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An evening of expectations

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Although only recently, Nashik has been rightly baptised to be the ‘Wine Capital of India’. Many enthusiasts even call it the ‘Napa Valley of India’. And why not? It is after all home to most of the top wine brands in our country. Nashik, being the biggest grape producing region, this is not unexpected. It is then not surprising, when one of the premier hotels of Nashik organised a wine festival and the top 7 wine companies in Nashik participated in an evening of “wine tasting with good food and music”.

We, of course, turned up in full gear (in chic evening wear and cameras in place) and expectations — only to be hugely, hugely disappointed. Apologies for breaking the suspense right at the start, but there was only this much to it.

First, about the wines there — while a number of them tasted just ‘flat and fatigued ’, we loved a couple of non-Nine Hills wine, chief among them being a Cabernet Shiraz. At the cost of sounding narcissistic, wines from our very own counter belonged to the superlative category. Personally, Nine Hills Sauvignon Blanc and Nine Hills Shiraz stole the show!!! Cheers to that. And frankly, this was the only reason we cheered about….

For, the food was despicable. Two reasons:

One — there was the usual round of starters (with cheeses, salads), soups, hard-core Indian main course dishes and desserts – one could tell that no care was taken or thought given to the fact that this was a wine festival and one of the basics of wine and food is that they should match. How about ‘doodhi halwa’ for desserts at a wine festival? ‘Goodness’ you screamed? We did too….

Two — While the hotel management would be patting themselves on their back for arranging a big buffet spread, they forgot that wine is a classy drink. Lovers of wine like a sit-down meal where food is served matching the wine being sipped. One is not expected to balance his glass while taking fills of ‘black pepper mutton’. Or stand in the ‘queue’ for rotis. That really is not the ‘wine type’.

But where we really grinded our teeth was on the music front. They played loud loud and even louder fusion.  This really nailed the coffin. No matter how hard we tried to educate the DJs and the hotel manager that jazz is what they should be playing, they wouldn’t listen. The banquet room simply reverberated with such loud, mindless music.

Couldn’t being able to take the mess any longer, we opted out after a quick dinner. That was the end to an evening of expectations – to taste wines, to find out how well they fit with our palette and plate, and to enjoy good music.

The Indian wine scene, as we mentioned in the beginning, is still in the teenage age. Experimentations and learning from mistakes is what will get them to the next level. Such events are an eye-opener for companies like us who not only make and sell wines, but also wants to educate its patrons on the nuances of wine.

Hence, let’s leave you with two thoughts —- wine doesn’t come in the category of drinks where the phrase “tally ho joa” applies.

Secondly, ‘louder the better’ doesn’t apply to all types of music.

What say?

Categories: Events Tags: , , ,

Nine Hills – Introducing JMJ

Well, the French have always claimed their supremacy over the rest of the world in wine-making, nay wine art as they love to call it. As arrogant and vain as this may appear to a discerning non-French person, we cannot really waive off the claims —- for France is really the country which makes great wine. Regardless of the fact that there are various factors that contribute to the end result, every maker in France has his own specified method that adds up as his personal touch in making his wine unique.

One such wizard is Jean Manuel Jacquinot ………he comes from a family that set up their wine business just after the First World War (!!!). Picking up the tricks of the trade from his grand-father and father, Jean grew up amongst vineyard, family wineries and Champagnes. Needless to say that his best schooling happened there; and after his formal university education and projects with numerous projects with wine-companies, he turned into a wine-consultant.

Nine Hills Wine

In 2005, he joined Pernod Ricard, erstwhile Seagram India to set up an international quality winery in Nashik, India in order to, in his own words, “be able to create and to develop a complete range of wines”. The first year’s production was a still dry Sauvignon Blanc, a still sweet Chenin Blanc, some reds with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. This range has widened now with Shiraz Rose, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and Shiraz Reserve joining the list. Jean attributes his success in India to the very progressive farmers who have been able to follow his guidance in viticulture to grow grapes suitable for high quality wines. And, as is obvious, there has been no looking back…..

This much acclaimed wine maestro will be amongst our midst in Mumbai on 17th June, 2011 and Bangalore on 18th June, 2011.

Mumbai: A sit-down dinner with JMJ and the invited guests at The Park, Navi Mumbai where each course will be paired with a Nine Hill wine.

Bangalore: Will see and hear more of JMJ…Two events have been planned for the Garden City:

  • A relaxed complimentary lunch at  Vivanta by Taj, MG Road in association with Food Lovers Magazine where there shall be grape stomping (!!!), barbeques, live food counters and jazz music.
  • Wine Maker’s Dinner to be co-hosted by Chef Abhijit Saha & JMJ at Fava- UB City. This will be a paid dinner @ Rs 1200 for a four course dinner with wines

Also, in Bangalore, Radio Indigo station will run an interview with JMJ Monday morning prime time, 20th June 2011

Hoping to catch you in your city….join Jean in his passionate affair with grapes.

Categories: Events Tags: , ,