Madhulika Bhattacharya Dhall or Madame La Cave as she is called could not have chosen a better venue than Sumit & Chiquita Gulati’s Spice Market behind Select City Walk Saket to host her Chateau Ste Michelle “Un-Wined by La Cave” dinner.
Madulika had the whole city buzzing less than a year back, when she launched La Cave, her gorgeous looking Wine & Spirits Store at Select City Walk Saket with eye-catching interiors and an enviable selection of wines from all across the world. Taking her passion for wine a step forward she has now embarked on specially curated wine dinners titled “Un-Wined by La Cave” featuring wines imported by her husband Aman Dhall’s company Brindco, all of which are available at her store La Cave. The express purpose of this exercise is to introduce and popularize a wine culture in the city.
Another person who is endeavouring to do the same is young Sumit Gulati owner of Gulati Spice Market, who along with his talented wife, Chef Chiquita Gulati, runs an excellent Indian restaurant that has a limited but well thought out and most reasonably priced wine list for standalone restaurants in Delhi. Sumit is WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) certified who understands wine and also the requirements of his customers some of whom want to try out only a glass or two and not the whole bottle. For this reason most wines served at his restaurant come in quarter (187ml) and half size (375ml) bottles. Advantage of this is that “wine by the glass” is not from a previously opened bottle but is fresh each time you order it.
Not only does his wine list mention the price, it also gives you the grapes which go into the wine, the flavour profile and also the suggested pairings, making the job of ordering a wine so much easier and less intimidating. Since his restaurant serves North Indian & Regional cuisine he has kept wines which complement spicy & rich Indian cuisine. So you will find mostly Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Muscat among the whites and fruity reds like Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Garnacha and Merlot.
When David Andrews, Divisional Manger Asia Pacific for Ste Michelle Wine Estates, a dominant force in the Pacific Northwest and one of the largest wine companies in the US, wanted to present a few of his Columbia Valley Chateau Ste Michelle Wines, Madame La Cave had to look no further than Gulati Spice Market.
And since Riesling pairs well with Indian food the choice was most apt as Ste Michelle Wine Estate is the world’s largest Riesling producer. Their Rieslings are crisp and aromatic as the Washington weather is perfect for balancing the acid & sugar levels in the grape and developing its fruity flavours. In fact all Chateau Ste Michelle wines are known for their consistent good quality. They have not yet become expensive like the California wines and are very affordable. These are wines made in “Old World Style” with “New World Innovations” without too much complexity and have an easy approachable style which even novices can understand & appreciate.
But Rieslings were not all that we tasted at the Un-Wined dinner. There was a wonderful Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc 2013 paired with Chettinad Spiced River Sole & Panko Crusted Asparagus with Achari Dip and an elegant Chateau Ste Michelle Chardonnay 2012 with a lightly spiced Bhuna Kukad (Chicken). Among the reds was a fruity smoky Chateau Ste Michelle Merlot 2012 cleverly paired with Burrah Kebab & Rajma ke Shammi and a plush & spicy Chateau Ste Michelle Syrah served with Dum ka Murg, Palak Chilgoza Paneer Kofta & Kale Chane ki Biryani. And last but not the least was Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling 2013 an off dry (slightly sweet) wine with wonderful acidity which drank very easily.
All these wines come from Columbia Valley AVA (American Viticulture Area), the largest wine region in the state of Washington. At the dinner they went down rather effortlessly with a melange of Indian dishes cleverly prepared by Chef Chiquita who had tempered down the spices a notch, without letting the taste get affected. Chiquita, who along with her husband Sumit, is an alumna of Les Roches International Hotel Management School in Switzerland where she trained under Chef Patrick Bezzi & Chef Dominique Grandjean. She was recently named the Top Chef at Delhi Gourmet Club’s Top Chef Awards in the Best North Indian Cuisine – Standalone Category.
It was from her father-in-law Vinod Gulati, owner of the popular Gulati Restaurant at Pandara Road that she mastered the nuances of North Indian cuisine which she has now perfected while adding her own innovative twists. A wine lover herself she does not try to match her food with wine. It is a tough ask where Indian food is concerned. Since Chiquita understands techniques & flavors, she cooks food which can be enjoyed with a glass of wine especially from the New World like Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley, Chilean & most Indian Wines along with a few Spanish & French
So here’s more power to people like Madhulika, Sumit & Chiquita and many more “Un-Wined” dinners.
By: Lavina Kharkwal
Chateau Ste Michelle Wines are available at La Cave Select City Walk Saket
Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling 2013 Columbia Valley (Rs 2190)
Chateau Ste Michelle Chardonnay 2012 Columbia Valley (Rs 2740)
Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Columbia Valley (Rs 3430)
Chateau Ste Michelle Merlot 2012 Columbia Valley (Rs 2750)
Chateau Ste Michelle Syrah 2012 Columbia Valley (Rs 2320)