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Delhi Wine Club
DWC: Charosa Wines Launched in Delhi at Tashan Restaurant

Posted: Monday, 27 March 2017 16:12


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DWC: Charosa Wines Launched in Delhi at Tashan Restaurant

Mar 27: After over 3 years of impressive presence in Maharashtra, the Nashik- District based Charosa has entered Delhi with a Launch at Tashan Restaurant where Indian Wine Academy organised two independent events- a Tasting for its members and the other being a wine dinner for the Delhi Wine Club, writes Subhash Arora whose assertion of their good quality was validated by the attendees, with the special guest John Salvi MW generally quite impressed with the wines

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Click For Large ViewDelhi Wine Club has become known to launch new restaurants and wines-even as many feel it is auspicious to have a formal launch with the Club. Setz and Lavaash Restaurants immediately come to mind while Mud House, Kumala, Hardys and York are just a few of the wines launched at a wine club dinner. The Super Premium ‘Chene’ from Grover Zampa was also launched here even before the launch in Mumbai. It was not surprising when Charosa Vineyards decided to enter the Delhi market that they decided to choose the Club as the Launch Pad.

 One would expect their dynamic winemaker Ashok Patil to come for the event but COO Parag Kamat decided to also join along with their training manager Clive Castelino. The ‘Mahurat’ date was chosen as March 22nd March only because a close friend John Salvi, Master of Wine was planning to visit the Taj International Vine and Food Experience 2017 in India and would be available in Delhi for a couple of days. We wanted to have his considered opinion without any sugar coating and he is known to be a straight shooter- so the ground was set.

It was my desire to choose a restaurant that served Indian food but not the staple butter chicken and mutton curry. A Tasting at a small restaurant in Greater Kailash 2, known as ‘Tashan’, was an easy pick after I tasted the food-Indian cuisine with a twist. The food was so delicious that I went another time to taste and set the Menu with the owner Akshay Adya who had years of experience working in Australia before the bug to return home hit him.

Indian Wine Academy (IWA) has over 9,000 members of the closed group in Facebook. IWA has organised a few Tasting evenings in the past for a select group of members and it appeared to be the right moment to have some members invited to taste 5 wines- Charosa Selection Sauvignon Blanc- 2016, Charosa Selection Viognier- 2015, Charosa Reserve Tempranillo- 2014, Charosa Selection Shiraz- 2015, Charosa Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon- 2013

Click For Large ViewTo make it interesting and to give an opportunity to the participants to enjoy food and wine pairing, we selected 10 snacks- 5 non veg. and 5 veg. so they could try pairing food and wine as we ran through the wines presented by Clive Castelino.

After tasting Charosa wines first on Release in 2013, I was so impressed with the quality that I had decided to visit the state-of-the-art winery (but not impressed with the 90 minute travel on uneven roads out of Nashik to Village Charosa where the winery is located) in 2014 and have since visited the winery a couple of times, including a trip with the members of the Delhi Wine Club that I organised.

Wine Tasting

It was a Full House of 35 people who enjoyed the tasting at Tashan reserved exclusively for us as Clive and Ashok presented the wines, with Parag Kamat disseminating the information about the winery owned by Ajay Gulabchand (HCC) who is better known for the beautiful private city of Lavasa which has been in the news because of its brushes with the environment ministry.

The session was highly interactive. There was an overall consensus that the food was excellent and the wines also matched the food, in terms of pairing as well as quality. Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier shared the honours whereas Tempranillo was a clear winner in the reds category, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon. Wasabi Prawns and Sauvignon Blanc was adjudged as the best food and wine pairing while the Mutton Boti on Khamiri Roti (NV) with Cab Sauv was a clear winner in the reds. But the big winner was the Indian food and wine match-with people enjoying all the snacks with different wines.

His Master’s Voice

Click For Large ViewJohn Salvi MW said he was pleasantly surprised by the quality of these wines.  ‘I didn’t know what to expect but I am extremely happy with the wines-I find the freshness in them the most attractive feature.’ His impressions on different wines:

Sauvignon Blanc: I like it because it has excellent, bright acidity. Fatter and richer than Bordeaux Sauvignon, riper, very fresh which is important and it’s very crisp. Drink it now. I Iike the absence of  grassiness or herbal notes that you find in a New Zealand variant.

Viognier- I like the wine-it’s very energetic (lt has a lot of punch and force, long in the mouth. But the bitterness should not be there –Viognier has no bitterness-I don’t understand how keeping it in oak barrels for 4 weeks would remove the bitterness though. It is an interesting wine but not an exceptional wine. It’s also very difficult wine to make like Pinot Noir for red, making it a commendable effort by Charosa. I agree with Subhash who feels that the wine served slightly warm as this was done today, is better for tasting and too much cold is not good for tasting. The temp was ok for me.

Tempranillo-To me it is not a typical expression of a Tempranillo. It had fruit and was pleasant enough to drink but nothing exceptional. Soft and gentle tannins with good fruit make it a fruit driven easy drinking wine-perhaps for lunch.

Shiraz was my least favourite, not so elegant- but powerful fruity wine with nice tannins, good mouthfeel but angular. It will support rich and spicy food easily.

Cabernet sauvignon 2013 was the best for me. Very well made-and cleverly made. If I were to taste it blind I wouldn’t be able to tell if it was a Bordeaux wine or not. It had integrated tannins, supportive acidity, was long in the mouth and had great balance and harmony. Surprisingly good wine; I didn’t think it would be so polished. I feel that the 2013 will be fully ready in 3-4 years when it will be at its best.

DWC Wine Dinner

The Tasting was followed by the sit-down dinner with the same wines. Mushroom Galouti Kebab, Vada Pao Poppers, Gremolata Paneer Tikka Vegetable Quesadilla, Pulled Chicken Quesadillas, Mutton Boti on Khamiri Roti and Amritsari Fish Fry were served with the Sauvignon Blanc as aperitifs. A special 3- soup combo in shot glasses and christened as Tiranga Tashan because of the orange, white and green colours, was curated especially for this event in the shape of 3 soups- Carrot Cinnamon Soup, Garlic Onion Soup and Spinach Soup with not high expectations from the Charosa Selection Viognier.

Click For Large ViewBaingan ki Chaat and Lettuce Ceasar’s Salad Wrap were the next course served with Charosa Selection Viognier and Charosa Reserve Tempranillo. Wraps were healthy but the chaat was delicious and many went for encore-the Tempranillo was a great accompaniment too.

Soya Taco, Mutton Taco (specialty of the house and a must-try item) were served with Shiraz along with Palak& Ricotta Cheese Cannelloni (not my personal favourite) and Kukkad Enchiladas I loved, were served with Shiraz. That was not all for the main course. Another course was on the way!!

Paneer Hungama, Nadru Kofta, Dal Makhani were a live example of how well- made vegetarian dishes can be so delightful. His Excellency Mr. Panos Kalogeropoulos who had kindly accepted the invitation as a special guest , does not like spices. He was in love with the kofta and daal as was John for whom the ultimate was Nalli curry which he did like with Shiraz and Cabernet. Lemongrass had added a dimension to the butter Chicken which was a good match with Charosa Selection Shiraz.

Praising the event, John Salvi said it was very successfully done; ‘very informal, chatty and interactive event. I was most impressed with the concept of pairing of 2 dishes with each wine. This concept is new for me and I liked it very much. I loved the pairing of wasabi prawns with Sauvignon Blanc. The idea of having 2 different events with different sets of people was very clever too,’ he said. He was impressed enough to want to visit the winery which has been since planned.

A great beginning for Charosa in Delhi. The Pleasure Series, Selection series are good value at different price points-between Rs. 600-1500,with the last two having the potential to satisfy connoisseurs at every level and giving a wider choice. Tashan came out tops with the service and the food quality, presentation and the conceptualisation, earming it the right to call itself a ‘Contemporary Indian cuisine’ restaurant.

Subhash Arora

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