W I N E & C H A M P A G N E I N D I A FINE Contents F I N E PAGE 62 FINE Gastronomy PAGE 72 FINE Estate 9 FINEEDITORIAL PAGE 84 FINE Luxembourg An E Experience 10 FINEEVENT FINE India Eighth Anniversary 32 FINEBORDEAUX Verdict: Bordeaux 2018 Vintage 48 FINEWINE What is Fine Wine? 56 FINEGEORGIA The Cradle of Wine 62 FINEGASTRONOMY Tale of Two Ancient Beverages 72 FINEESTATE Goosemark in Kent 84 FINELUXEMBOURG The Sparkle in Luxembourg’s Crown 94 FINERESTAURANT PAGE 114 FINE Destination Hide in Mayfair 104 FINETASTING Taste Champagne London 110 FINEPERSONALITY Vincent Chaperon 114 FINEDESTINATION Royal Views on Champagne FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 7

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Volume 9 Issue 4 Q4 2019 WRITERS Editor Rajiv Singhal Rajiv Singhal Publisher Rajiv Singhal for Fine Publishing India Private Limited Chief Executive Ritu Singhal Wine Manager Radhika Puar Bordeaux Correspondent Ch’ng Poh Tiong Art & Creative Sandeep Kaul Digital Media Udit Singhal Photographs Hunesh Ajmani Rajiv Singhal is a first generation entrepreneur who pioneered activities in the luxury sector in India depuis 1993. He studied Economics at Yale, and since then has been simplifying access to the Indian market for international clients. Among other path breaking initiatives, he helped set up and establish the market for wine in India over the last 20 years. Appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite by the President of France in 2014, Rajiv is the Ambassador of Champagne to India and loves to challenge himself. Ritu Singhal Ritu Singhal co-founded New Delhi based Group Ritu, which has diverse interests in publishing, international consulting, marketing, brand building, e-learning, and private equity, in 1993. She trained as a textile designer at Sophia Polytechnic in Bombay, and experiments with new techniques on new media whenever she can. As voluntary work, she set up an annual craft bazaar to empower women artisans. When not doting on her two boys, Ritu is up for any gastronomic adventure as long as it is Administration Nupur Chaturvedi vegetarian. Distribution Archana Burman Ch’ng Poh Tiong Cover Photograph Château Cheval Blanc Ch’ng Poh Tiong is a lawyer by training who has many decades of expertise as a consultant, judge, Editorial & Business Offices 6F Vandhna, 11 Tolstoy Marg, New Delhi 110001 E: contact@fine-magazines.in W: www.fine-magazines.in acclaim, he specialises in Bordeaux. He studied Chinese Art at the School of Oriental & African Subscriber Information T: +91 11 23359874-75 RNI no. DELENG/2010/35861 ISSN 2231-5098 Edited, Printed and Published by Rajiv Singhal on behalf of Fine Publishing India Private Limited. Published from 6F Vandhna, 11 Tolstoy Marg, New Delhi 110001, India. Printed at Aegean Offset Printers, 220-B, Udyog Kendra Extension I, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201306, India. writer and contributor in the wine space. Author of many books that have received international Studies in London and is an ambassador of the European Fine Art Foundation, Maastricht. Poh Tiong plays the 7 string qin, the ancient Chinese instrument, and is happiest when he laughs together with his daughter. Stuart George Stuart George is the founder of Vins Extraordinaires and Arden Fine & Rare Wines through which he offers fine and rare wine experiences and sales to private clients. He studied English and European All rights reserved. No part of this publication maybe reproduced, stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the publisher. The opinions of the contributors or interviewees presented in this magazine do not necessarily correspond to nor reflect the opinions of the publisher or the editorial team. While the editorial team do their utmost to verify information published they do not accept responsibility for its absolute accuracy. Fine Publishing India does not keep nor return illustrations or other materials that have been sent in unsolicited, and hold the right to make any modifications in texts and pictures published in FINE Wine & Champagne India magazine. We reserve the right to refuse or suspend advertisements. 8 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA literature at Warwick, holds the WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits since 2000 and was the UK Young Wine Writer of the Year in 2003. Privileged to have tasted vintages back to 1780, he contributes to many wine publications and judges wine competitions. Based in London, Stuart plays the guitar and follows cricket in his free time.

I n 1995, the then Commercial Counsellor at the Embassy of France in India insisted that our FINE Editorial An E Experience pioneering activities in the luxury market in India embrace l’art de vivre à la française –through wine… Even if the luxury indulgences of the erstwhile royals had been systematically obliterated over centuries by the obsession with the sahib’s tipple in scotch-guzzling India. As our first wine interventions were rolled out, it became evident that the levels of wine literacy in India were abysmal. But, a big appetite was discernible. So, we instituted the first-ever structured program for wine education and training for the trade and hospitality professionals in India. Decorated and certified sommeliers and wine experts were invited from around the globe and crisscrossed the landscape of the country – from Delhi to Chennai, Hyderabad to Jodhpur, Pune to Chandigarh, Vadodara to Guwahati. In several hundred sessions, comprehensive wine courses were delivered, mostly gratis or for a very nominal fee. Our customised pop-up classrooms began to burst at their seams. In a little over two decades, thousands of attendees were inducted into the world of wine – many participants fondly recall their first tastings with us and we recall their priceless expressions! Education and dissemination of information has always been at the core of our wine activities. Having established the gold standard, we adapted to changing technological advancements and stayed future-ready. Our massive online course e-learning platform – the Wines & Spirits Academy – that was launched a couple of years ago has seized the first-mover advantage. Anyone with a will to learn is able to access extensive course materials and resources on the subject on any digital device at their own convenience. A much sought-after certification, with an honours option, is awarded to those students who satisfy the examiners. No extortionary royalties are being repatriated and no profiteering margins are tagged in. In support for social good, the courses are very modestly priced. Despite resistance from the old guard, the democratisation of wine (and spirits) education is in progress. Affordable, approachable and accessible it will be. In this new decade, a new generation of wine literati will emerge, to clink many more glasses of wine… Rajiv Singhal FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 9

The FINE Ambassadors' and High Commissioners' Table Our Eighth Anniversary Dinner Text: RITU SINGHAL Photographs: HUNESH AJMANI 10 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Event T he twelfth day of May, two thousand and nineteen marks yet another milestone for FINE Publishing India. Launched in 2011 as India’s first and only officially registered wine magazine – FINE Wine & Champagne India still remains the only one that is compliant with the guidelines of the Government of India! And to celebrate its 8th anniversary, Team FINE is delighted to welcome thirteen Ambassadors and High Commissioners of wine producing countries. They have selected a wine each – that they believe represents their country and one that they have agreed to defend – to present to this very unique and now much awaited annual wine showcase. Australia, Champagne and Portugal continue their perfect attendance record – eight on eight! In this eighth edition, these three countries are joined by Canada, Greece, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States of America. Luxembourg makes its debut. This year, FINE has accepted a very kind invitation from Rohit Khosla, Executive Vice President – Operations (North, West and East India), Indian Hotels Company Limited and Satyajeet Krishnan, Area Director (North) and General Manager, Taj Mahal Hotel New Delhi to host our anniversary extravaganza at the landmark Taj Mahal Hotel on Mansingh Road that was FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 11

firmly studded back in the Taj jewels in the preceding months. We have chosen Varq’s modern Indian melange of artistic and culinary excellence to reiterate FINE’s belief in “local”. Each wine has been diligently paired by Executive Chef Arun Sundararaj with the delectable five-course meal that will highlight flavours of incredible India. At the appointed hour, our FINE guests make their way down the steps of the sweeping majestic white Makrana marble staircase to be greeted in the Reception room which has sweeping views of the venerable mango trees (that pre-date the hotel) in the sprawling gardens that reflect Moghul grandeur. Guests get their photos clicked against the larger-than-life image of the cover of the FINE Wine & Champagne India magazine on the photo wall. And, then are treated to the beautifully laid out delicious bites with the “Reception” selection from both shores of the Atlantic. The “Reception” red is from the United Kingdom. The easy-drinking Gusbourne Pinot Noir 2016 is presented by Sir Dominic Asquith, British High Commissioner, who announces that his year-long preparation for this moment of glory for English wines has, yet again, been upstaged by royalty – the baby boy, born to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who is seventh in the line of succession to the British throne! Extremely optimistic, as perhaps the circumstances demand, Sir Dominic is convinced that many English wines are competing with their better established counterparts and the others will only be better in the future. The other “Reception” red is from the United States of America – the full-bodied Chateau Ste Michelle Syrah 2014 – presented by MaryKay L Carlson, the Deputy Chief of Mission and Jeanne F Bailey, Minister Counsellor for Agricultural Affairs. Twinning in immaculately draped black sarees, both ladies recite a piece of poetry that Jeanne has written specially for this evening! The wine is fine, the guests divine And while we sit and talk and dine Remember that all nations share A heritage of drink and fare That binds our hearts across the miles So raise a glass, with tears and smiles To toast the night, our hosts, all guests Who make this evening truly blessed 12 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

The bar has, indeed, been raised with this heartwarming poetry – and what a lovely pairing for the wine. In my role as Chief Executive of FINE, I rise to welcome our guests and thank the heads of all the participating missions for their support. A special mention is reserved for Ambassador Gyula Pethő (Hungary) and High Commissioners Harinder Sidhu (Australia) and Nadir Patel (Canada) for spoiling us with their generosity for four consecutive years. FINE Event Bernardaud show-plate that accentuates the design (the distribution of Bernardaud porcelain hotelware in India is now handled by Group Ritu). Alongside is a glass which carries the tag – Luxembourg – making its debut at the FINE Table as part of the FINE Novelty Showcase. “Blessed with the sunny side of the Mosel, Luxembourg has been producing wine for over 2000 years. Bernard Massard is one of our largest wine producers with a strong historic connect. Victor Hugo, the famous French writer, poet, dramatist and artist, stayed in the Chateau de Schengen when he was exiled by Napoleon III. Here, he painted the Chateau and Bernard Massard took the rights to use a painting on their label”, says H.E. JeanClaude Kugener, Ambassador of Luxembourg as he defends his choice of the Chateau de Schengen Riesling 2016. “The Schengen Treaty was signed in 1985 near the Schengen village on-board the liner ‘Princess Marie-Astrid’ at the spot on the river Moselle where the international borders of Luxembourg, France and Germany meet. This wine has a connect with all Indians who aspire for a visa to several European countries”. Bhavna Mehta, Director PR & Marketing for the Taj Mahal Hotel steps in for General Manager Satyajeet Krishnan, who is under the weather. “It’s the Taj Mahal Delhi’s 40th anniversary and we are so proud to be able to keep our doors open for at least another 33 years.” Drawing attention to the imposing wall-to-wall mural in the restaurant that was created and completed by the celebrated artist, Anjolie Ela Menon, she adds “Varq celebrates art. The plates offer visual delight and authentic flavors please the palates”. As we settle into our pre-assigned seats in the Varq dining room, the amuse bouche is served on the exquisite FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 13

how the Grandes Marques Piper Heidsieck partnered with Christian Louboutin to create the red-soled crystal stiletto in homage to the ancient custom of drinking champagne from a woman’s shoe! Rajiv is grateful. “Because of connoisseurs like you, champagne is steadily growing in India. Thank you for appreciating our bubbles!” The first course of Tandoori Bhatti Prawn (Beetroot Galouti for the vegetarians) is served with the next flight of wines – Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2018 from New Zealand and De Bortoli Woodfired Shiraz 2017 from neighbouring Australia. “Today, we are celebrating International Sauvignon Blanc Day”, H.E. Joanna Kempkers, High Commissioner of New Zealand reminds us. “So, I present Sauvignon Blanc, a grape that New Zealand is best known for in the wine world. The founding winemaker of Cloudy Bay, Kevin Judd, made his own label which has been securing top awards.” Australia has stormed the market for imported wine in India in recent years. High Commissioner H.E. Harinder Sidhu and Trade Commissioner Mark Morley present a wine made from the iconic Shiraz grape from the Heathcote district in Central Victoria. De Bortoli is introduced as one of the few, still family owned, large wine businesses with a history dating back over a 100 years to the Italian migrants in the continent. Ambassador of Champagne, Rajiv Singhal, raises a FINE toast – the extra brut Piper Heidsieck ‘Essentiel’ is so lively and refreshing and rounded despite its four years aging – and shares 14 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Murg Methi Malai Soufflé (Flower Chaat with Pumpkin Mash for the vegetarians) accompanies Monte da Ravasqueira Touriga Franca 2013 – the wine chosen by the Ambassador of Portugal, H.E. Carlos Pereira Marques – who had to delegate the task of presenting the wine to Charge d’Affairs, Sofia Batalha, and the Economic and Commercial Counsellor, Luisa Lino. A family owned company of three generations works with the indigenous varietal, Touriga Franca, in the Alentejo wine region that is gaining on the fashion quotient with wine-lovers. Varqi flavours from the south of India are laid out next – Kerala Duck with Caramelised Onion Quinoa Pulao and Paniyaram (Jackfruit Pepperfry with Alleppey Curry and Appams for the vegetarians). The ancient civilisations of Greece and Japan constitute this wine flight.

FINE Event H.E. Panos Kalogeropoulos, Ambassador of Greece, has brought in the Ktima Gerovassiliou Avaton from the Peloponnese region near the Gulf of Saronici in Macedonia. A unique blend of indigenous varietals “Avaton is an old Greek word that means a place that is inaccessible and unapproachable, endurable and sacred. The unique blend of three ancient and indigenous grape varietals – Mavroudi, Mavrotragano and Limnio (mentioned by Aristotle in the 5th Century BC) – inspired the producer to christen it, thus”. The accompanying wine on this flight has travelled far – from the land of the rising sun. The Ambassador of Japan, H.E. Kenji Hiramatsu, and his spouse Patricia, share the Suntory Japan Premium Merlot 2013. “Very gentle touch, very nice and very Japanese! This is a true Merlot made by the beverage giant, Suntory, in the Yamanashi-ken prefecture”. The evolution of winemaking in Japan is a story of perseverance in challenging climatic conditions – very hot, very humid with a lot of rain – which are countered by European trained wine teams that have planted vineyards that are 700 metres above sea-level. It’s time for the mains – Dahi Gosht with Kashmiri Pulao and Modern Breads (Subz Chhena for the vegetarians) – and with it a line-up of big bold reds from Spain, Canada and Mexico. We welcome back Spain to the FINE Table. Ambassador H.E. José Ramón Barañano Fernández sends his apologies through his representative – the Cultural and Press Attaché, Ignacio Vitórica Hamilton – but with the delicious Beronia Crianza 2013. “A wine for Sunday lunch with my parents; a wine for dinner at home; a wine with friends over a relaxed evening at a nice Madrid bar; a wine that brings many together; a wine to be shared with good company – this is why we bring to you this Rioja, which needs no prior introduction.” Canadian High Commissioner H.E. Nadir Patel doesn’t mess with tradition and passes the baton onto Deputy High Commissioner Soyoung Park and his “much much better half ” Jennifer Graham to present Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah 2012 from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. The Enns chucked cushy jobs in the financial world to establish this winery and everyone around them thought they were completely foolish, silly and stupid – the ridicule prompted them to call their offering “Laughing Stock”. The bottle is quite unique. It has no label – just FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 15

believes so and thanks all for patiently waiting for his chosen Hungarikum. Tokaji was proclaimed as “Vinum Regum, Rex Vinorum” (Wine of Kings, King of Wines) by the French King Louis XV. And, Gyula picked from my FINE wine notes on the designated origin Tokaj Nobilis Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2008 to announce, “you don’t need dessert”. Yet, this liquid gold is in perfect sync with the trio of Mango Kheer, Jalebi and Custard Apple Kulfi with the Varq signature – a divine pairing. The FINE Anniversary’s new address this year brings back special memories of the last four decades at this magnificent property. An ambitious endeavour to showcase spicy Indian food might have challenged Chef Arun and his team a bit – but, the post-pairing balance was testimony to our collective success. a string of alphabets that wrap round to let you decipher the message! An inspiration to follow your dreams. “This is a great opportunity for those countries like mine that don’t necessarily have a representation of wine in India”, says H.E. Melba Pria, Ambassador of Mexico, thanking FINE. Expectations run high as the mic (and floor) is handed over to her. And she doesn’t disappoint. Wandering in the dining room to greet everyone, she compares the Tempranillobased Adobe Guadalupe Jardin Secreto 2016 to herself – a little wild! The wine from the Valle de Guadalupe packs the zest, body and joy that is so characteristic of Mexico and evokes a connect to the many secrets that the beautiful mystical breezy gardens hold. Did we keep the best for last? The Ambassador of Hungary, H.E. Gyula Pethő, definitely 16 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA As our guests choose between tea, coffee or yet another glass of their favourite wine of the evening, some marvel at our new environmentally friendly initiative – Glass2Sand – based on an innovative technology from New Zealand that crushes the empty bottles into sand to create a zero waste eco-system. At the Cinderella hour, Rajiv and I draw this evening of several celebrations to a FINE end and extend our gratitude to all who make this evening so so special – year after year.


The Fine Ambassadors 19 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Event and High Commissioners FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 20

The Fine Ambassadors and High Commissioners Rajiv Singhal (Champagne) & Ritu Singhal (Fine) Hungary Gyula Pethő & Annamari Somogyi 18 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Canada Nadir Patel & Jennifer Graham

FINE Event Japan Kenji & Patricia Hiramatsu New Zealand Joanna Kempkers & Tim Markwell UK Sir Dominic & Lady Louise Asquith Mexico Melba Pria FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 23

24 Luxembourg Jean-Claude Kugener & Pascale Kugener Barbier Saint Hilaire Australia Harinder Sidhu USA MaryKay L. Carlson Portugal Sofia Batalha FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Event Greece Panos Kalogeropoulos Taj Hotels Rohit & Maya Khosla Taiwan Tien Chung-Kwang & Jeannie Tien Czech Republic Milan Hovorka & Jarmila Hovorkova FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 25

Canada Soyoung Park 26 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA USA Jeanne F. Bailey Portugal Luisa Lino Spain Ignacio Vitórica Hamilton Australia Mark Morley Taj Arun Sundararaj Taj Bhavna Mehta

Gusbourne Pinot Noir 2016 Region: Varietal: Appearance: Nose: Kent, UK. Pinot Noir. Pale ruby. First aromas of classic strawberry and red fruits and delicate earthy notes. Palate: Layers of mixed red berries and tropical fruit. Some smokey notes. Soft acidity. Supple tannins. Vibrant. Finish: Definitive. Dry. Spicy. Inside Information: In 1410, the will for the estates of John de Gosborne’s estate in Appledore, Kent was filed. The name “Goosbourne” carried through inheritors as did the three geese crest seen on the local church and all bottlings at “Gusbourne”. In 2004, the founders ventured to make English sparkling wine. This is the only red still wine made – the fruit is from the 777-828 Burgundian clone plantings in the Boot Hill vineyard (which some centuries ago, would’ve been on the edge of the Channel, before it changed course and receded almost 6 miles to leave behind ancient escarpments of clay and sandy loam). In a nutshell: A Burgundian in Kent. Chateau de Schengen Riesling 2016 Region: Varietal: Appearance: Nose: Schengen, Luxembourg. Riesling. Pale yellow-green. Citrusy, floral, minerally and some spice. Palate: Lime, apricot and honey with hints of salinity. Strong acidity. Finish: Medium length, very smooth. Inside Information: The Chateau is located in the picturesque village of Schengen, known better for the eponymous visas, and the best terroirs in the region. The wine is produced by Domaine Thill which is managed by Caves Bernard Massard since 1986. One of the larger domains in Luxembourg Moselle, the owning Clasen family aims to keeps the authentic character of the terroirs. The original label is a drawing of the 14th century Chateau de Schengen by the famous French poet, novelist and artist Victor Hugo who stayed there in the 19th century. In a nutshell: As sought after as the visas. FINE Event Fine India Eighth Anniversary Chateau Ste Michelle Syrah 2014 Region: Varietal: Appearance: Nose: Palate: Columbia Valley, USA. Syrah and a drop of Viognier. Brick red. Pepper and blackberries. Jammy. Brimming with red and dark berry flavours. Finish: Notably fruit forward. Inside Information: Built on the 1912 estate owned by Seattle lumber baron Frederick Stimson, the winery dates back to the Repeal of Prohibition in 1919. Chateau Ste. Michelle celebrates decades of winemaking based on the combination of Old World traditions with New World innovation. All owned vines are planted on their own original vitis vinifera rootstocks, which are resistant to the dreaded phylloxera. The syrah fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Wahluke Slope, Horse Heaven Hills, Rattlesnake Hills and Yakima Valley. Winemaking is differentiated by colour – the whites are made at the Chateau in Woodinville, while the reds are made at the Canoe Ridge Estate winery. In a nutshell: Easy on the go. Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Region: Varietal: Appearance: Nose: Marlborough, New Zealand. Sauvignon Blanc. Pale green straw. Ripe stone fruits with lemon zest laced with nuances of fresh rose. Palate: Packed with tropical fruits – nectarine, peach, mango, mandarin – and crunchy acidity. Finish: Dry, long, lime, stony. Inside Information: It is believed that the Sauvignon Blanc grape has found its home in Marlborough, New Zealand – the origin of some of the finest wines – and contributes to almost 85% of the country’s wine export. Kevin Judd is best known as the founding winemaker of Cloudy Bay, which he propelled to global recognition and created a whole new style of New Zealand wines which caught the fancy of wine-lovers around the world. In 1993, Judd created his own label, Greywacke. Besides, Judd is a renowned photographer and his frames have graced the FINE magazine. In a nutshell: An artists’ expression. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 27

Tasting Notes De Bortoli Woodfired Shiraz 2017 Region: Heathcote, Victoria, Australia. Varietal: Shiraz Appearance: Dark red with hints of purple on the rim. Nose: Plums, currants, dark fruits, spicy notes of fennel. Palate: Dense, bold and generous. Flavours of dates, blackberries and vanilla. Grippy tannins. Finish: Balance of spice and fruit. Inside Information: A love-struck couple, Vittorio and Giuseppina De Bortoli, fled war-torn Italy to settle in the flat plains of Griffith. In 1928, Vittorio bought mixed fruit farms and crushed grapes that he got for free in the shiraz glut that prevailed. The dry table wine he made was welcomed by the native Italians – De Bortoli wine was born with the motto “Semper ad Majora” (always striving for better). And with it a powerful Australian winemaking dynasty who consider good wine, good food and good friends to be among the true pleasures in life. In a nutshell: Authentic Heathcote terroir, bottled. Monte da Ravasqueira Touriga Franca 2013 Region: Varietal: Appearance: Nose: Alentejo, Portugal. Touriga Franca Dark opaque red. Dense. Exuberant dark fruit. Oaky aromas yield spicy clove notes as the wine opens up in the glass. Palate: Sweet ripe cherry and black olives. Very bold, well-rounded with a touch of minerality and spice. Finish: High intensity, long lasting. Inside Information: Owned by Grupo De Mello, one of Portugal’s biggest corporate groups, the wine foray began in 1998 when the first vines were planted – the first wine was released in 2003. A couple of years ago, the brand re-positioned itself to realise the commercial vision to become a household name in the production and consumption of Portuguese wines. Monte da Ravasqueira is one of the two main ranges of wine produced. From the rather fashionable Alentejo, which is a large wine region in Portugal, Touriga Franca is an important locally grown cultivar in Portugal that has been used in Port wine blends extensively. In a nutshell: An indigenous mono-varietal. 28 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Piper Heidsieck Essentiel Region: Champagne, France. Varietal: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Appearance: Lustrous Golden Nose: Pure. Well-defined citrus aromas of fresh green apples and a hint of toasted almonds. Palate: Crackling fine bubbles. Crisp white fruits – grapes, apples… Notes of sweet fruitcake. Intensely nutty. Finish: Very lively, refreshing and long. Inside Information: Founded in 1785 by Florens-Louis Heidsieck, Piper Heidsieck was an early player in champagne. The new site outside Reims is testimony to modern champagne making by the team of much awarded chef de caves, while the ancient crayeres were, thankfully, saved from destruction. In partnership, Christian Louboutin created the famous red-soled shoe shaped crystal stilettos to revive the ancient ritual of drinking champagne from a ladies’ shoe. This cuvee symbolizes the essence of the house – hence the name. Aged for four years, it is extra dry with a dosage of only 6 g/l, and has an unfussy charm. In a nutshell: Shameless flirting.

Ktima Gerovassiliou Avaton 2013 Region: Macedonia, Greece. Varietal: Limnio, Mavroudi and Mavrotragano. Appearance: Deep red colour. Nose: Enchanting bouquet of raspberries and raisins with hints of coffee. Palate: Gentle tannins complement the ripe dark fruits. Full bodied. Finish: Dry and tangy. Inside Information: The geographic indication “Epanomi” wine is from the region of Macedonia and a blend of three indigenous native Greek grape varietals – Limnio, Mavroudi and Mavrotragano. Limnio from Limnos Island is the oldest attested Greek grape variety mentioned by comic dramatist Aristophanes in the 5th century BC. Mavroudi is grown in the Gulf of Saronici area in the Peloponnese region and Mavrotragano is from Santorini Island. Avaton is an ancient Greek word that means a place that is unapproachable, endurable and sacred. The unique blend of this wine inspired the producer to give the name Avaton. In a nutshell: Oak aged fruit forward wine. Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah 2012 Region: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada. Varietal: Syrah and a bit of Viognier. Appearance: Deep red garnet Nose: Very complex. Dark cherries, blackberries, cedar, cocoa with hints of dust and violets. Palate: Dry. Masculine. Chewy. Berries, olives, chocolate and pepper. Structured tannins. Finish: Full. Warm. Inside Information: The name “Laughing Stock” reflects the decision of the David and Cynthia Enn to quit high-earning comfortable financial sector jobs and to put all earnings in this risky wine project. Their pinstripe peers thought they were completely foolish, silly and stupid – the founders were ridiculed. With this name, the Enn’s are motivated to not live upto their name and create much demanded and much awarded wines – which they do. What’s special about this wine is that it is very limited quantity – only 642 cases were made in 2012 which was a great vintage. In a nutshell: To make a million in wine… FINE Event Suntory Japan Premium Merlot 2013 Region: Varietal: Appearance: Nose: Yamanashi-ken, Japan. Merlot. Deep red. Gentle and soft. Distinct aromas of dark fruits, black cherry and plum. Palate: Smooth and mellow. Well balanced and well-structured from the oak aging. Fruit triumphs the tannins. Finish: Long after taste. Light and breezy. Inside Information: The global giant, Suntory, is better known for the iconic whiskies in its portfolio. In the wine space, they import fine wine to Japan and make some very fine wine in challenging conditions. Japan is hot and humid with torrential rains and this doesn’t make it the most hospitable for wine production. But the winemakers have trained with the best in Europe and have adopted new traditions to overcome the adversities. The Merlot vineyards are 700 metres above sea level, much higher altitude than Bordeaux where the highest planting would be 100 metres above sea level – the outcome is very different, but much liked. In a nutshell: The gentle Japanese touch. Adobe Guadalupe Jardin Secreto 2016 Region: Varietal: Appearance: Nose: Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico. Tempranillo, Grenache. Bright ruby red. Very expressive. Blackberries and vanilla with smokey and spicy hints. Palate: Full bodied. Fruity with traces of elderberry and raspberries. Elegant tannins and balanced acidity. Finish: Not so long. Pleasing. Inside Information: In 1998, retired banker, Donald Miller and his wife Tru, planted vines and founded the Adobe Guadalupe company in memory of their son Arlo, who died in a tragic car accident. The Guadalupe Valley was chosen for its south-west France like conditions. Winemaker, Daniel Lonnberg, uses the 60 acres of vineyards and many varietals to create several unique assemblies of which Jardin Secreto is one. The label Archangels embodies aspects of Mexican culture that had fascinated Arlo throughout his life and are favourites across Mexico for their very high quality oldworld-style wines. In a nutshell: Secret pleasures. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 29

Beronia Crianza 2013 Region: Rioja, Spain. Varietal: Tempranillo, Grenache, Garciona, Mazuelo. Appearance: Bright cherry red. Nose: Fresh herbaceous aromas of thyme with blackberry and cherry. Develops into orange and cinnamon with a hint of cedar. Palate: Delicious. Cherries and blackberries. Milk chocolate and vanilla from the American oak. Some leathery notes. Finish: Full bodied. Smooth. Long. Inside Information: Bodegas Beronia is named after the Berones, a Celtic tribe who inhabited La Rioja in the 3rd century BC. The winery was founded in 1973 by Basque businessmen whose great love for food and wine drew them to make their own. Today, wine maker Matias Calleja produces wines in Ollauri – the heart of Rioja Alta – from a large holding of 900 hectares of vineyards that surround the winery. Of these, 50 hectares are pre-phylloxera vineyards that are more than 100 years old. Totally committed to protecting the environment, Beronia uses sustainable farming techniques and the most environmentally friendly techniques in winemaking. In a nutshell: Complex Rioja with character. 30 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Tokaj Nobilis Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2008 Region: Tokaj, Hungary. Varietal: Tokaji blend of Furmint and Kövérszőlő. Appearance: Golden Yellow. Nose: Layered maturity. Chamomile, quince and white fruit with some vanilla. Palate: Brilliant. Rich and velvety texture – very clean. Peach and vanilla dominate with a hint of morels. High sugar levels delicately balance the acidity. Finish: Terrific precision that almost lingers to the next day. Residual Sugar: 220 grams/litre. Inside Information: Owner and winemaker Sarolta Bárdos dreamt of building a small artisan winery producing sophisticated wines of great character. Vineyards of 6 hectares were bought in Tokaji Nobilis in 2000 that were too “slopey” for the Russian tractors and replanted with specifically chosen clones at high density. Traditional vaulted cellars were built into a 200 year-old house in the village. She still does many tasks by hand to avoid any extraction during pumping and harvests only gold grapes – very ripe with higher alcohols. And wouldn’t make an Aszú unless the berries are of the right quality – 2004, 2005 and 2009 were missed. In a nutshell: High degree of human intervention.


FINE Bordeaux The most frequently mentioned word concerning the 2018 Bordeaux vintage is “mildew”. Hopes were not high when between December 2017 and May 2018 an entire year of rain – about 850 millimetres – had fallen. If it had been windy and cold after that, it would had been alright. Instead, it became very warm. Moisture and heat trigger humidity and bring on mildew. If not arrested, you will have a failed crop. Even worse, if grapes affected by mildew find their way into the fermenting vats, good luck to the rest of the wine. Great care was, therefore, required of winegrowers to ensure there was as little damage as possible. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 33

34 Bordeaux mixture – which comprises of copper sulphate and slaked lime – is used as a fungicide. This remedy is, however, not available if your vineyard is certified biodynamic (and should you wish to keep that certification). At Chateau Palmer, for example, being entirely biodynamic, they have no such recourse and harvested their lowest yield on record – 11 hectolitres per hectare! (It was 12 hectolitres in 1961). While the Médoc and the Graves suffered more, mildew was not a particular problem on the Right Bank. and freshness. The end-result was grapes of exceptional ripeness and incredibly rich tannins. This was all but guaranteed, because with fewer bunches and grape size about 20% lower smaller than usual, the energy of the vines went into overdrive to effortlessly ripen the considerably lower yield and smaller berries. The result is highly concentrated, high alcohol wines (some even approaching 15%), and very rich tannins from the thick skins of smaller than normal berries. From mid-July, record breaking temperatures, low rainfall (barely a drop in August) and near drought conditions followed. Luckily, hot days alternated with cool nights which helped retain aromatics Philippe Bascaules – who returned to Chateau Margaux from the Napa Valley following the death of Paul Pontaillier in March 2016 had never experienced any vintage like this. “I have never seen FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Bordeaux smaller berries. Usually, a cabernet sauvignon berry is about 1.8 or 1.9 gm. In 2018, it was 1 to 1.2 gm. As far as yield was concerned, we lost 15% to mildew and another 15% to the dehydration of the grapes. No saignee was needed as that was already made in the vineyard (because of the weather conditions).” Given the ripeness, concentration, and millionaire tannins, the best winemakers ensured that there was no over-extraction in an already opulent vintage. The frequency of pumping over – of juice over skins – was reduced. So too the temperature of fermentation so that the extraction was more gentle to ensure elegant fruit and greater freshness. As for the 2018 dry whites, they are outstanding – combining fruit, intensity and incredible freshness. The sweet wines are not so successful as botrytis was not so present. 2018 is not a very homogenous vintage for the reds. The Right Bank did better as a whole. As for the Left Bank and the Graves, you have to be selective. The wines that are well made are outstanding. Another remarkable result is that the quality of the grand vin and the second wine has scarcely been so close. Great value can be reaped from them. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 35


FINE Bordeaux VERDICT: BORDEAUX 2018 VINTAGE CHAMPION WINE Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2018 This is the champion wine. At this quality, concentration, elegance, finesse, poise and polish, Lafite Rothschild serves as the benchmark for the 2018 vintage. Intensely violetty and floral. Layered with the deepest blue/ purple fruit of defying intensity and reckless persistence. The tannins are just as epic. An unforgettable wine! Deserves an extra star to make it our only 6-star wine. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 37

WINES Chateau Cheval Blanc 2018 This is one of the best Cheval Blanc since Pierre Lurton joined the St-Emilion estate in 1991. Although winemaking is left to his assistant Pierre Olivier Clouet, Lurton is overall in charge and the two work as a team. The fruit, discreet oak and vivacity are intricately woven into a seamless whole. The blend is a complex weave of 80% merlot, 10% cabernet franc, 5% cabernet sauvignon and 5% malbec. Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2018 Winemaker and general manager Nicolas Glumineau joined this Pauillac Second Growth in 2013 from the Saint-Estephe Second Growth Chateau Montrose. He is one of the most talented winemakers in Bordeaux today. One of Glumineau’s specialities is to produce the smoothest tannins imaginable even when they are very rich. The closest sensation to it is to be riding silently in a Bentley. Pichon Lalande impresses with violets, blueberries, boysenberries, mulberries, silky tannins, and magnificent freshness. Chateau Petrus 2018 Like father like son. Winemaker Olivier Berrouet has the sensitivity and sensibility of his parent Jean-Claude who was responsible at this Pomerol icon from 1964 to 2008 before handing the baton to Olivier. 38 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Bordeaux Photo: Vieux Chateau Certan “Petrus is always powerful because of the merlot on clay. In such a vintage as 2018, I could have made a monster, a powerful wine with no complexity, no finesse. But, we pay attention to the quality of the tannins, the finish of the wine. If you want to preserve the freshness of the merlot, you have to pick at the right time.” The blend is 99% merlot and 1% cabernet franc. Every little detail counts at Petrus which, incidentally, is never 100% but around 50% new oak. Ripe, restrained, elegant, intense fruit of great persistence. Suave tannins. One of the great successes of 2018. La Mission Haut-Brion If you love finesse, freshness and restrain, this is where you worship. The pristine blue fruit is finely chiselled, as are the tannins. The harvest started on 10 September and ended on 2 October. The blend is 53.5% merlot, 42.9% cabernet sauvignon and 3.6% cabernet franc. Third-generation winemaker and deputy managing director of Domaine Clarence Dillon, Jean-Philippe Delmas informed that mildew was treated very early and, therefore, was not a problem. As a result, the yield was like a normal year, around 45 hectolitres per hectare. Another reason 2018 was successful, he reminded, was because France became world champion in soccer.. Chateau Haut-Brion 2018 Although the harvest ended the same time as La Mission on 2 October, it started earlier on 6 September. The blend is also different, 49.4% merlot, 38.7% cabernet sauvignon and 11.9% cabernet franc. The dark blue fruit in Haut-Brion is riper and more supple than that of La Mission. Inspite of being relatively richer, there is no shortage of freshness. Chateau Margaux 2018 At 14%, the alcohol is relatively low for the vintage. Cassis and deep blue fruit. Big, ripe, rich red with equal astounding measure of structure from 100% new oak, which does not feel nor taste woody. The blend is 90% cabernet sauvignon, 4% merlot, 4% cabernet franc, and 2% petit verdot. Vieux Chateau Certan 2018 Two remarkable years in a row!! In 2017, VCC produced one of the best wines of the vintage. It has repeated the feat in 2018. This, inspite of the fact that tasting it on Thursday 25 April 2019, I pointed out to proprietor and winemaker Alexandre Thienpoint that the wine was quite tight. “I agree because 10 days ago, it was more talkative”. Thienpoint also informed that mildew was not a problem as they took all the right actions at the right time. The yield was an enviable 40 hectolitres per hectare. Ripe, rich cassis fruit wonderfully balanced with the structure. Finesse, energy and freshness. The blend is 70% merlot and 30% – the highest as usually it’s around 15% – cabernet franc which contributes “pedigree and complexity”. WINES Chateau Beychevelle 2018 These days, with many Médoc properties making white wine, Beychevelle’s general manager Philippe Blanc has been asked if he might consider that option too. His reply has been “I will be the only Blanc at Beychevelle”. Blanc continues to make reds of intensity, concentration (but not “thick wines”), balance and finesse. Ripe fruit including a whiff of figs. Succulent tannins. A voluptuous wine. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 39

Domaine de Chevalier 2018 Greater concentration and intensity of fruit in this the grand vin. What is equally impressive is the richness of the tannins and the energetic lift of the freshness. Any question as to how long this will age was eloquently answered at lunch when the considerably lighter 1979 was singing away, and the 1989 – and a very hot year at that – the fruit and freshness were flying and fluttering respectively. Chateau Duhart-Milon 2018 This Pauillac Fourth Growth is part of the Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) stable. Intensely violetty and boysenberry fruit of great richness, density and flair. The tannins are equally persistent. Chateau Giscours 2018 At 13.7%, Giscours is just a shade less alcoholic – but more fullbodied – than du Tertre. And, whereas du Tertre is feminine, Giscours is masculine. Rich blueberry/ blackcurrant fruit with equally solid, intense tannins. Chateau d’Issan 2018 Under the stewardship of Emmanuel Cruse (co-proprietor with Jacky Lorenzetti, owner of Chateau Pedesclaux, Lilian-Ladouys and the Paris Racing 92 rugby team), the chateau has never been better. Cruse informed that they were not too badly affected by mildew (10 to 20%), nor, being near the Gironde estuary, by the severe spring frost (10%) of 2017. d’Issan impresses with density of violetty fruit that has a whiff of figs, richness of tannins, freshness and great finesse. Apart from being the only chateau with a moat, d’Issan also has a remarkable clos or walled vineyard that is 35 ha in size. Chateau Lagrange 2018 The tannins are so rich, they even surpassed those of the 2010 vintage. They also impressed because they are so suave. As for the fruit, floral, 40 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

Chateau Leoville Barton 2018 When you taste with the Barton family, the sequence is to start with Mauvesin, Langoa and then end up with super Second Growth Leoville. There are of course three Leovilles – Poyferre, Las Cases and Barton. Most people agree that Leoville Las Cases and Leoville Barton are the top two of the trio. Co-incidentally, Eric Boissenot is consultant to both of them. Almost full-bodied, the 2018 Leoville Barton has very rich and ripe fruit and structure. A wine capable of very long ageing. sauvignon, 27 merlot, 5% cabernet franc and 4% petit verdot. This is the third consecutive vintage with the four varieties. 50% of the vineyard is biodynamic and the other half is organic. Eric Boissenot is the consultant. Chateau Pichon Baron 2018 Christian Seely, CEO of AXA Millesimes, the wine properties of French insurance giant AXA Assurances, did the honours of hosting this tasting (we finished with the stunning Quinta do Noval 2017 and the momentous Nacional of the same vintage but that’s another story). Rich, concentrated blue/black fruit on a wave of solid tannins including vanilla from the oak. Big and full-bodied. FINE Bordeaux rich, dense, intense and flushed with freshness. Matthieu Bordes continues to make outstanding wines. The blend is 68% cabernet sauvignon, 27% merlot and 5% petit verdot. Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 2018 Comprised of 86% cabernet sauvignon, 12% merlot, and 2% cabernet franc, this Pauillac First Growth was aged 100% in new barrels. Very ripe, rich, toasty, smoky, oaky, and masculine. In a blind tasting, I could have easily mistaken this wine for a Napa cabernet. Chateau Palmer 2018 Violets, dark cherries, cassis and rich, millionaire tannins. Full-bodied. Round freshness. Although the alcohol is 14.3%, this is not obvious. That said, this is still a big wine. For big people. The blend is 53% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot and 7% petit verdot. Chateau Pedesclaux 2018 Ever since Jacky Lorenzetti acquired this Pauillac Fifth Growth – the Gironde is just a pebble’s throw away – in the summer of 2009, the wine has been shooting for the stars. More vineyard has been bought and the cabernet component increased. Ripe, rich, tensioned blueberry fruit with succulent tannins. Comprised of 64% cabernet WINES Blason d’Issan 2018 The first vintage of this second wine of Third Growth Chateau d’Issan was as recent as 1995. The quality between this and the grand vin is very closed indeed. Proprietor Emmanuel Cruse is on record in saying that “This is the best Blason we have ever made”. Violets, ripe deep blue fruit with equally ripe tannins. Chateau Boutisse 2018 The best Boutisse I have tasted. Whereas previously the wine went for concentration, the intense fruit is now flushed with energy and elegant tannins. The scented, floral, cassis, mulberry fruit is elegant, persistent and articulate and eloquent. Photo: Chateau d’Issan FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 41

Carruades de Lafite 2018 This is one of the best Carruades ever made. Perfume of violets with blue/purple fruit of concentration and intensity. The ripe, rich tannins are also crisp. Lafite’s second wine has remarkable freshness. La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion 2018 An elegance some may mistake for being light. Far from it, the persistence of floral fruit and fresh, ripe tannins is beguiling. Le Clarence de Haut-Brion 2018 More closed than sister wine La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion, Le Clarence still dazzles with lifted blueberry fruit. And is no less fine even if it is relatively less feminine. Chateau Clerc Milon 2018 Although owned by the same proprietors as Chateau MoutonRothschild, Clerc Milon’s winemaking is independent and under the talented Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy who had worked at Napa’s Opus One. The winery – a striking wooden structure – is just across from Lafite. The blend is 60% cabernet sauvignon, 27% merlot, 9% cabernet franc, 3% petit verdot and 1% carmenere. The rich, ripe blue/black fruit is easily matched by tannins of equal measure and volume. L’Esprit de Domaine de Chevalier 2018 Both the grand vin and this second wine are so well-made and great value-for-money. Bright cassis fruit with lifted freshness and balancing tannins. Incidentally, the 2013 vintage of L’Esprit de Domaine de Chevalier is a Wine by the Glass at Imperial Treasure London, the Singapore-based Chinese restaurant group’s first foray into Europe. And a 100 Top Chinese Restaurants in the World 2019 in my publication of the same name. 42 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Les Griffons de Pichon Baron 2018 The influence of the 60% new oak barrels is for the moment quite upfront – vanilla and smoky. But there’s also loads of blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. No shortage of rich tannins either. A blend of 52% cabernet sauvignon and 48% merlot. Chateau Kirwan Although not applying for official certification, Cellarmaster Philippe Delfaut informs that Third Growth Chateau Kirwan is working in an organic way. If second wine Charmes de Kirwan is already very good, Chateau Kirwan is even richer, more intense, and concentrated. This applies not just to the fruit but also the tannins. The alcohol, at 14.5 percent, is also very high. Except that we don’t feel it because of the freshness. Thomas Jefferson had visited the Margaux property between 24 and 28 May 1787. The future president of the United States of America rated Chateau Kirwan a second growth in his personal ranking. Chateau Langoa Barton 2018 Seldom have I tasted Langoa – when young – possessing tannins of such smoothness. Floral, smoky blue/black fruit of density and freshness. Chateau Latour-Martillac Red 2018 Ripe capsicums and boysenberries. Supple fruit with balancing tannins from skin and oak (45% new barrels). The late Denis Dubourdieu began consulting for the white wine in 1985 and Michel Rolland for the red in 1989. Then in 2005, Denis Dubourdieu consulted for both the white and red. Following his death in July 2016, his former assistant Axel Marchal has taken over that role for both wines.

FINE Bordeaux Photo: Chateau Kirwan Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere 2018 This Pessac-Leognan has been on an upward curve in the last few years since a new generation of the Bonnie family assumed responsibility, reducing the amount of new oak in the wine which has resulted in the fruit being more evident and eloquent. Not to mention more delicious. No pesticides nor herbicides are used in the vineyard. Intense cassis fruit supported by ripe, rich-ish tannins. Petit Cheval 2018 As with the St-Emilion Grand Cru Classé A grand vin, this is also one of the best Petit Cheval ever produced. The blend is 70% merlot and 30% cabernet franc. The young and old vines are found in 5 plots that have gravel, sand and clay. The fruit is floral, tannins rich and textured, even the freshness is silky. Medium-plus bodied and feminine. Petit Mouton 2018 Ripe capsicum, blackcurrant, vanilla, liquorice, smoky fruit backed by rich, textured tannins. The blend of 56% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot and 4% cabernet franc is aged in 60% new oak (the normal being 50%). Chateau Petit-Village 2018 Flesh and texture are the hallmarks of this delicious red. There is also freshness to buoy all that fruit. Comprised of 72% merlot, 20% cabernet franc and 8% cabernet sauvignon, winemaker Diana Berrouet Garcia has produced a Pomerol brimming with dark plum and dark cherry fruit wrapped in the most suave tannins. Chateau de Pez 2018 This St-Estephe Cru Bourgeois has been on an upward trajectory since Nicolas Glumineau joined in 2013. De Pez is owned by the Roederer Group, owner also of Chateau Pichon-Lalande. The integration of rich smooth tannins with concentration of ripe violetty fruit is a seamless whole. Chateau Pibran 2018 Part of the AXA Millesimes stable of wine properties, Pibran is overachieving for a Cru Bourgeois. It is certainly producing wine worthy of a Classified Growth. Violets and juicy ripe fruit square off with rich, intense tannins. Chateau Le Pin 2018 Fleshy blue/black fruit with a liquorice aspect and equal richness of tannins. A very ripe 100% merlot Pomerol. Chateau Quinault L’Enclos 2018 The team at Chateau Cheval Blanc has scored a hat-trick in producing three top wines in 2018, Quinault L’Enclos, Petit Cheval and Chateau Cheval Blanc. Violets, blackcurrants and silky tannins. Chateau Quintus 2018 This is the best Quintus produced by Domaine Clarence Dillon since the proprietor of Chateau Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion acquired this St-Emilion estate in June 2011. Only 38% new oak used to age the wine so that the ripe blackcurrant fruit can shine and sing. The make-up is 72. 3% merlot and 27.7% cabernet franc. The harvest started on 20 September and ended on 8 October. Pavillon Rouge de Chateau Margaux 2018 Packed with ripe, rich blue fruit but also with structure and vanillin from the 50% new oak. Finely poised and balanced. The blend is 69% cabernet sauvignon, 19% merlot, 9% petit verdot and 3% cabernet franc. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 43

Les Charmes de Kirwan 2018 Reserve de la Comtesse 2018 I don’t recall the second wine of Pichon Lalande being so intense but still remaining so very fine. The richness of fruit and tannins is impressive. So too the freshness. Chateau du Tertre 2018 Everything is more intense and persistent than second wine Les Hauts du Tertre, the blue/purple/liquorice fruit, tannins and freshness. Elegant. Both du Tertre and Les Hauts are 13.8% in alcohol, considerably lower than other wines of the vintage. The freshness is very vivacious as the two wines have one of the highest cabernet franc proportions of the Left Bank. A blend of 40% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot and 16% cabernet franc and 14% petit verdot. Les Tourelles de Longueville 2018 The quality of Les Tourelles 2018 is riveting. Cassis and ripe capsicum with a touch of sweetness from the oak (30% new and 70% one-year old barrels). Comprised of 60% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, 8% cabernet franc and 6% petit verdot. to WINES Baron de Brane 2018 1989 was the first vintage of this second wine (known as Chateau Notton in the 1970s) of Second Growth Chateau Brane Cantenac. Violets, capsicum and blueberry fruit of medium-plus richness. 44 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA When Michel Rolland was consultant to Chateau Kirwan, there was little that was charming about Charmes de Kirwan. Since Philippe Delfaut took over winemaking responsibility in 2008, elegance has returned to the wine. Delfaut – who came over from Chateau Palmer – lowered the temperature for vinifying the wine so that it would better capture and reveal the fruit and freshness of the wine. Just as importantly, he lowered the percentage of new oak for ageing the wine. The final stroke of inspiration was to engage Eric Boissenot – whose around 200 clients include Chateau Margaux, Lafite, Latour and Mouton – as Chateau Kirwan’s consultant. Floral – including violets – and blackcurrant cassis. The sweetness of fruit is lifted by bouncy freshness. Charming. Domaine de la Solitude 2018 Olivier Bernard of Domaine de Chevalier has been responsible for producing and commercialising the wine since 1993. This PessacLeognan has ripe blueberry/blackcurrant fruit and smooth tannins. Les Fiefs de Lagrange 2018 Violets, ripe raspberry and blue fruit with a little spiced aspect. The tannins are ripe and rich. Good freshness on the finish. Chateau Gazin Rocquencourt Also owned by the Bonnie family of Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere, this Pessac-Leognan has blueberry/blackcurrant fruit, flesh and freshness. Les Hauts du Tertre 2018 Violets and blue/purple fruit that is very balanced with the tannins and freshness. Medium-plus-ish bodied. A blend of 40% cabernet sauvignon, 35% merlot and 25% cabernet franc. Chateau Lespault-Martillac 2018 Another Pessac-Leognan property under the wings of Olivier

FINE Bordeaux Bernard, the blend is 60% merlot, 27% cabernet sauvignon and 13% petit verdot. Minty, capsicum, cassis fruit fuelled by freshness and ripe, soft tannins. Chateau Lilian-Ladouys 2018 Floral, blackberry, smoky/toasty fruit with a grip of tannins and freshness on the end. The blend is 64% cabernet sauvignon, 27% merlot, 5% cabernet franc and 4% petit verdot. This St-Estephe Cru Bourgeois is owned by Jacky Lorenzetti. Pastourelle de Clerc Milon 2018 The second wine of Paullac Fifth Growth Chateau Clerc Milon is elegant and packed with ripe, floral, blueberry fruit delivered by silky tannins. La Reserve de Malartic 2018 Blackcurrants and cassis of some intensity. Lovely bite of tannins on the end to round up all that fruit. This Pessac-Leognan property has an indoor swimming pool. La Sirene de Giscours 2018 Cassis fruit and rich, ripe tannins. Both Chateau Giscours and du Tertre are owned by the same Albada Jelgersma family of Holland. WINES Clarendelle Bordeaux 2018 This is part of a range of very well-made, balanced – accessible when relatively young – wines “Inspired by Haut-Brion” by the team at Domaine Clarence Dillon. Blackcurrant fruit with a whiff of tobacco. Smooth tannins and freshness. Photo: Château Kirwan FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 45

Clarendelle St-Emilion 2018 Ripe red/blue fruit with back-bone giving tannins that are ripe but also crisp. Delicious freshness. Clarandelle has established itself as a respected brand that has found its way into the Business Class of airlines and top restaurants. Le Dragon de Quintus 2018 The blend is 75.2% merlot and 24.8% cabernet franc. Violetty, juicy blueberry and dark cherry fruit, suave tannins and freshness. A wonderful introduction to the grand vin Chateau Quintus. Chateau Fourcas Hosten 2018 The 2014, 2015 and 2016 were tasted before the 2018 (2017 being bottled and not available for tasting). Whereas the earlier three vintages were very balanced, they lacked greater concentration of fruit. When we tasted 2018, the extra intensity and persistence was very obvious. Red/black curranty fruit with balancing rich tannins. Lagrave-Martillac 2018 This second wine of Chateau Latour-Martillac is very attractive now and will remain deliciously accessible. A whiff of violets. Blueberry/ cassis-ish fruit with ripe tannins that has a grip on the fresh finish. Edouard Kressman – son of Loic Kressman – informed that LatourMartillac was not too adversely affected by mildew and that the estate achieved yields of just slightly below 40 hectolitres per hectare. Edouard spent seven years in Beijing from September 2011 before returning to Bordeaux in December 2018. Chateau Marjosse 2018 This is the property of Pierre Lurton, CEO of Chateau Cheval Blanc and Yquem. Situated in the Entre-deux-Mers, Marjosse always over delivers for its humble AOC. Mulberry fruit balanced by ripe, crisp tannins. Chateau Mauvesin Barton 2018 Violets and blue fruit with crisp tannins and wraparound freshness. Medium-plus-ish bodied and very balanced. Chateau Recougne 2018 Situated on the Right Bank, Chateau Recougne is one the best Bordeaux Superieur there is. Vintage after vintage and decade after decade which, incidentally is how long the wine can age. Light cassis fruit with ripe tannins and lift on the finish. The blend is 85% merlot, 10% cabernet sauvignon, 4.5% cabernet franc and 0.5% malbec. NO RATING Chateau Brane Cantenac 2018 A bit reductive. The acidity is quite tight and the fruit seems a touch leafy. Structure much in front of the wine. Given the quality of the second wine Baron de Brane – 3 1/2 to 4 stars – this should no doubt be better. Very closed and, therefore, hard to give a fair assessment. Needs re-tasting in the future. No rating for the time being. Photo: Chateau Recougne 46 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

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FINE Wine Text: Stuart George S upermarkets define fine wine by price: Anything and everything above £10 or so, is on the shelving section labelled as “fine wines”, opposite the sub-£10 stuff. In my local supermarket, it’s about 30 wines out of 650 in total, so about 4.6% of all wines sold here. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 49

PRICE The supermarket sells a well-known Marlborough sauvignon blanc brand at £21, ergo it is a fine wine. It has an “iconic” (= well-designed and eye-catching) label and, in its way, is an historic winery – it kickstarted the Kiwi sauvignon industry. But it’s not, in my opinion, a fine wine. It’s made in vast quantities – but so are certain Champagne brands that are considered to be “fine”. Crucially, the quality is not that great. It’s a decent drink but there are better wines available at that price level and in relative terms it’s nothing special. Absolute, as opposed to relative, quality is innate to fine wine. The “fine wine” that insalubrious pubs tout on banners is nothing of the sort. “Fine” here means “cheap and cheerful”, which is certainly not an aspect of fine wine as I understand it. In his 1833 Journal of a Tour Through Some of the Vineyards of Spain and France, James Busby referred to “fine” wine as being good enough to drink neat in a proper glass, without water or any other additives, as distinct to wine drunk from tumblers and mixed with water. The early Master of Wine exams were focused on, as the Institute of Masters of Wine saw it, classic fine wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne principally, with some interest in Alsace, Germany, Port, Spain, and Tokaji. Fine wine was defined by where it came from – Meursault produces fine wines, the Maipo Valley doesn’t – which is still an important aspect but, as with price, is not definitive. There are always winemakers in a supposedly fine wine-producing area that are an embarrassment to their more accomplished neighbours, just as there are outliers (in the Malcolm Gladwell sense) in less than stellar regions that go way beyond what might reasonably be expected of them. I have five defining factors that can help decide if a wine is fine or not. 50 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Fine wine is usually, but not necessarily, highly-priced – but an expensive wine is not necessarily a fine wine. High prices often get paid for wines that are fashionable, or rare, or both, regardless of quality. Price is certainly a factor in defining fine wine – it’s improbable that a fine wine would be on the sub-£10 shelves in a supermarket or anywhere else – though it is not unequivocal. But… A fine wine would typically increase in value as it ages – the wine becomes better and more complex and the amount of bottles in the market decreases – hence the so-called “investment grade” wines that are, by extension, fine wines. QUALITY This is subjective, though we can assume a more or less objective consensus among critics and consumers of what is good and what is not. Define “good”: Length, balance, smoothness (= “elegance”), complexity (= smells of other things than grapes). One might add what the French call “typicité” – how representative an example of its given type a wine is. Syrah from the northern Rhône has a particular style and taste; Syrah (aka Shiraz) from the Barossa Valley has a different but equally valid presence. But… A wine can be atypical and still of high enough quality to be a fine wine – for example, the 1990s vintages of the late Denis Mortet in Gevrey-Chambertin were atypically opulent for red burgundy but they were bloody good and nobody doubted that they were fine wines. AGE-WORTHINESS Fine wines can age in the bottle and keep improving for a very long time; wines that are not fine wines don’t.



Fine wine customarily has a clearly defined years in solera casks, but once bottled must be drunk and usually relatively small source of grapes, as soon as possible, is discounted (even if with a heavy with single vineyard Premier Cru and Grand heart). However, an exception can be made for Sherries Cru burgundy the apotheosis of provenance. from very old soleras because their quality can be so exceptional. But… FINE Wine Therefore, Fino sherry, which is aged for up to ten Consider Penfolds’ Grange – by general consensus Ageing in wood is a feature of most fine wines but it’s the greatest wine of Australia – which has always the ability to age in bottle that is crucial. (As much as been a blend of two or more South Australian wine it is so widely used by wine-writers, “ageability” is not regions. The 2005, for example, was a blend of Shiraz a word in the Oxford English Dictionary.) and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Barossa Valley, TRACK RECORD McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra. McLaren Vale and the Barossa are well over 200 miles from Coonawarra, This is what football (= soccer) fans snootily call which is about the distance that Bordeaux is from “history” (how many trophies won over how Carcassonne. The notion of a fine wine being made long a period) and what employers pompously from grapes that are separated by hundreds of miles call “credentials” (qualifications, experience, and would be anathema to winemakers in Europe’s strictly accomplishments over an extended period). (and legally) defined classic (fine wine) regions. In vinous terms, this equates to many years (and the But… more the better) of producing outstanding wine. In 2006, Château Palmer bottled its “Historical XIXth Century Blend” as (if you please) an homage to how Château Haut-Brion, for instance, was enjoyed Bordeaux wine was sometimes made in the nineteenth (according to his diary) by Samuel Pepys on Friday century – with a good dollop of ripe Syrah grapes 10th April 1663 and has been producing great wine from the Rhône. Legally speaking, this Palmer was since at least the sixteenth century. a humble Vin de France (formerly the Vin de Table appellation) – the lowest level of French wine – which But… puts it on the same level as a supermarket’s £5 Merlot- There are wines that are relatively new to the market Grenache blend. Does a Vin de France become a fine and are generally accepted by critics and consumers as wine because it has a distinguished estate’s name fine wines. For example, Screaming Eagle’s first vintage on the label? Well, yes it can because it is reasonable was 1992. Insisting on, say, a minimum 100-vintages to assume that Palmer, with at least 200 years of would be iniquitous. Quality and age-worthiness are winemaking experience, knows what it is doing. more important. PROVENANCE This is usually defined as where and how a fine wine has been stored since its release into the market – its history of ownership – and is crucial for older wines. This is why it is so important to disclose as much information as is available on the provenance of the wine. However, I define “provenance” as the place of origin of But… A blue-chip label can sometimes – though admittedly very rarely these days – offer something substandard. Château Margaux’s 1965 vintage was so execrable that it was blended with the (so so) 1964 and (appalling) 1963 in an effort to produce something drinkable and sellable as a non-millésime cuvée. It’s Margaux – but not as we know it. a wine – and the smaller and better-specified the better. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 53

Nor does a smart appellation guarantee something fine. The Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru vineyard in Burgundy is shared between 80 or so owners – some making their own wine, others selling their grapes – with very contrasting quality levels. All Appellations d’Origine Contrôlées are created equal but some are more equal than others. With fine wine, there are a few things that ostensibly are well-defined but actually are as hazy as a January morning in London. Anyway, I will offer a pithy definition of fine wine. I define “fine wine” as wine that comes from a specific, identifiable place and has a long-standing reputation for high quality. A fine wine has a lovely colour, an attractive bouquet, and balance, flavour, and smoothness. A fine wine should offer intellectual and sensual rewards. It is a wine that is not only pleasurable to drink but also worth talking about and thinking about. Defining fine wine is difficult – but we know it when we see (and drink) it. > 54 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA The Auction Room: The Auctioneer. Wood engraving by Honoré Daumier. Cleveland Museum of Art.


FINE Georgia The Cradle of Wine W ith a history of over 8,000 vintages and accomplished records of viticulture and vinification, Georgia is the oldest winemaking nation in the world. Folklore has it that the Georgian alphabet takes the shape of the curly offshoots of the vines. The western words vin, vino, wine could possibly be derived from the Georgian word, gvino. In Georgia, wine is the oldest tradition, is ingrained in local culture, is the holy of holies... FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 57

R e s e a rc h e r s a n d historians have found evidence of species of grape seed in clay vessels that point to the existence of local vitis vinifera cultivars that can be back traced to locations in Georgia to as far back as 6000 B.C. The ancient farming practices to tame and raise the first vines, that would be known as viticulture today, have fascinated many who travelled on the fabled “Silk Route” and find mention in legends and manuscripts from the time. Modern day Georgia is the intersection of history and culture at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and this is where wine was born! The southern slopes of the Caucuses near the Black Sea offer a very favourable micro-climate and terrain that has facilitated the numerous grape varietals that are domiciled here – over 500 local origin indigenous varietals are grown across ten distinct wine-growing regions in Georgia. Saperavi is the most abundant red grape while Rkatsiteli, Chinuri and Mtsvane are the popular white grapes. Historically, a large clay vessel decorated with ornamental patterns of grape bunches called a Qvevri was buried underground to maintain constant temperature. And this heritage is still drawn upon by the winemakers to ferment and mature the grape juice to give a very special amber pantone and distinct flavour profiles with integrated tannins. In 2013, “Qvevri Winemaking” was 58 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA recognised by UNESCO in its list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”. “Origin Lives” is the focus of the international campaign of the Wines of Georgia. Progressing through history, wine growing and wine making techniques have been preserved – these are being sustained and still being used by the few thousands of family wineries that work on the 50,000 hectares of vine yards. Internationally trained Georgian winemakers are juxtaposing modern techniques on age-old winemaking practices, the diversity in indigenous grapes available and their own enduring spirit to offer an unparalleled range of tastes: some pioneering, some familiar, and some nearly impossible to describe. Family traditions are deep – both in wine making and wine drinking. The Ambassador of Georgia to India, H.E. Archil Dzuliashvili shared, “Wine is national pride in my country. Every Georgian has had a taste of their grandfather’s wine. Almost everyone grows their own vines, and many – like me – produce their own wines at home. Inspite of the many threats to our country, we have the distinction of the world’s longest unbroken tradition of winemaking”. H.E. Archil was extremely kind to open his wine cellars for FINE Magazines to cohost the firstever tasting of Georgian wines in New Delhi. A representative range of ver y unique and distinct wines of Georgia were shared with the wine trade.

Georgian Wine Tasting Notes Marani Sachino “Mtsvane” 2017 Region: Kakheti Appellation: Napareuli Style: White Dry Varietal: Mtsvane, Rkatsiteli Appearance: Deep Amber Nose: Aromas of tropical fruits. Distinct litchis. Palate: Very fresh. Mouth-watering. Finish: Bone dry. Medium to long. Alcohol: 13.5% Inside Information: Established in 2016, Marani Sachino is a family-owned boutique winery that prides itself on its strong heritage of winemaking traditions that follow the ancient practices in Georgia. The knowledge and experience passed down from generation to generation is the inspiration to passionately craft natural, premium quality wines. They propose a “collection of masterpieces” to inspire wine enthusiasts from around the world. Tbilvino “Tsinandali” 2015 Region: Kakheti Appellation: Tsinandali Style: Dry White Varietal: Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane Appearance: Light straw yellow Nose: Aromas of citrus stone-fruit and quince. Palate: White flowers on centre-stage, refreshing acidity and dense texture. Finish: Lasting combination of oak and vanilla. Alcohol: 12.5% Inside Information: First made in 1999 by an Australian wine maker from vineyards that are 300-760 meters above sea level. Carefully balancing the ancient traditions of winemaking with the quest to integrate new technologies – the winemakers create much awarded wines with amazing creativity, commitment, strict quality control, professionalism, and complete dedication. “This is the body of experience gained through the years… we put our soul into making our wines”. FINE Georgia ღვინის შეფასების ბარათი Tinatin “Chinuri” 2018 Region: Kartli Style: Unfiltered Dry White Varietal: Chinuri Appearance: Bright medium yellow Nose: Classic flowery aromas Palate: Gentle and fresh. Moderate acidity. Finish: Medium. Very pleasant. Alcohol: 12% Inside Information: Tinatin, the winemaker, was inspired to create her own line at the Kabistoni Wine School. While learning winemaking in great detail, she appreciated the importance of labour and love in making an excellent wine. Her subtle and delicate wines are bottled with the etiquette of a dancing lady. This wine is organic and estatebottled with a painting by Anna Chikovani on the label. Only hand-selected premium grapes from vines that are resistant to phyloxera and other fungus’ are used to make this wine. Besini Rose 2017 Region: Kakheti Style: Rose Semi-Dry Varietal: Merlot Appearance: Salmon pink Nose: Ripe red berries and subtle aromas of flint Palate: Very flavourful. Watermelon, peach, grapefruit and rose. Finish: Balanced acidity. Light and sweet. Alcohol: 12.5% Inside Information: A very easy drinking wine that could be perfect for the gruelling Indian summer. The winemaker not only follows the ancient traditions of winemaking, but carefully combines them with modern technologies. They control every stage of winemaking beginning with vine plants from our nursery until the final stage of bottling. Classical vinification with 24-hour maceration in stainless steel. The word “Bessini” in Georgia was used to describe sacrificial wine. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 59

ღვინის შეფასების ბარათი Madamwine “Savardo” Rose Region: Kakheti Style: Rose Semi-Dry Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon, Montepulciano, Syrah Appearance: Light pink Nose: Aromas of pomegranate with peach. Palate: Elegant and silky with abundant rose. Finish: Well-rounded and syrupy. Alcohol: 11% Residual Sugar: 9-12 grams/ litre Inside Information: Founded in 2010, Madam Wine is one of the first women winemaking companies in Georgia creates wine from the oldest traditional Georgian grape varieties. An attempt to play out the similarities between the wine and the woman – playfulness, fun, severity, mysteriousness… For this cheerful wine, the grapes are hand-picked. Soft de-stemming and crushing is followed by controlled fermentation at 18°C in stainless steel. Upon reaching the optimum sugar and acidity balance the fermentation is arrested by cooling to retain natural sweetness and freshness of the wine. Kakhuri Gvinis Marani “Akhasheni” 2015 Region: Kakheti Appellation: Akhasheni Style: Red Semi-Sweet Varietal: Saperavi Appearance: Dark pomegranate Nose: Rich bouquet of mature fruits Palate: Velvety and chocolatey Finish: Harmonious and lasting Alcohol: 12.5% Inside Information: Located in the Kakheti region in eastern Georgia, the winery has sweeping views on the Caucasus Mountains with the Alazani River Valley in the north. Established 9 years ago, the company was built on the foundation of tradition, consistency, dedication and professionalism – all of which have been passed down from the founders’ forefathers. Vineyards are in the Tsinandali, Teliani, Akhasheni, Mukuzani, Manavi, and Gurjaani micro zones. The wines have received numerous international accolades for their quality. 60 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Friends’ Cellar “Saperavi” 2014 Region: Kakheti Appellation: Kindzmarauli Style: Red Dry Varietal: Saperavi Appearance: Deep rich ruby Nose: Black fruit with pepper and some vanilla. Palate: Jammy. Very rich and powerful with spicy and oaky undertones. Finish: Smooth tannins. Light and flavourful. Alcohol: 13% Inside Information: In 2009, Friend’s Cellar was founded as an endeavour of companions from 11 countries around the world, united in their appreciation for Georgian wine. Their own vineyards that were planted in 2001 yield about 7,000 kg per hectare each vintage. The delicate grapes are carefully handpicked in the harvest using a selective method and small wooden baskets with a capacity of 7-8 kg are used for the transportation to the winery. At the Nelkarisi winery, tours through the ancient city, workshops on Georgian cuisine, and wine tasting sessions are offered. Shilda Winery “Kindzmarauli” 2017 Region: Kakheti Appellation: Kindzmarauli Varietal: Saperavi Style: Red Semi-Sweet Appearance: Deep purple Nose: Well-defined bouquet of wild berries and cherries Palate: Exotic fruity flavour and balanced acidity Finish: Lingering minerality Alcohol: 12% Residual Sugar: 35 grams/ litre Inside Information: The Shilda winery was founded in 2015 by Mikhail and Natia Chkhartishvili drawing on the history of winemaking in the village that dates back many centuries. The founders’ love and respect for wine, which they thought of as “divine” drink, motivated them to invest in the most modern Italian and French equipment to create wines that they showcased unashamedly in international markets – and were rewarded with a high level of acceptance.

Katewine “Rkatsiteli” 2017 Region: Kakheti Style: Qvevri White Dry Varietal: Rkatsiteli Appearance: Golden orangy yellow Nose: Ripe yellow fruit and quince with hints of petroleum. Palate: Mouthful of flavours. Buttery. Finish: Subtle and gentle on the senses Alcohol: 13.5% Inside Information: A lot of attention has been given to the packaging. A very interesting antique label with hand-written details is placed on the bottle and wax seals the cork. Ketevan Aladashvili is a young winemaker who studied wine technology at the University of Tblisi. She followed her passion for wine and decided to challenge the idea that wine making is reserved only for the men, despite the difficulties encountered. Katewine, her company, produces only Qvevri wines. And is well awarded at international competitions. Twins Wine Cellar “Kisi” Folio FINE Georgia Georgian Wine Tasting Notes Region: Kakheti Appellation: Napareuli Style: Qvevri White Dry Varietal: Kisi Appearance: Dark straw Nose: Citrus tropical fruits Palate: Harmonious. Ripe mango and hints of orange. Finish: Robust Alcohol: 12% Inside Information: Established by the Gamtkitsulashvilis brothers, Gia and Gela. The family's ancient wine cellar that could date back to the 19th century was renovated into a lovely 12 room hotel in Napareuli with stunning views and a restaurant, Qvevri Mze that offers authentic north-east Georgian cuisine. This village is on the left bank of the river Alazani and boasts of 16th and 17th century ruins. The Kisi grape is a rare species of local Georgian grape, which was not common in the Soviet era. Twin Cellars works with 107 Qvevris, each with a capacity of 4 tonnes. Schuchmann Vinoterra “Saperavi” 2016 Demi’s Marani “Tavkveri” 2017 Region: Kartli Style: Qvevri Rose Dry Varietal: Tavkveri Appearance: Darkish rose Nose: Light floral Palate: Cranberry and hibiscus Finish: Breathtaking and harmonious Alcohol: 11% Inside Information: The Tavkveri grape produces medium to large conical bunches of large, juicy berries. It is a high-yielding variety, although this depends on the pollination level. The winery, Chateau Demi, allows visitors to take in the refreshing beauty of the green and clean environment and a rustic rural experience of tasting authentic food and natural wines that respects the local Georgian traditions – all within a half hour drive from Tbilisi. Region: Kakheti Style: Qvevri Red Varietal: Saperavi Appearance: Very deep ruby Nose: Ripe cherry, coffee, tobacco, dark fruits. Palate: Smooth and harmonious mix of black fruits, black pepper, black currants with silky tannins. Finish: Intense and long Alcohol: 13% Inside Information: An unfiltered natural wine made in a Qvevri, large clay jars buried underground for fermentation, maceration and ageing. After open air fermentation and masceration, the wine was racked in an airtight Qvevri and aged for 6 months with skin contact. This vintage did not see any oak barrels. Winemaker Gogi Dakishvili founded Vinoterra which has become Georgia's largest Qvevri wine producer. An ancient tradition from about 80 centuries ago has been revived as has the Georgian wine industry. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 61

Tale of Two Ancient Beverages text: Ritu & Rajiv Singhal 62 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Gastronomy W ine and Tea, traditional beverages that have been an intrinsic part of our daily lives for time immemorial, are ancient – they date back many millenniums. Historians have endorsed the birth of wine making to almost 8,000 years ago and traced it to the village of Gadachrili Gora in modern day Georgia – which is also known as “the cradle of wine”. According to a Chinese legend, tea originated in China around 4700 years ago when the Emperor Shen Nong chanced upon the infusion of wild tea leaves in boiling water. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 63

A Unique Concept The idea of drawing parallels between two seemingly unconnected beverages that had originated in two different continents was conceptualised and conceived by Rajiv Singhal. Against the very high standards of the visionary South-East Asia Director of the French Food and Wine Marketing and Promotion Agency, Jean-Francois Balusseau, it passed muster and a spot was reserved for a “Wine & Tea” session in the pioneering French wine promotional activity programme that Group Ritu launched in India in the late nineties on behalf of the French Ministry of Agriculture and other clients. The belief was that, “in a nascent and emerging market for wine in India, it was important to relate the tenets of wine appreciation to a drink that is so deeply ingrained in the Indian culture so that the consumer could unravel the typicity of wine better.” In January 2005, the first-ever Wine and Tea Appreciation 64 held in Delhi and Kolkata over the next few years – and they attracted a lot of attention in the world of wine and the world of tea. Wine specialists, Ch’ng Poh Tiong, Franck Thomas and Daniele Raulet Reynaud interacted with their Tea counterparts, Sanjay Kapur, Catherine Lashko and Vikram Mittal to bring out the complementarities and the similarities between wine and tea and to identify characteristic notes – floral, fruity, grassy, woody, tannic, spicy – usually associated with wine, in the tea. Hungarian Touch Almost a decade later, this idea was revived in conversation with our dear friends, Annamari Somogyi and her husband, the Ambassador of Hungary to India H.E. Gyula Pethő. Annamari is a dedicated tea connoisseur and was so excited to discover the connection that had been drawn out between tea and wine in formal ‘tasting’ sessions that she made an exceptional exception to allow Rajiv (as the first-ever male presenter) to session was launched at the Leela Kempinski Mumbai – a present to her exclusive T-Club. unique and never-done-before activity around wine in India, On Hungarian territory, the Residence of the Ambassador of maybe even the world! Several sessions on wine and tea were Hungary to India in Diplomatic Enclave in New Delhi, Rajiv FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Gastronomy presented Hungarian wines as Annamari did Indian teas. The audience was captivated as they both explained the connect between these two beverages. The presentation was hugely appreciated, and it seems that Annamari was inundated with requests for an encore by the members and guests. It was decided that at a sit-down dinner, Hungarian wine and Indian tea to match would be paired with Hungarian food. The wine hosts, the FINE India team represented by yours truly, and the tea hosts, Aap ki Pasand Master Tea Taster Sanjay Kapur and Naina, and our Hungarian hosts had the "gruelling" task of narrowing down the choices of the wine, the tea and the food at a tasting dinner – we all survived. The Grand Pairing When Annamari and Gyula play host at the Residence only the best is on the table. For the grand evening, the dinner table was Photo: CIVC immaculately set for the 24 guests, mostly Heads of Mission and their spouses, with finest Hungarian tableware from the national treasures of Herend, fine cut glassware, and abundant pink roses in large brandy snifters. The menu carrying the Hungarian crest was complemented by a tasting place mat that was designed by Naina so that the guests could keep track of the various wines and teas being served – and avoid any confusion – through the four course dinner. Our hosts welcomed the guests and introduced them to the unique nature of the dinner. The welcome drink was a glass of Hungary’s finest sparkling wine Hungaria Grand Cuvee Brut which was matched with an Iced Tea Julep and served with Sajtos Pogácsa (Hungarian cheese puffs). The sparkling wine and iced tea were so similar to each other – the pale-yellow colour with refreshing citrusy and liquorice flavours – and set the tone for the evening. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 65

As we sat down, a presentation by Ritu detailed the symphony the Chardonnay Tea could match this wine – yes, a new tea of wine with tea – Sanjay and Rajiv chipped in. The Gunzer with strands of Chardonnay that Sanjay identified when he Tamas Rose 2014 from Villany and Rose Gold Tea – rose petals was inspired by the wines that we introduced him to during in black tea – were served with the first course – Avocado Pastry tastings in the early years of the new millennium. Roll with Hungarian "Flag" (tomato, mozzarella and green The third course paired the Kovacs Nimrod Monopole capsicum) for the vegetarians, and salmon flower and salamiolive stick for the non-vegetarians. Freshness, fruitiness and rose all round. Rhapsody 2014 with Royal Masala Chai and Letcho Hungarian Ratatouille and Hortobágyi Palacsinta Hungarian Pancakes stuffed with Paprika Chicken served with rice. The famous Kolonics Juhfark 2013 from the Somloi region was served next, Bikaver – “bull's blood” – wine is a blend of Kekfrankos, Pinot paired with Lady Grey Tea with Linalool and the choice of Feta Noir, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet from the Eger region. Gyula Spinach Roll or Grilled Salmon with a side of Sweet Potato and shared the legend and origin of bull's blood, “When the town Carrots. The Hungarian indigenous varietal Juhfark is also of Eger in the wine making region of the north-eastern part of known as “Ewes Tail” because the grape bunches resemble a Hungary was sieged by a large army of the Turks in the 16th tail! A dash of Linalool was added to Earl Grey Tea to match Century, the Turkish soldiers were drinking the local dark red the wine’s fruitiness and nuttiness. Sanjay also thought that wine saying it is actually not a wine but bull’s blood, giving Photo: Embassy of Hungary, New Delhi 66 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Gastronomy Sanjay and Naina Kapur Rajiv & Ritu Singhal H.E. Gyula Pethő and Annamari Somogyi them the strength to fight.” The rich tannins and spiciness of Hungary, the perfect vines were nurtured for the perfect the Bikaver were well complemented by the tea – a blend of glass while in India, perfect bushes gave the perfect cuppa. the strong Assam black tea, spices and milk the woody note of Guests were curious as to why this unconventional fusion was which is drawn from the Camellia assamica bush. attempted – to create a new channel of thinking that could help A meal can not be complete on Hungarian territory without wine and tea lovers understand both beverages better through Tokaji wine – the nectar of gods and wine of kings. Gyula had what is known about the other. drawn the Pendits Aszu 6 Puttonyos Tokaj 2013 from his cellars and this was paired with a Darjeeling Grand Cru Muscatel Tea Similarities that had a sweet spicy character. Both were divine with the The key link between the two beverages can be attributed to Somlo Sponge Cake. Through the evening, we were able to showcase that in the “Terroir” – the phenomenon of identifying, tracing and tying the origins of an exceptional produce to a specific climate, Photo: Embassy of Hungary, New Delhi FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 67

weather, altitude, soil, sweat (and blood) of the grower and an sensory evaluation that leads to a better appreciation and all-encompassing unique environment. So, whether it be the understanding. Some countries around the world have great wines of Champagne, Tokay, Napa Valley; or the special managed to keep alive the traditional ceremonies that showcase teas of Assam, Darjeeling or Nilgiri – when we celebrate these the very elaborate tasting rituals around both tea and wine. wines and teas, we pay homage to their “terroirs”. Both are entirely natural – when we talk about tea and wine we The similarities between the two are striking – both having are talking about purist and high quality. Some characteristic been the preferred drink of the kings. notes in any top quality wine or tea Both are known for their medicinal should not be mistaken for an added properties, and their consumption essence. Flavonoids or polyphenols are gained momentum as water was found to be undrinkable. Both are culturally rich, just as tea is a way of life in India, in 68 ...we pay homage to their “terroirs” the taste-givers. For instance, when you trace litchis in Alsace Gewurztraminer, or fresh grass in Bourgogne Chablis, or the old world wine countries, most people grow up with wine! woody tones in Assam tea, it’s a manifestation of the terroir. Akin to wine, the appreciation of tea is also about an indulgence Geographical Indications encompass both beverages. of the senses. While taste is the most prominent of the analytical Champagne, Tokaj and Port are a few examples of wine senses, most aficionados are captivated by the aroma. Master appellations; Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiri are examples of Tea Tasters and Master Wine Tasters establish a benchmark tea that were christened in the place they were born – and FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

is based on Fermentation – in the case of some wines like defines the various grades for both wine and tea and is based on Champagne, double fermentation is deployed. the region, varietal, style of processing, vintage, sweetness etc. Grape vines and tea bushes are grown in specially demarcated areas and governed by stringent rules. Specific micro-climates interplay with the growing conditions and the labour of love of the workers to yield the celebrated produce. Thousands of A read of the literature reveals that the drinking of both wine and tea finds favour with the doctors – antioxidants like catechins and resveratrol that are found in tea and wine lend health benefits. years of experience have gone into the attempt to perfect the Both wine and tea offer the elegance that appeal not just art of growing tea leaves in India and maintaining vineyards to our senses, but to our love for ritual and tradition. They in Europe. Both tea growers and vignerons are increasingly exploring the opportunities in organic and bio-dynamic produce. Tea leaves are plucked in the gardens and immediately transported to processing centres, where processing is a mix FINE Gastronomy now fiercely protected. A well-structured classification system enhance social value by bringing people of all ages together. The similarities – imagined and real – between wines and tea rest on interpretation. So, when you take a sip and swirl your favourite drink to take of Oxidation and Fermentation. Grapes are harvested from the in the flavours and the aromas... a well-aged Chardonnay is vine and pressed within the shortest time. The juice is moved as much a feast for the senses as a pure bred Darjeeling whose to the wineries in controlled conditions where the processing full-bodied second flush can be enchantingly aromatic. > FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 69


FINE Estate Goosemark in Kent text: Rajiv & Ritu Singhal • photos: Gusbourne Estate S et in the picturesque landscape of Kent, the Garden of England, Gusbourne Estate strongly believes that the only way to ensure the quality of the grapes is to grow the grapes themselves. They are among the few wine companies in England to use own fruit only from their own vineyards in Kent and Sussex to produce quality English sparkling wines that is focussed at the luxury end of the market. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 73

the Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2006 were released to critical acclaim that managed to change the international reputation of English wines. Curiosity leads us to locate the village of Appledore in Ashford on our navigator. The geographical co-ordinates of Gusbourne Estates, 51° 2’ 49” N and 0° 47’ 51” E, greet us at ‘The Nest’ (the home of the geese). Dan Grainger, the cellar door manager, takes charge of our visit. The award-winning Cellar Door was built in 2017 – not so much to push sales but to build and nurture Brand Ambassadors. An architectural delight, the wood panelled area houses an interesting collection of memorabilia and information about Gusbourne and its Estate. A centre-piece staircase leads to the tasting room upstairs that overlooks the vineyards. A wall has been designed with empty bottles of sparkling wine. A true feast for senses. The wine story may only be a decade and half old, but the history of the estate can be traced back to the year 1410. Goosebourne Estate was the largest estate in the village of Appledore in Ashford – about 69 miles south east of London – owned by John de Goosebourne, whose family crest of three geese still hangs in the local parish church. Dr Andrew Weeber, a South African orthopaedic surgeon, acquired the majestic estate in 2004 and set himself on a mission “to produce the finest sparkling wine in the world, not just in England.” Andrew’s 74 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Photo: Rajiv Singhal In 2010, the debut vintages of the Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2006 and

not a winemaker, he’s not a wine grower – he’s a wine drinker with a The first vines of the traditional grape varietals in champagne – chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier – were planted on a farm that was Andrew’s ‘turnip patch’ – where turnips alongwith maize and rapeseed were growing. With vineyard manager, Jon Pollard, more FINE Estate love for vintage champagne, a love for fine champagne. plots in Kent have been consolidated and new ones in West Sussex have been added to total 231 acres of vineyards. Maybe Andrew was attracted by the unique history and geology of this estate. Only about 6 miles from the coast, the vineyards have been planted on the edge of the reclaimed Romney Marsh (somewhat better known for the long woolly breed of Salt Marsh sheep that are reared here and the smugglers of yesteryears). The southern boundaries are defined by the Royal Military Canal, that was built to deter Napoleon – and the smugglers. In the 17th century, some of the estate would’ve been under the sea because the soil is a mostly Photo: Rajiv Singhal mix of clay, marsh and sea deposits while near the marsh its sandy. Several distinct vineyards – Cherry Garden, Boot Hill, Bottom camp – are part of the estate in Appledore. All vines are planted in the south east on south-facing slopes. The plantings are low lying in relation FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 75



to the sea level and retain natural warmth. The vines in the Bottom Camp vineyard near the Royal Military Canal are younger (planted between 2013 and 2015). Plantings in clay benefit from water retention. Density is very low – around 1600 vines per acre – and double guyot is in place so that each plant has a chance to get sun exposure. The grid is 2.5 metres between the rows and 1 metre in the row. The vine head is high – almost at waist height. The maritime weather adds to the estate’s complex terroir. Uninterrupted sea winds dry the fruit, prevent the skin from thickening, help maintain the flavour profile, and bring salinity to the grapes. Sun exposure helps ripen the fruit and prevent rot. Air circulation prevents frost, but Gusbourne still invested in frost drains (flat horizontal fans) as a precaution. Gusbourne favours minimal intervention, “we believe that the only way to ensure the quality of our grapes is to grow them ourselves.” Only the finest grapes are hand-picked in the vineyards. The experienced local team has been repeating this exercise year-onyear. In accordance with self-imposed strict parameters, Gusbourne green harvests (or drops) some amount of fruit in the latter part of the growing season. Whilst this reduces the potential overall yield, it enables the vines to enhance the ripening of their remaining clusters. “It is not a question of how much we produce but the quality of what we produce.” Charlie Holland is the winemaker since 2013. His philosophy is Photo: Rajiv Singhal prominently ‘etched’ at the Cellar Door. “At Gusbourne, we embrace 78 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

tradition but readily challenge convention, even to make what might seem like very small differences to the finished wine, attention to detail FINE Estate is often the difference between great and exceptional.” Charlie trained at Plumpton Wine College in Brighton where he learnt how to handle cool climate grapes and make them into wine. With his winemaking team, Charlie has “built a clear understanding of the flavour profile of grapes from every corner of the vineyards and how these are affected by the variations of the climate in any particular growing season.” And since 45 different clones are in the mix, Charlie spends as much time in the vineyards as he does crafting his wines in the winery. Whole bunches are harvested within an hour of harvest at the press house. Between 5% and 55% are pressed for their cuvées. The tailles are used only to make Ratafia – a liqueur that is flavoured with almonds, peaches, apricots, or cherries. 700 litres are pressed from 1000 kilogram of grape and ferment in thermo-regulated stainless steel tanks with a small portion appropriated to ferment in French oak barrels (from Bourgogne, Bordeaux and Champagne) to give a little bit of toast in the back palate. Tastings can involve more than 150 base wines over two or more weeks and several times. At least 15 base wines make the core range of FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 79

sparkling wine. Nothing is left to chance at Gusbourne – it is important that the characteristic style of the entire range is maintained. In old chalk mines in Wiltshire, the wines age on lees in the black green bottles for a prolonged period of twenty-eight months. Dosage is usually between 7 to 9 grams per litre to enhance the richness of the wine, but vinification experiments are in trial with lows of 4 grams and highs of 11 grams. After disgorgement and finishing at the Estate, they come back to the cellars for a ‘resting’ period of 6 to 9 months. Bumping the roads doesn’t seem to have any adverse impact on the wines. Labelling is done manually, and can a bit of a task, but this keeps with the philosophy of minimal automation at Gusbourne. Gusbourne’s approach is to age its sparkling wines for as long as is necessary and as a result, the average production cycle is four years from harvest to sale. In recent years, wonderfully ripe grapes, with optimum levels of natural sugar and acidity across all three varieties – chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier have been available in record yields and the resulting wine production buffers the inventory to safe levels. Like only a few other producers in the growing English wine industry, Gusbourne make wines from single estates and wines from single vintages but no non-vintage wines at all – this is against the recent 80 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Estate trend in the industry to create the easy-going non-vintage wines for the consumers. “We consider our wines to be a little more gastronomic. We manage to make complex and rich wines, with a touch of oak, malolactic fermentation and extensive ageing,” says Dan. “Each and every bottle of wine crafted at Gusbourne carries a contemporary goose crest in honour of our heritage – the ‘Goosemark’ is a symbol of trust, representing our pursuit of uncompromising quality.” The flagship Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs draws from hand selected Chardonnay and rests for a minimum of forty-two months on lees and six months on cork before it is deemed ready for release. Charlie believes that it is the truest expression of terroir. A crowning moment has been the choice by Buckingham Palace and the selection for the opening party at the 2012 London Olympics. Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2015 Limited Edition is what British Airways first class passengers enjoy at thirty something thousand feet. Gusbourne presents a perfect blend of traditional values and modernity to its audiences, wherever in the world they may be. And they hope that one day Her Majesty’s Treasury will recognise that Gusbourne sparkling shouldn’t pay the same taxes as Champagne or Tasmanian bubbly – and reward their efforts. > FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 81

Tasting Notes Twenty Fourteen BRUT RESERVE Twenty Thirteen BLANC DE BLANCS Varietal: 60% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay, 18% Pinot Meunier. Appearance: Golden. Nose: Very aromatic. Citrus, honey, brioche. Palate: Abundant red fruit – apples and berries – with notes of fresh bread. Finish: Long, full, rounded. Alcohol: 12% Dosage: 8g/l Inside Information: The “winery wine” has more of a consistent style. Overall, a dry year with rain in August. Vintage could be completed by 7th October. Whole bunch pressing and a 24-36 hour natural settling. 100% malolactic fermentation. Some small portion of the wine is fermented in old oak barrels for complexity. Minimum ageing on lees is 36 months. Varietal: 100% Chardonnay Appearance: Pale gold Nose: Citrus, green apple, buttered toast, jaggery. Palate: Vibrant acidity, traces of salinity, grapefruit, sharp flavours. Finish: Creamy, elongated acidity, zesty backbone. Alcohol: 12% Dosage: 9g/l Inside Information: Rather picky about the ripeness of the fruit, harvest was completed reasonably late in this vintage. Whole bunch pressing and a 24-36 hour natural settling. Used the best selection and a lot of the Coeur de Cuvée. 100% malolactic fermentation. Some small portion of the wine is fermented in new oak barrels to add a little structure. Minimum ageing on lees is 28 months. Twenty Fifteen ROSÉ Twenty Fourteen GUINEVERE Varietal: 54% Pinot Noir, 32% Pinot Meunier, 14% Chardonnay. Appearance: Delicate pink Nose: Cherry, wild strawberry, cranberry, fresh pastry. Palate: Fresh, very fruity, citrusy. Finish: Lingering, consistent, rounded. Alcohol: 12% Dosage: 7.5g/l Inside Information: Whole bunch pressing and a 24 hour natural settling. 100% malolactic fermentation. Barrel-aged pinot noir wine derived from the Burgundian clone is blended in a small fraction prior to the secondary fermentation. Minimum ageing on lees is 26 months. A very finely made wine that reflects a strong English character – it is very highly demanded. Varietal: 100% Chardonnay Appearance: Pale yellow Nose: Captivating. Buttery, citrusy. Palate: Balanced. Green apple, greengages (wild Kentish natural plum). Finish: Broad. Classic barrel fermented cool climate Chardonnay. Alcohol: 12% Clones: 548/ 95 Inside Information: This wine that takes the name of the founder’s daughter, Genevieve, has an exaggerated Burgundy character crafted with care at Gusbourne. Concentration was increased by dropping 50% fruit on the clones in August. Fully destemmed and crushed. 100% malolactic fermentation and some bâtottonage. Fermentation at cellar temperature and ageing in French oak, mostly old and some new, for six months. Twenty Sixteen PINOT NOIR Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir Appearance: Violet Nose: Ripe strawberry, cherry, roasted coffee. Palate: Raspberry, cranberry flavours with gamey and smokey notes. Finish: Rich, full, consistent. Soft, supple tannins. Alcohol: 12% Clones: 777/ 828 Inside Information: Concentration and flavour was increased by dropping 50% fruit on the clones in early August. Fully destemmed and crushed after a 3 day cold soak. 100% malolactic fermentation. Fermented on skins at 20°C for two weeks in inox tanks and ageing in French oak, mostly old and some new, for six months. 82 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

THE SPARKLE IN LUXEMBOURG'S CROWN Text: Rajiv Singhal Photos: Bernard Massard & Embassy of Luxembourg in New Delhi 84 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE L u x e m b o u r g text: T he Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a Rajiv & Ritu Singhal • photos: John Lobb Ltd constitutional monarchy and is the only sovereign territory in the world that remains a Grand Duchy. The origins of the House of Luxembourg can be traced back to the Lucilinburhuc Castle from the 10th Century. In Luxembourg’s Golden Ages in the 14th Century, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV was crowned in Rome and reigned in Prague. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 85

Château de Schengen 86 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Luxembourg The Romans brought grapes to Luxembourg 2000 years ago, because it was easier than bringing wine all the way north. This history is exemplified in the 1342 hectares of vineyards along the steep banks of the Moselle river – the geographical divide between Luxembourg and Germany – that are currently notified in the modern day financial nerve-centre of the world. with the knowledge he had acquired. The first world war over, Jean Bernard returned to Luxembourg. In 1921, he had success in founding “Caves Bernard-Massard” – Massard being his wife’s name – with help from his friends. Bernard Clasen, a lawyer and wine enthusiast, and Max Lambert, a stalwart of the Luxembourg financial world, became key shareholders of the company. Ambassador of Luxembourg to India, H.E. Jean-Claude Kugener, announced that “Luxembourg has the brighter side of Mosel with ample sunshine” as he welcomed Caves Bernard-Massard, the century old sparkling wine producer and official wine supplier to the Grand Ducal Court of Luxembourg since 1931. Antoine Clasen, the fifth generation to lead this family wine business, was on his maiden visit to India – “it surely won’t be my last” – and introduced me to his award-winning wines. On offer, were sparkling wines – “Vin Champenoise” which changed to “Méthode Champenoise” and in 1991, under protection of Geographical Indications, was forced by authorities to change again to “Méthode Traditionelle, Crémant de Luxembourg”. An entrepreneur’s dream A century ago, the fabled Luxembourgish entrepreneurial spirit made Jean Bernard, a reputed oenologist and cellar master at prestigious houses in Champagne, itch to return to his homeland to realise his dream to produce quality sparkling wines Jean Bernard Family driven With the sudden death of Jean Bernard in 1923, the Clasen family had to look after the business. The decree to supply to the Royal Court came at a time of deep economic crisis. In 1933, an important decision was taken so that the company could continue to produce these luxurious wines sustainably. The classic champagne varietals in the blends were partly replaced with the extensively homegrown varietals – Riesling and Pinot Blanc. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 87

Modern production It all starts in the vineyards. BernardMassard’s owned vineyards are across a variety of terroirs in Schengen and between Grevenmacher (where the company is headquartered) and Wormeldange. In Luxembourg, Bernard-Massard own 38 hectares of vineyards — 22 hectares in Clos des Rochers and 15.5 hectares in Chateau de Schengen. Under the leadership of Joseph Clasen, the blends with indigenous varietals saw a high but unfortunately, not for long. The winery was destroyed in the second world war and had to be rebuilt from scratch – Joseph’s sons, Andre and Carlos, took the restructuring forward and took charge to complete the state-of-the-art winery and re-capture the main markets in Luxembourg and Belgium. Hubert, Carlos’ son, joined in 1979, and worked to reposition BernardMassard as a drink for all occasions. In 1988, Hubert envisioned the concept of Charta wines which set rules and standards to better wines under the Domaine de Tradition label. In 2000, Caves Bernard-Massard became an ISO 9001 certified company. It was in 2011 that Antoine, Hubert’s son, took the decision to join the family business. Antoine was very mindful of the family stakeholders. “The company’s heritage is my inheritance. I have an obligation to grow the family business and secure it for the next generations. I keep the 20 members of my family who have a stake in the company abreast of our performance.” 88 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA These vineyards along the Moselle are south and south-east facing with calcareous soils in the north and clay in the south. Considering how far up north they are, the south facing vineyards are just adequately sun-exposed. The appellation allows nine grape varietals – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Auxerrois, Gewürztraminer, Rivaner (MüllerThurgau), and Elbling. Antoine exuded confidence that, “this exceptional terroir is ideal for the production of outstanding fresh, fruity sparkling and still wines.” Even if a typical Bernard-Massard customers doesn’t care about the provenance of the grapes, the company


has leveraged their small domains, and take a vigneron approach to focus only on the terroir. Antoine was proud, “it’s our chance of living two lives.” There are currently 62 wine producers in Luxembourg, and with 3.9 million bottles annually, Caves BernardMassard is the largest private producer of wines – mainly sparkling, with some small quantities of still wines. Even in this day of modernization, their 100 year old heritage has been protected – everything is done by hand. Antoine elaborated that, “so that our quality levels stayed superior to other vintners in Luxembourg, considerable amount of investments were made over the years as Bernard-Massard expanded.” 90 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA New man in charge Antoine Clasen studied Finance and Economics and discovered that a career in consulting was not for him. “I needed the real stuff. I have to touch the grapes and the earth… just be in the vineyard,” Antoine told us. Looking back, he doesn’t regret his decision. “I was able to use my finance background to raise our prices!” Antoine summarised his feelings. “Bernard-Massard is more than a company for us, it’s a part of family. I don’t know of anyone from the family who didn’t work there – we played there, we grew up there. Even if our name isn’t on the company, the company is in our DNA.” Inspired by Shakespeare, I asked Antoine what’s in a

Antoine spelt out what made Bernard-Massard the brand that it is. “Most important, without any doubt, the excellent product. The appealing look. And the great team, especially in foreign markets.” “I didn’t want to revolutionise everything, when I took over.” Antoine found the founder’s philosophy to expand in unexplored markets and to deploy traditional viticultural and vinification methods whilst keeping quality at the heart of their mission very relevant. Pushing the frontiers in new export markets, Antoine was challenged by the lack of awareness of wines of Luxembourg and the poor reputation that they have acquired in key neighbouring markets. In some markets, he’s dealing with complacency, “Bernard Massard has been there forever, we know them.” He is also focussed on the home market, where lower-priced sparklers like Prosecco and Cava were beginning to gain popularity, and where many people were not really aware about his wines! Always looking out to push his company (and himself), Antoine succeeded in getting Bernard-Massard wines noticed by sparkling wine and champagne giants in export markets. “It is my obligation towards my motherland to flaunt the diversity and quality of Luxembourg wines and to promote the Grand Duchy in other countries – you could call it nation branding.” “However, I wanted to bring marketing up with the times. Adopting trendier digital campaigns on social media platforms, the focus was more on reaching out to our customers directly. In the present global dot com boom, people expect accessibility and transparency and digital is almost the only way to stay ahead of the curve.” FINE Luxembourg name? Did the Clasen’s ever think of rebranding BernardMassard? “No. You can’t put ego before business. After a 100 years, the brand is too well-known. It could’ve been done, at best, some few years after my ancestors took over. But, at the end of World War II everything Frenchsounding was warmly embraced in Luxembourg. BernardMassard sounded so much better than our name!” The look went through a makeover – the traditional, gold and arabesque labels yielded to something that was minimalist, visually appealing, elegant and sleeker. The team was surprised that except in a few markets, customers hardly noticed. Wedded to work I asked Antoine what a typical day was like? He laughed, “luckily, I don’t have one. I rise early and head to the winery to say hello to all the people who work at the company – for me, knowing what and how everyone is doing is very important. I do vineyard visits twice a week, depending on activities there. When I get to the office, I am swamped by at least 10,000 emails every day! It’s a plague, but I like to respond promptly.” Meeting clients for lunch or dinner or even both becomes challenging at times. “I get very little time with my girlfriend”, Antoine lamented. He is on the board of the appellation AOP and, with the help of the Luxembourg government, is involved in promoting Wines of Luxembourg around the world. “It really helps when you have Ambassador’s like H.E. Kugener in new target markets – they are just so invaluable.” He was extremely grateful. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 91

L-R: H.E. Jean-Claude Kugener, Mr Antoine Clasen, Mme Pascale Kugener-Barbier Saint Hilaire The next decade Bernard-Massard will need to increase production to meet growing demand. Acquiring more vineyards remains on the agenda, but Antoine will have to be clever with the ever-growing prices of prized ones and the emotional connect that many build with their ancestral lands. “I am lucky that I can continue to draw on my father’s advice.” Antoine would like organic wine to be a possible addition to Bernard-Massard’s portfolio. “Nature is our main tool and we have to respect it in order to be able to live.” Even if no chemical fertilizers (except some specific fungicides) have been used by Bernard-Massard, the landscape of organic is fast changing and there is still a lot to do. Antoine Clasen is tackling a number of challenges – he thinks the biggest is not to become old fashioned. In its centenary, Antoine would like to portray BernardMassard as a forward-looking company with a wealth of heritage. “Accepting and adapting to the changes that come along with the swift passing of time is always a boon.” Betting on India The key focus for Bernard-Massard will be on tapping the potential in new markets, like India, Antoine announced. “It’s not an easy walk in the park in India, as nobody knows who we are, what we are, why we are here and where we are from! Indians don’t drink a lot of Champagne like the rest of the world does. If the market explodes (very unlikely), 92 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Champagne alone will not be able to meet the demand.” Antoine was optimistic that high quality sparkling wines, like his, can fit in. “My Crémant is a first alternative to champagne – as is my experience in some markets – and I’d like to be there early and ready.” He was struck by the scale and realised that while India is different – very different – it is a high potential market, even if a very slow mover. “You can’t fall asleep; you have to always have your eyes and ears open.” A memorable repast H.E. Kugener and his lovely wife Mme Pascale KugenerBarbier Saint Hilaire hosted the wine dinner to welcome Antoine Clasen of Bernard-Massard and his wines at the Residence of Luxembourg in New Delhi. It is a picture-perfect setting with stunning twilight views of illuminated Safdarjung Tomb on one side and a towering rare Amar Nath Sehgal tapestry on the other and the warmth and most generous hospitality of the first couple of Luxembourg in India in between. The hosts’ attention to even the minutest details had a hugely pampering effect on me. Fine tableware crested with the Luxembourg coat of arms is laid out on the table, alongwith Christofle silverware, and individually hand-calligraphed menus by the host couple. The Luxembourg crest had been hand-embroidered on the napkins by Indian artisans. The right shade of blue

FINE Luxembourg that represents the Luxembourg flag decorated the collars and cuffs of the staff uniforms – even His Excellency’s tie matches. A range of porcelainware from Villeroy & Boch (revived fond memories of how I had launched the brand in India) including tureens from the old classic Vieux Luxembourg collection accentuated every nook. Antoine presented a range of Bernard-Massard wines from Luxembourg that are now available in India through Amit Aggarwal of Hema Connoisseur. The guests were welcomed with the Selection Brut Methode Traditionelle. Antoine shared excellent insights into the wines – Château de Schengen Riesling 2017, Millésimé Brut Crémant de Luxembourg 2015 and the Cuvée de L’Ecusson Pinot Noir Rosé – which had been paired with a very well curated delectable meal. H.E. Kugener shared nuggets of information about the Grand Duchy. It was an evening that one hoped wouldn’t end. > A big thank you from FINE India to H.E. Kugener for entrusting the first-ever presentation of the wines from Luxembourg in India to us – we have built the market for wine in India since 1997 and can safely say that we comprehend it the best. Cuvée Sélection Brut Made by the Méthode Traditionelle with a minimum of one-year ageing. The cuvée is the same blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc from 1921. Light yellow hue. Floral and slightly buttery nose. Subdued acidity. Packed with citrus flavours and green apples. Fresh, light and elegant. Crémant de Luxembourg Millésimé Brut 2015 This blend of Pinot Blanc and Riesling is only produced in exceptional vintages. Sustainable viticulture is complemented with a minimum of three years ageing. Golden appearance with fine effervescence. Creamy and biscuity, the full-bodied concentration and overloaded flavour profile has an engaging minerally finish. Vinous and well rounded. Château de Schengen Riesling 2017 A delicate balance has been struck between the opulent fruit and well-integrated acidity in this storied Riesling – Victor Hugo's sketch of the castle is on the label. Pale yellow-green appearance. Floral and spicy nose with a whiff of mint. Abounds in citrusy flavours with hints of salinity. Very smooth and satisfying. Cuvée de l’Ecusson Rosé A traditional blanc de noirs elaborated from Pinot Noir by masceration and ageing over two years. Brilliant, light salmon pink colour. Seductive nose of berries. Lively, yet balanced, palate with a lingering fleshy finish. Cuvée de l’Ecusson is the flagship that was created for the 50th Anniversary of Bernard-Massard. The Rosé variant came later. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 93


FINE Gastronomy HIDE in Mayfair text: A Ritu Singhal • photos: Hide floor-to-ceiling rustic wooden door breaks the series of giant glass panes that run around the block on two levels, at the junction of London’s Piccadilly with Clarges Street. Some random metal letters are partially embedded into the façade of this property. An intriguing play of shadows on these thoughtfully designed panels reveals a name – Hide. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 95

Yevgeny Chichvarkin had the dream to create the best wine shop in the world. The team led by Tatiana Fokina put Hedonism Wines – a one-stop wine shop with an enviable spread and impeccable service – on the speed dial of wine-lovers around the world soon after it opened its doors in Mayfair. So, the food hedonist decided to venture into a ‘neighbouring’ industry and launch a unique restaurant with a firm focus on wine. Hide with Chef Ollie Dabbous has an almost infinite wine list – its own leather-bound list is supplemented by Hedonism Wines’ cellars. “People can see the city but can’t hear it anymore. They are hiding from the city because they’ve got very busy.” Tatiana explains the name – Hide. The Hide logo illustrates a nest and a cloche – the nest shows luxurious comfort and the cloche shows fine dining. As we sit down to our tasting lunch with the bio-dynamic Benoit Lahaye Rosé de Macération Extra Brut, Tatiana shares with me, “A restaurant was the obvious natural progression for us. Our target was the wine-drinking diners and we wanted them to enjoy an all-round dining experience like no other, with all the elements – the very special wines that are within their budget, the modern European Michelin food, the friendly attentive service and the wow décor – the guest can just bring good company and gets a good time.” A critically acclaimed chef, Ollie Dabbous maintained the Michelin star that was first awarded to his eponymous restaurant in 2012. ‘One of London’s busiest restaurants’, Dabbous’ 30-something covers in Fitzrovia had a waiting list that seemingly lasted forever! When they did manage to get in, Yevgeny and Tatiana really liked his food (specially his bread), found him to be 96 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

Tatiana doesn’t hold back. “Ollie is extremely talented, very charming and a delightful guy. He’s different from his peers because he’s not in it for the limelight but because he loves what he does. Ollie’s cooking is really light, relatively simple and elegant. It’s not over-thought or gimmicky. I agree with him when he describes his cooking as very feminine. The food doesn’t look like it is inedible. You neither feel that you’re starving nor over-fed.” FINE Gastronomy on the ‘same wavelength’ and made him a ‘gold-gilded’ offer that he found too compelling to refuse – Hide had hired its Chef Patron. At Hide, Ollie ensures that the food is entirely product-driven, taking the very best ingredients, and respects the integrity of the ingredients and the toil that goes into producing them. New dishes using seasonal produce, sourced from small farmers from across the UK, appear on the menu every week so that regulars may have a choice. And much to my delight, the menu lists more vegetarian options than I usually get anywhere – and an assurance from the chef that he would toss up something else in case none of the listed options caught my fancy! Tatiana is chuffed, “Any selfrespecting restaurant should be more responsive to vegetarians. Taking the meat out of a dish destroys the balance of the dish that the chef strives for – it just isn’t fair to the guest. Hide has a completely different vegetarian menu.” Yevgeny and Tatiana always do things differently and aren’t for things on a small scale. When the present location popped up on the market, it was an opportunity that was not to be missed – it not only met their demands of ‘space’, the views onto Green Park and Piccadilly were absolutely stunning. Three different restaurants and clubs were structurally re-designed and re-built FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 97



over many years into a large space that seamlessly integrated three levels. Tatiana has been at the helm of the design team for Hide. Subtlety and minimalism has been the main influence. The emphasis has been on space – which is at such a premium in this part of the city – the generously spread tables allow guests to enjoy their own little comfort zones without any sense of being cramped or the deafening commotion that drowns conversations. Leaves were plastered into wall murals to which everyone in the team has contributed a personal ornament – their signature in the dining room. The wooden tables have no linen. The chandelier has been custom sculpted with bits of wine glasses. On a closer look, the lights are inverted broken eggshells that have been painted gold inside. The menus are in soft textured boxes. As respect to fellow diners, phones are encouraged to be kept in the drawer in the table – complete with a phone charger. For Tatiana, “the goal is top quality – from tableware to glassware to surfaces… everything is timeless. It’s about being aesthetically pleasing – anytime. Service is very important and the staff are trained and encouraged to accommodate every reasonable request – for them, customer is the king. And creativity, where the details are not in your face but almost in hiding.” So much attention to detail. The lighting changes with the time of day and is selected so that the food looks good in the photos that people take! The smells of the bread from the bakery waft through the levels and lend a very enticing, homely feel – helping Hide overcome one of their biggest challenges of making this very big space feel cosy, homely and comfortable. Like at Hedonism, the ‘grand staircase’ is central to Hide. “It is almost becoming a London landmark – it is so widely 100 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Gastronomy photographed. Atmos Studio worked on our brief and crafted the oak wood from Poland over several years. It is very very special for us”, reveals Tatiana. Serving from the unconventionally early hours of the morning until late at night, Hide endeavours to fill a gap for a proper meal after theatre or before a late flight or an early breakfast with the first rays of sunlight. Hide is for everyone and every occasion – every offering is different – a hedonist indulgence at Above, a full breakfast or afternoon tea at Ground, a drink at Below, a private celebration in the Reading Room, Broken Room or Shadow Room... Hide is built as a tree – Below is the very bottom of the tree where it is rather dark and there’s a lot of shadow. The ‘grand staircase’ is the backbone that forms the trunk on Ground and is a bit brighter. The sweeping view on the greens of Green Park and the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk leading up to Buckingham Palace from Above gives the impression of being in the branch canopy. Not surprisingly, the tables by the large glass wall windows are preferred. A restaurant that appeals to its patrons’ gastronomic delights is well on course to recognition and appreciation. Yevgeny and Tatiana’s ambition to get the first Michelin star in the first year was realised with much hard work all around, but in a much shorter five and a half months! And not just Hide Above, but the entire complex got the star. Wine is as essential an element of the experience as the meal – not an afterthought – at Hide. At Hide, wine has a larger share of revenue than food. Appealing to wine enthusiasts, the head sommelier says, “At Hide, we give our guest the opportunity to go for rare and prestigious wines at a stunningly low price. Unlike FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 101

others, we don’t charge prohibitive mark-ups. Only a corkage of £50 per bottle (irrespective of its price) is charged.” He shares an example of a magnum of the iconic super Tuscan, Sassicaia, which another Mayfair restaurant was selling for £900 against the list of £700 at Hide! Adequate investments have been made to ensure the amazing wine list and well stocked cellar. In Hide’s wine bible, that has 1000 references (labels and vintages), the most affordable 75 cl bottle is the South African Chenin Blanc from Badenhorst Family in Swartland for £30 and the most expensive is the Chateau Y’Quem 1847 at £96,440! The guest has the option of logging into the “back-up” cellar at Hedonism Wines from the table itself. Should the guest’s choice be from this location, the bottle is guaranteed a transit time of 15 minutes transportation from the other side of Berkeley Square in special carrier bags that maintain the temperature in electric cars with seat belt straps locked in. Food and wine pairings led by Ollie and the team of 10 sommeliers progress through three levels – Classic with wines from quintessentially classic regions, Iconic with wines that are aged at least a decade, and Hedonistic with wines that are legendary and sourced direct from the estates. As she did when Hedonism opened its doors, Tatiana feels very strongly about the perception. “We have tried to take the intimidation of dining in a Michelin star establishment out of the equation – because it’s all about food, good wine and a good time. Many high-end celebrity guests have been loyal to Hide. But, Hide is not just for those who are privileged enough not to worry about the bill – Hide is very approachable.” > 102 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


Taste Champagne London photos : 104 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Tyson Stelzer

host, producer and presenter of the People of the Vines series on television; respected judge; and international speaker from Australia – his palate is much acclaimed. He conceived “Taste Champagne” in 2013 as a showcase F I N E Ta s t i n g T yson Stelzer is an award-winning wine writer; for champagne in its full and glorious diversity that is represented by the makers (houses, growers, cooperatives), the styles (non-vintage, vintage, prestige cuvée), the colour (rose)... Six years on, with successful shows in many Australian cities and Hong Kong, he invited his group of champagne producer friends to participate in this event for the first time ever in London – and “lob more bottles across the channel to ensure that, the speculation around Brexit notwithstanding, nothing interrupts the flow of champagne to its longest standing and most loyal patrons”. 31 negociants, 9 recoltants and 6 co-operatives – 46 producers in all – hopped onto the Eurostar to gather in the Nave of the magnificently restored Baroque masterpiece Christ Church in the very vibrant hub of Spitalfields in East London. Chef de Cave Cyril Brun of Charles Heidsieck, Didier Gimmonet of Pierre Gimonnet, Jean Claude Fourmon of Joseph Perrier, Jean Baptiste Geoffroy of Rene Geoffroy, Thierry Lombard of Lombard, Chantal Bregeon Gonet of Philippe Gonet, Christian Holthausen of A.R. Lenoble – joined many others to pour a spectacular line-up of 211 cuvees that were on offer for those who had registered and braved the typical grey and wet London weather to attend. Taste Champagne focused on some “underperforming” categories – 50 vintages, 36 roses, 22 prestige cuvees were presented. The geographical kaleidoscope of each of the participating champagne houses was depicted in a very unique manner via detailed map extracts of the regions from the Atlas de la France Vinicole L. Larmat – Les vins de Champagne. A wonderful opportunity to discover some gems from great houses of champagne, explore some new and exciting cuvees while savouring old favourites. > FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 105

Editor's Picks A.R. LENOBLE BEAUMONT DES CRAYÈRES "True to its name, a noble approach in the vines and the cellar produces well-composed and tantalisingly affordable cuvées." "For three generations, the growers of the village of Mardeuil in the Marne Valley have united to produce cuvées that celebrate the pinot grape." Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Chouilly Millésime 2008 Fleur de Meunier Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature 2012 Varietal Chardonnay. Appearance Bright gold Nose Precise. Ripe apple. Hint of tobacco. Palate Juicy. Pineapple. Limoncello. Trace of iodine Finish Round. Explosion of minerality. Dosage 3 g/l. Inside Information: In 1920, Armand-Raphaël Graser first made champagne and dropped his German-sounding last name. 100% family owned and 100% independent since, the great-grandchildren, Anne and Antoine Malassagne, inherited the house in 1993. Awarded the “Haute Valeur Environnementale” certification for environmentallyfriendliness. An advocate of low dosage since 1998. Use only first-press cuvée and a combination of different vinification vessels to ferment individual parcels. Reserve wines are aged in magnums sealed with natural cork in historic 18th century cellars to preserve freshness and develop aromatic richness. In a nutshell Firmly structured. Persistent. Varietal Pinot Meunier. Appearance Bright straw-gold. Nose Expressive. Fruity. Plum. Grapefruit. Almond. Palate Youthful. Pear. Apple. Candied lime. Finish Creamy. Balanced. Dosage Zero. Inside Information: Founded in 1955, this cooperative controls 85 hectares of vineyards and makes around 600,000 bottles in state-of-the-art facilities, sold in 5 continents. Driven by the spirit of independence and the desire to preserve the region’s terroir and unique heritage. Respect for the environment – new standards for sustainable viticulture. The self-sufficiency in fruit permits a guarantee of quality and diversity and winemakers can keep only the finest components at each stage – from the vineyard through to the bottle. The Blanc de Noirs elaborated only from the “cœur de cuvée” of Pinot Meunier. In a nutshell Typical. Pure. Airy. BRUNO PAILLARD "Bruno Paillard’s finely crafted cuvées are evidence of just what can be achieved from a standing start in Champagne, with sufficient connections and determination!" N.P.U. Nec Plus Ultra 2002 Varietal Pinot Noir, Chardonnay Appearance Deep gold. Nose Unfolding. Perfumed. Mature lemon. Pistachio. Palate Nuanced. Ripe peach. Gingerbread. Trace of iodine. Finish Layered. Long. Very promising potential. Dosage 3g/l. Inside Information: Believe that “time does not respect what we do without it.” Made only in truly great vintages. Only the purest first-press cuvée is retained and first fermentation was in small wooden barriques. Individually numbered bottles were put to rest on lees for more than twelve years in the modern cellars to reach full expression. The dosage is always very small. Post disgorgement – an “operation” – all bottles are returned to the cellar for a necessary convalescence of at least a year before release onto the market. Brilliant results. In a nutshell The Ultimate. "Quotes from Tyson Stelzer" 106 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA DEVAUX The largest cooperative in the Côte des Bar is innovative, progressive and well-priced, showcasing the fruit power and definition of this underrated part of Champagne. D Millésime 2008 Varietal Pinot Noir and Chardonnay Appearance Deep gold. Straw hue. Nose Gentle. Peach. Lemon zest. Hint of brioche. Palate Dominant. Citrus fruit. Finish Evolving elegantly. Dosage 8g/l. Inside Information: An extra-ordinary story of “Champagne widows” – three of them – who led the house to fame and prestige. In 1987, the heirless Jean-Pol Auguste Devaux entrusted the future to the co-operative, Union Auboise (Groupe Vinicole Champagne Devaux). For over 30 years, the vigneron families took charge. The luxury of time defines the house style. The exceptional maturation process combines aromatic complexity with great finesse - "the best deserves time". In a nutshell Subtle elegance.

F I N E Ta s t i n g HENRI GIRAUD "The magnificence of Aÿ is captured, thanks to vines of a minimum 30 years of age, planted on thin top soils and deep chalk, tended according to organic principles and harvested at full ripeness." Grand Cru Fût de Chêne Brut Varietal Pinot Noir, Chardonnay. Appearance Deep yellow. Nose Opulent. Tropical fruit. Pear. Spice, Salinity Palate Refined harmony. Nuttiness. Finish Vibrant. Savoury Dosage 7 g/l. Inside Information: The Grand Cru village of Aÿ has been home since 1625, and the 12th generation produces champagne that concentrate and transpose the energy of the terroir. Natural winemaking – no stainless steel, no sulphur, minimum intervention – reveal the truth of the grape varietals harvested in small yields. Argonne forest oak boasts delicate and discreet tannins and a tight grain that allows the wine to show over the wood. Casks whisper the songs of their terroir to the wines during five years. Multi-vintage takes a third of the reserve in “solera” into the vintage. Ageing 6 years on lees. In a nutshell: When grand cru grapes meet grand cru wood. LANSON "Lanson’s distinctive house style of blocking malolactic fermentation makes for an excitingly high strung, age-worthy champagne." Extra Age Brut Varietal Pinot Noir, Chardonnay. Appearance Bright yellow. Nose Fresh. Green apple. Honeysuckle. Hint of chalky cellar. Palate Powerful. Pear, Butter croissant. Candied citrus. Dried fruit. Finish Cleansing acidity. Great length. Dosage 8 g/l. Inside Information: This emblematic cuvée was created for the 250th Anniversary of Lanson to “showcase” its style – that marries complexity with freshness. Extra Age is a blend of the best Champagne crus from special vintage years. Traditional vinification retain the original purity of the fruit. bring great freshness. Slow ageing on the lees fully express the character and richness of its aromas. The harmony and balance enable the full expression of the power of the grand cru pinot noir and the finesse of the grand cru chardonnay. In a nutshell: Finesse. Elegance. PERRIER-JOUËT "From its founding just over 200 years ago, the vision of the house has focused on the floral elegance of chardonnay." Belle Epoque Rosé 2010 Varietal Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay. Appearance Pale salmon. Nose Pronounced. White flowers. Wild strawberries. Palate Lively. Delicate. Voluptuous. Finish Lingering finesse. Dosage 8 g/l. Inside Information: True to the founding philosophy of creative freedom and an unconventional respect for nature, the Maison has unparalleled expertise in revealing the essence of the grapes. Follows a legacy of continuity – Hervé Deschamps is only the seventh cellar master in over 200 years. Following a rigorous selection, the best of the harvest was devoted to this cuvée which was characterised by remarkable vinousity. The juice was macerated on the red skins of the pinot noir and aged on lees for six years. In a nutshell: Extravagantly sensual. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 107

POL ROGER " The champagnes of Pol Roger are desperately precise, intricately delicate and flawlessly pristine." Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2008 Varietal Pinot Noir, Chardonnay Appearance Intense gold Nose Concentrated. White flowers. Fresh lemons. Brioche. Toasted nuts. Palate Persistent. Citrus. Grapefruit. Creamy pastry. Minerality. Finish Perfectly balanced Dosage 7 g/l Inside Information: Five generations of the Pol Roger family have carved out a much soughtafter champagne – one with a soul and a source of infinite pleasure. Their prestige cuvée was created in homage to Sir Winston Churchill – a patron and dear friend – whose “tastes were simple and easily satisfied with the best”. Robustness, full-bodied character and relative maturity defined the cuvée. Only made in the very best vintages and released much later – Churchill appreciated older wines. The first vintage 1975 was released in 1984 – in magnum only. In a nutshell: From the “most drinkable address in the world”. VEUVE FOURNY & FILS "The Fourny brothers manage some of the finest terroirs in Vertus and their pristine champagnes look more pure, precise and fresh with every release." Cuvee R Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Vertus Premier Cru NV Varietal Chardonnay Appearance Straw yellow Nose Complex. Mature. Nutty. Lots of honey. Palate Full. Rich. Ripe citrus fruit. Creamy. Finish Bold. Toasty. Dosage 3-4 g/l Inside Information: The fifth generation of the Fourny family, Charles and Emmanuel, complement each other and follow responsible viticulture in the Côtes de Blancs to present a neat house style that highlights elegance and freshness and is the purest expression of the terroir. This wine pays homage to one of the founders, Roger. Using first-pressed cuvée only, the wine is entirely vinified in oak barrels and rests on lees in 19th century cellars for a minimum of four years. In a nutshell Crafted with passion. 108 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA TAITTINGER "Taittinger’s flagship holds an enviable position among the very finest blanc de blancs, and its nonvintage cuvées have never looked more refined." Folies de la Marquetterie Brut Varietal Appearance Nose Palate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay. Deep lemon Pure. Peach. Lemon. Toasty. Plush. Peach. Vanilla. Candied apricot. Finish Rich. Structured. Powerful. Dosage 9 g/l Inside Information: The 18th century Louis XV styled Château de la Marquetterie in Pierry is where the young calvary officer Pierre-Charles Taittinger joined the command of Marshal Joffre during the world war – and acquired this precious heritage. Les Folies is the adjoining one hectare vineyard in which the pinot noir and chardonnay grow in a marquetry pattern. A green harvest brings optimum sweetness and aromatic maturity. Only the first-press cuvée is used in this single vineyard cuvée which is individually vinified, some in oak casks. Aged for five years. In a nutshell Pure. Soft. Complex.

Live the Martinez Moment. © Photo : Ugo Richard Bask like a lizard by day, play social butterfly by night. There now - you are on Croisette time. And you feel good, so very good at the Martinez in Cannes. hotel-mar tinez.com MZ_FineWineChamp_236x297.indd 1 06/02/2019 12:13


FINE Personality Vincent Chaperon New Chef de Cave of Dom Perignon Text: CH’NG POH TIONG O n 1 January 2019, Vincent Chaperon became the new custodian of the world’s most famous Champagne. His formal title is Chef de Cave. What that really means is the 43-year young Frenchman is the spokesman, winemaker, ambassador and interpreter of Dom Perignon. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 111

Photo: Christophe Meimoon Richard Geoffroy and Vincent Chaperon Vincent Chaperon comes from the Right Bank of Both men were at the launch of the 2008 vintage Bordeaux. His grandmother owned a chateau in in Hautvillers Abbey in June 2018. Indeed, Pomerol. After studies in Montpellier, he headed to there is a commemorative bottle specially Chile to work for Concha y Toro. Later, Chaperon dedicated went back to work in St-Emilion and Sauternes Perignon Vintage 2008 Legacy Limited Edition. to the handover. This is Dom before heading north in 2000 to Champagne where 112 he joined Moët & Chandon – owned, like Dom I have known Richard Geoffroy for more than 30 years. Perignon, by luxury giant LVMH or Louis Vuitton But not his successor. So, in March 2019, I visited Moët Hennessy. When Chaperon assumed the top the Hautvillers Abbey to become better acquainted post at Dom Perignon in 2019, he had already worked with Vincent Chaperon, the new person at the helm 13 years alongside his predecessor Richard Geoffroy. of Dom Perignon which he first joined in 2005. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

“Things are permanently moving and changing. We are constantly making improvements toward a vision, a vision of harmony, an ideal, a kind of philosophy, aesthetics. Harmony is a concept, an idea. You want to reach it but you never reach it. Every year is different. Every year is an invention. We are on a permanent learning curve, getting closer and closer to the aesthetic. The main precepts are harmony, complexity, intensity, minerality, precision. Driving us are the decisions we take every year. The idea of aesthetics is not a recipe. It is a freedom to interpret and re-interpret the context. Every year is an opportunity to learn. We learn to capitalise on it. Everything is changing. Climate is changing. The way we are growing the vine is changing. Fifty years ago, there was no grass in the vineyard. Today, grass is everywhere because we don’t want to use herbicides.” Reduction and Oxidation “The issue is not about reduction or oxidation but extremes. Extremes are bad. The goal is the complexity. To have a bit of reduction because you always have a bit of oxidation which brings a bit of good. The elements are grape, fermentation and maturation. The idea is not to have just one element dominating but to have harmony, to organise diversity, to bring together a coherence.” First Lesson ‘The first thing I was learning in 2005 was the semantics, the words: harmony, intensity, complexity. We know the power of language. The transmission has been so strong with Richard (Geoffroy), the words and the language.’ Goal “What do you want to do, what is your goal?” Why did this philosophy become entrenched at Dom Perignon? Because it is from Dom Perignon himself. The myth that he is the “Father of Champagne” is a story that can go on nourishing and inspiring. The link with Dom Perignon is the spirituality. He was working through a vision.” Outlook “The paradox is respecting the past, to be consistent with the past and inspiring and moving. Nothing can help us transmit better the singularity of Dom Perignon than words and the language of the wine. You can learn the technique but up to a certain point, the wine can change. A single technique cannot be single. It must always be reconsidered within a system.” Foundation FINE Personality Change “The first quality is to be humble.” FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 113

Royal Views on Champagne text: Rajiv Singhal • photos: Royal Champagne 114 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Destination C ocooned in the dense greens of the Parc Naturel Régional de Montagne de Reims, the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa is the new luxury lodging under the Relais & Châteaux umbrella in the kingdom of bubbles that offers unparalleled panoramic views on the world heritage Vallée de la Marne from its vantage position. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 115

About an hour and a bit from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, I am changed when the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa emerged from being driven on the D951 Voie de la Liberté, the arterial connection a long-winded fifty month re-construction in Fall 2018. between Reims and Epernay, by my charioteer in Champagne – the very ‘effervescent’ Tunisian born Mohammed aka Momo who co-owns the highly recommended limo service, Navette Doua. A detour through Champillon “...enjoy uninterrupted panoramic views...” with a royal connect – French Emperors would halt to rest the horses en route to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims for their coronation. Napoleon Bonaparte stayed over a couple of times. The logo of Royal Champagne, that takes me to my destination – the rue de la république has been is widely used throughout the resort, pays homage to its loyal recessed to create a grand driveway and welcome area that befits celebrity guest – historically it depicted Napoleon’s horse and the 100,000 square feet edifice on four levels. Sandwiched between according to Parinaud, in its new avatar, the horse is related to the two Point de Vue of the village, Royal Champagne ticks all the great military statesman and his army. boxes on location! The architect, Giovanni Pace, let loose his creative expression In 2014, the Boston-based Champagne Hospitality Collection to strike a harmonious and playful balance between opacity and managed to secure the trade of this property from Baglioni Hotels, transparency with the Champagne landscape. He believes that the Italian luxury chain. Vincent Parinaud, the General Manager, “the building respects local materials that embrace nature; the who has been at the helm of the reincarnation since the very façade is finely carved out to let in light and the open spaces are beginning, recalls, “we tried really hard to retain some of the a window onto the landscape.” Pace’s signature style shows off history associated with the old property, but the structure was crumbling – sadly, there was pretty much nothing left to keep. We succeeded in salvaging two of the original façades at the entrance. 116 The site was an ancient coaching inn freedom of movement in grand spaces that lift the mood. Parinaud is so grateful that for once in his distinguished career, he isn’t struggling, “it’s the first time that I am opening a hotel which has We kept the name, the logo, and the view…” The locals eyed the more space than it actually needs”. And he only has 49 keys! project with suspicion, specially when the original structure (even The four levels in the main building arc around the ‘edge’ of the if decrepit and dilapidated) was pulled down. But, that seemingly hill – almost like an amphi-theatre – the guest accommodation is FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA




The lighting is contemporary – bubbles and pendalogues (chandelier crystal drops) are individually suspended and seem to float in the air – till they come together into an optical illusion that reveals the avant garde design that reflects the abundant sunlight. The pièce de résistance is the grand chandelier that was put together with 37 gold-plated branches and flowers in white, blue, silver and gold with some clear crystals thrown in – it starts to unfold to those in the lobby and covers a vast expanse of the Salon Fines Bulles. This Salon on Level 0 is my cosy living room during my stay. A butler is on call to serve my chosen champagne and top up flutes to quench my (and my guests’) thirst – if that is even remotely possible! A centre-piece glass cellar with a large well-fitted tasting table make this Salon the place to be to experience the finest tastings by the sommeliers – they share exciting bottles (mostly champagne) and enticing tales about them. My ‘Tasting’ with the Sommelier was at the Chef’s Table – amidst all the tea-time action in the squeaky clean stainless-steel kitchens – a privilege and a delight for the senses. “We didn’t inherit any cellars from our predecessors. So, we started from scratch to build our list. For now, we have got roughly 250 references of Champagne – from Reims, from Epernay, from Ay, from everywhere… We must represent the region of Champagne – on Levels 0 and 1, the restaurants and bars are on Level 2 as are the this is very important for us – so the showcase champagne houses terraces and the wellness district is on Level -1 complete with an outdoor infinity pool that almost embraces the vines. Every nook and corner of the resort offers its own special view – for me, those from the hanging gardens are most calm and tranquil. “Our idea is that whether our guests are in the room, the restaurant, the spa or in the swimming pool, they will enjoy uninterrupted panoramic views that they came to us for”, elaborates Parinaud. “...vines and grapes are literally just a few metres away...” Champagne is considered an epitome of radiance and brilliance. To accentuate the cultural heritage of the region, the themes of sparkling gold, seductive blush of rosé, and sophisticated effervescence are unified in the design of the resort. The revered vines of the region have become the muse – the motif of the grapevine’s twigs, leaves and flowers adorn the resort with a changing pallet of colours. Parinaud adds, “since we are right grapes are literally just a few metres away – we wanted our guests to experience the blending. The trees in the main garden line up like in the vineyard so that continuity is maintained between the forest, the hill and the vines.” 120 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Photo: Rajiv Singhal between the reserve forest and the vineyards – the vines and




move on the champagne list, almost every week, where possible”. Executive Chef Jean-Denis Rieubland, Meilleurs Ouvriers de Parinaud laments, however, that he has to balance his wish list with France, was seduced by the atypical challenges of a new luxury overall stocks and guest preferences. property in the middle of the champagne vineyards. Focussed on Fine food with great wine is an invincible combination – it can conquer all. Parinaud chooses to boast a bit, “we are a connoisseur’s fantasy and offer meals to remember for a long time in spectacular “...we want to keep the tradition alive." settings.” Le Royal is the gourmet table set beneath a gold-leafed ceiling 124 preserving traditional French know-how despite infusing a contemporary touch, Rieubland is blending the freshness of South of France flavours into the local cuisine. The menus change with every changing season, and the guests get a (delicious) onslaught of flavours. from which 36 spheres of blown amber glass are suspended – Parinaud continues, “we have to give the guest an experiential all part of a modern light installation! Portraits of women who stay, which will be the differentiator. They come back not only played a formative role in Napoleon’s life: Josephine, Marie Louise for the bed and the pillow, but also for the service. Even when we of Austria, Countess Marie Walewska and Désirée Clary (his are very busy, our guests never feel cramped. My team is open to first love) are placed in the four corners of the dining room. The serving food to the guest where he would like – actually on the bar calligrapher, Nicolas Ouchenir, pulled words directly from poems counter if a guest wants – this is beginning to make a difference! in Napoleon’s letters to these ladies to create a tableware collection We recognize that fixed hours just force guests to come up for that was custom produced by Mary Castel’s Maison Fragile in breakfast. We encourage guests to order a traditional roast for Limoges. Le Royal earned its own Michelin Star in its early days, lunch on Sunday – we prepare the chicken in front of the guest – and recently got its second. we want to keep the tradition alive.” FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Destination I take advantage of the extended hours at the restaurants, bars, in the village of Champillon that lends its address to the Royal and terrace to enjoy meals whenever, and wherever, I feel like. Late Champagne Hotel & Spa. night hunger pangs are left to room service to satiate and they All rooms are large – of course they are, since space is not at a don’t disappoint. premium – and tastefully decorated in a classic French style. In Local produce is widely used in every element of the food and neighbouring Paris, the size would categorise them as Junior very carefully chosen to grace the tables at Royal Champagne Suites! Inspired by nature, pastel hued graphic renditions of the – it has to be grown and cared for by someone who is a friend of fleur de vignes adorn the walls, subtly different from the other. the resort! The asparagus is from Chalons; goat cheese from the Intricately crafted leather coffrets on-the-go enhance the guests’ Laluc family in the neighbourhood; lamb from the Pyrenees; fish pleasure – they can pop a bottle of their chosen champagne when from anglers in Brittany; and eggs from its own chicken coop! The they please. Guests can sink into their sofas and chaise loungers honey is also made by the resort’s kitchen garden bees with the and enjoy the little room treats that the chefs send over. The private nectar of the champagne flowers. Bio-dynamically grown produce balcony (or terrace, depending on the level the room is on) is – a dozen varieties of tomatoes, classic purple eggplant, carrots, secured by glass panels – again to ensure unhindered views – the lettuce, and more exotic black/ white eggplant, fragrant peppers rays of the champagne sun stream into the room and the postcard in all colours, Jerusalem artichokes – all that the chef could ask views are for the frames. for. I couldn’t make the trip, but guests are invited “to roam the The stationery in the room hasn’t escaped the luxury touch. “The groves, pick chestnuts and snack on strawberries in a one of-akind garden experience.” guest directory in the rooms is Filofax, the pencil is different, the paper in the little booklet to write notes is from a French company That the Royal Champagne management keeps its eye on local, that makes the paper just for us, and the tasting journals are leather is so critical. Because, when fully occupied, the number of bodies wrapped with the long tie – it has all been thought through very in the resort threaten to outnumber the mere 500 inhabitants well,” Parinaud tells me. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 125

Decorated with custom-made fleur de vignes ceramic tiles that are guests – children, as young as 7 years old, accompanied by adults a mix of relief and embossing, the modern baths are well equipped, are welcome to take advantage of treatments to stimulate the body complete with large purpose-built limestone sinks and spacious and mind. counters. Un Jardin sur le Nil by Hermès amenities pamper the guests. Snug robes, immaculately laid out salts and the inviting bath-tub are indulging – homely comforts are being thrown into “who bring the place alive” by giving their best. But he isn’t one to the stay. rest on his laurels. “We have brought something different, which “In the champagne region, the average stay of guests is just over one night. This we wanted to change and needed to give the guest we created this from nothing. We are actually quite happy that we have got people excited, but we will not stop here. It is important to a reason to stay for a little longer. So, we created a getaway from keep that momentum going. I must try to shake off the reputation the hustle and bustle of daily life. But, even with all the comforts (of being aloof) that I had when I arrived and make sure that the in the room, we needed a spa. This is our cherry on the cake – a locals are greeted on their special occasions, more often.” big cherry”, Parinaud shares with me. The world class facilities spread over 15,000 square feet and offer swimming (in outdoor and indoor pools), hammam, sauna, and fitness training. Salon Rose is the welcome area for guests who dive into the French Biologique 126 Parinaud is very proud that he works with a very passionate team The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa is the piece that the Champagne region was missing – a luxury resort with a different identity where guests can immerse in the ultimate Champagne lifestyle – the Recherche skin treatments and other treatments. Salon Namaste place to unwind. Another trip to find moments of quiet reflection is the Indian connection, where yoga lessons are popular as are in the Champagne region’s only destination spa and luxury five boxing courses. Attention is paid to the welfare of the tiniest star hotel is already in planning. > FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA