Nashik-based Vallonné Vineyards and the ever popular Malaka Spice restaurant in Pune came together to host the 3rd Malaka Vallonné Wine Festival 2013 at the restaurant’s lovely alfresco section on 10th February 2013. Going by the easy flow of wines, food, conversation and conviviality the festival conveyed that good wine and food make a great combination, writes SI correspondent Brinda Gill.
Vallonné, which means ‘undulating landscape’ in French, is located at a scenic, gently rolling site about 30 kms from Nashik. At the boutique winery, Shailendra Pai, CEO, Vallonné Vineyards, and his team produce a good range of wines, some of which have received awards and accolades. The annual Malaka Vallonné Wine Festival aims to create an awareness of wine and spread wine culture with the fun of enjoying great food and wines.
Free-flowing Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Crimson Glory (a blend of three red wines), Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon Classique, and Rosé wines from Vallonné along with two delicious red wine sangrias and a refreshing white wine sangria gave guests plenty of wines to taste. Vallonné’s reserva Malbec, its latest release, was also offered for tasting and met with an appreciative response which has encouraged Shailendra to launch it in the market without delay.
A stomping barrel with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes had people of all ages give grape stomping a try. There were lots of wine bottles to be won with wine games (guessing the number of grapes in a bunch), the best verse using the words, ‘wine’, ‘crisp’ and ‘bouquet’, with lively exchanges between guests and compere. And, yes, there was also a prize for the liveliest table!
Southeast Asian style cuisine by Chef Cheeru Chandavarkar was served to visitors by Malaka Spice staff. Restaurateur Praful Chandavarkar’s enthusiastic promotion of wine culture, the pleasant outdoor setting with garden umbrellas and a charming corner decorated with vines and bunches of grapes where wines could be bought at ex-winery prices, helped to create a relaxed and enjoyable wine festival.
Shailendra said he was `overwhelmed’ by the response. More than 300 people attended the festival. Given its current success, the organisers are resolved to return next year with a bigger and better festival.