Indian wine enthusiasts had the opportunity to taste Nine Hills wines and chat with winemaker Jean-Manuel Jacquinot at events held in Juhu Gymkhana and The Park in Navi Mumbai, recently, writes Suneeta Sodhi Kanga.
Surroundings that boast of the signature Le Corbusier style with warm amber lights bringing in the night, trellises laden with grapes and the mellifluous notes of “Red Red Wine” played by the very talented group, Fahrenheit in the background, proved to be the perfect accompaniment to the newly launched Shiraz Rosé.
I hadn’t escaped to any distant European locale but was enjoying an evening with Nine Hills wines at the The Park, Navi Mumbai. Seagram’s Nine Hills, amongst the pioneers in Indian wines, along with the French master winemaker – Jean-Manuel Jacquinot, was the ever gracious host to the glitterati of Navi Mumbai at the tasting event to showcasing its newly launched Shiraz Rose 2009, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2008 and Shiraz Reserve 2008. (The red reserves are available only in Mumbai.)
Jean-Manuel showed us once again why there’s magic that comes alive in Nine Hills’ offerings which owes its christening to its location – the nine hills surrounding Nashik where the company’s vineyards and wineries are located.
The evening flowed on from the previous evening at The Juhu Gymkhana’s China Garden restaurant of Nelson Wang fame. The club, which is going strong after nearly three decades, has an impressive roster of over 6000 members with facilities for all age groups and varying choices.
Finger foods of Pepper chicken, Fish, Kung pao potatoes and corn cream accompanied the delightful Nine hills wines. A table of 40 was reserved for dinner for members of the Bombay Wine Club. Jean Manual spoke about the special characteristics of Nine Hills Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Classic Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz wines as well as the newly launched refreshing Rosé 2009 and robust Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz Reserves of 2008. Pictured are Rahul Joshi – Chairman- Juhu Gymkhana, Suneeta Kanga, Jean Manuel Jacquinot, Santosh Gulwadi, Jacinta Perriera and K.C. Shah – Trustee, Juhu Gymkhana
Jean-Manuel is of the opinion that Indian food is not always the ideal accompaniment to wine as the spices tend to negate the flavour of the wine. The Park had prepared some outstanding and delicately flavored hors d’ouvers such as Chicken Liver Pâté, Smoked Salmon, Prosciutto Wrapped Melon, Chicken Pepper Cut and Pork Salami Milano plus a well stocked cheese bar with Provolone, Grana Padarno, Emmenthal, Yellow Cheddar, Feta, Blue Cheese, Baby Bel, Brie and a variety of crackers and miniature bread.
A steady stream of guests continued to come in to listen to Jean Manuel’s discourse on wine in the buzz of conversation and the delicate tinkle of wine glasses. Well known faces included Mr Rajiv Chohan – Managing Director – Shell Gas ( LPG) , Prof ( Dr) James Thomas – Vice Chancellor and Prof Of Cardiac Surgery – Padmashree Dr D Y Patil University , Mr Ram Wasan – CEO – Hospitality Business – Mirah Group , Mr Bighna N Nayak – Managing Director – Fugro Survey ( India) Pvt Ltd. besides local wine enthusiasts from Vashi and the near by vicinity.
As Jean Manuel continued to hold the guests’ interest with his passion for wine, the waiters expertly served platters full of petits fours – Rich Dark Cake Bites, Mini Choux Buns, Dragon Tartlets and Walnut Brownies. What a perfectly sweet ending to a most enjoyable evening.
For the regular business traveler, this newly opened hotel offers a welcome respite from the city hustle and bustle with its green, calm and rejuvenating landscape while assuring you of every conceivable modern comfort and is only a 45 minute drive from the airport.