Bombay Wine Club tastes Indian ‘Bordeaux’

The ambience at the courtyard was lazy, laid-back, Mediterranean. The subtle smell of horses and sandy gravel beneath your feet lent a quaint country feel to the pleasant setting. Mystic music, cool weather and a glass of wine swirling in your hand – it was heady, to say the least, writes Suneeta Kanga. Close your eyes and you are in Bordeaux country; wake up and you are at Olive, Race Course, Mumbai, with a glass of Château D’Ori wine! Ashu-Kalra-and-Vishal-Kada.jpg

The Bombay Wine club organized a wine tasting event on 16 November 08 for its members and their guests. The turnout of wine lovers was impressive: a crowd of 65 on a Sunday night. The wines for the evening were sponsored by the “mini Bordeaux” of Nashik – Château D’Ori.
Indian wine lovers, past, present and future, please raise a toast to Château D’Ori and its world class wine available at Indian rupee prices, which owner and wine producer Ranjit Dhuru hopes will go a long way in helping us desis acquire a taste for this “supposedly” esoteric and expensive beverage.

bombaywineclubbordeau2.jpg Meanwhile, clubs and societies such as the Bombay Wine Club are doing their bit to wean us away from our predictable Blue and Black Labels, Grey Gooses and Absoluts and introduce us to a new world of wines and vats and oak barrels, and wine experiences that Omar Khayyam described as a taste of paradise. Left: Ranjit Dhuru, Suneeta Kanga and Vishal Kadakia at Olive

The Bombay Wine Club was started in 2006 by seven friends who shared a common love for wine. Vishal Kadkia is the force behind this club that organizes events for like-minded wine lovers on a strictly non-profit basis. Vishal’s dream is to introduce people to that one great bottle of wine which they’ll remember all their lives – through wine appreciation and education at events such as these.
As Ranjit explains the processes of production at his vineyards to the audience, his passion is palpable. Ever the gracious host, he lent an ear to anyone with a query about the wines and extended warm invitations to all to visit his vineyards in Nashik.
Château D’Ori wine is influenced highly by the Bordeaux style of winemaking using estate grown grapes, but the terroir being Indian, the expression of the wine is local. The exotic name comes from the mountains of Nera Ori, near Dindori, Nashik, where the estate is situated.
The entire range of five fine wines from their first vintage (2007) were available for the tastings. We started with the refreshing whites. Viva, Chenin Blanc 2007 followed by the very classic Sauvignon Blanc 2007. The wines were chilled perfectly and like all their wines are fruit forward in style and estate bottled.
I personally favoured the reds. The Merlot 2007 is produced in the traditional St. Emilon style. Agreeable tannins and fruity notes with a long finish make this a delight on the palate. The Cabernet-Merlot 2007 came next. It was love at first sip! This blend is intensely aromatic, succulent and smooth.
Ranjit is delighted and flattered with the Silver medal this wine received in the recent India Wine Challenge. It is whispered that the stock of this fine wine is almost sold out. Fans like myself will now have to wait for the 2008 vintage. Despair not, I’m told, the production has been quadrupled by team D’Ori!
And last but not the least, came the Cabernet Syrah 2007 blend. Complex, aromatic with spicy, peppery notes and mellow tannins. A well balanced wine which goes well with our tropical weather and spicy food. Gary Vaynerchuk, New York based internet wine critic, was impressed with this wine and described it as a wine that “showed the potential of this country”.

The only dampener for a perfect evening was the service at an otherwise all time favourite – Olive. Although the food and wines were not specifically paired, Chef Amit Vaidya had prepared a range of tasty appetizers in a free flowing “eat as you wish” flow of platters, followed by delectable main courses, salads and desserts. bombaywineclubbord1.jpg

Pictured above are Ashu Kalra and Vishal Kadakia with friends
Finally, thanks to the Bombay Wine Club we now know that with Château D’Ori wines, be it the sultry and smooth reds or the refreshing whites, we don’t need to fly to France to enjoy Bordeaux-style wines. On my way back, the Cabernet Merlot still lingering on my palate, Omar Khayyam whispered in my ear –
Then to the lip of this poor earthen Urn
I lean’d, the Secret of my Life to learn:
And Lip to Lip it murmur’d — “While you live
Drink! — for, once dead, you never shall return.”

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