Champagne Experience at Amanbagh


amanb3.jpgThe drive was long – and tedious towards the end, but my flagging spirit picked up on arrival at Amanbagh. So beautiful and peaceful were the surroundings of this Aman bagh or, literally, garden of peace, writes Reva Singh

The resort with its Mughal inspired architecture is striking in its stark simplicity. Domed cupolas, colonnaded verandahs and inner courtyards with lofty ceilings and uncluttered spaces in sand stone and pink marble are broken by stretches of green grass and the blue of the swimming pool.
I wondered why I hadn’t come here earlier although my husband and I had a long -standing invitation from the Joint GMs and old friends, Robyn Bickford and Manav Garewal.
The impetus finally was a unique offer I couldn’t resist – a Champagne Experience by Comité Champagne at Amanbagh organized by Rajiv Singhal, CIVC’s Champagne Ambassador to India. My stay at Amanbagh was short but unique in that we were introduced to a different Champagne every step of the way – virtually.
As we all know, there are many different Champagne Houses (SI readers will remember reading about these in our special section on Champagne in the November/December 08 edition) but never had I tasted so many different champagnes in one day. It was drinking Champagne the way it is meant to be drunk in the company of friends paired with excellent food in an exceptional setting.
We were greeted on arrival with a glass of Canard-Duchêne Charles VII Rosé
and small refreshments. The Pool Pavilion Suite where we stayed are situated on the periphery of the property and approached by a private walled courtyard. Flanking the entrance hallway on one side is a luxurious bathroom suite centred with a large sunken bathtub. Opposite it is a well-furnished bedroom. The verandah across the hallway overlooks the garden and lap pool.
That night, the Amanbagh chefs (under the expert direction of Robyn Bickford) pulled out all the stops for a Prestige Cuvée Dinner which started with Krug Grande Cuvée Brut paired with a mousse of prawns and smoked salmon and ended with a Bavarois of Goat’s Cheese with walnuts, chilli and cumin toffee – a unique combination of flavours that married surprisingly well with Ayala Cuvée Perled Ayala 2002. The dessert course was Creme Catalan with Cinnamon and Date Ice Cream and Armand de Brignac Rosé.
The next morning we were treated to a Champagne breakfast laid out in the colonnaded verandah overlooking the resort’s garden and 33-metre swimming pool accompanied by Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut.
I can now personally vouch that Champagne can be drunk at any time of the night or day and isn’t only for special occasions. What’s more the range of exceptional Champagnes available in India is immense. Wine lovers are spoilt for choice.
As for Amanbagh, it’s a haven of quietude in the midst of teeming India and I plan to be back, the long drive from Delhi notwithstanding! You need two, if not three, nights here to allow your city-bruised self to recover with the gentle welcome and attention you will receive from your hosts, Robyn and Manav.
And once you’ve recovered your equilibrium, there’s no shortage of interesting things to do – even without the Champagne – given Amanbagh’s natural and historical heritage.

This article appeared first in a slightly different form in Sommelier India, May/June 2009

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