The newly opened Sofitel Hotel in Bandra Kurla complex, Mumbai, held its first ever five-course wine dinner at the Pondichery Café paired with fabulous wines from Château de Parenchère, which is situated in the eastern most region of Bordeaux. This elegant event took place in the company of the vivacious Julia Gazaniol whose grandfather bought the vineyard in 1958 and who specially flew in for the occasion. Sandra and Farhad Bhabha, from Berkmann wine cellars co-hosted the wine dinner. Suneeta K. Sodhi was a guest
Julia decided to serve the Château de Parenchère Bordeaux Clairet 2010 first, instead of a white wine, as she felt it would pair well with the first course of spiced red lentil soup.
The Clairet is a special Rose wine appellation in Bordeaux. The wines here are more intensely coloured and are higher in alcohol. This special rosé is called a wine of “saignées” as it is produced from the musts run off just after the vatting of the red wine begins, and not from low skin contact as in other rosé wines. The grape varieties are typical of a Bordeaux blend – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Highly aromatic and also more substantial than traditional rosés, with good body and exuberant fruitiness, it turned out to be a very enjoyable wine indeed.
While we waited for the next course to arrive, Prashant Tiwari, the in-house sommelier at Sofitel showed us their very impressive wine cellar. A gleaming cylindrical glass tower, lined with hundreds of bottles of wines which can be reached by a spiral staircase.
Our next dish was the Duck pastrami salad. Superbly prepared and oozing fresh flavours, it matched beautifully with our next wine. The Château de Parenchère Bordeaux Blanc 2010 is made from the three major Bordeaux white varieties: 70% Sauvignon, 20% Semillon and 10% Muscadelle. This gently acidic wine has citrus and white fruit aromas, and is both fresh and round on the palate. Its balance makes it an ideal accompaniment for fish and seafood.
The main course of seared sea bass with cauliflower mousse was served with the flagship wine of Parenchère, the Château de Parenchère Bordeaux Cuvee Raphaël 2007. It bears the name of Raphaël Gazaniol, Julia’s grandfather, who renovated the Parenchère estate. This wine is a selection of the finest plots on the estate, produced with grapes from vines that are more than 40 years old on average. This Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend has an ageing potential of 10 to 12 years. A very dense, very concentrated wine with elegant tannins that stand out, but are mellow and smooth. They are elegantly woody, but not excessively so, leaving plenty of room for the fruit.
The last wine that was served was the estate’s traditional wine Château de Parenchère Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge 2009. It is made using grapes from vines of 20 years on average. With its equal proportions of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, it is half-way between a Médoc and a Saint-Emilion. Merlot gives it its supple, fruity fleshiness; Cabernet-Sauvignon provides structure and additional tannic density. Characterized by a good balance between fruit and tannin, it displays distinct red fruit aromas with a long, sustained finish.
The evening culminated with desserts and cheeses that completed the tango on our palate with a flourish. Fulfilling is the word that best describes this outstanding French wine dinner. All in all, the Pondichery restaurant provided the perfect setting for a relaxed and social evening.
Château de Parenchère Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge 2009 retails at Rs. 2199/- (excluding Vat) in Mumbai, while the Château de Parenchère Bordeaux Clairet 2010 and Château de Parenchère Bordeaux Blanc 2010 are priced at Rs. 1850/-. Distributed exclusively by Berkmann wines, the wines are available at Reliance stores, Living Liquidz and Nature’s Basket, where you can also buy Sommelier India Wine Mangazine.