Bordeaux Masterclass in Mumbai with Mark Walford

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Mark_walford_small.jpg The Wine Society of India recently held its first formal Masterclass at the Sharad Room of the Four Seasons Hotel, Mumbai on the 11th of December, 2008. At the helm of the event was Mark Walford (co-founder of the prestigious négociant house Richards Walford) and at its heart, nine of Bordeaux’s finer reds. Piyush Gadkari reports.


Mark Walford built his reputation on Bordeaux, and has been buying its Classified Growths directly from producers since 1982. The wines that he showcased spanned several vintages to include the following:
• Château des Antonins 2005, AC Bordeaux Superieur
• Château Labadie 2002 Cru Bourgeois, AC Medoc
• Château du Pavillon 2003, AC Canon Fronsac
• Château La Croix des Moines 2003, AC Lalande de Pomerol
• Château Feytit Clinet 2003, AC Pomerol
• Château Durfort Vivens 2002, AC Margaux
• Château Haut Bailly 2002, AC Pesssac Leognan
• Vieux Château Certan 2004, AC Pomerol
• Pichon Comtesse de Lalande 1995, AC Pauillac
The venue bore the academic air of a classroom, with wine accessories replacing textbooks and satchels. A dozen tables were set up to face a dais. On each table were two placemats, on each placemat nine leggy wine glasses, and on the foot of each wine glass, a name ring to indicate which wine it would contain. Separating the placemats were scoring sheets and a spittoon.
Mark began the evening with a brief introduction to Bordeaux; in the span of five minutes, we learnt about the divisive nature of the Gironde river, and the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux’s terroir which still holds true today.
He soon gave way to the evening’s other stars, who were introduced to us one at a time by the very helpful Four Seasons staff. While most of the stars spoke for themselves, it required the experience and acumen of someone of Mark’s stature to describe every nuance that made each wine so special. The audience quickly overcame their awe of him, and was soon plying him with questions: what were his favourite wines? How much did he drink? What did he think of Indian wines?
The Masterclass began bang on time. The well-anticipated event was sold out several times over, and Four Seasons graciously invited guests to bring the remaining wines to dinner…bravo Four Seasons! Bravo Mark Walford!
Look out for more WSI events and masterclasses hosted by Mark, most specifically a Burgundy Masterclass in Bangalore in April – in the company of the Côte d’Or’s most respected growers.

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