So here we all were. Gathered by the pool at “The Club”, that veritable private oasis in the midst of the cacophony of sight and sound of downtown Andheri. The wine brains trust of Mumbai town, were gathered on this particular Sunday in celebration of what else but Vino, Wein Vin..Wine!! What other reason is there to get out of bed on a Sunday?? A visitor’s report.
This particular reason, the Club’s inaugural, ‘Wine Fest’. A carnival of sights and sounds all fashioned around the concept of exposing the high-brow membership to all manner of wine, both Imported and domestic. All in all, about a dozen agents, companies and wine producers were on hand to peddle their wares to the gathering mass. It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to deduce the hypothesis, that if there is enough free booze on hand, people being people will swarm like bees to a honey pot to have their fill. And indeed they did just that.
There were only two imported wine companies strutting their stuff on this particular day. One, showcasing an all Italian selection, and the other, well-known big little company FineWinesnMore, offered a far broader array of wines from varying points of the compass. Given a choice between sluicing Indian wine and or a bevy of high quality imported wines into your glass, you will understand why the popularity of the latter, in particular from team FineWinesnMore, was at a high. I set myself the task of trying as much as I could, all in the name of my own further education, to uncover what was hot and what was not in good old Mumbai town.
I thought the best place to start was with a run around tasting of the new breed of Indian wine pushing the Rs 1200- 1400 MRP threshold. I have to say from the outset, any Indian wine company confident enough to push this ‘imported wine’ price point for a domestic product is setting themselves up to be judged well and truly by their peers. I will leave my more vitriolic assessment of the wines for another medium, needless to say that amongst the malaise I found a couple of very drinkable reds that at least showed what the potential of Nasik is if it is placed in the right hands.
The Reveilo Reserve Cabernet and Chateau D’Ori Reserve Shiraz were the two lights shining for India. The ample flavour and texture offered from both wines was a wonderful discovery, as were the depth of the palate and the overall drinkability of each. The additional benefit was the total lack of any of the more usual Band-Aid/medicinal tastes usually associated with Indian wine.
That done, and my whistle whet, I sashayed over to mingle with the crowd in the imported part of the pond. Team FineWinesnMore had all sorts of things going on. A 100% Torrontes named MTB that was all the rage. No better way to wash the mouth out than this amazing white fruit bomb of flavour. The new vintage of Sileni Estate Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, impressed me with its zesty freshness. A couple of reds worth putting up for mention were the Moulin de Gassac Syrah from France, a veritable smorgasbord of flavour and texture, and a super svelte Cabernet Sauvignon from Vina Arboleda of Chile. All around the same price as the new breed of Indian wines, but twice the journey.
Apart from the one or two that came just for a drink, it was of particular interest to note the amount of genuine regard shown towards imported wine. The commentary and questions aimed in all directions, and the subsequent excitement of the brands and wine styles being showcased for the day was reassuring to say the least.
Seems that my thoughts were the general consensus on this particular Sunday. The organizers of the event, in all of their infinite sober wisdom, voted Team FineWinesnMore as being the best exhibitor for the day… another feather in their broad cap!
This was a fabulous place to be!
Truck loads of great food and loud entertainment. Grape stomping and wine sniffing, ample sunshine and girls in uniform all washed down with liberal amounts of fine wine… I think I even saw a mermaid at the bottom of the pool! Perhaps this is another story for another time.
All in all, it is these sorts of events that take the wine industry forward and must, therefore, be everyone’s responsibility to ensure they have life, function and most importantly longevity. Some days it pays to get out of bed early… You never know what you might be missing.