Nov 22: Second edition of Indian Wine Day was celebrated at 9 of the Lalit Hotels in India as well in London on November 16, 2019, besides several other activities relating to Indian wines. Our guest writer Abhik Bhattacharya from Kolkata reflects on the evening and the wines he tasted at the event held at the Great Eastern Lalit
India had persistently been bashful about professing her love of wine to the world until Indian Wine Academy and The Lalit volunteered a year ago to change her for keeps by pledging November 16 to the glory of Indian wines. I was proudly a part of the2nd anniversary celebration of Indian Wine Day this year at The Lalit Great Eastern in Calcutta. On the cusp of winter, that crisp evening stayed true to the day’s ethos by showcasing an eclectic cross-section of India’s finest produces of today; and, hosted a motley crowd gladly bonding over varying vinous affiliations and food-dishes carefully paired to exalt the dining experience.
Sula Brut Tropicale, an expressive Blanc de Noirs, was wisely let ring in the promising evening. Processed by using Méthode Traditionelle with shreds of dark varietals as marquee as Pinot Noir and what not, this sparkling stumped with a nose of crispy, fruity mischief, that could as well be called elegantly unobtrusive if weighed strictly on lightness. Kadak Seekhs as cheese-filled chicken cigars paired perfectly with Brut’s indiscreet ebullience. Impressed and settled, I buckled up in delicious anxiety!
Tikkia kebabs sprinkled with shreds of Marigold were served as Amuse Bouche with panache. Sula Sauvignon Blanc’s affable tartness lent timely charm to its pairing with kebabs, yielding a staid but lasting mouthfeel more relatable to method than madness. And, like a trusted libation kept the evening aflame that was well past a sprightly sparkling but surely raring for robust Reds.
I wish I had reams all to myself to describe the wine that followed. A Jancis Robinson favourite and once exalted as the Best New world Wine by Steven Spurrier, Grover’s La Réserve Icon Red – an oak-aged Cab Sauvignon-Syrah blend, revealed how swimmingly could a vertical and relatively unvarying Cabernet partner with sprightly Syrah... and turn progressively fuller with each sip. By sporting a bouquet that at once was discernibly fruity and playfully spicy, and a finish as ample as that of The Misfits’s Monroe, La Réserve laid a stage for one to follow that ought to be as profound or more. Though accompanying Murgh ke Parchey did upset by not yielding to my fork and knife gracefully, spicy Chapa Vepaduas juicy fillets of fish dry-rubbed and griddled, redeemed with a unique tang to fill in La Réserve’s celebrated zest.
The wine that ensued did more harm than good by quietly notching my deep allegiance to varietals! Touted as one of the boldest expressions of red, awash in oaky notes of dark-fruits and spices, Fratelli Sette – a blend of Sangiovese and Cab Sauvignon, proved one I could sway with until well into night. Slow-nursing let it sagely unfold to a delicious drink, rich in all that a bold red could offer in earnest. Among the mains served as pairs, Laal-maas did wonders in lifting Sette’s mystique with native richness. By skipping Brut as the closing drink, I wisely made Sette my friend forever.
Indian Wine Academy and The Lalit gain boundless plaudits for presenting aspirated, inclusive and coming-of-age assortment of wines to all of us. However, some exchange on merits of the wines would have made the occasion more engaging and fruitful. Great Eastern’s food, pleasing both in taste and flavour, paired more or less favourably with the drinks poured. I wish Indian Wine Day boundless glory over the years to come. Until then, Jai Ho! Perhaps, now I know why the most fulfilling alternative to sipping wine is writing about it.
Watch out this space for future episodes of Indian Wine Day slated to be held again on November 16, 2019 when many of you would taste good Indian gastronomy.
Abhik Bhattacharya is a Chartered Accountant with a long career with global majors. His passion and job took him far and wide exposing him to finest food and brightest wines of the world. He is currently an entrepreneurial professional based out of Kolkata, and enjoys writing on food and wine through his page ‘UNCOOKEDWORDS’ when stoked. Abhik is an avid photographer too. He can be reached at email@example.com/
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