Tag Archives: Pullman New Delhi Aerocity

Indian Wines Showcased at Winemakers Dinner at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity

Tristan Beau de Lomenie, the handsome and suave General Manager of Pullman New Delhi Aerocity made a telling statement while addressing the guests at “Taste of India”, a Winemakers Dinner at Pluck & Pling, the all-day fine dining restaurant at his hotel. He said, “This is not a competition but a collaboration among India’s top wine producers”.

He was referring to the winemakers from Sula, Grover Zampa, York and Charosa, who had flown down to Delhi, to present their wines at a well curated dinner at Pullman, the purpose of which was to highlight the tremendous progress made by the Indian wine industry, both in terms of quality and styles.

Tristan also made a little confession and admitted that four years ago, when he and his wife Isabel came to India, they were not very fond of Indian wine. However, over the years, he has been amazed by the improvement in the quality of Indian wines and now, not only has he become a fan, but is actively promoting them in his hotel.

This dinner was notable for several reasons. Four of India’s well known winemakers, Ajoy Shaw of Sula Vineyards, Karishma Grover of Grover Zampa, Ravi Gurnani from York and Ashok Patil from Charosa Vineyards had gathered together, taking time out from their busy schedules since it is harvest time at the wineries, to showcase their premium wines at the Pullman dinner.

While most wine lovers in Delhi are already familiar with established names like Sula, Grover Zampa and York, this was the first time that wines from Charosa (a winery located 55kms from Nashik in Maharashtra) were being presented in the capital. There has been a buzz around their Sauvignon Blanc and Reserve Tempranillo (India’s first 100% Tempranillo), and guests at the “Taste of India” dinner got a chance to try out both, along with Charosa Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The presence of Ashok Patil, chief winemaker of Charosa, who spoke a little about his winery, made it special.

The four wines from Sula Vineyards, India’s biggest and most well known wine producer commanding the largest market share, were Brut Tropicale (my current favorite among Indian sparkling wines), Sula Riesling 2016, Rasa Shiraz 2014 and a lovely Late Harvest Chenin Blanc 2016 which had a good balance between sweetness and acidity and a touch of Muscat. Ajoy Shaw, chief winemaker of Sula Vineyards revealed that Rasa got its name after the initials (Ra Sa) of the founder of Sula, Rajeev Samat. I was not aware of this and it is always good to learn something new.

Karishma Grover, chief winemaker at Grover Vineyards Ltd, presented Zampa Brut Soirée 2014 and Grover Zampa Chêne Grande Reserve 2010 along with two house labels that she has collaborated with Pullman. “Blanc by Pullman” is a Sauvignon Blanc while “Rouge by Pullman” is a blend of oak aged Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, both easy drinking styles.

Ravi Gurnani from York winery was the only person among the four, who is technically not a winemaker but takes care of sales & marketing. It is his brother Kailash, who is incharge of winemaking operations at York Winery, also situated in Nashik very close to Sula. The wines that he showcased at the dinner were York Sparkling Blanc de Blancs (100% Chenin), York Chenin Blanc 2016 and, York Arros, one of the best value for money premium Indian red wines in my opinion.

It goes to the credit of Tristan and his team of sommeliers and chefs, in particular Director Food & Beverage Vishrut Gupta and Assistant Director F&B Deepak Shettigar, that the event was a huge success.

The efforts of the sommelier of Pullman & Novotel New Delhi Aerocity, Kriti Malhotra, were recognised and praised by everyone present. Kriti is certified sommelier from Court of Master Sommeliers and it was she who had coordinated with the winemakers and persuaded them to participate. She is a passionate and dedicated sommelier who is making a mark on the wine scene and setting a great example which should encourage more and more Indian women to enter this field.

Taste of India Winemakers Dinner at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity
Taste of India Winemakers Dinner at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity

Taste of India wine dinner was also a fabulous opportunity for the chefs of Pullman to showcase “Farm-to-Table”, a concept that they so zealously advocate. In fact, quite a few ingredients used in the dishes were plucked from their in-house organic garden. No surprise that the Cafe is called “Pluck”. The miniature Chef’s Garden created for the dinner, complete with root vegetables which guests had to dig out from faux soil and the different types of fruit and vegetable caviar, came in for a lot of appreciation. There were some hits and misses in terms of wine and food pairing, but there is always an inherent risk while attempting something unconventional.

Tristan Beau de Lomenie and his team need to be applauded for promoting both the “Farm-to-Table” concept and Indian Wines at Pullman & Novotel New Delhi Aerocity.

The Wines from Sula, Grover Zampa, York and Charosa ; Chef's Garden at Pluck; Caviar and Dessert
The Wines from Sula, Grover Zampa, York and Charosa ; Chef’s Garden at Pluck; Caviar and Dessert

Tristan’s concluding words at the “Taste of India” wine dinner were that Indian wines are becoming a force to reckon with and can now complete with the best in the New World. Coming from a Frenchman whose wife Isabel, owns a vineyard in Barsac Bordauex, this is quite an endorsement.

By : Lavina Kharkwal



On a Sangiovese Trail with Fratelli Wines

Talk about a Sangiovese Trail and the mind immediately takes you to the beautiful Tuscan countryside and its lush wines, Chianti, Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Super Tuscans. This is only natural as Sangiovese is a grape, so firmly rooted in the Central Italian landscape, that it is difficult to picture it in any other scenario.

So imagine someone taking this fussy little fella outside its natural environment, planting it far far away in a remote village in rural Maharashtra, India and producing not one, not two, but five different styles featuring this temperamental Italian superstar, Sangiovese, which literally means “Blood of Jove” referring to the Roman god Jupiter.

Had anyone told me this five years ago, I would have probably scoffed in disbelief and asked them what they were smoking. But this was before Fratelli Wines and Piero Masi happened to India.

It took a maverick Italian winemaker, Piero Masi, from Tavarnelle di Pesa, a small town in Chianti Florence, creator of the famous “Chianti Classico Casa Sola”, someone with a deep cultural connect with Tuscany and enough experience with this Italian varietal, to hero the Sangiovese in his wines at Fratelli Vineyards in Akluj Maharastra.

After months of extensive research Fratelli’s Chief Winemaker, Masi, chose a clone of Sangiovese, most suited to the mineral and limestone rich arid Akluj soil, nurturing and tending it, till it took roots and began yielding good quality fruit. He managed to tame the asperity of this highly acidic light coloured grape and produce wines with a distinct character.

A winemaker’s expertise lies in how well he can use one grape to show its many different expressions and this is what Piero Masi has done with the Sangiovese in Akluj.

However it takes a couple of vintages even for the best in the business to make good wine and now Fratelli Vineyards can proudly display what it has achieved with the Sangiovese, by showcasing it in a manner like it did at a recent seven course “Modern Indian Dinner” held at Pluck, Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, where five styles of Sangiovese were paired with some excellent dishes.

Magandeep Singh, India’s most well known sommelier, wine educator and host of countless television shows on wine and spirits along with Craig Wedge, Brand Director Fratelli Wines, explained the story behind each of the labels.

The trail began with Fratelli Vineyards Sangiovese Bianco. This crisp refreshing white wine with a smokey mineral thread running through is made from 100% Sangiovese which is a red grape. A technique which requires great expertise indeed.

Next was Fratelli Vineyards newest label Fratelli Vineyards M/S Red Sangiovese, a blend of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Franc and 20% Syrah. M stands for Piero Masi while S is for Steven Spurrier, a man whose exploits relating to Judgement of Paris have been well documented in the film Bottle Shock.

A couple of months back when I had tasted M/S Red, I found it had a few rough edges. But now the oak and the fruits seem better integrated and the tannins felt smoother. Fruit showed well and the wine had a spicy lingering finish.

Third was Fratelli Vineyards Classico Sangiovese, a simple straightforward crowd-pleaser with a nice juicy vibrancy. This wine is a great introduction to Sangiovese for those who are not familiar with this grape. Since there is no oak used, the fruit shines in all its glory.

Fratelli Vineyards Vitae Sangiovese was next. This is a single vineyard wine and comes from Plot C in Garwar. Keeping up with growing trend world-wide towards single vineyard bottlings, Fratelli has come up with another first in India. Their endeavour is to make a Burgundy style Pinot Noir from low yields, low extraction and use of new french oak.

Some of the greatest wines of the world like Burgundy grand crus and premier crus come from single vineyards and the most revered name is Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

The last wine of the evening was Fratelli Vineyard’s flagship Sette, a wine which hardly needs an introduction. A blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and tiny bit of Cabernet Franc, fashioned after Super Tuscans, this wine created a benchmark, by showing the world that India was capable of producing age worthy premium quality wines. The 2012 vintage of Sette is their best yet as it the most balanced.

Sangiovese Trail by Fratelli Vineyards at Pluck & Pling, Pullman New Delhi Aerocity
Sangiovese Trail by Fratelli Vineyards at Pluck & Pling, Pullman New Delhi Aerocity

All the wines at the Sangiovese Trail were paired with dishes made with a lot of creativity, keeping in mind the flavor profile of each wine. Tristan Beau de Lomenie, the suave French General Manager of Pullman New Delhi Aerocity is a wine lover and a proponent of “Farm to Table “concept. A lot of ingredients which went into the meal that evening at Pluck came from his hotel in-house farm.

Meanwhile the House of Fratelli India is ready to come out with more firsts. I will not be surprised if we have a Brunello style 100% Sangiovese from them in the near future.

By: Lavina Kharkwal

Sangiovese Trial by Fratelli Wines. In the photographs Craig Wedge Brand Director Fratelli Wines, Reva Singh Editor Sommelier India, Isabel & Tristan Beau de Lomenie, Chefs of Pullman New Delhi Aerocity.
Sangiovese Trial by Fratelli Wines. In the photographs Craig Wedge Brand Director Fratelli Wines, Reva Singh Editor Sommelier India, Magandeep Singh, Isabel & Tristan Beau de Lomenie, Chefs of Pullman New Delhi Aerocity.

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