All about bordeaux, beers and bonhomie

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Published: November 19, 2017 2:26:19 AM

The French embassy decided to treat us to a host of their wines from various wine regions, from Champagne to Burgundy and even some very exquisite exceptionally-aged Armagnacs and ‘Agricole’ rums.

This past fortnight brought along the most exceptional wines and beers. (Representative photo: Reuters)

Let me pick up from where I left last fortnight—if you recall, I had rattled on about just how many events were happening around the country this time of the year. After last year’s demonetisation drive (it happened at about the same time), which created a social lull more desolate than in a cemetery, 2017 has been a welcome respite. Sure, I invite envy (as also the unwelcome extra kilos), but given just how tough it is getting to even breathe in the capital of the world’s largest democracy, I’d rather take my chances with those malaises. So what has the city been witness to in the last 15 sunrises?

The French embassy decided to treat us to a host of their wines from various wine regions, from Champagne to Burgundy and even some very exquisite exceptionally-aged Armagnacs and ‘Agricole’ rums. I do hope that the trade meetings, which ensued will help these wines find a way to the local shelf. Then there was a lovely dinner at Roseate House with the Count of Cinzano, who brought not only his very drinkable ‘Erasmo’ Chilean wines, but also his top Brunellos from the Col d’orcin estate spanning three decades—many of which were poured out of magnums. This wasn’t the first time I tried the wines and this isn’t the first time I shall share that it’s one of the most prestigious houses and a flagbearer for the region and its wines.

Another curious event was the private dinner with Liber Pater wines—by far, the most expensive wines I have ever tried (try 4,000 euros per bottle!). While the wines (made with some unheard of autochthonous grapes) and the food were definitely memorable, I couldn’t help but wonder about the market for such wines in India. Given our taxes and rules, I remain sceptical. Not so with Loic, owner and winemaker, who says that with a production of barely 100 bottles per annum, surely, there would be Indian collectors who would vie for his rarer-than-a-Fabergé-egg wines. By contrast, the wine dinner with McGuigan wines from Hunter Valley was a much more relatable affair—easy-drinking, fruit-forward wines with balance and elegance and, most importantly, a price more within my reach. Funnily enough, while their Black Label is the highest selling red wine in Australia, it was their Chardonnay (Private Bin) that enthralled me, one glass after another. It was good to try wines, which are drinkable and yet don’t fall into the commercial bracket, which is flooded with Oz wines that often sport some weird critter on the label or another.

Lastly, almost as if to provide us a break from all this wine, we had a lovely beer launch. Not just any beers, but the two top Belgian beers at that! The owner of Delirium and the CEO of Trappist Chimay came down to launch two beers each and it was a fun heady affair partly because of the 8% alcohol that some of these beers pack! I look forward to organising a paired dinner with them. If, that is, Miss Gigglewater doesn’t beat me to it! She was the organising prowess (and finesse) behind the last two events and fantastically so. In the next 15 sunsets, I am sure more hedonism will be headed my way. But first is a half-marathon to get out of the way. After all that eating and imbibing, it’s best to burn it out on the track. As for the envy, one just has to get accustomed to it.

The writer is a sommelier

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