Vallonné Vineyards is an Indian boutique winery producing French-style wines in the Nashik Valley, using the finest wine-making techniques and state-of-the-art technology, writes Suneeta Sodhi Kanga. Co founders Shailendra Pai, MD and CEO and Prashant Thanawala, who oversees Production and Business Development, hosted a special dinner for their French winemaker Marie Barbé with a select few guests at Bungalow 9, Bandra, Mumbai, recently.
Bordeaux-based wine consultant, Marie Barbé, has combined Old and New World wine techniques at Vallonné with her wealth of experience and love for wine-making to craft fine blends that appeal to the Indian palate.
We tasted the wines over a four-course menu. The starter was warm brie cheese melted over roasted sweet peppers paired with the delicate and refreshing Vallonné Rosé 2011 which was incredibly intense on the nose with notes of cherry, plum, melons and berries.
The next course, Chicken with Cous Cous topped with Argan Oil Vinaigrette, was a visual delight. It was accompanied by the classic Vallonné Merlot 2010. This ripe, full bodied wine with aromas of dark chocolate, vanilla and cigars, had an upbeat acidity.
We were also introduced to the Vallonné Sauvignon Blanc 2010 by winemaker Marie Barbé. Tangy and refreshing this dry wine has typical aromas of fresh grass, sweet herbs and white pepper.
Cabernet braised lamb with a garlic mash, sautéed bacon and cabbage, pampered our taste buds next along with the delightful Vallonné Cabernet Sauvignon Classique 2010. This Cabernet, was by far the favourite of the evening with its intense notes of ripe berries and spices.
The dinner ended on a sweet but surprising note with Chef Rajeev Basak’s signature single origin chocolate Madagascar ice cream with rosemary, extra virgin olive oil and fleur de sel salt. As interesting was the accompanying wine – the Vin De Passerillage 2011 – made from shriveled Chenin Blanc grapes that are dried on straw, a process similar to that of Amarone from Italy.
Within just over a year, Vallonné wines have made their mark on the Indian wine scene, both with connoisseurs and wine consumers. Their Merlot won a Commendation at the Sommelier India Wine Competition, SIWC 2009 in the first few months of release on the market. This year, the Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon Classique and Sauvignon Blanc were selected for The Wine Society of India and Sommelier India Best of Best 2011 Gala Wine dinner and Tasting.