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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Thursday, 15 April 2010 11:33

Visiting French Producers Hopeful to score in India

UbiFrance and the French Trade Commission in Delhi organised on Monday a trade tasting at the French Embassy in Delhi followed by another one hosted by the Ambassador at his beautiful gardens at the residence, where a wide spectrum of wines were presented to the wine importers and connoisseurs.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Click For Large View

French Producers at Ambassador’s Residence*

Ten producers representing a wide spectrum of wines ranging from Champagne to Chateau Neuf du Pape were present to charm the palates of invitees. Although people made special effort to reach the venue at the early hour of 6:30 in the evening, they were not disappointed by the wines- the variety and quality. Besides, the snacks were excellent and enjoyable with wines. Hospitality extended by the embassy was very warm and cordial, with Ambassador Jérôme Bonnafont chatting with the guests informally and light-heartedly, despite not being perhaps a great wine buff.

‘It is always a pleasure to be around wine people and the French Embassy is always available for any wine promotion or event. Of course, we would like people to prefer drinking French wine-but any wine is fine too,’ said the Ambassador while chatting with delWine, adding ‘it is rather unfortunate that Delhi and some other states are not helping the matters any-with their protectionist policies.’

He said, ‘Mrs. Dixit (Chief Minister of Delhi) is quite pre-occupied with the Commonwealth Games right now. Afterwards, we shall meet her and try to convince her to get at least the excise duties rolled back,’ when I suggested that the group of Ambassadors from wine producing nations should get together again under the aegis of the French Embassy, as they did a decade ago, and request the government to roll back the customs duties which were raised to 150% from 100% in July 2007 when the ACDs (the additional customs duties) were waived off.

Tasting wines

Apparently the producers were lined up in the alphabetical order -that’s why one was expected to start the evening with Armagnac de Montal which had a 1965 Armagnac so exquisite and excellent in taste and character that one could have spent the time with Philippe Layus-Coustet, the manager visiting with the group and gone home happy !

Fortunately, right next to him there was Francis Brulez, export manager from Champagne Louise Brison who mesmerised the palates of men and women alike with his crispy Brut 2004 Champagne, a vintage wine with equal proportion of Pinot and Chardonnay. In a reality wine show Francis would have been the first one to go out as he went dry rather quickly.

Marion Venet, the export manager of Maison Louis de Grenelle of Loire who visited India earlier about 3 months ago too, was at a disadvantage being next to the impressive  Champagne but her Saumur Rosé Crémant de Loire, representing the signature grape of the area, Cabernet Franc, was delicate, zingy and easy drinking with a feminine touch. At less than a fifth of a Champagne, this could well be the wine for the Indian market !

Chateau Montaud gave an overview of the wines from Provence where Rosé rules the roost-especially in the summer. Here too one of the Rosés was quite impressive. Natural Wine Exports, R & V Cie, Vignobles La Coterie, Chateau de l’Orangerie and Chateau La Brie  were the other wineries kept busy opening their bottles and pouring a complete French - Burgundy being a solitary exception (there was one label from Domaine Leron which one could not spot in the crowd of wines at Wynedee, due to shortage of time.

H.E.Jérôme Bonnafont with members of Delhi Wine Club

Most wines were fairly affordable including the Champagne. Chateau La Brie is run by the university where students from 16-22 are taught about viticulture and enology. Quite a contrast with India where the legal age in most cities is 25 !

The group was assembled and brought by Sandrine Krummenacher who informed delWine that the producers seemed to be happy by their experience in Delhi so far. They are looking forward to a busy time in Mumbai on Thursday 14 April at Novotel Hotel.

The companies can be contacted through their website or email addresses on the catalogue printed in our earlier article at  
or contact

*French Producers at the  Ambassador’s Residence in Delhi
Jean Christophe ICARD, Château de l’Orangerie :
Francis BRULEZ, Champagne Louise Brison :
Philippe LAYUS-COUSTET, Armagnac et vins de Montal :
Marion VENET, Maison Louis de Grenelle :
Matthieu de GENEVRAYE, Natural Wine Exports :
Frederic RAVEL, Château Montaud,
Antony MARECHAL, Wynedee,
Jérôme de RIVOIRE, Rivoire & Varenne Company :
Kunal CHUG, Vignobles La Coterie :



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