Bulletin from our Sommelier on the Move


magandeepsingh.jpgRestaurant launches, new wine lists and wine accessories, trips to winelands, I have been “working” and it is good to see people picking up the revelries where they had left off temporarily to go and salvage whatever was left of their stocks. Magandeep Singh discusses the wine scene.

The Valentine season has been as much of a reason as any to educate people on wines – Indian wines or international ones. My team and I have all been busy preaching the message on wines without as much as a water-break. Somehow, no other “festival” sells wine more, especially the pink and fizzy kind. As I say, the Patron Saint of Love should be officially recognised as the most recent incarnation of Bacchus and one with a keen commercial sense. I intend to party away with some pink bubbly, never mind that I am still single. Champagne has a unique way of making the world a much better place, especially after the first bottle.
The Wine Society Zampa dinner I attended at the Shangri La was pretty decent. They are improving by leaps. From what I tasted the first time, they have come quite some distance. A lot of work is still left but for the moment, they have my attention.
Vinsura meanwhile, seems to be going from worse to encore worse. I don’t know how they manage to pay someone enough to make it and tougher still, market it.
A small technical flaw I find in most Indian wines is that they somehow manage to taste more like chemical compositions instead of grape juice. Also, technically they might be getting better but there still lacks even the slightest notion of terroir, something that is the most basic constituent of wines elsewhere. I loved the Sula Sauvignon Blanc 2008 but to me it was no more than a Kiwi wannabe. Grover’s too emulates Parker-palate Bordeaux with its La Reserve without really evoking anything indigenous. Most others struggle to just taste wine-like. In short, Indian wines are bought only because they cost less. Without the taxes protecting them, they would be in an eternal “recession” that not even the US government could buy them out of.
On a related note, food, especially the non à-la-carte kind is improving across the city. I had some of the best fish ever recently and for the first time it didn’t smell like most frozen fish does. From the new coffee shop at the Hyatt to Shangri-La (where Rohit Bajpai plays host to perfection), these places are taking food seriously at all levels. The Smokehouse chain serves proper steaks. Wasabi has the freshest well, wasabi. Nothing pleases a gastronome more than having access to simple but good food. I cite this because for a wine culture to flourish, this is the most basic and primary of requirements.
Meanwhile, my wine project is firming up well. More on that soon

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