Special guests, delegates and visitors to the first India International Wine Fair were treated to exclusive 2004 vintages from 12 Grands Crus Classés and major Bordeaux vineyards at an elegant wine dinner at Taj Land’s End, hosted by General Manager Rohit Khosla. Sommelier India was among the guests invited.
The extraordinary line-up of wines sponsored by Brindco, India’s largest importer, were matched with an excellent five-course dinner prepared by the Taj chefs. Considerable thought and planning went into the dishes paired with the wines so as not to eclipse their stellar quality. The wine service was flawless. The well-trained waiters served the wines – two at a time – seamlessly with each course, removing the previous serving at the same time.
Rated as a classic by wine experts, the 2004 vintage is a long-term cellaring wine with good density. The wines went well with most of the dishes. The only pairing I could cavil about was the Sour Cherry Sorbet which did nothing for the fine Château Durfort-Vivens, a prestige second classified growth from Margaux, that was served with it. David Wrigley of WSET was the Master of Ceremonies and each château representative spoke a few words to introduce their wines.
If you like statistics, average Bordeaux vintages produce more than 700 million bottles of wine (over 900 million in good years). Most wine produced in Bordeaux is red – 88% to be precise – usually known as claret. In addition, Bordeaux also produces notable sweet white wines like Château Y’Quem, dry whites, rosés and sparkling wines known as Crémant de Bordeaux. The wine is made by 10,000 producers or châteaux from the grapes of 13,000 grape growers. There are 57 appellations of Bordeaux wine. A large proportion is everyday wine but Bordeaux also produces some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world.
Wine is a unique alcoholic beverage, reflecting culture and refinement and prompting interesting exchanges. I’m constantly learning new things about it and was fortunate to be seated at the same table as Aymar de Baillenx, President of Château Bechevelle, a prestigious great growth going back three centuries. One of the most visited properties in Saint Julien, Beychevelle wines are marked by elegance, finesse and balance but they are made first of all to pair with food, said Baillenx.
Also at our table was David Banford, CEO of the Wine Society of India which has made great strides in fostering India’s nascent wine culture, and Bruno Lemoine of Château Larrivet Haut Brion, from the Pessac-Léognan appellation. The château produces very good, dry white wines and was the only producer to present both, a white and a red wine.
— Reva K Singh
List of wines in the order in which they were served:
CHATEAU MAYNE LALANDE 2004
CHATEAU LARRIVET HAUT BRION 2004
CHATEAU BEAUMONT 2004
CHATEAU DURFORT- VIVENS 2004
CHATEAU BEYCHEVELLE 2004
CHATEAU PICHON LONGUEVILLE 2004
CHATEAU DASSAULT 2004
CHATEAU LAGRANE 2004
CHATEAU LAFON-ROCHET 2004
CHATEAU LYNCH BAGES 2004