Best Moments Of 2013!
Looking back, its been a very exciting year for us and for the wine and spirits industry in general. Mumbai got its first microbrewery, Moet Hennessy launched Chandon India, Charosa finally came to market and we had a very crazy wine trips. Indian wines won plenty of awards this year as well including 14 awards at Asia Decanter awards. Here is a list of some our best moments of the year!
2013 couldn’t have started better than tasting the 2009 vintage of Amarone in Veneto, Italy while it was snowing. Apart from the big Amarone producers, it was excellent to taste wines from some of the lesser known producers like Gambi, Valentina Cubi, Novia and Massimago.
Four Seasons Winery in Baramati is a French Chateau style property. Spending time with Abhay Kewadkar, Director & Chief Wine Maker, Wines Division, United Spirits Ltd and tasting their upcoming wines was fantastic. Some of the wines, like the barrel fermented late harvest Chenin Blanc are exclusive to the winery. Have a look at our views about it, we went a bit nuts in the video.
Visiting wineries near Bangalore was priority on our to do list. Visiting Grover Vineyards and tasting the new vintage of La Reserve & Viognier was excellent while Alpine was a big surprise. Hundreds of acres of vineyards with perhaps the some of the best Indian Shiraz which you can taste. While Grover has Michel Rolland as their consulting wine maker, Alpine has the other most well known French flying wine maker Stéphane Derenoncourt as their consultant.
Vinexpo 2013 in Bordeaux was overwhelming but gave us a chance to taste plenty of excellent wines, attend workshops and network in a way that no other wine fair offers. Vinexpo and a week in Bordeaux was the start of our road trip which took us to Cognac, Loire Valley, Paris and Champagne.
Perhaps the best meal of our Bordeaux leg was the dinner in honor of the International Press at Château Mouton Rothschild by the 1855 Grands Crus Classés Médoc & Sauternes. Following a tasting of Sauternes & Barsac Grand Cru Classé wines from 2006 through 2009, Médoc Grand Cru Classé wines from the 2005 vintage were served. Then the 1996 to 1982 vintages were served with the main course, followed by Mouton Rothschild 1975 poured from Imperial-sized bottles.
One Château I always wanted to visit in Bordeax was Cos d’Estournel. The Asia inspired Château houses perhaps the most modern winery in Bordeaux. We tasted the 2012 Vintage and were impressed. Have a look at our video from Cos d’Estournel.
Talking of modern wineries in Bordeaux, we also visited Château Pavie, just days after they opened post a major renovation. We tasted their 2002 Vintage and the only regret is not having a couple of those bottles in our cellar. Here is a link to our video from Pavie.
We wondered what more could we possibly ask for after the fabulous week in Bordeaux, and the answer was a couple of hours away in Cognac. We spent the day with Patrick Mariuz, International Brand Ambassador of Remy Martin and even tasted Louis XIII straight from… wait for it… the family cellars! Truly once in a lifetime experience which we will always be grateful for and yes, we did shoot a video there as well.
After all the Cognacs in Cognac, we needed a palate cleanser and the logical choice was to drive around Loire Valley. Steven Spurrier was kind enough to suggest wineries to visit and we loved Domaine Couly-Dutheil in Chinon and Vincent Delaporte in Sancerre.
While our trip to Dom Pérignon had a last minute glitch, we did manage to have a few very special days in Champagne. The Champagne leg started with visiting the wonderful Piot-Sévillano family, followed by Diebolt-Vallois, Taittinger and ultimately Domaine Jacques Selosse. If barrel tasting with Selossie himself wasn’t good enough, we had an outstanding meal at his restaurant along with some beers brewed in Champagne!
First batch of Four Wise Men, our collaboration with Ravi & Kailash Gurnani of York Winery got excellent reviews and response not only in India but also in Bordeaux. Jane Anson, Bordeaux correspondent for Decanter called it the best Indian red and wine label that she tasted at a competition of Indian at Vinexpo by Ambrosia magazine. We are all out of the first batch and all set to launch our second batch of Four Wise Men in January. More info on the Four Wise Men website.
No surprise that Sula also dominates the domestic sparkling wine market and refreshed their lineup. The new labels look much better and the Brut is now a combination of five grapes, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Sultana, Shiraz and Pinot Noir. The new Brut Rosé includes Pinot Noir in the blend as well.
We called this one a game changer. Moët Hennessy’s Indian made sparkling got everyone excited and we were the first website to publish the tasting notes for their Brut and Brut Rosé. Quite a historic moment, also another step in making Nashik known internationally. You can read our views on the wines here.
We first tasted Charosa wines last year and were since waiting for their launch. The wines are clean, fresh, very well packaged but slightly expensive. The Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier are winners and the Tempranillo reserve is one of the smoother wines from Nashik.
There has never been so much beer related news in the city. Barking Deer finally started serving locally brewed beer and Gateway Brewing Company’s beers will be available at Woodside Inn, Bonobo and Jam Jar Diner. Years have gone in getting rules amended in Mantrayala for this to happen. We love the Porter from Barking Deer and all of Gateway Beers, specially Sorry I Am Not Sorry, a strong IPA.
Ashwin Deo took up the franchise for Scotch Malt Whisky Society followed by The Vault bringing in smaller producers of Single Malt, Gin, Rum & Vodka to India, including Kilchoman and Sipsmith. Yeast India Company made things much better for beers by introducing Trooper by Iron Maiden and Old Tom, both stellar beers by Robinson Brewery and are bringing 4-5 more labels to India in the coming months. Doing a combined tasting of spirits and beers from SMWS, The Vault & Yeast India Company might just be a brilliant idea. Time to make a few calls…