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Delhi Wine Club
NRAI: Restaurateurs Get a Taste of Wines from Veneto and Puglia

Posted: Wednesday, 19 September 2012 10:36

NRAI: Restaurateurs Get a Taste of Wines from Veneto and Puglia

September 19 : A group of Delhi members of NRAI, the National Restaurant Association of India had an opportunity to get a taste of wines from Veneto and Puglia last month at P’tit Bar in Defence Colony where Subhash Arora was invited to conduct a guided tasting and present a set of wines from Veneto-based Tinazzi Winery in the presence of its export manager, Gianmaria Peter.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Click For Large ViewAll the 20 Italian regions produce wines, most from indigenous grapes. Although Piemonte and Tuscany rule the roost in terms of branding and quality, they can be quite expensive. With the ridiculously high taxes in India it may not be feasible to have big volumes. This is where the Veneto-based winery Casa Vitivinicola Tinazzi scores, with a good Price-Quality Ratio. This was the message from Gianmaria Peter, export manager to the restaurateurs of Delhi this evening.

Cav. Tarsillo Nataloni, owner of Flavors and P’tit Bar in Defence Colony is naturally passionate about wines from Puglia - he grew up in this southern region of Italy known for wines like Primitivo and Negroamaro with Malvasia white wines toeing the line.  Therefore, when Gianmaria Peter, the Indian born, Italian raised export manager of Tinazzi indicated his willingness to travel to India to help popularize their range of wines from Veneto and Puglia, Nataloni got in touch with NRAI, the National Restaurant Association of India-Delhi chapter, of which he is a Director, to organise an evening that he would host at the French bistro P’tit Bar with their wines from Veneto and Puglia. He also invited me to present the wines.

The response to the invite was very good - all the 30 seats were filled up. That should be understandable. With hotels not budging from their huge markup policy (no moral or ethical judgment intended) due to their own reasons, the onus moves from the front ranks to the middle files of the on-trade. The stand-alone restaurant space can offer a good opportunity to add to the bottom line while encouraging more consumers to order a glass or two of wine with food. With at least a small number of affordable wines on the wine lists, restaurants are missing opportunity if they are not promoting the sales of wines.

Click For Large ViewThat was the message Arora sought to send across as he went through an array of wines with Peter standing in to talk briefly about the wine company whose wines Peter would like to export to India, his country of birth.

The evening started late as usual with Malvasia Bianca Salento igt Monteiasi-from Feudo di S. Croce. An equal blend of Malvasia and Chardonnay, the wine from Puglia is easy drinking and simple but pleasant. Custoza DOC from Ca’ de Rocchi on the other hand, uses the typical grapes of Lake Garda area where Tinazzi is located - Garganega (grape used in Soave) and Trebbiano, a popular local grape of this region, in equal proportion (40%) with the rest (20%) being the Piemontese grape Cortese which goes into making Gavi. Both low alcohol wines (12.5%) very crisp, simple but fresh and quite refreshing for the sultry August weather. As expected, the opinions were divided on the restaurateurs’ preferences.

Nero d'Avola Merlot Sicilia IGT - Carlo Alfano was the first red wine that was from Sicily and not the designated regions. An equal blend of Nero d’Avola and Merlot, this intense red coloured wine had notes of sour cherries, and sweet spices with a warm tingling sensation on the palate. The tannins were ripe and juicy. It was a delicious wine with 14% alcohol that had a majority of people loving it.

Click For Large ViewCabernet Sauvignon IGT Dugal was the next wine, again a blend - of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in equal proportions. The ruby red coloured, full bodied wine was soft and easy on the palate with berry and floral aromas that carried into the flavours that persisted on the palate. Quite harmonious with a distinct spicy character that would do well with 30-60 minutes of decanting.

Valpolicella doc Superiore Ripasso was next in the repertoire for the evening. Ripasso is the re-fermentation of the basic wine – a blend of 80% Corvina, 15% Rondinella and 5% Molinara, the typical grapes of Valpolicella over the pomace left over after the fermentation of the more serious Recioto or Amarone wines, a specialty of this area. This process adds character and concentration of fruit to the wine and is a more delicious version of Valpolicella which is essentially a quaffable wine for pizzas and pastas and is the back bone of red Veneto wines.

The last wine for tasting though not completing the evening, Primitivo di Manduria doc Feudo Santa Croce is a typical Puglian wine made from the signature grape Primitivo (known as Zinfandel in California and Nashik Valley). Quite soft in structure and taste, it was very pleasant on the palate with flavours of prune and cherry.

The hospitable Nataloni had organised these and a few other wines from the Tinazzi stable for the guests to enjoy with snacks from these two regions. But I had to rush to the airport to catch a flight and didn’t have much chance to interact with all the guests, except a few that made me  leave with a definite impression that the restaurateurs from local restaurants like Berco’s, Chop Sticks, Spirit, Jade Garden, Gola Southend, Nizam’s Kathi Kabab and Geoffrey etc had enjoyed the session and the wines.

Click For Large ViewWhether they would accelerate promoting these wines or wines in general would remain a moot point. Although wine sale promises a good addition to the top and bottom line, sometimes in equal proportion, the owners first need to be motivated and arm themselves with some wine knowledge. Ask Tarsillo Nataloni who keeps on juggling with the wine list regularly at his restaurants - the well established Flavours and the fledgling P’tit Bar. Several of his wines are well-priced and there is no reason a few labels of Tinazzi wines should not be considered for the wine list of such restaurants.

However, we also need several more non-Italians to be as enthusiastic as him if we want the wine culture to grow in our restaurants. A few of such existing enthusiastic promoters like Diva, Olive, Smoke House Grill, Indigo (Mumbai) and Fava (Bangalore) are the names that come to mind instantly.

Hi Spirits had organised the logistics for these wines for the evening and might start importing a few popular labels, says Sanjeev Gupta, the owner of the import and distribution company. To contact Gianmaria Peter directly, write to

For further links to the wines tasted, click

Subhash Arora


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