In the clichéd context, the phrase “Wine and Women” is common place and referred-to in somewhat uncharitable terms; but when we talk of finesse, precedence matters and how! To the extent of having an exclusive wine session ruled by Women sans the material connotations and emphasizing instead on the appreciable patience and indisputable intelligence of the female species. It was the Diva’s Date with Wine.
A Unique Initiative
Diva’s date with Wine the fixture was the brainchild of Shalini Kumar, Editor Spiritz Magazine , supported by Grover Zampa vineyards, Hotel Crowne Plaza and most certainly- yours truly. The Divas attending the session were invited from various professional profiles, from Corporate Honchos to an Artist, a Curator, a Tarot expert, a Doctor and many more- but what came as surprise to me was that some of them had already experienced an odd San Gimignano or Rioja while being clued up on a Pinotage as well! It was a dream audience any wine passionate would give his right arm for- and I was privileged enough not required to do that!
Diva’s Date with Wine: the conduct:
As the guests started arriving, the evening warmed up to socializing with rounds of Grover Blancs de Blancs for company. The Grover stable had presented us with four wines and we arranged these in the sequence of increasing complexity as follows:
- Blanc de Blancs 2012
- Sauvignon Blanc 2012
- Cabernet Shiraz 2012
- La Réserve 2011
A light hearted introduction by Bishan Kumar, Group Editor Blue Ink Media (that owns Spiritz ) was followed by an interesting glimpse of Grover vineyards history by Malay Rout, their Marketing Head and thereafter, the baton passed on to me to lead the swirling and sipping.
In the course of tasting, I was rather impressed by the wine intelligence of the audience as they discussed the wines – drawing parallels with their international contemporaries and dissecting the characteristics of wine grape varieties .
The enthusiasm of all participants resulted in lots of passionate discussions to the extent that I was counselled by one of the beautiful ladies to restrain the brimming zealousness. I managed to convince her of the intended spirit of the event being in unbridled wine fun. To say in the least, it was a deeply involved sharing of thoughts that saw each one of us getting wiser on something or the other.
A quick description of the wines tasted:
Blanc de Blancs (Delhi MRP ₹ 540.00)
A nomenclature normally used by Champagne wines, Blanc de Blancs is French for “White of Whites” i.e. white wine from white grapes. This wine is a blend of Viognier and Clairette grapes and as per the Grover guys, they chose the particular nomenclature to simplify the label for the common wine consumer. The wine itself is simple and enjoyable without requiring you to strain for descriptors, and this is how we placed it for the evening- as an aperitif.
Sauvignon Blanc (Delhi MRP ₹ 560.00)
A more complex white of the evening with a vegetal nose combined with hints of tropical fruits. The peppery feel on the nose indicated its spiciness . The crisp and complex palate reaffirmed the nose. Went extremely well with the creamy Camembert cheese and Lemon infused Fish.
Cabernet Shiraz (Delhi MRP ₹ 560.00)
I have had this wine umpteen times earlier and consider it a good value for money option. With rounded tannins,black fruit flavours and a distinct smoky feel, this wine was liked a lot. As the name suggests, the wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz- both considered powerful grape varieties. It was accompanied exceedingly well by Chicken Malai Tikka amongst other finger food.
La Réserve (Delhi MRP ₹ 690.00)
Again, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz grapes, this wine imbibes extra complexity by virtue of ageing for nine months in French oak barrels- that lends it extra complexity . It is a delightfully mouth filling wine with a nose of black fruits and spice complemented by a powerful palate of complex flavours of black currants, chocolate, spice, vanilla and oak. The wine is considered as the prestige cuvée of Grover vineyards and it lives up to the pedigree. In my opinion, it is easily the best Indian Red available as on date. Also, at the price available, it is a steal as compared to equitable imported wines . It paired famously with the Shammi Kebab and stir fried Mushrooms.
Even as we started winding up the evening, the Grover guys offered a tasting surprise in the form of their brand Chêne (meaning Oak in French) that has a unique blend of Tempranillo (A Spanish grape varietal) and Shiraz. The wine is aged in French oak for fifteen months followed by fifteen months in the bottle that lends it an impressive and mature character. However, La Réserve continued to remain the star of the evening and it only conveyed the certitude of the Divas’ minds. The wine is not available in Delhi as yet and may be introduced in 2014. Its indicative retail price in Mumbai is ₹ 1800.00.
Finally, to top the sublime experience, two impromptu electrifying singing performances by nightingales from amongst the Divas held us spell bound, and compelled many to do some fervent table tapping. As we clicked a group photograph for posterity, I realised my new potential status of being the envy of my male counterparts- and indeed the most befitting way to wrap up the wine engagements for the year gone by !
Until 2014, I sign off with wishing you all and your families a marvellous year ahead abundant with Good Health, Happiness and Prosperity ….and of course plenty of Good Wines to root!