Wines for a Recession


sangimignano.jpg2007 Fattoria Sovestro, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Siena, Rs. 1800. Vintage, winery, grape, sub region, price – This is how the wines appear on my wine list, says Stephane Soret, Head Sommelier at The Imperial, New Delhi.
A bottle of Kingfisher beer costs Rs. 250 at the hotel. Your average Indian guest can add only Rs. 150 more and get instead a fantastic wine by the glass such as an Italian wine imported directly. Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a unique white wine from Tuscany that I bought to promote our Italian restaurant, San Gimignano, because the name of the wine and the restaurant is the same.

This is the most well known Tuscan white wine, partly because of its origin in the area around the famous hill town of San Gimignano. It is made from the Vernaccia grape, and is a light, dry wine of very reliable quality. Sunny golden in colour with an easy, apple cider nose, it is not a complicated wine. Sip it al fresco while the weather is still pleasant. The palate is dry and harmonious with a typically bitter aftertaste…. Its creamy texture is due to malolactic fermentation. The wine is pure and untreated. It is completely unoaked. A very versatile wine.
It makes a good wine-by-the glass selection. You can have it with all sorts of foods. I pick my wines-by-the-glass for the entry level guest who is a little bit shy about wine and may be intimidated by a 16-page wine list with 500 labels. This is a wine I selected because I want to share my knowledge with my guests and introduce them to a grape they may not know.
It is an outstanding wine at an entry level price. A bottle costs Rs. 1800, which serves five glasses. By-the-glass, it costs is Rs. 400 making a bottle all the more economical.
As an independent, family owned hotel we are able to import wine directly to bring value to the table. And the guest is happy because we offer new wines for the guest to discover and enjoy.
We may be going through a recession but it is still a good time to drink wine, in fact now more than ever. Because fine wine (like good food) is one of the small pleasures of life for which Indians are developing a taste.
– Stephane Soret


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