass (the restaurant gets full marks for pricing wine-by-the-glass unlike hotels like Oberoi Delhi, at a fifth of the bottle price of Rs. 1999) it is still not a bad choice, coming from the producers of Mouton Rothschild, Mouton Cadet in Medoc-if you like Chardonnay.  

A patriotic denizen cannot go wrong in ordering the Sauvignon Blanc 2014  Sula Vineyards (whenever Rajeev Samant and I go out for lunch in Delhi, this is our mutually favoured wine) or their Chenin Blanc 2013  if you like the off-dry, slightly sweet stuff at Rs. 400 glass of each.  I can’t comment on the Chenin Sauvignon Blanc Sula Vineyards (No Vintage listed) as I have Click For Large Viewnever tasted it. It’s either private labelled for them or perhaps they take the left-overs of Chenin and Sauvignon Blanc and mix the two in a bottle to create their own blend-and hence no vintage mentioned.

Of course, it could also be Mosaic, the lower ended wine that is a blend of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc and retails for Rs. 400 (Sula Chenin Blanc retails in Delhi for Rs. 550 and Sauvignon Blanc for Rs. 650). But in that case, one would have expected the name of the label-it’s extremely popular in the budget conscious young Delhi wine drinkers.

Wine or no wine, the restaurant is rocking. I am not a food critic or a blogger so I am not qualified to criticise-all I know is that it has not touched the heights achieved by the Bombay original in Colaba. The food does not have the Akekar stamp even though the prices closely do. But a great place for rendezvous! I enjoyed my visit on both the occasions- the ambience is unique and very relaxing and the company of course, help. I was very touched when the young hostess rushes with an umbrella to escort me to the restaurant in the scorching sun.

And the wines recommended above might help enjoy the evening or the afternoon better without burning a big hole in your pocket-and if it is simply a glass or two of wine that you long for with your food.

Subhash Arora

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