Indian wines have evoked a lot of interest worldwide of late. From being listed in Michelin starred restaurants to rubbing shoulders with international peers on retail shelves, the buzz on Indian wines continues to grow. And with that, wine events featuring Indian wines and cuisine are also being received with heightened interest.
Recently I hosted a wine dinner titled “Winesome India” offering a lowdown on the Indian wine industry highlighting its promising prospects on the international scene. We presented six wines from one of India’s prominent wine producers Grover Zampa Vineyards (GZV). Coupled with a four course spread from one of Delhi’s rapidly emerging wine friendly Indian restaurant Gulati Spice Market (GSM), we had wine lovers enthused on Indian wine and food pairing- which is considered challenging by many folks.
The event though was not just about eating, drinking and making merry. It was an endeavour to present Indian wines and cuisine in the right earnest- to be served at right temperature, sequence and food affinity. And while doing so, to highlight that Indian wines hold good promise, considering their relative nascence. Given that Indian wines are increasingly being awarded at global competitions, we also wanted to dispel a common perception that they are sub-par as compared to international wines.
The evening started with rounds of Zampa Sparkling Brut, paired with a wide range of finger food, followed by the starter, main and dessert courses coupled with two wines each (see menu below). Though an Indian dinner is classically not course oriented, we managed to unobtrusively spread it so, bringing out each pairing deservedly in full glory!
The range of wines represented the diversity of GZV portfolio courtesy their large heartedness in offering their entire portfolio to pick and choose from. . Rohit Arora,Trade Marketing Manager GZV worked closely with me on selecting the wines to adequately represent the two major wine regions of India viz. Nasik Valley and the Nandi Hills where they grow their grapes. Two of their wines that we used have also recently been included in the wine list of L’Arpège- a 3 star Michelin Restaurant in Paris, rated amongst 25 best restaurants of the world.
Popular wines of the evening
While all wines basked in their dedicated moments of glory, there were some that were runaway hits. These were:
Art Collection Rosé
A fresh and fruity wine with a pleasing salmon pink colour. It paired well with the starter course of light and airy Makai Seekh (skewered kababs made with beaten minced corn) and decadent Galaouti Kabab (parboiled and pan cooked minced lamb patties) served on mini Sheermal (sweet fermented bread).
VA Collection Red
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon + Shiraz + Viognier
Launched by GZV last autumn, this wine has been generating a lot of interest having already garnered a couple of international awards. An extrovert red, with flavours and aromas of black fruits and wild flowers, the wine has firm rounded tannins making it a good pairing with succulent Indian preparations.
La Réserve Red
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon + Shiraz
By far the most respected of GZV wines, it is more restrained than the VA Red but packs immense power, making it an alpha wine. Black fruits, chocolate and vanilla personify this wine as a bold red that can be at ease with the most robust of Indian foods .
Both, VA Collection Red and La Réserve above, came of their own with the main course of Burrah Kabab (marinated lamb chops slow cooked in a clay oven), Paneer Takatak (griddle cooked cottage cheese cubes with Indian spices) , a variety of Dals (gravied lentils), assorted Indian breads and steamed vegetable rice.
Zampa Soirée Brut Rosé
A creamy and delightful Rosé sparkling, this is a versatile wine that can either be enjoyed as an aperitif or with food, including dessert courses. The wine has aromas of red berries accentuated by yeasty notes and a lush palate that makes it gourmet inclined.
This sprightly Rosé harmoniously counterbalanced the creamy Gulkand Firni (Milk and rice reduction with candied rose petals) as also the more robust Moong Dal Cigar with Rabri dip (Cooked lentils in sugar syrup stuffed in filo pastry and served with thickened milk dip). Pairing a dry sparkling wine with dessert has been successfully tried internationally and it worked well with the Indian desserts too.
The audience for Winesome India comprised of distinguished people from different vocations who share common love for wine and cuisine. Defence officers, corporate honchos, food and beverages professionals and business owners- all were there to raise the toast to the winsome proposition in Winesome India.
….and Winesome India is also the toast of leading Beverages publications in India!
Spiritz Magazine Oct 2015 issue
vino india, Oct 2015 issue