It was a perfect pairing: a crisp, minerally, absolutely dry Saumur Chenin Blanc and a plate of tender asparagus anointed with truffle oil. That was the first course at the Sommelier India dinner on Monday, April 25 in honor of Juliette Monmousseau, Deputy Managing Director of the Bouvet-Ladubay winery in the Loire Valley of France, writes wine enthusiast, Jyoti Thottam, who is also Chief of Bureau for Time Magazine in India. Pictured: Juliette Monmousseau, Deputy Managing Director of Bouvet-Ladubay speaking at the dinner at Olive Beach
That was just the first of several courses of Mediterranean-inspired food from Olive Beach at the Hotel Diplomat. They were matched with a Four Seasons chenin blanc in an off-dry style;: a Bouvet Chinon Rouge, with just enough structure to show off its soft red fruit, a Four Seasons Shiraz, with heady notes of camphor, pine, pepper and black fruit; and an easy-drinking Bouvet Brut Rosé.
The most interesting pairing of the evening, however, may have been that of the two winemaking traditions. Monmousseau represents the old world. She is a 5th generation wine maker from the Loire Valley, and her family produces about 6 million bottles a year, the vast majority of it sparkling wine made with only white grapes — chardonnay and the chenin blanc that finds full expression in the limestone soil typical of the region. Bouvet Ladubay is now part of UB Group, represented at the dinner by Abhay Kawedkar, chief winemaker and a pioneer of India’s very new-world wines. Kawedkar is ready to bring Indian wine to the French market, and has an ally in Bouvet-Ladubay.
Pictured: Rahoul Singh, Jug Suraiya and Bunny Suraiya.
It was wonderful to see the two Chenin Blancs in their distinct styles. The contrast only deepened my appreciation of this versatile, sometimes overlooked varietal. Bouvet-Ladubay, meanwhile, hopes to be part of the new wine drinking culture of India. They are well on their way. When Sachin Tendulkar and the rest of the Indian cricket team were sprayed with bubbly after winning the World Cup final, the wine was none other than Bouvet Trésor.