India is a budding wine consuming nation and has been experiencing its wow moments every now and then. The latest in the series is the Indian Wine Day (IWD), recently celebrated for the first time on sixteenth November 2017 in multiple cities of India and in London. The event is being seen as an important step towards promoting domestic wines in the country, gelling well with the “Make in India” orientation of the government of the day.
The initiative, a brain-child of Subhash Arora, President of the Indian Wine Academy and Founder Delhi Wine Club, was put together in association with Charles Donnadieu Corporate Sommelier The Lalit Hotels and Resorts, who were also the hospitality partners for the venture.
According to the organizers, IWD has been conceived to promote Indian wines with Indian cuisine for an exclusive Indian gastronomical experience. To that end, the inaugural event embossed the compatibility aspects of Indian wine and cuisine, going by the thumb rule that wine and cuisine from the same land have favourable affinity.
Multiple Cities- One Event
IWD 2017 was conducted simultaneously in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Jaipur, Chandigarh, and London properties of The Lalit, featuring a uniform menu from the hotel chain’s Baluchi Restaurants that was paired with award winning wines from India’s prominent producers. viz. Sula, Grover, Fratelli, York, Charosa, Chandon and KRSMA.
I found my place of privilege at the Delhi fixture which offered a great value proposition in terms of the elaborate spread and unlimited flow of wines for a ticket price of Rs. 2500.00. The concept though was much more than food and wine, as the whole ambience was carefully curated to portray an Indian essence, including live Indian music, smartly liveried staff in Indian attire and so on.
Interestingly, 16 Nov 17 also happened to be the third Thursday of the month, which is also the famed Beaujolais Nouveau day (hence the French element in the title of this post). According to Arora, they purposefully chose the particular day, to bring home the importance of IWD by coinciding with a globally popular wine day. From the next year however, Arora plans to choose a more convenient day (preferably not a weekday) based on feedback from producers and wine lovers.
Fab Pairings at the Lalit Delhi Event
Guests at The Lalit Delhi proceeded straight to the hotel’s Al Fresco restaurant where the evening was set in motion by pouring out a sparkling wine tower followed by a toast raised to the occasion. Arora introduced the event, elaborating how the initial idea of celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of the Delhi Wine Club that he founded in 2002, graduated into the becoming of Indian Wine Day. A sit down dinner followed, with each course being introduced by Arora and Donnadieu. Here are some of the courses that I enjoyed in particular (overall menu towards the end of post):
Food: Guchchi aur Safed Mushroom ki Galouti (Tender kebab made from Morel and white mushrooms)
Wine: York Sparkling Cuvée Brut (100% Chenin Blanc made using Méthode Traditionelle)
The mildly spiced decadent creamy vegetarian kebabs had nutty vegetal flavours complimented well by the creamy and luscious wine on the palate.
Food: Panchporan Mahi Tikka/ Afghani Murgh Kebab (Clay oven cooked fish/chicken starters) with Indian bread
Wine: Grover Art Collection Sauvignon Blanc
The satiating rich starters worked well with the bell pepper and tropical flavours of the refreshing wine.
Food: Lamb Nihari/ Gilafi Kulcha (Slow cooked lamb shanks with leavened flat bread)
Wine: Fratelli Sangiovese and Charosa Reserve Tempranillo
How it Worked: Nihari and Kulcha, a sublime delicacy from northern India works best with powerful red wines. Both the wines did well with the dish but for me, the Charosa Reserve Tempranillo had a definite edge.
For the dessert course, guests were requested to proceed to Kitty Su- a happening club at The Lalit Delhi. A wide array of desserts coupled with even more wines and peppy music pumped up the fesitivities with many a vino ending up shaking a leg.
Indian Wine Day était déjà arrivé.