One aspect of the growing interest in wine in India is the number of wine clubs that have cropped up. Nearly every city has at least one. From the small and select Sommelier India Women’s Wine Circle to the rapidly expanding Wine Society of India, these clubs and societies are very different from each other – except for one goal which is common to all, ie, to foster a wine drinking culture in India.
A club that has successfully opened up our palates to new and different wines is the Hotel Shangri La Wine Club in Delhi. I attended their first wine tasting in 2009 and what a pleasure it was. About 30 people were gathered around the bar as wine and appetizers were passed around. Andrew Steele, general manager of the hotel, and Harshal Shah, wine consultant and SI contributor, introduced each new wine with a brief description. Their comments were to the point and personal.
There was a convivial buzz about the place and it wasn’t stuffy. I chatted with fellow wine lovers who I hadn’t met in a long while or listened in to conversations and savoured the wine. We tasted five wines from Bordeaux that evening, accompanied by appetizers that were truly out of the ordinary.
The wines – served impeccably in appropriate stemware and at the right temperature – were Drappier Brut, Château Tour de Mirambeau AOC Bordeaux Reserva Blanc 2007, Mascaron par Ginestet 2005, Château Trianon AOC St Emilion Grand Cru 2003 and Château Haut Pauillac, Pauillac2004.
Yet another wine club is breaking into the Indian wine scene. Terroir, the Madras Wine Club makes its debut at the Taj Coromandel in Chennai this week.