|Two winemaker dinners were held in May at the Grand Hyatt, Mumbai and Shangri La, New Delhi, spotlighting fine Bordeaux wines (or claret as the British call them) from the portfolio of Maison Ginestet. Founded in 1897 and now owned by the Merlaut family, Maison Ginestet is one of the largest wine merchant companies in Bordeaux.|
The occasion was the visit of some of the chateaux owners to India at the invitation of Maison Ginestet’s Indian partner, Sundeep Vintners.
The dinner in Delhi at the Shangri La hotel was an elegant affair. Six wines were paired with unique Indo-Western fare created by Executive Chef David Ansted. Super premium Mascaron Bordeaux red and Mascaron Bordeaux white were served as aperitifs.
Bordeaux’s wines are predominantly red and have a distinct flavour. They possess more acidity and liveliness than, say, the weightier wines of the Rhône. At the same time, the characteristics of their dominant varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, are very evident. In the best wines, ageing in oak produces additional nuances while the finest wines have more concentration, longer bottle life and evolve in a more complex and interesting way.
Bordeaux has centuries of experience in making wine. Haut-Brion was the first wine estate to sell its wine under its own name when it was shipped to London in 1660. Just three years later Samuel Pepys was noting in his diary that “Ho Bryan” has “a good and most particular taste that I have never met with”, and by the start of the 18th century fine wine capable of improving as it aged was established.
But long before this, England – and other northern European countries – had been buying wine from Bordeaux. The marriage of Henry Plantagenet in 1152 to Eleanor of Aquitaine, heiress to the entire western part of France, strengthened the alliance between Bordeaux and England, an alliance that was to last for three centuries. The mediaeval English name for Bordeaux red wine was claret. The name and the wine drinking habit has lasted in England to this day and is now spreading to India with fine wines such as these from Maison Ginestet.
The clarets served during the course of the meal were Château Gruaud-Larose (2nd Classified Growth of Saint Julien), Ch Ferrière (3rd Classified Growth of Margaux), Ch Camensac (5th Classified Growth of Haut Médoc), Ch Haut Bages Libéral (5th Classified Growth of Pauillac), Ch Citran (Cru Bourgeois Supérieur of Haut Médoc), Ch Chasse Spleen (Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel of Moulis en Médoc).