Torres del Paine National Park WELCOME TO CHILE WHERE THE IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE C hile is a unique place. It is a long and narrow country located at one end of the world, with great diverse geographical contrasts. You can experience everything from sunny postcards of the north to the magical forests of the south. In a single day, you can see a beautiful sunrise in the Andes mountains, enjoy winter sport and then feast on a sunset on the Pacific coast. The majestic scenery of the Atacama Desert in the North, which stands out for its crystal-clear skies all year round, with windows to the space that show the immensity of our universe, offers salt flats, geysers, lagoons, beautiful beaches of clear sand, a coastline for exciting water sports and luscious gastronomy. Moai Eastern Island Santiago, the capital city, in the center of the country stands out for its parks, its nightlife, its gastronomy, its historical and cultural neighborhoods and above

advertisement all, its modern style. This is also where the main ski resorts at the foothills of the Andes Mountains are. From the ski slopes, which are one of the best slopes in Latin America, one can reach the ocean shore in less than 2 hours and visit its coastal cities. Here lies the “Jewel of the Pacific”, the port of Valparaíso – a bay surrounded by 43 hills full of history, culture and colors – and Viña del Mar, a city famous for its beautiful beaches. A little south of Santiago, you are greeted by the incredible Chilean vineyards, that expose an essential part of the Chilean culture – you must Cavancha Beach Iquique As you reach the extreme south, the travel experience is further enhanced with the possibility of traveling the Carretera Austral by car or bicycle to discover the Patagonian wilderness. En route is another great attraction not to be missed, Torres del Paine, full of forests, mountains, lakes and a privileged view of the southern ice fields which is described as one of the wonders of the world. For a trip to the southernmost edge of the world, you can sail across the Strait of Magellan, making an adventurous journey amid fjords and channels. Volcanoes Chungará Lake take a dip in its flavors. The view of these vineyards Chile extends this invitation to you all to visit and experience its extraordinary nature when the world recovers from the pandemic. Welcome to the country at the edge of the world, where impossible is possible. and valleys lying between the mountains and the ocean can keep you mesmerized for hours. The famous historic Easter Island is where you can connect with nature and the mysticism of the island culture. The island is surrounded by Moais, 1,000 giants carved from stones, theologically protecting the volcanoes, beaches and the people. The temperature begins to drop as you move towards the south. In the middle of millenary forests having landscapes surrounded by vegetation, tourists are able to enjoy enchanting nature along with extreme sports centers, ski centers and relaxing volcanic hot springs. Villa O’Higgins Glacier


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 Champagne PAGE 76 9 FINEEDITORIAL PAGE 98 PAGE 110 FINE Lifestyle FINE Spotlight FINE Estate A Year in Siege 10 FINEBORDEAUX An Exceptional Effort at Haut-Brion 20 FINEFILMS Buying in Bond 30 FINEREGION Wines of the Terroir 40 FINEPORTUGAL Masters of Blending 62 FINECHAMPAGNE Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble 76 FINEESTATE Premier Preiner 86 FINEGADGET The Fake-buster 88 FINEENGLAND A Kentish Tour 98 FINELIFESTYLE Last Impression 110 FINESPOTLIGHT Spotlight Mayfair FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 7

FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Volume 11 Issue 1 Q1 2021 WRITERS Editor Rajiv Singhal Rajiv Singhal Publisher Rajiv Singhal for Fine Publishing India Private Limited depuis 1993. He studied Economics at Yale, and since then has been simplifying access to the Indian Chief Executive Ritu Singhal market for international clients. Among other path breaking initiatives, he helped set up the market for wine in India over the last 24 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. Bordeaux Correspondent Ch’ng Poh Tiong Ritu Singhal Wine Manager Radhika Puar international consulting, marketing, brand building, e-learning, and private equity, in 1993. She trained Ritu Singhal co-founded New Delhi based Group Ritu, which has diverse interests in publishing, as a textile designer at Sophia Polytechnic in Bombay, and experiments with new techniques on new Marketing Devyani Aggarwal media whenever she can. As voluntary work, she set up an annual craft bazaar to empower women Art & Creative Sandeep Kaul vegetarian. Digital Media Udit Singhal Photographs Hunesh Ajmani Administration Ankita Thapa Distribution Simran Arora Cover Photograph Eduzinas Editorial & Business Offices 6F Vandhna, 11 Tolstoy Marg, New Delhi 110001 E: W: 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. 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 Rajiv Singhal is a first generation entrepreneur who pioneered activities in the luxury sector in India FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA artisans. When not doting on her two boys, Ritu is up for any gastronomic adventure as long as it is Ch’ng Poh Tiong Ch’ng Poh Tiong is a lawyer by training who has many decades of expertise as a consultant, judge, writer and contributor in the wine space. Author of many books that have received international acclaim, he specialises in Bordeaux. He studied Chinese Art at the School of Oriental & African 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 founded Arden Fine Wines which sells fine and rare wine to private clients. He studied English and European literature at Warwick; has held the WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits since 2000; and was the UK Young Wine Writer of the Year in 2003. Arden Fine Wines received the 2019 Scuderia Ferrari Wine Award and the 2020 Family Office Magazine Wine Award. Based in London, Stuart plays the guitar and follows cricket in his free time (of which he has very little). Tyson Stelzer Tyson Stelzer is an award-winning wine writer, television host and producer and international speaker. Chief Editor of the Halliday Wine Companion, he was named the Most Influential Opinion Maker in Meininger’s Annual Power List of Who’s Who in Australia. Wine show chairman and judge, he co-created The Great Australian Red Competition. He is a tutor at the Len Evens Tutorial. Author of 17 wine books, Tyson lives in Brisbane with his wife Rachael and sons Linden, Huon and Vaughn. Lívia Mokri Lívia Mokri is a freelance Hungarian wine writer based in Portugal. She studied engineering and diplomacy and worked in the public sector in Hungary before a holiday in Portugal changed her life Lívia chose to pursue her passion for wine and qualified as a Sommelier at the Wine & Gourmet Academy in Budapest. Lívia plays the guitar and is eagerly waiting for travel to be allowed to lead wine tours in Southern Portugal as a certified Tour Guide.

E conomies are contracting. Stocks are recovering from a free fall. Lifestyles are in transition. FINE Editorial A Year in Siege The end of the war that all continents collectively declared on an invisible enemy – the very lethal virus that mutates into an even more lethal new strain in a new habitat and has snuffed out more than three million lives (still counting…) – is in sight. The development of a vaccination programme was fortuitously fast-tracked. This pioneering life-saving initiative, for which we will remain indebted, holds the potential to mark the “beginning of the end of these crippling times”. As feared, the world’s most populous nation and most favoured trading partner chose to tread on an extremely slippery slope. (Un)diplomatic utterances about the origins of the world’s misery in this past year, stoked hostilities that culminated in a raft of trade sanctions, which are believed to convey a coercive political message of an authoritarian regime. Punitive “anti-dumping” duties rising to a whopping 218.4%, that have been imposed for five years, have soured Australian grapes and removed their very popular labels from the market. Wine merchants from Down Under who thought that they had successfully conquered “the final frontier” – and claimed their ticket to early retirement – were king hit! Even if the policy for wine in India might seem to be extortionary, it has remained very consistent ever since the alcoholic beverages sector had to open up under obligations of the World Trade Organisation two decades ago. The market for wine has served all its stake-holders – including ourselves – very well. When the going got tough… The Indian authorities made an effort to ease regulation by repealing archaic laws and avoiding frequent yo-yo policy changes. Local players rose above the mayhem to post good results. Travel restrictions plugged leakages and personal dutyfree imports. Past the serpentine queues at the international design self-serve wine shops, customers bought whatever was available. Revenge consumption drove connoisseurs to big ticket buys – prestige cuvées and first growths were pouring freely in haloed circles. And FINE played its part! Rajiv Singhal FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 9



T here have been only two exceptions to the 1855 Classification of the Médoc, the world’s most famous wine ranking (not unlike the English Premier League divisions although that is fought out every season while the wine classification has mostly stood the test of time). 12 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Bordeaux There was a corresponding Classification of Barsac & Sauternes issued in 1855 although that table is mostly forgotten except to aficionados and some wine journalists. The most recent exception to the Médoc Classification occurred in 1973 when – after much lobbying by proprietor Baron Philippe de Rothschild – Mouton was bumped upstairs from Second to First Growth. The decree was signed by French Agriculture Minister Jacques Chirac (1932 - 2019) who went on to become one of France’s most popular presidents – particularly with farmers – of recent times. The other exception took place even as the classification was being drawn up during the mid-19th Century. That exception is even more remarkable for the fact that the wine came from outside the Médoc. Such, though, was its reputation that it simply could not be ignored. To do so would be to visit controversy. Perhaps even cast some aspersions as to the validity of the classification itself. So it was after 60 of the top chateaux of the Médoc were ranked into First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Growths, that round number was not allowed to stand because one great wine was missing. Even though it is situated in faraway Graves, HautBrion could not be bypassed. Not only was it included, HautBrion shot to the top as one of the four original First Growths alongside Lafite, Latour, and Margaux. Established since the 16th Century, Haut-Brion is the oldest of the First Growths. In the 17th Century, it was much feted in London, at that time – and still today – one of the greatest cities in the world. The source of this fame can be traced to the Pontac family who became owners of Haut-Brion through a marriage. Jean de Pontac (1488 - 1589) came into the property when on 23 April 1525 he married Jeanne de Bellon who offered the estate as part of her dowry. Pontac was 37 years old then and would later also build a chateau. By the time of his death at 101 (the man married three times, the last marriage at a spritely 76 years), Jean de Pontac had enlarged the vineyard and lands belonging to Haut-Brion and also sired 15 children along the way. His great, grand nephew Arnaud de Pontac (1599 - 1681) extended the fame of Chateau Haut-Brion across the English Channel and his son later opened a tavern in 1666 called the “Enseigne de Pontac”. Considered by many as “the most fashionable place in London”, no guesses as to what the hip people drank at that 17th Century trendy watering hole. Joseph de Fumel (1720 - 94) was the last owner of Haut-Brion with an indirect link to the Pontac family. Unfortunately for him, as a result of the French Revolution, the aristocrat was guillotined. The chateau then fell on difficult times and was sold off as a national asset. It passed through many hands in the intervening decades until the 20th Century. In 1935 Clarence Dillon became the new owner of Chateau Haut-Brion. An American banker and one of the wealthiest FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 13

14 men in his country, Dillon’s grandmother was French. Today, his granddaughter, Joan Dillon, the Duchess de Mouchy, is chairperson of Domaine Clarence Dillon. Her son, Prince Robert of Luxembourg, is president of the company, and a first cousin of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Prince Robert was a successful screenplay writer before deciding to devote all of his energy to his family wine estates. The day-to-day operations at Chateau Haut-Brion is the responsibility of Jean-Philippe Delmas who is in charge of the administration, staff, winery and vineyard. He had succeeded his father, the legendary Jean-Bernard Delmas who retired in 2004 (after the 2003 vintage). The senior Delmas had himself succeeded his own father, Georges, back in 1961. Clarence Dillon’s son, Douglas (Prince Robert’s grandfather), was one of the most accomplished American politicians of modern times. Although a Republican, he was appointed by Democrat President John F Kennedy as the country’s Secretary of the Treasury or Finance Minister. Douglas Dillon was also a longtime member of the all-important Board of Trustees of the New York Metropolitan Museum, and its president from 1970 to 1977, and chairman from 1978 to 1983. A man of great intuition and foresight, when he first became involved with the museum, Douglas Dillon felt there was a big gap in its collection, and was moved to observe, “this is the greatest museum in the world but there is no significant Asian art”. So was born one of the finest collections of Asian art in the world. Before I tell you about the experiment, indulge me a little more of your attention. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA I first met Jean-Bernard (1935 - 2019) about 30 years ago. One time he told me an incredible project they undertook at HautBrion. It is quite the most astonishing story of the extraordinary – even outrageous – lengths a winery will undertake to produce what for them is the ideal wine. A vineyard – whether in Bordeaux, Burgundy, or Barolo – is essentially a classroom. The most successful winegrower (or owner) and winemaker are those who consider themselves students of this classroom. Just like a school classroom, vines are like children in a vineyard. Some are more successful

FINE Bordeaux while others do not perform so well. This happens even though the vines are of the same variety. Vines grow better in certain plots/locations within a vineyard because of factors including – for example – soil composition, elevation, exposure, and natural protection from inclement weather. It is not only vines that react so sensitively. Fruit trees or flowering plants grown around a house fare differently depending on where – and how – they are grown. The same can be said of the students – winegrowers and winemakers – of a vineyard. Just as some vines do better than others, some winegrowers and winemakers are wiser than others. The two skills most important in succeeding as an outstanding winegrower and winemaker are sensitivity and sensibility. In which order is of no real importance because they overlap. When a person is sensitive, she or he is also sensible. When FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 15



they are sensible, they are also sensitive. One of the greatest students of wine I have had the privilege of knowing – and learning from – was Jean-Bernard Delmas. ‘In 1970, Haut-Brion began a mission to find the best possible plants to produce the best possible wine from our vineyard.’ Such an important once-in-a-lifetime exercise could not be rushed. In fact, it was nine years later that they were ready to begin. As Delmas further informed. ‘By 1979 we had assembled a large enough pool of clones from vines within Haut-Brion to begin the experiment.’ The number was astounding. ‘Altogether, there were 160 for cabernet sauvignon, 120 for merlot, and 40 for cabernet franc. Even clones of lesser known Bordeaux varieties such as cot or malbec, petit verdot and carmenere were gathered,’ Jean-Bernard enlightened. For every single clone, five individual vines (800 for cabernet sauvignon alone) were identified, harvested, and their juices separately analyzed to measure their sugar content and acidity. Technicians at the Haut-Brion laboratory then cleaned and dried the skin of 200 grapes of each clone (32,000 for 18 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Bordeaux cabernet sauvignon!) and left them to macerate. Three weeks later, they measured the intensity of colour and amount of tannin. In my more than 40 years as a journalist, I know of no other chateau in Bordeaux or winery in the world that has gone to such an extent to study and learn from their vineyard. In their drawn-out process of identifying the best clones of the different grapes, Chateau Haut-Brion also discovered where in their vineyard were the best places to grow the different varieties. This information is gold. There was more to the experiment. The next step involved the fermentation in glass jars of small batches of five to six kilograms of all the different grapes. The wines were then put into half-bottles and, after nine months, regularly tasted (over staggered intervals) to check on the ageing potential of each clone. In that way, over the years, the best clones were selected and used in the periodic replanting of the vineyard. Today, the 49.8 hectares of Chateau Haut-Brion are planted to 46% merlot, 42% cabernet sauvignon, 11% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot. Haut-Brion also makes a small amount of white wine (550 to 650 cases annually against 8,500 to 10,200 cases of the red), and the 2.9 hectares of vineyard are planted to 52% semillon and 48% sauvignon blanc. What Jean-Bernard Delmas undertook at Chateau HautBrion 50 years ago in 1970 should be compulsory reading and reflection for all would-be winegrower and winemaker. It challenges us to consider what lengths we are willing to go to in our dedication and mission. The best student is the one unafraid to start from zero, to learn everything from scratch, and never to take short cuts. She or he regards a vineyard not only as a classroom but also as an open book. > FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 19


FINE Films Buying in Bond James Bond and Bordeaux Fine Wines TEXT: Stuart George C reated by the novelist Ian Fleming in 1953, James Bond “007” is a fictional British secret agent working for MI6 (the offices of which are close to my London home). Bond appeared in twelve novels by Fleming. Since 1962, there have been 27 Bond films, with Bond portrayed on screen by Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Daniel Craig, among others. In the novels and in the films, Bond is depicted as a handsome secret agent who has several vices, including drinking fine Bordeaux wines. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 21


FINE Films Château Angélus C hâteau Angélus – a red wine from Saint-Émilion in the Bordeaux region – appeared in the James Bond movies Casino Royale (2006) and Spectre (2015). In Casino Royale, Angélus – apparently the 1982 vintage but my eyesight is not that good – is seen while Bond (played by Daniel Craig) dines with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) in a railway dining car on his way to the Casino Royale in Montenegro. Angélus 2005 – still beyond my eyesight – is featured in Spectre (again on a train) when Bond dines with Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux). The de Boüard de Laforest family that owns Angélus has been there for seven generations, with roots in Saint-Émilion going back to 1564. Until the mid 1980s, L’Angélus (it became plain Angélus in 1990, to place it under “A” rather than “L” in computerised lists) was a well-regarded Saint-Émilion estate that consistently produced good wine – 1934, 1952, 1964, 1966, 1970, 1979, 1980, 1982, and 1984 were excellent examples – but seldom made anything special. New oak barrels were not used until 1980 – before then vats were used – with 2/3 new oak from 1980 on. However, since his first vintage in 1985, Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, aided by his cousin by marriage Jean–Bernard Grenié, has propelled Angélus to the forefront of “modern” Saint-Émilion, with promotion from Grand Cru Classé to Premier Grand Cru Classé in 1996 and then to Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) in 2012. Jean–Bernard Grenié has stated that the laws that prohibit wine advertising in France led Château Angélus to pursue a strategy of product placement in movies. Angélus’s agent in Paris had a connection to the Broccoli family – producers of the Bond films – and sent them a case of wine. An arrangement for Château Angélus to appear in James Bond films was subsequently agreed. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 23

Château Cheval Blanc I n Never Say Never Again (1983), James Bond – played for the final time by the late Sean Connery – drinks a bottle of Château Cheval Blanc from a well-stocked hamper (in bed, with a friend – exactly how wine should be enjoyed). says, “Unfortunately the year of the wine can’t be seen clearly. It looks like 1982, the year before the movie was made, but it could also be a different year.” Filming of Never Say Never Again began on 27th September 1982. Cheval Blanc is aged in barrels for 18 months or so, so the earliest vintage that could appear in the film is 1980 – perhaps the best wine of an underwhelming vintage at the beginning of a golden decade for Bordeaux. 24 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Like Angélus, Château Cheval Blanc is a wine estate in Saint-Émilion in the Bordeaux region of France and is one of only four to receive the highest rank of Premier Grand Cru Classé (A). Cheval 1979 and 1978 are also good wines. Indeed, Cheval was good throughout the 1970s, with the exception of the execrable 1972, 1973 (11.8% alcohol!), and 1974 (my vintage, unluckily for me; Sean Connery does no better with 1930). From the 1960s and before, Cheval Blanc was exceptional in 1966, 1964, 1961, 1959, 1955, 1953, 1952 (one of the finest old red wines that I’ve had), 1949, 1947, 1943, 1934, 1929, 1928, 1924, 1921…



FINE Films Château Mouton Rothschild I n The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), James Bond (played by Roger Moore) enjoys 1934 Château Mouton Rothschild in the company of Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland), served by Nick Nack (Hervé Villechaize) at lunch with Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee). Château Mouton Rothschild is a wine estate located in the village of Pauillac in the Médoc region, 50 km north-west of the city of Bordeaux. In 1973, Mouton was elevated to Premier Cru (“First Growth”) status – the only change to the original 1855 classification. Mouton 1934 comes from the best (and largest) vintage of an otherwise difficult decade for Bordeaux. With the possible exception of Cheval Blanc, Mouton is the best of the ’34s. It was described by the late Michael Broadbent MW as “Lovely and – for Mouton – relatively low-keyed”. This vintage of Mouton comes from the era before its bespoke artist labels and only a year before the Comité National des Appellations d’Origine was created to manage and control the region and commune in which a wine was produced. An Art Deco label was commissioned from the poster artist Carlu for the 1924 Mouton vintage. To commemorate the end of the war, 1945 was the second vintage of Mouton to feature a bespoke label, based on Churchill’s “V for Victory”, by a young French artist called Philippe Jullian. Every vintage since, Mouton has enlisted an artist to design a new label. Although the artists are never paid for their work, they do receive ten cases of wine – five of that year’s vintage, plus five of their own vintage. Mouton ’34 doesn’t appear in Ian Fleming’s 1965 novel The Man With The Golden Gun but it does feature in Moonraker (1955) when James Bond and M are having dinner at Blades: “Then what?” asked M. “Champagne? Personally I’m going to have a half-bottle of FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 27

claret. The Mouton Rothschild ’34, please, Grimley. But don’t pay any attention to me, James. I’m an old man. Champagne’s no good for me.” In Diamonds Are Forever (1971), James Bond (played by Sean Connery) is served 1955 Château Mouton Rothschild by Mr Wint (Bruce Glover). 1955 comes after the execrable 1954 – one of the worst Bordeaux summers on record – and before the catastrophic 1956, when the February frost froze the sap in the vines and destroyed some vineyards. Michael Broadbent mentions Mouton 1955 as being “spectacular” but “very expensive” at 36 shillings per bottle when it was released. In 2021, 36 shillings equates to £1.80. Allowing for inflation, it’s about £68. Not very expensive. Described by Mouton Rothschild as “The first artist of international stature to illustrate a Mouton Rothschild label”, Georges Braque (1882-1963) was, with Picasso, one of the originators of Cubism. His drawing for the 1955 Mouton label shows a glass of wine on a table – a nice setting in which to enjoy Mouton Rothschild.> 28 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


FINE Region Wines of the Terroir text: Lívia Mokri P ortugal, one of the oldest countries in Europe, is distinguished by the multitude of terroirs that have developed due to geographical features and the location on the extreme west coast of Europe. The history of wine in Portugal is closely intertwined with the history of the country itself. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 31

HISTORY Every ruler has had a significant impact on the viticultural practices. The Iberian tribes, who arrived on the peninsula around 2000 BC, started viticultural activities in the Tagus and Sado valleys. The Celts imported grape varieties and improved viticultural techniques. Colonies like Portugal, which were in Roman occupation since 216 BC, were tasked to satisfy demand and ensure that wine flowed abundantly throughout the Roman Empire. In the 5th century, the Visigoths made it mandatory to use real wine from grapes at mass. The Moorish conquest early in the 8th century, brought an Arab influence on the Iberian viticulture. In the 12th century, during the reign of King Alfonz I, wine became an export product – Portuguese wines gained popularity in other parts of Europe. When the first ships of discovery set sail, and Portuguese supremacy was extended in the East, control of the 32 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA “Spice Route” was seized. Wine was traded as Portugal became a maritime power. In 1580, King Philip II of Spain claimed the throne and under Spanish rule, Lisbon became the centre of the empire’s wine consumption and distribution. Portuguese wine sailed to every corner of the world. BIRTH OF PORT With England at war with France in the 17th and 18th century, it turned to its old ally, Portugal, for its supplies of wine. The distance of the main vineyards in Douro from the ports made wines suffer temperature fluctuation and movement, often degrading their quality. In order for the wine to survive this journey across the channel, Portuguese winemakers strengthened the wine with a little brandy. This halted the fermentation, made the wine sweeter, more robust, with a higher alcohol content. This wine suited much better the English taste and was a huge success in England. Soon, the technique of fortification with brandy was deliberately used – creating Port wine. And the rest is already history!

FINE Region Diverse Regions Although a relatively small country, Portugal enjoys enormous geographical and climatic variety. In the north and east, the Continental influences lead to large temperature fluctuations, cold winters and warm summers with little rainfall. In the west, fresh and wet winds from the Atlantic bring high rainfall. In the south, the Mediterranean influence results in hot, dry summers and mild winters. Soil types are also very different. In the north, it’s granite and slate. In the central regions, it’s clay and limestone. And in the south, it’s clay and sand. Portugal has the highest density of “Autochthonous” grapes varieties in Europe. More than 250 grape varieties are indigenous to Portugal, so well adapted to the terroir and so unique that they have no mutations anywhere else. The most well-known being Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, Baga and Castelão in the reds and Alvarinho, Arinto, Fernão Pires and Encruzado in the whites. The international varietals – Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Syrah – have also been recently added to the mix. This abundance of grape varieties combined with various microclimates contribute to diversity. Growers are open to new ideas and experiments. Using centuries of experience, they invest heavily on getting the maximum from each varietal that they grow. The winemakers are master blenders and extremely innovative. All of this means that Portugal is capable of producing an exciting range of unique wines – with styles ranging from traditional sweeter styles to full-bodied reds to crisp acidic whites. Photo: Svetlana Gumerova/ FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 33


Currently, 14 wine regions are classified as DOC (Denominação de Origem Controlada meaning Controlled Designation of Origin) and they cover more than half a million hectares of vineyards across Portugal. markets in the 16th and 17th century. In this geographically welllocated region, the Atlantic Ocean influences a mild climate, which, together with the mostly granite soil and heavy rains, is reflected in the freshness, lightness and elegance of the wines. A large part of the region’s wines are white, to be consumed at a young age. FINE Region WINE REGIONS Dão © Wines of Portugal Gladstone Campos Douro © Wines of Portugal - Rui Cunha Douro is by far the most significant and well-known. This is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world, since 1756 (although the jury is still out over the Tokaj-Hegyalja region’s claim). The region covers some 250,000 hectares, but only 15% are planted with vines and only 26,000 hectares are authorized for Port wine production. Despite its primary association with Port wine, the Douro produces just as much non-fortified table wine (typically referred to as “Douro wines”) as it does fortified wine. Another prominent wine region, located just south of the Douro Valley, is Dão – the birthplace of the Touriga Nacional and Encruzado grape varieties. Sheltered on three sides by granite mountain ranges, among them the famous Serra da Estrela, the region is on a plateau that protects its temperate climate from the effects of the Atlantic that is not that far away. This is a perfect terrain for making fine, elegant, fruity wines with good acidity. Beira Interior © Wines of Portugal Vinho Verde © Wines of Portugal - Sogrape The largest wine region is Vinho Verde. Historically, these wines were the first Portuguese wines to be exported to other European Next to the Dão, the Beira Interior region has been producing wine for centuries on its around 16,000 hectares of vineyards. The wines of this region are influenced by the extreme continental climate and the mostly granitic soil, resulting in fresh and aromatic white wines and also fresh red wines with aromas of red fruits and spices. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 35

Tejo (previously known as Ribatejo) is in the heart of Portugal, a short distance from the capital, is a tribute to the river that has defined its landscape, climate and economy for centuries. The main waterway connection between Madrid and Lisbon, Ribatejo has always been a rich and affluent region. The main grape varieties here are the noble Touriga Nacional as well as the Trincadeira, Castelão, Aragonês, the aromatic Fernão Pires and the lively Arinto. Alentejo © Wines of Portugal - Gladstone Campos Wine-lovers rate Alentejo, one of the largest wine regions, as the top wine region in Portugal. An excellent terroir makes wines that are among the best Portuguese wines that receive many international recognitions. Although it stretches over almost a third of mainland Portugal, only five percent of its land is planted with vines. Hot and dry, with a Mediterranean climate and many types of soils (shale, clay, marble, granite and limestone), the largest wine region is best known for its reds from Aragonez, Castelão or Trincadeira, which are full-bodied and rich in tannins with aromas of wild berries. The whites are generally mild, slightly acidic, with aromas of tropical fruits. Tejo © Wines of Portugal Península de Setúbal, to the south of Lisbon, covers an area of about 9,500 hectares of vineyards. The symbiosis between the Mediterranean climate and the two soil types (clay-limestone and sand) in the area creates perfect conditions for high-quality grapes. The best-known wine, the dessert wine Moscatel de Setúbal, is a fortified white wine made from Moscatel grapes and aged for many years in oak barrels. Trás os Montes © Wines of Portugal - Valle Pradinhos Trás-os-Montes (Beyond the Mountains), north of the Douro, is a mountainous area with rather poor granite or schist soils. The high altitude vineyards bear the typical Continental climate – long and hot summers, and long and cold winters. The reds are fruity and full-bodied, while the whites are smooth with floral aromas. 36 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Setubal © Wines of Portugal Algarve enjoys the southern most location in the country. The Monchique mountains protect it from the cold north winds, and its southern-facing aspect creates the favourable Mediterranean climate for vines. The same bright sunshine, warm air and sea breeze which brings tourists to Portugal’s top holiday destination,


Algarve © Wines of Portugal in their droves, are precisely what grapes require to give prolific yields and fruit with sky-high potential alcohol. The region’s red wines are soft, low in acidity, and high in alcohol, and the strawcoloured whites are full-bodied, best enjoyed chilled. Madeira, the Pearl of the Atlantic, is an island in the Atlantic Ocean. The temperate, humid climate and fertile volcanic soil give gently ripened grapes and light wines with moderate alcohol. Typically, a mono-varietal fortified white wine, aged under heat, marked by high acidity levels, Madeira is made from specific grapes vinified to different degrees of sweetness: Sercial (dry), Verdelho (semi-dry), Bual (semi-sweet), and Malvasia (sweet). Açores © Wines of Portugal - Gladstone Campos In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Europe and North America, is the Portuguese archipelago Azores. Only three Azorean islands (Pico, Terceira and Graciosa) could continue the winemaking tradition after the phylloxera in 1857. Nowadays, most of the region’s wines come from the second-largest island Pico, the Island of Wine, named after a beautiful and sometimes snow-capped volcanic peak that dominates the landscape. The vineyards are in extreme conditions, very close to the sea, in volcanic soil and surrounded by spectacular, reticulated stone walls made of black basalt stones. Most wines are white, and, thanks to the damp, temperate climate and the oceanic winds, they are fresh and salty. 38 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Lisboa © Wines of Portugal - CVRLX Lisbon is one of the few capitals in the world with a wine region in its name. The region of Lisboa (formerly known as Estremadura) is one of the most productive regions in Portugal with a temperate climate. Its regional wines, from say Alenquer and Bucelas, are well known for their good quality to price ratio. Portugal boasts that two of its wine regions are recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Douro Valley and the wine region of Pico on the Azores.

FINE Region New Styles The sparkling style is gaining a growing reputation. TávoraVarosa was the first wine region to be demarcated for production of sparkling wines in 1989. The climate is continental, so winters are cold and humid, summers are hot and dry. The vines grow at an average altitude of 500 to 800 meters above sea level, on granite and low-water-retaining slate soils. The grapes maintain good acidity and fruitiness. Nevertheless, most of the Portuguese sparkling (around 80%) comes from the Bairrada region, where the high acidity that is required is perfectly provided by the cool climate. Sparkling wines are mostly made in the traditional method, so the second fermentation takes place in the bottle. Long-lasting, dry, quality sparklings are born – both white and red. The high-quality Blanc de Noirs made from Baga grapes, the main red varietal in Bairrada, are exceptional. WINE Making Maestros Portuguese winemakers combine the rich heritage of traditional methods that they have inherited with state-of-the-art technology to make wines that are as unique as possible. The sheer selection in their hands allow them to create countless different profiles for their wines, wherever they are in the country. They strive to discover special experiences and flavours by blending different components, almost on an artistic level. Big Steps The difficulties of the 19th century, which marked a dark period for viticulture, as first the powdery mildew and then the phylloxera epidemic devastated the wine regions – except Colares and the Algarve which had sandy soils. At the beginning of the 20th century, Portuguese institutions like Estado Novo (in 1926) and National Wine Council (in 1937), were set up to regulate wine. For years, Portugal had been reputed for its Port wines, but increased investments, development of viticultural techniques, and modernization have yielded exciting results for other wine styles from across the country. Since the nineties, Portugal has been a leader in wine production and export, to which their accession to the European Economic Community in 1986 also contributed greatly. Currently, Portugal is the 9th largest wine exporter in the world and the 11th largest wine-producing country in the world. Portugal offers more opportunities for discovery than we could ever imagine, given the huge diversity and uniqueness of the wines that come from its wine regions. Little wonder that the Portuguese have always been the biggest consumers of their own fantastic wines, and there is only so much that they can ship to connoisseurs around the world. Photo: Rajiv Singhal FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 39

Photo: Bruno Martins/ 40 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

text: FINE Portugal Masters of Blending Rajiv Singhal P ortugal is the land of travellers, adventurers, discoverers and voyagers. Since the early 15th century, Portuguese traders took to sea to explore and establish markets in not-yetdiscovered distant territories on the globe. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 41

The history of grape growing in what is today Portugal dates back to 2000 BC. Portugal is home to a heritage of more than 250 indigenous grape varieties, in which the Portuguese have kept their faith – Touriga Nacional is the best known, and is flanked by Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Baga and Trincadeira – they have been safeguarded through difficult times. The special relationship with England and the growing Portuguese Empire helped wine makers in Portugal to present their wines and find favour with consumers around the world. “A World of Difference” is how ViniPortugal, the interprofessional trade association of Portugal, describes this very traditional wine country. Whilst retaining their historic and cultural identity, Portuguese wine-makers are “Masters of Blending” as they highlight the extreme diversities of this country on the Iberian Peninsula in their unique wines. Modern day Portugal, of course, is better known as the home of soccer star, Christiano Ronaldo. Since its accession to the European Union in 1986, an inflow of funds helped the country re-build its wine industry, and other industries. Most important, and perhaps unnoticed, the entire length and breadth of the country has been mapped by highways creating a huge impact on accessibility of the regions. On an invitation to visit wine country in Portugal, a diligently planned schedule for immersion into the Wines of Portugal allowed a very wide coverage of the wine regions. I did not realise how much I would be able to take in in 5 days! 42 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Portugal Alto Alentejo Adega Mayor This 350 hectare estate is abundant in natural heritage, ancient heritage and protected bio-diversity. Rui Nabeiro, born in 1931 in Campo Maior, not far from the Spanish border, founded the internationally renowned coffee empire, Delta Cafés, as a pioneering example of innovation, business will and a symbol of his native land. Over eight decades, he created a hugely diverse multi sector conglomerate that employs 3,000 people. The company was the first in Portugal to be granted the Social Responsibility Certificate and Rui was recognised for humanitarian endeavours as much as his professional success – he was awarded several civilian honours including the Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry. midst of sprawling vineyards, century old oak trees and olive groves – its calmness in the virgin landscape of the regional plains contrasts with the complexity housed within. The 1 million bottle facility ships labels to four continents (a rather large majority of that is to Angola). “Passions move us. When we create something, it involves a lot of emotions, desires, people and place.” This message has permeated through the generations. Adega Mayor is administered by Comendador Rui’s son, Joao Manuel, who contrasts the fruity exuberance with the complexity of the blends and barrel ageing and grand-daughter, Rita, whose detailing in design shows up on the very elaborate labels. Comendador Rui had a dream. And in the late nineties, the first vines were planted at the Herdade da Godinhas estate near the Caia river (on clay and sandy soil) and at the Herdade das Argamassas estate (on clay and limestone soil) to realise this. “Campo Maior is a land that provides only for those who love it”. The region’s weather conditions, and terroir were found to be ideal for grapes and the region’s splendour is revealed in the wines. Architect Álvaro Siza Vieira designed the state-of-the-art straight-line winery (with only one curve) with walls of 9 metres height and 1 metre thickness and a south-west entry in the Photos: Adega Mayor FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 43

Aveleda Vinho Verde Aveleda’s glorious history of 150 years celebrates the passion of its visionary founder, Manoel Pedro Guedes de Silva da Fonseca. Five generations of the Guedes family have preserved the legacy of family ownership of the company through three centuries. The wines are made, as they were by the founder who had a volume focus, with an eye for detail in perfect harmony with nature in the Vinho Verde region and have been quick to establish a reputation of great quality – appreciated by unforgiving critics. In post war 20th century, Aveleda’s wines – specially the commercially successful Casal Garcia – made deep inroads into the then colonies. The booming sales in the fifties triggered investments in cutting edge technology to plant new vines (with a French influence) on the Guedes-owned 120 hectares. Even though production was heavily regulated, a new course was being charted. At the turn of the century, another expansion phase in packaging, increased storage capacity, improved winemaking based on grape varietals, and a new 20 million bottle line was funded. Computerisation integrated the operations in real time across the two winemaking centres in Valongo do Vouga and Penafiel. This direction on better quality and traceability guarantees was significant. The Penafiel estate is a guarded gem. There is much to explore in the 5 hectares of awarded parks and gardens, where rare species of trees flourish, some of which have been around for hundreds of years. A sustainable bio-diverse eco-system is harmoniously reconciled with the environment and which foster the diversity of the soils, fauna and flora. Aveleda proudly possesses historical Follies – architectural manifestations of pure art – the Royal Manueline Window, the Fountain of the four Guedes Sisters, the Goats’ Tower symbolising abundance, and the Fountain of Lady of Vandoma, patron of Porto city. Photos: Aveleda With a range from Vinho Verde – most pure, most expressive, most peculiar, most awarded – the Aveleda team led by the great-great-grandsons of the founder present the dream of the house to customers. 44 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Portugal Alentejo Photos: Rajiv Singhal Esporão Herdade do Esporão, near the historical city of Reguengos de Monsaraz, is a typical Baixo Alentejo landscape in which vineyards are beautifully set in a mosaic of rolling plains, shallow valleys, water streams, corn fields and olive groves. The geographical boundaries of this estate, established in 1267, have been practically unchanged since. The historical 15th century Esporão Tower has stood watch over what is now around 700 hectares of vineyards, on which 194 grape varietals have been planted since 1973 by José Roquette – who currently owns almost 1,830 hectares today. The first vintage with Joaquim Bandeira in 1985 birthed the Esporão brand. Integrated agricultural production principles are spread across vineyards in Alentejo (the region of subtleties), Douro (the 155 hectares Quinta dos Murças estate dating back to 1770) and Vinho Verde (the 75 hectares Quinta do Ameal estate on the Lima river dating back to 1710 where five luxury suites have been built in the tranquil vineyards) wine regions. Project Organic is underway including the certified historic areas. The 91,000 litre capacity winery was designed to respect the grape, maximise the impact of gravity and enhance the natural characteristics of the fruit. Each are equipped with different technologies that are adapted to the wines being produced – vinification depends on whether large volume Defesa and Monte Velho or the higher quality Single Varieties, Reserva and Private Selection are produced. The refrigerated cellar provides optimum conditions for the whites at Esporão. More than 1,500 barrels (a mix of American and French; new and used) 225 litres each, line the sides of a 15 metre wide tunnel, buried 12 metres under the ground, that seems to be waiting for the next metro train to stop! Esporão brings Portuguese art into the culture of wine-making – this series continued even though Pedro Proença’s rendition on the 1999 hurt sensibilities post 9/11 and had to be recalled. The rich bio-diversity is home to many interesting species of flora and fauna, traces of which can be found in the produce. Dense forests highlight the rich eco-system in the semi-arid territory. A large dam area controlling the water supply from the Degebe river, makes for a beautiful landscape that is enjoyed by around 30,000 oeno-tourists, who are kind to leave some cases of wine (and olive oil) that are exported to over 50 international markets! FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 45


FINE Portugal Alenquer Photos: Casa Santos Lima Casa Santos Lima A family-owned company that announced my welcome with the Indian flag fluttering alongside Portugal at the entrance. A former banker, José Luís Santos Lima Oliveira da Silva (and his mother Maria Joao Santos Lima), replanted the vines, invested in better agricultural practices and modernised the wine assets that had been established by his great-grandfather, Joaquim Santos Lima, at the turn of the 19th century. Casa Santos Lima is at home at the “Quinta da Boavista” in Alenquer, where around 250 hectares are held in highyielding parcels that are being developed for their oenotourism potential. In the early years, José expanded holdings to other regions – Algarve, Alentejo, Vinhos Verdes and the Douro – through acquisitions and strategic partnerships with local producers to build a wider, richer and diversified portfolio of reds, whites, roses, sparklings, “frisantes”, “leves” and even dessert wines – a big assortment that was represented at the rather long tasting table. This multi-brand portfolio, majorly focussing on “DOC Alenquer” and “Vinho Regional Lisboa” (of which Casa Santos Lima is a very large producer), is well received in the international markets – exports cover the five continents with sustained year on year growth. Producing 14 million bottles through reduced dependence on manual systems in newly refitted modern wine-making facilities, their corporate vision is to focus is on value-for-money wines that “surprise the customer”, are awarded in international and domestic competitions and are get frequently referenced in the “Best Buy” selections of revered critics. The investment in “Lisbon Vineyard Park”, a unique joint initiative with the Municipal Council of the City of Lisbon, is meant to create a high pedagogical interest and focus on the growth of the biodiversity and management of the green areas of the city. A key catalyst of wine education and promotion of wine culture in general, the two hectares vineyard of clay and limestone soil on which grow the indigenous grape varietals – Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Arinto grapes – creates an experiential learning centre showcasing elements of terroir, soil characteristics and sun exposition cycles that together represent the vineyards’ life cycle. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 47

Vinho Regional Lisboa Quinta do Monte d’Oiro José Manuel Bento dos Santos built his rather generous bank reserves in metal business. A bon vivant epicurean and true wine connoisseur, he didn’t miss an opportunity to interact with great chefs from around the world and delved deeper to find the harmony between wine and food. Leading many renowned gastronomic institutions, he is the host of the television series “O Sentido do Gosto” and has been honoured by the Portuguese and French governments with civilian honours. In 2006, a transition to organic was initiated and about 100,000 bottles are produced from certified organic. In the vineyards, canopy management is focussed upon, the mulch layer allows for minimum watering and cereals crack the soils to create a balanced biodiversity. No chemicals are used and the soils are worked and ploughed to avoid compaction and maximise oxygen content. The labels of this estate offer a wealth of information. The wines age in an old shed at ground level – in silence and darkness – the silence disturbed only by chirping birds and the darkness flashed by occasional visitor cameras. Photos: Rajiv Singhal Alenquer – just 20 km from the ocean – is known since the 17th century as a privileged “terroir” for the production of great wines. The clay-limestone soils dating back to the Upper Jurassic period, gentle slopes with varying sun exposure sheltered by the mountains, a Mediterranean climate with Atlantic influence and good wind circulation. Here a plot of 42 hectares was acquired in 1986 to set up Quinta do Monte d’Oiro (literally meaning the Hill of Gold) wine estate. The first Syrah in Portugal was planted from massal selection of good friend from the Rhône, Michel Chapoutier following extensive studies by experts from the University of Jerusalem with an eye on quality. Viognier and Petit Verdot were sourced from France and planted in 17.5 hectares alongside the existing indigenous varietals, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz. The first vintage of this ambitious wine project was realised in 1997. 48 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Portugal Duoro Photos: Quinta do Vale Meão Quinta do Vale Meão In the far east of the Douro – further than the furthest Marcos Pombalinos placed by the Marquis in the 18th century to define the boundaries of this region – Quinta do Vale Meão stands testimony to the vision of the entrepreneur founder, Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira. In 1877, she shrugged off peer criticism to take title to around 300 hectares on Mount Meão in an auction of the Municipality of Vila Nova de Foz Côa – so remote were these lands that the 200 mile journey from Porto took nearly 12 days by small wooden boats which navigated the torrents and rapids assisted by oxen! Ferreirinha’s dream was to draw on her lifetime experience to transform these virgin lands into a model vineyard – around 150 hectares were planted over almost a decade. Great-great-great grandson, Francisco Javier de Olazabal, fulfilled the Grand Lady’s dream – helped in part by the infrastructure developed by the British. Since the sixties, he steered the family to build the Quinta’s formidable reputation. Heirs had established a joint-stock company, Companhia Agrícola e Comercial dos Vinhos do Porto to produce, age and market wines from the grapes of the family estates – all descendants were bound contractually to offer their grapes. At the turn of the century, Olazabal was able to realise his own dream of sole ownership (with his children Francisco Jr, Jaime and Luisa) in 1994. The Vale Meão estate followed the family convention till Sogrape acquired the two century old Casa Ferreirinha. With his oenologist son, the first wines from the 1999 harvest were launched – the top wine bore the estate’s name, Quinta do Vale Meão, while the second wine took its name from the key geographic feature, Meandro do Vale Meão. The originality and complexity of the “fresh and balanced” wines are protected as the team explores the “best” blend of the traditional varietals grown on around 100 hectares of vineyard. The hard working sun-lover Touriga Nacional was almost abandoned in the Douro before the Olazabal’s persisted, so that they reflect a unique spirit of the land in their wines. The bold reds are aged in Taransaud French barrique in cellars that were cut into the river banks. The Olazabal family share the same passion for wine and are dedicated to innovation even as they respect tradition. “We only do what is right. Sometimes, doing nothing is a good thing.” The family’s enthusiasm contributes to the perpetuity of the “dream”! FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 49

Douro Photos: Rajiv Singhal Quinta do Vallado Established in 1716, this ochre walled quinta located right next to the mouth of the Corgo river, is steeped in history. The legendary Portuguese businesswoman, Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, was resident in the historic Manor House as she made port wines for the family enterprise, Casa Ferreira. Her descendants through three centuries built on her fabled legacy and took it to greater achievements. Towards the end of the 20th century, Maria Antónia Ferreira and her husband, Guilherme Álvares Ribeiro, launched an own label and reworked the vines for improved quality under the guidance of Professor Nuno Magalhães. The vineyards are a sight to behold. Vinha da Granja planted in 1929 is the oldest plot – here, mixed grape varietals are harvested. All vineyards were planted on south west facing slopes of slate soil – a single variety on each plot. In Vila Nova de Foz Côa, Quinta do Orgal was acquired. This is organically farmed since 2009. The Douro is notorious for its “nine months of winter and three months of hell” and puts to test those who venture on its hillsides. The story of survival through three centuries is linked to Cistus Ladanifer or Esteva, a plant that is abundantly found on Quinta do Vallado’s grounds. Its persistence, endurance and resilience perfectly adapt to adversity. When it grows, so does everything else. It leaves no one indifferent – and impact that is endeavoured through the wines. While the wines carry forward the legacy of prized excellence, the heavenly retreat has been awarded in the recent years. A relic from the 18th century – a Marcos Pombalinos – granite markers (feitorias) that the Marques de Pombal placed to delineate the Douro wine region, is also found on the grounds. Chief Executive João Ferreira Álvares Ribeiro with Winemaker Francisco Olazábal, both great-great-great-great grandsons of the Grande Dame, built the winery and cellar that blends not only the wines but technology, aesthetics and architecture. The sixth generation ensures that despite the evolution through time, the ancient essence is sustained. 50 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


Sandeman Porto An ambitious young Scotsman, George Sandeman, founded the eponymous wine merchant, George Sandeman & Co, in 1790 to specialise in the two great Iberian fortifieds – port and sherry. Drawing from the family motto Stat veritas (truth stands), “gentleman’s word” was at the core of the business. Quinta do Seixo, in Cima-Corgo, on the south bank of the Douro, spread over 100 hectares was where the family chose the wines to be born. The iconic Vila Nova de Gaia on the Douro riverfront was acquired in the early 19th century to be the Sandeman Cellars where the wines would be aged and stored. The family had a very strong focus on building the brand and then, fiercely protecting it! In the early years, the initials “GSC” were inked on the barrels to guarantee quality and origin. As soon as the Trade Marks Registration Act was legislated in England, “GSC George Sandeman & Co” was officially listed, and is amongst the oldest registered trademarks still in use. In defence of wine origins, Sandeman took on the trouble, annoyance and expense to legally challenge pass-off “ports” even before the appellation was protected. Sandeman had the Royal Warrant of George V, for more than a century, to be purveyors to the British throne. The iconic image of “The Don” was created by Scotsman, George Massiot – a silhouetted figure wearing a valedictory cape and a Spanish hat holding a ruby glass – possibly the first wine logo! From neon signs that lit up Piccadilly Circus to the fun and witty “Partners” advertising series to the Vercasson Printers’ daring rendition of “Centaur” to commissioning artist to render futuristic artworks… Sandeman reinforced its brand name. Its roots on Birch Street and the financial flair of the Sandeman’s took the company to a pioneering stock exchange listing in 1952. Since the eighties, Sandeman has been a portfolio company of several large corporations but a direct descendant of the family has always been at the helm. Photos: Rajiv Singhal Sandeman firm believe that Port is a drink for all occasions – it was offered straight, chilled, on the rocks, in a long drink with tonic, in cocktails – so that customers could enjoy. 52 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Portugal Porto Photo: Barcex Oporto Cálem Porto Cálem was founded in 1859 by António Alves Cálem, an entrepreneur who challenged himself. Not content with shipping like his peers to the British Isles, Cálem insisted on clearing his own path and set sights on the trans-Atlantic crossing to Brazil – where he concluded very risky deals in the Amazon basin to put a successful business in orbit. Even the World War didn’t deter fearless and gritty Cálem from opening up new markets around the world – faced with limited options on shipping, an own navigation fleet was acquired. And Ambassadors who sailed the world. Douro Superior is where Cálem wines are born – it is Cálem’s terroir. Here nature is wild, but appears intimate. Silence echoes around itself, the dropping pin is audible. The human hand has enhanced the breath-taking natural beauty of the landscape. A natural amphi-theatre has been further accentuated by great engineering feats. Traditionally, all Cálem wines were aged in warehouses in Vila Nova de Gaia in perfect conditions of temperature and humidity, unique to this location – at the delta of the great Douro river as it loses its identity to the Atlantic. The wines were transported downstream on Rabelos – wooden cargo boats – in defiance to the dangers of a river that was yet to be tamed. Cálem bravely accepted this risk and this pioneering feat is idolised on every Cálem bottle with the depiction of the iconic caravel being loaded with casks. Photo: Julien Chatelain Perpetually subjecting itself to the strictest quality control, all traditional methods were respectfully taken on board. Ageing only in vats, oak casks, and bottles – absolutely no hurry – Cálem believes that true discovery takes time. And even if survival instincts have always kicked in to protect the prized wines from natural calamities, nothing was ever done to stop the “thirst of the angels” – around 3% of the wine ageing in the casks is lost. The founder inspired those around him and prepared this enterprise for an adventure where his dream is still revered four generations of the family later. Porto Cálem toasts to the tradition of excellence – it is a wine of the world! FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 53

Porto Porto Photo: Ramos Pinto Ramos Pinto The origins of the House of Ramos Pinto date back to the 19th century. A young visionary 21 year old entrepreneur, Adriano Ramos Pinto, emphasized the link between top quality and customer expectations. Their wines live by one and only one thing – excellence. Ramos Pinto’s growth was anchored to the founder’s attention to detail to the journey from grape to glass. “The quality of the wines is the result of the soil into which the vines plunged their roots”. Quintas were acquired in the beloved motherland – the Douro – so that signature wines of acknowledged quality could be crafted with full respect for nature. Adriano immersed himself completely in the wine – selection, blend and ageing – while modernizing winemaking and creating innovative packaging and futuristic promotions. Undeterred by the distressed times, he somewhat audaciously prospected markets in distant South America – very successfully. In Brazil, Ramos Pinto became synonymous with Port! The story launched by the founder and his descendants is very strongly rooted. When acquired by the Rouzaud family of Champagne Louis Roederer in 1990, the vision remained “the quality of the wines and respect for the natural and human environment.” On 360 hectares in the heart of the Douro heritage, the best of the best Douro grapes are grown. The only scientific study on the Douro varieties – proprietary to Ramos Pinto – helped identify those that best fit: Touriga Nacional, Aragonês, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão. Another study helped identify the best root stock and scions characteristic to the varietal. Bench-grafted vines were pioneered. 54 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA The best combination of traditional practices from the past and innovation technology of the future ensured availability of exceptional quality and fine selection of must. A recent study found the perfect match between wood – so intrinsic to the produce of this region – and wine basis its type, size and provenance but respecting the already defined styles. Living a complete experience in its wines, Ramos Pinto’s connect to artistic sensibility draws from the founder’s legacy – it is lived in the decoration of the facilities, the commissioning of works of art, the cultural patronage or the creativity in the wines.

FINE Portugal Photo: Joseolgon FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 55

Tasting Notes Adega Mayor Grande Reserva Pai Chão 2011 Selected hand-picked bunches of Alicante Bouschet and Touriga Nacional are fermented in inox in controlled temperature and aged 12 months in bottle after 24 months in French oak. Garnet colour. Fresh and aromatic with hint of spice. Full bodied and well-structured wine with ripe tannins. Persistent finish. A tribute to Comendador Rui, this rare wine shows the passion of the land and is made only when nature “gives”. Reserva do Comendador White 2014 The autochthonous whites – Antao Vaz, Verdelho and Viognier – are hand harvested and the bunches are screened. Fermented in new French oak barrels, and aged 6 months on fine lees. Light yellow colour. Intense aromas of ripe pear and peach with a little bit of vanilla. Citrusy, silky with rounded acidity. Good complexity in structure. Powerful. Wellbalanced, woody and mineral with a long finish. Avelada Alvarinho 2014 Casal Garcia Rose Pale yellow. 100% Alvarinho grown on granitic and schist soils. Subtle aromas of white peach and white flowers. On the palate, incredibly structured and velvety smooth. Rich and dominant citrusy notes of orange zest and pineapple. Balanced. Feast of tropical fruit and earthy flavours. A blend of Vinhão, Azal Tinto and Borraçal grown on granitic and sandy soils. Clear Pink. Strong aromas of red berries. On the palate, well balanced with cutting acidity. Bubble-gummy. Stylish, bold structure breaks the mould in which such “wine coolers” find grouping. Very easy drinking. Esporão Private Selection Red 2012 Esporão White Reserve 2014 A blend of Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Syrah – vinified separately and aged 18 months in French oak. A deep red colour. Textures on the palate are intense and complex. Well-balanced tannins that don’t leap out of the glass. Rich on aromas, and creaminess from the long term ageing. A classic Alentejo Garrafeira – solid structure, personality and complexity from the selection of the finest grapes from our terroir and the creativity of the winemaker. João Queiroz illustrated the label. A blend of Antão Vaz, Arinto, Roupeiro and Semillon. Destemmed, must chilled, skin contact, membrane pressed, cold settled. Aged on lees 6 months in new French and American oak. Straw colour with green tones. Rich and intense with orange and peach aromas. Creamy texture with good minerality and depth. Long and fresh finish. Toasty. Well integrated and well balanced. This classic is the first wine made by Esporão in 1985 which defined the rich and expressive profile of the best Alentejo wines. Photo: Rajiv Singhal 56 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

A blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Touriga Nacional. Pressing destemmed bunches. Fermentation in 26,500 litres temperaturecontrolled vats. Four-week maceration yields a ruby red colour. Pleasingly aromatic with plums and dark berries on the palate. Spicy leanings. Liquorice. Four months ageing in oak barrels lend fine tannins that dominate at the finish. Quinta do Monte d’Oiro Reserva Branco 2017 A very aromatic 100% viognier. Abundant melon and apricot with a touch of toasty vanilla. Medium bodied with a creamy palate balanced by a very refreshing and citrusy dry finish. A perfect match for a creamy chicken tikka masala. The back label describes slopes to be covered in unique golden colours at sunset. Monte Meão Vinha Dos Novos 2012 A pure varietal 100% Touriga Nacional from granite soils. Grapes are crushed, cooled down and foot trodden for four hours in granite “lagares”. Fermented in small old French oak vats. Aged for 15 months in used French Allier oak barriques. Vintage gave high quality of the musts. Wine exclusively from a single plot. Lively amber red. Floral and citrusy. Balanced acidity and tannins. Soft and elegant. Quinta do Vallado Douro Superior Red 2013 A blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Sousão from the certified organic vineyards of Quinta do Orgal. Vinified basis separate parcels in stainless steel vats and aged for 16 months in used French oak barrels. Alcohol 14.5%. Amber red. Floral aromas with hints of exotic fruits. Fresh and intense, with silky tannins. Citric finish. Casa Santos Lima White 2015 A blend of Moscatel, Sauvignon Blanc, Arinto and Fernão Pires. Pressing destemmed bunches with exclusive use of free run juice. Fermentation under controlled temperature of 16º. Citrine colour. Appealing floral and tropical aromas. An excellent balance between fruit and freshness. A crispy character with attractive acidity in the finish. FINE Portugal Casa Santos Lima Lab Red 2014 Quinta do Monte d’Oiro Reserva 2011 A blend of hand harvested Syrah (94%) and Viognier (6%) fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged 18 months in partially new French oak. Aromatic ripe fruit and tangy pepper with discreet integrated oak. Velvety tannins and a firm and very long finish. Would pair with the very rich foie gras stuffed quail. Meandro Do Vale Meão White 2015 A blend of 50% Arinto from alluvial soils on northern tip of the meander and 50% Rabigato from schist soils south of the meander. Slightly crushed grapes are cooled down and pressed in traditional vertical press. Each varietal is vinified separately in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. Aged on lees for seven months. Distinct green. Hugely aromatic. Vibrant acidity and fruitiness. Surprising density and freshness. Quinta do Vallado Reserva Douro White 2015 A blend of Gouveio (60%), Arinto (24%) and Rabigato (16%). Fermented in 500 litres casks from the French forests of Allier, Vosges and Nevers. Aged for 7 months in the French oak barrels – a mix of new and old. Alcohol 12.5%. Pale yellow. Very minerally nose. Full bodied and complex. Citrusy. Excellent acidity, well integrated oak and a persistent finish. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 57

Sandeman Porto Founder’s Reserve Selected from only the finest lots of handpicked fruit of each vintage. Destemmed before crushing, the wine is fermented with skin masceration. Alcohol is added to balance body and bouquet. Aged for 5 years in the oak casks. ABV 20%. Sugar 100 grams per litre. Intense amber red. Brilliant. Aromas of ripe red fruit. Powerful clean mouthful. Expressive and elegant. 58 Sandeman Porto Late Bottled Vintage 2015 Destemmed before crushing, masceration by treading in temperature controlled traditional granite lagares. A blend of very carefully selected high quality wines. Aged for around four years in traditional oak casks. Bottled without filtration as a single harvest wine. Deep ruby red. Complex aromas of black fruit and hint of forest floor. Voluminous, toasty. Firm tannins. Harmonious finish. Cálem Porto Fine Ruby Cálem Colheita 2000 A blend of hand-picked Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca planted on schist, sandstone and granite soils. Destemmed, crushed and carefully macerated by churning during fermentation in controlled stainless steel vats. Grape brandy is added. Ageing in oak casks for a minimum of 3 years. Deep ruby. Vibrant and aromatic. Fruity. Firm, smooth and balanced level of sweetness. Abundant freshness. A blend of hand-picked Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca planted at 600 metres altitude. Destemmed, crushed and carefully macerated by churning during fermentation in lagares. Grape brandy is added. Ageing in oak casks for a minimum of 10 years. Bright brown with orange hues. Powerful aromas of dry fruit and spice. Rounded and voluminous with grippy tannins. Silky. Delicious finish. Porto Adriano White Reserva Ramos Pinto 30 Tawny A blend of hand-picked Codega, Malvasia Fina, Viosinho and Rabigato. Traditional fermentation with short maceration. Oak ageing for 7 years. Alcohol 19%. Residual Sugar 129 g/l. Amber yellow. Very strong tropical aromas are discernible with hints of balsamic vinegar and some spices. Fruity and fullbodied. Elegant. Linear persistent finish. Nice accompaniment to a hazelnut chocolate fudge ice-cream. A blend of several old Port wines from the Douro region aged in oak casks for decades. Alcohol 20%. Residual Sugar 120 g/l. Brilliant tawny red with orange tints. Maturity leaps out – rich caramel, vanilla, figs and nuts with hint of iodine. Voluptuous and powerful. Surprising freshness. Satiny and long-lasting. Serve with Bavarian mango cream with nuts. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

Drink responsibly, dispose responsibly. R ecycling of glass bottles has become unviable. Empty glass bottles are being dumped into already scarce landfill space - where they won’t decompose for a million years! Glass2Sand is an environment-friendly project that addresses this growing menace and creates a “zero waste” eco-system. Using an innovative technology from New Zealand, these bottles are crushed into silica-rich sand. Pledge your empty glass bottles to Glass2Sand. Call: +91 9810008289 | Mail: An initiative of the

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble TEXT & PHOTOS: Tyson Stelzer 62 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Champagne Champagne’s fight against climate change intensifies D oes global warming spell certain doom for the region that has built a wine style around its cold climate? Things have hotted up in Champagne since I unravelled the climatic drama that has played out over the past 30 years in The Champagne Guide 2014–2015. The region has responded in force, and it’s time for a sequel. The summer heatwave of 2019 burnt grapes on the vines. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 63

‘How can we manage and anticipate these spectacularly chaotic climatic events?’ Charles Heidsieck chef de cave Cyril Brun commented to me in dismay mid-way through the harrowing 2017 harvest. In a region that has devoted centuries to refining its viticulture and winemaking to build ripeness and generosity – not to mention a wine style conceived in answer to cold seasons – there is much that is being done. The Champenois have rallied and launched a concerted response that encompasses everything from where, how and which grapes are grown, to the methods of vinification and even the fundamental style of the wine itself. Pick earlier ‘We started harvest in August in 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017 and 2018,’ observes Ruinart chef de cave Frédéric Panaïotis. ‘There were only two August harvests in the last century and already six this century, so if this isn’t a sign of global warming, what is?!’ In the past 30 years, Champagne harvest dates have moved forward by a fortnight. ‘When I arrived in Champagne 25 years ago, the harvest was at the end of September, and now it is mid-September, and one year in three it is at the end of August,’ observes Veuve Clicquot chef de cave Dominique Demarville. “ “ The weather in Champagne has become dramatically more extreme and unpredictable over the past three decades, and this is a bigger concern for the region’s vineyards than an increase in temperature of close to 1.2 degrees Celsius. The 2016 season brought catastrophic frost, hail and rain, inflicting the most widespread devastation in history, only to be outdone by the toughest season in living memory the very next year, decimated by the worst rot Champagne has ever seen. There was rejoicing in the streets when 2018 brought record yields of clean fruit of unprecedented ripeness, but enthusiasm waned when vins clairs lacked acidity and endurance. Just weeks before harvest, an all-time record late-July heatwave of 42 degrees Celsius shrivelled the 2019 grapes to raisins. ...we must change how we cultivate the vineyards Accelerated ripening during August has introduced a new challenge in determining the optimum date of harvest. ‘This is the new issue, waiting for flavour and phenolic ma- Glistening frost blankets the grand cru of Aÿ during a frozen sunrise in the depth of winter 2019 64 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE Champagne A spider basks in the final rays of sunset in Rizaucourt-Buchey in the Haute-Marne department of Champagne Harvest faster Harvesting during the warmer weeks of August means that ripeness is moving faster, as is the risk of the onset of rot. Péters picked his entire 2017 crop in one week rather than two. ‘It’s not just enough to decide when you want to harvest, you need to have the resources to do it!’ points out Charles Heidsieck chef de cave Cyril Brun. In the village of Vertus, brothers CharlesHenry and Emmanuel Fourny invested in a second press in 2018 to keep up with the new pace of harvest. Send in the robots A faster response calls for both infrastructure and a workforce, and Champagne is facing a new crisis of manual labour. ‘The challenge for us is to find the workers in the vineyard, because the young generation would rather work in an office,’ says Demarville. This is exacerbated in August, when most of Europe would prefer to be sunning itself on a faraway beach. ‘I think we will have robots harvesting sooner than expected, because it’s too hard to get pickers today,’ predicts Sophie Déthune at Paul Déthune in Ambonnay. ‘It’s hard to imagine that 20 years ago we had to get an answering machine for the phone because everyone was calling us offering to pick! Now we don’t get a single call.’ Demarville believes robots will be very important for the future of Champagne. ‘We introduced robots in the wineries and the cellars 20 years ago, and now the next step is to use them in the vineyards,’ he suggests. Numerous robot trials are currently underway in the region, but not everyone is convinced. ‘I fight against the robots, because the more you go in that direction, the more you lose contact,’ says Louis Roederer chef de cave Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. ‘The story of wine is about going into my terroir, not with satellites and robots, but staying in touch with the soils and the vines and the wines.’ “ ...we will need more chardonnay, less meunier, and pinot noir with more freshness “ turity while the sugar level continues to rise,’ reveals Rodolphe Péters, who took a risk against rising rot by holding off harvesting his Pierre Péters chardonnay in Le Mesnilsur-Oger until it achieved flavour ripeness at a high sugar level of 11.5 degrees potential in 2017. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 65

The moulin (windmill) of Verzenay stands sentinel over a blanket of snow, veiling grand cru soils in the winter of 2013 66 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


Harvest 2014 on the slopes of the premier cru of Mutigny in the hills behind the grand cru of Aÿ With increasingly warm and early harvests, it’s not uncommon for afternoon temperatures to reach 30–35 degrees Celsius. Warm grapes oxidise much faster than cold grapes, so Demarville is negotiating with his vineyard teams to pick during the cooler hours of the day, by contrast to the traditional French work day. ‘We can have people picking from 5am to 1pm,’ he suggests. ‘And we must learn how to pick at night.’ Some have attempted night picking with head-mounted mining lamps, but this has proven challenging and increases the cost of the grapes. Robots may be the answer. Chill the grapes In 2019, Billecart-Salmon was the first in Champagne to build a cold room to chill the grapes, with capacity to chill 40–45 tonnes to 5 degrees Celsius overnight. The afternoon’s harvest is ready for cold pressing at 5am the following morning. ‘Instead of chilling the musts, we chill the grapes!’ exclaims Antoine Roland-Billecart. ‘We have done trials, and overnight chilling makes a big difference in acid retention in the grapes.’ Others in the region are contemplating the same, from growers as small as Veuve Fourny to houses as large as Dom Pérignon itself. 68 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA ‘We can’t chill prior to pressing like they do elsewhere, because we have such a huge volume harvested in such a short time,’ suggests Dom Pérignon chef de cave Vincent Chaperon. ‘And it is also a question of energy.’ More precise viticulture ‘To keep sufficient acidity and freshness, we must change how we cultivate the vineyards and ensure the roots go deeper and deeper,’ Demarville emphasises. This necessitates a much more eco-friendly approach in the vines. The extremes of recent seasons have prompted an imperative for sustainable viticulture across Champagne like never before (see The Champagne Guide 2020-2021 pages 62–65). Péters suggests that even Champagne’s low, closely spaced vineyard rows might need to be reconsidered. ‘It’s very hard to grow low vines close together without fungicides and herbicides,’ he points out. ‘We will have to change our method of cultivation and find ways to enlarge the rows and train higher canopies.’ Brun suggests a detailed, individualised approach to each vineyard site. ‘I feel we are going to enter into an era of viticultural precision,’ he says, ‘by treating groups of plots in particular ways and working more “ The 2016 season brought catastrophic frost, hail and rain... “ Pick at night

chef de cave Gilles Descôtes. ‘We don’t need them now, but we might in 20 years!’ Plant new varieties The Comité Champagne has a project underway to create hybrid varieties that will mature slower, hold their acidity longer and exhibit greater resistance to disease in warmer seasons. Such extreme measures are more than controversial. ‘I’m not sure they are true to the champagne tradition,’ suggests Charles Philipponnat, president of Philipponnat. ‘Personally I think we should maintain the best of what we have.’ Champagne’s warming climate has spurred a renewed interest in the region’s ‘old’ varieties of pinot gris, pinot blanc and, most of all, petit meslier and arbane. In the very warm 2018 vintage, Bollinger harvested petit meslier and arbane at a full ripeness of 12.5 degrees potential and fantastic acidity of 7g/L. ‘The old varieties are interesting for us in the wake of global warming,’ says FINE Champagne “ A warmer climate threatens to challenge even the fundamentals... precisely. Different sites, different clones and different varieties respond differently.’ Lécaillon agrees. ‘It is completely crazy to suggest we should change the varieties in champagne!’ he exclaims. ‘I make sparkling wine from chardonnay and pinot in California, and I have done so in Tasmania, and you can adapt the way you grow and make wines to suit the climate. I think the biggest mistake we could make is to change the varieties – we would lose all that we have built in history. We don’t have pinot, chardonnay and meunier here because someone decided it would be good, but because these varieties are suited to the soils and suited to the place.’ “ Create new clones A more sensible response is to play with clones rather than varieties. Lécaillon shares a nursery with other like-minded estates, including Pierre Péters, to cultivate a wide selection of clones. ‘Some clones are better suited to warm weather than others,’ points out Rodolphe Péters, who evolves his clonal selection according to changes in climate, pressure of disease and even evolving popular tastes. Meanwhile, the freshening influence of chardonnay has never been in higher demand in champagne blends, and many are replanting meunier and pinot noir to chardonnay. ‘In the future, we will need more chardonnay, less meunier, and pinot noir with more freshness,’ says Brun. Plant new areas Harvest 2019, premier cru of Chigny-les-Roses, northern slopes of the Montagne de Reims. The push to expand the Champagne appellation has been on hold for a decade, ever since the global financial crisis put a dampener on sales growth, but the opportunity for the region to reconsider sites better suited to warmer temperatures is compelling. ‘Maybe there are some current lands that are no longer suitable?’ postulates Brun. ‘And maybe there are some areas that we need to plant? We are moving further north.’ FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 69

Harvest 2019 at Fleury in the Côte des Bar. Of all the strategies to counter warmer seasons in the winery, blocking malolactic fermentation is the one that many houses and growers are increasingly trialling. ‘To maintain energy, balance and finesse, if we need to increase the malic acidity we will,’ reveals Alice Paillard of Bruno Paillard. ‘Everything needs to change for everything to stay the same!’ Many houses who have traditionally always carried out malolactic fermentation are blocking it in more and more parcels. ‘With malolactic and with oak, it does not have to be everything or nothing, it could be in between,’ suggests Brun. ‘We need to be globally more flexible in everything we do, to be able to do a lot of work in a short time, and 70 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA to deal quickly with emergencies. We have to be quite pragmatic and ready to learn from our mistakes. The Champenois can be perceived to be quite arrogant. But we need to keep our feet on the ground and to redefine what is champagne.’ Use fresher reserves For the little house of AR Lenoble in Damery, climate change has fundamentally turned the role of reserve wines on its head. ‘In the past, reserves were about adding complexity and depth to a blend,’ says head of the house, Antoine Malassagne, ‘but after four of the earliest harvests in history this century, acidity levels are much lower than they used to be, and we are now talking about how we can use reserves to enhance freshness.’ “ “ Block malolactic ...we must change how we cultivate the vineyards

A warmer climate threatens to challenge even the fundamentals of what defines the champagne style and its ageing potential. ‘We are probably at the end of a cycle where we had only to rely on the acidities for longevity,’ Brun suggested disconcertingly as we tasted his 2018 vins clairs, with but half the malic acidity of a normal year. Chaperon has been contemplating this since 2003, the vintage that recorded the lowest acidity on record. ‘Freshness, vibrancy and tension are more important to Dom Pérignon than acidity,’ he discloses. ‘And we have more levers to achieve this than acidity – we have minerality, phenolics, bitterness and aromatics. In particularly ripe seasons like 2009, we have to play with other dimensions like phenolics to maintain freshness.’ Release vintages earlier Many houses made the astute decision to release the fast-maturing 2009 vintage before the enduring 2008, and such dexterity This is exacerbated by the recent decline in sales of vintage champagne, now the surprise poorest-performing category of all. ‘We have a problem in Champagne, a big problem,’ declares Duval-Leroy chef de cave Sandrine Logette-Jardin. ‘Because of climate change, we have the ability to make more and more vintage cuvées, but we don’t have the ability to sell all of them.’ In response, Duval-Leroy has made the bold and unexpected decision to market its vintage cuvées and prestige Femme de Champagne as non-vintage in all but the very finest vintages. Pierre Péters has done the same with its Millésime L’Esprit and Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut NV. “ FINE Champagne Play with phenolics is increasingly important as Champagne’s vintage extremes become ever more pronounced. “ Such progressive change of thinking applies not only to the small players. ‘For me, the new challenge in Champagne is selecting the reserves,’ reveals Moët & Chandon chef de cave, Benoît Gouez. Not to be a prisoner to our own rules... Declining sales push vintage releases out – a great virtue for enduring seasons blessed by extended lees age, but a pitfall for vintages without the stamina to go the distance. ‘Most Champenois think the 2018 vintage will perform well, but I don’t expect it will age at all well, and if they release it in order, it will be too late,’ Brun warns. ‘But it would be daring to release 2018 before 2014!’ Harvest 2014 on the slopes of the premier cru of Mutigny in the hills behind the grand cru of Aÿ FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 71

Make coteaux champenois Warming to climate change This year I have made two sojourns to Burgundy, the place that provides more context and perspective for the future of Champagne than any other. Not only in warming climates and trends in viticulture, vinification and single-site bottlings, but in the production of chardonnay and pinot noir as still wines. Climate change to date has been a blessing for Champagne. ‘For now, the weather in Champagne is for the better,’ says Francis Egly, Champagne’s finest grower at EglyOuriet in Ambonnay. ‘Twenty or thirty years ago, we sometimes had very difficult years in which it was very hard to achieve good ripeness, but now this is easier.’ Coteaux Champenois still wines have long been an interesting curio, largely constrained to smaller players and little production volumes, but recent warmer vintages have enticed many houses to come out to play. The 2015 and especially 2018 harvests marked a turning point, and I have seen sneak previews of stunning new Coteaux Champenois in development for the first time at Louis Roederer, Veuve Clicquot, Charles Heidsieck and André Clouet. ‘One day it might be for the worst if it goes too far,’ foresees Jean-Hervé Chiquet at Jacquesson, ‘but for now we are eliminating the worst vintages of the past, like 1972, 1977 and 1984.’ ‘Coteaux Champenois is innovating backwards,’ proposes Lécaillon, ‘because whenever they had lunches here in the 1950s they had a glass of champagne, a glass of Coteaux Champenois blanc and a glass of Coteaux Champenois rouge. And in 20 years’ time we might do super white wines or red wines! Champagne’s handicap until now has been ripeness, so we created sparkling wine because we didn’t have the climate to make still wine, and if we no longer have that handicap, then we will do something different. Climate is changing, and it has always changed, and it is the ultimate job of farmers to adapt to the changes. Let’s not complain about it, but embrace it and find the tricks and the wine styles that can make the best possible wines in this place at this time. Before 1850, there was more still wine than sparkling wine produced in Champagne. And maybe history will reinvent itself and we will go back to that? Maybe in years to come we won’t make sparkling wine anymore. That wouldn’t be a problem.’ Such radical suggestions would change the game for Champagne. But don’t fear, the bubbles are here to stay, and Coteaux Champenois will remain in their shadow for at least the foreseeable future, if for no other reason than economic necessity – great Coteaux Champenois demands half the yields of champagne, and the region can’t afford this en masse just yet. 72 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Even on the warmest site in all of Champagne, Charles Philipponnat agrees. ‘It is true that on average grapes are riper, but so far this has been a good thing for Champagne,’ he says. ‘Clos des Goisses is a good case study, because technically it is too warm by Champagne standards, but it hasn’t been a problem yet. I believe the soil and the slope and the regime are more important than the temperature. Our wines today are grown in warmer conditions than 20 years ago and we have gained precision, so what is the problem?’ In spite of the challenges facing Champagne today, the ultimate measure must always come down to the quality of the wine in the bottle. For Champagne’s top houses, who rigorously uphold fanatical attention to the finest detail in their vines and their wines, while maintaining an adaptable dexterity in the wake of the frenzy of changes around them, that quality has never been higher than it is today. ‘It’s time to move further,’ invites Chaperon. ‘To stay true to what champagne is, but to move beyond. Not to be a prisoner to our own rules and our strict appellation, but to change and reinvent. What will be the champagne of 2050? This is the question.’ This article is an excerpt from The Champagne Guide 20202021 by Tyson Stelzer. Available now in hardback and ebook at online-store/.

FINE Champagne Chateau de Sacy has recently been restored to its stately grandeur, overlooking the city of Reims, veiled in fog at dawn on this morning during the sodden 2017 harvest FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 73


FINE Estate Premier Preiner Text Rajiv Singhal • Photos Preiner Wein T he heights of the Alps, the depth of the Danube and the breadth of the vineyards encompass the picturesque landscape of Austria. The land of music has long been fulfilling the desires of connoisseurs across the globe with its spectacular wines. In this landlocked Alpine Republic, the more substantially defined winegrowing regions – Niederösterreich along the Danube, Burgenland bordering Hungary, and Steiermark – are in the eastern part of the country due to more favourable climatic conditions. The summer heatwave of 2019 burnt grapes on the vines. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 77

FROM THE FAR EAST Apetlon is a wine town in the far east of Austria – about 50 miles from the capital, Vienna. In Apetlon in the Burgenland wine region, and in the middle of the Neusiedler SeeSeewinkel National Park, Preiner Wein is a family enterprise that has been successfully cultivating grapes and other agricultural produce for four generations. The family farm is around 200 hectares – 24 under vineyards, 45 corn, 45 wheat, 25 potatoes, 12 hemp, 5 barley, 10 biodiversity and 40 designated nature conservation areas in the national park. The wine story of the Preiner family dates back to the late 19th century. Robert tells us that his great grandfather had vineyards – he believes that Othello, Delaware (both Fox grapes), Muscat Ottonel and Sylvaner could’ve been grown at the time. The wines were sold in tanks and barrels till 1983, when Robert’s father mustered the courage to start selling direct – he sold most of his wines in bottles – 2 litres and 1 litre. TERROIR Over the years, the Preiners have expanded their vineyards to 24 hectares amidst the diverse flora and fauna of the very well known Neusiedler See-Seewinkel National Park, the ownership of which is very unique. It rests not with the government but with around 1,200 different owners, most of whom are local farmers. The Preiner vineyards are situated in the Seewinkel, near Lake Neusiedl, in the middle of the Pannonian lowlands and the bird paradise “Lange Lacke”. The landscape is dominated by reeds, salt varnish, agricultural fields, and vineyards. The vineyards are spread among the communities of Apetlon and Podersdorf, which allows for the optimum use of both the different soil types in these locations and the special microclimate for the production of the wines. The top vineyards have been nurtured in Neubruch, Fuchsenloch, Musado-Hedwighof and Neusiedlerweg. With an annual average temperature of 10 degrees celsius, 2,000 hours of sunshine and 500 mm of precipitation, the Preiners are blessed with very optimal conditions for viticulture. In addition, targeted foliage work and soil cultivation during the entire vegetation period make it possible to produce wines that are typical of the grape varietal and of high quality. Preiner promotes the ripeness of the grapes through natural care and healthy soils. The optimal conditions allow for the production of white and red wines and in climatically good years, a sweet wine is made too. In the whites, Grüner Veltliner, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc and Yellow Muscatel are in the range and Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and St. Laurent make up the reds. 78 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


PHILOSOPHY Robert and Andrea Preiner, the current owners, are committed to produce high quality wines with modern cellar technology and sustainable viticulture while upholding the traditional production processes. The harvests were controlled, and the lower quantity helped higher quality. Gentle and clean processing, varying ageing and fermentation temperatures, give the wines their respective typicity. The focus is to ensure that the wines represent the characteristics of the soil and the micro-climate is not 80 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA delegated into the background. The result – high quality wines which are ecologically, socially, and economically viable. The Preiners are big fans of sustainable and believe in this approach that goes way beyond and wider than organic. PreinerWein received a certification seal of “Sustainable Austria” for their winery from the Austrian Viticultural Association in 2018.

FINE Estate THE COUPLE Having imbibed the knowledge of how to work in the fields, how to grow the vines and how to make the wine from his father, Robert attended the very specialised Höhere Bundeslehr-und Versuchsanstalt für Wein-und Obstbau in Klosterneuburg. And then chose to study Business Administration at University of Economics in Vienna. Robert first met Andrea, born in Carinthia and raised in Eisenstadt, when she studied law at the University of Vienna, and they dated for a couple of years. Not wishing to commit (yet), and with a wish to explore “everything” in the world, Andrea chose to stay single and was a successful lawyer for over a decade. Meanwhile, Robert spent a decade and a half in banking audits. Their paths crossed again, and they reminisced fondly their past together in Vienna – they were in love again. In 2017, Robert and Andrea married and a year later their lovely daughter, Luise, was born. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 81

BACK TO THE ROOTS By this time, Robert had decided to turn his back on a successful career as a business economist and finally devote himself exclusively to the wine and agriculture business in the family. Through her love for wine and the winegrower Robert, Andrea was the lateral entrant into the business. They both didn’t just take over the reins of the business – they still run the company together with Robert’s father. According to Robert, “it’s not a classical model, it’s a stepby-step handover because there is still so much to learn.” Robert and Andrea charted out the modern orientation of the winery and the new style of PreinerWein to build a market at home and abroad. “It is our aspiration to become better and more efficient to produce typical modern wines that comply with the highest international quality standards so that we can make our customers happy.” 82 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Robert went back to the roots when he started again. Some vineyards needed to be replanted. A new wine-cellar and a new production hall was built, alongwith a new room for tastings. The focus on the technology in the cellar led to the use of culture yeast and the decision to automate the fermentation process last year. Robert takes his role very seriously and has tried to learn all the functions. He enjoys working in daylight, so summers bring much longer days. Andrea is in charge of sales and marketing drawing on her experience and network in the private sector. She believes her legal background is extremely important in these times for their growing company. With her passion for cooking, which she imbibed from her mother and grandmother, guests at the new tasting room have the pleasure of enjoying family recipes as Seewinkler tapas on the menu of the Preinerei. “We think of ourselves as the custodians of the family heritage for our next generation”.

LOGO & LABELS FINE Estate As PreinerWein started to build its markets – from scratch – a new logo was launched in 2016. It creates a stunning visual reference to typicity of the region of origin – the sun that represents the 2,000 hours of annual sunshine and the reeds from Lake Neusiedl. This symbiosis of the sun and the reeds is akin to that between heaven and earth, and also represents the symbiosis between Andrea and Robert! Andrea informs that the names of their wines are inspired by the typical flora of this unique national park that is their home. The attractive labels are extremely clean and represent the plant with its image. “Some plants are unique and grow only in our area because of the special nature of the soil, so we decided to bring them in context with our wines. It is not uncommon for our visitors to mention that the smell or taste of our wine reflects those of the plants that grow beside them.” INDIA Andrea has a very strong India connect. Her mother and grandmother would tell her stories about her great uncle, Charles, who served for a few decades as the Private Secretary to an Indian Maharaja in pre-independence India. She was enchanted by the beautiful postcards and pictures of this exotic, yet distant land. THE FUTURE Robert and Andrea have focussed on opening the export markets because they believe that global trading is the right strategy. They have their wines in The Netherlands, Germany and China. Of course, the 2020 pandemic has changed the course of the business. In 2020, Preiner Wein recorded around 15,000 bottles of wine, most of which stayed in the home market. Around 20% of their harvest is processed into wine, with the balance sold as grapes to different partners. Robert and Andrea hope that normalisation of the world order will allow them to concentrate on their plan to make all of their grapes into wines and be able to present Preiner Wein to wine aficionados around the world, specially in India. > FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 83

Preiner Notes Grüner Veltliner Yellow Muscat Medium yellow-green, silver reflections. Delicate underlying Radiant green with shiny golden yellow hues. Muscat grape notes of yellow apple, some meadow herbs with a very aromas, nuances of elderflower, delicate lime. Inviting typical but subtle peppery note. Juicy yellow tropical fruit. fragrance. Firm, crunchy, green apple, racy structure, fine Integrated acidity, minerally finish, balanced spice. Elegant fruity finish. A precise wine that makes you crave another food wine that can be enjoyed with chicken strips. glass. Perfect to enjoy on a summer terrace. Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc Light yellow green, sparkling straw yellow. Fine herbal Greenish touch with yellow gold reflections. Fresh spices, a bit like guava, a hint of white stone fruit, white tropical fruit, a hint of cassis, grapefruit zest, ripe lemongrass, lime. Medium body, integrated acid structure, gooseberry. Inviting bouquet. White fruit nuances, ripe white apple touch. Juicy, comes together well for pear. Fresh, harmonious acidity, firm, lemon-like finish. uncomplicated drinking pleasure. Goes well with grilled Lively summer wine perfect with crunchy salads. fish. 84 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

notes, roasted aromas are reminiscent of cocoa. Fine Light golden yellow with silver reflections and baroque structure with well-integrated tannins, youthful, fresh streaks. White tropical fruit with a delicate floral background, acidity. Complex, harmonious, wonderful astringency. a hint of fresh gooseberries and orange zest, noble wood Remains on the palate for a very long time.Great potential spice with a smoky vanilla background. Elegant, creamy, and long shelf life. Perfect with a good cigar. round, fine acid curve. Lemony and mineral touch in the Chardonnay Berry Selection finish. A wine for special occasions. Medium yellow gold, platinum reflections. Ripe, juicy Chardonnay Reserve pineapple fruit, expressive papaya, a hint of fresh lychee Rich green yellow with gothic streaks. Noble cedar wood, underlaid with a fine note of acacia honey. Slightly spice, yellow tropical fruit, delicate pineapple and papaya, Burgundy style, close-knit, ripe vineyard peach, classy, fresh tangerine zest, subtle Burgundy yeast. Creamy well-integrated acid structure. Minerally touch, earthy, exoticism. Powerful, ripe apple fruit, subtle acidity, a hint lively structure, stimulating style. An exotic fruit sweetness of caramel in the long finish. Already good to drink but still in the aftertaste, coconut and ripe white apple fruit finish. has great ageing potential. Good aging potential. Great as an aperitif – it’s perfect with Neusiedlersee DAC Zweigelt Classic patisserie. Dark ruby garnet, opaque core, violet reflections, delicate Bouvier Trockenbeerenauslese bright edge. Blackberry with a delicate floral background, Light amber, shiny gold. Dried fruit notes underlying a hint of plums and fig. Expressive body, fine fruity delicate herbs and spices, ripe pomaceous fruit notes, sweetness with a ripe cherry background, round and candied orange zest, nectar-like fruitiness. Juicy, delicate harmonious. Long, lively finish with subtle astringency on honey sweetness, pickled peaches, ripe pineapple, passion the palate. Already well developed. Well imaginable with fruit with a casual acid curve. Pleasant tannin structure ginger tandoori duck. with a rich fruity ending. Dried apricots and forest honey in Zweigelt Barrique Strong ruby garnet, violet core, subtle bright edges. Fresh oak spice underlaid with vanilla, delicate rum stew, cloves, FINE Estate Sauvignon Blanc Reserve the aftertaste. Already good to drink with an elegant length and huge potential. Recommended with blue cheese or crème brulée. red berry touch with a noble roasted aroma. Firm body, velvety texture, delicate vanilla sweetness, ripe Piedmont cherry, some nougat in the spicy finish. Runs in top form with some air. Perfectly highlights the origins. Try it with a pork schnitzel with pistachio breading. Cuvée No. 5 Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and Cabernet Sauvignon are matured for 14 months in oak barrels. Deep, dark ruby Tasting notes by Stefan Lamster Haubenwallner, a Certified Sommelier, who is the President of the Burgenland red, almost black core with purple edges and oily streaks. Sommelier Association. He lives in Spicy, ripe sour cherry with a fine note of cassis and dark Mönchhof, Austria and believes that forest berries that flatter the nose. Juicy and firm with a "Life is too short to drink bad sparkling floral touch, ripe cherry notes emerge, inviting chocolate wine". FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 85


FINE Gadget W The Fake-buster hen you pay a king’s ransom for that rare fine wine for that special occasion, there is always the concern – is it a fake? The problem is that, so far, there has been no way to check the authenticity of the bottle in question without extracting the closure or the liquid inside. Oxford Physicist Dr. Cecilia Muldoon’s new technology company, VeriVin, offers an innovative way to fight the menace of fraud and adulteration, all without ever needing to open the bottle. VeriVin provides rapid, easy, reliable, non-invasive means of testing wine on site and in their original bottles. At its core is the ‘SLA001’ machine, affectionately called ‘Frankie’. Applying the Raman Effect to wine was Dr. Muldoon’s ‘Eureka’ moment. Every molecule has its own unique vibrational frequency and, when hit by a laser, light photons scatter off of it in a unique way. This scattering is measured and recorded to create an individual optical fingerprint, which is uploaded onto the cloud and then run through a series of statistical analysis and machine learning algorithms. By comparing each fingerprint to VeriVin’s growing database of other such scans, a user can gain insights into the bottle’s authenticity, provenance, and condition. It can be determined if the wine in the bottle matches what it’s supposed to be or if it’s different in some way, whether that be due to a wine fault like oxidation or because the wine is fraudulent. VeriVin is collecting as many optical scans as possible in its database to improve the efficacy of these algorithms. At this time, testing is comparative – is this bottle the same or different from what was already scanned? – but as the database grows, the algorithms will become more powerful and be able to provide much more sophisticated analyses and greater precision. FINE hopes that this will be the solution to widespread authentication and quality assurance problems that the recent dark ages have made all wine connoisseurs susceptible to. They can enjoy an exquisite bottle of the finest wine made by an expert winemaker – knowing with absolute certainty that they have what they paid for because VeriVin has instantly uncovered the truth about what’s inside, every time. > FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 87

A Kentish Tour text: Ritu Singhal photos: Chapel Down I t all started in 1977, when Stephen Skelton MW decided to plant vines and started to convert farm sheds into wine making facilities around Small Hythe, the national trust property and historic harbour where Henry VII and Henry VIII docked their royal warships. 88 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

Chief Executive Frazer Thompson believes that “there is no point in trying to be the best, we have to be the only people who can do what we do”. The team is motivated not just to be better, but “distinctive”, and aims to continually delight customers even if occasionally “to see jaws drop and eyebrows raised”. The original site, Spots Farm in the picturesque market town of Tenterden, is recognized as an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” and is home to 25 acres of rolling vineyards set in the beautiful Kent countryside – which 70,000 visitors every year explore, guided or on their own, enjoy leisurely meals at the gourmet restaurants and stock up on their favourite labels. More fruit, owned and contracted, hand-picked from more than twenty different sources around the South East of England (in Kent, Sussex, Essex and Suffolk) allows Chapel Down to make its very wide range wines, which include traditional method sparklings, aromatic whites, delicate roses and elegant reds, all on this site. Freshness and vibrancy are embodied in the wines and balance is at the heart of the wines that win hatfuls of awards and are the official pour at No. 10 Downing Street. What was a received as a novelty when it was first launched, is now the produce of a respected wine making region in the world. The English wine that Chapel Down makes is booming, “they simply can’t make enough”. FINE England Chapel Down, founded in 1992, has been at the vanguard of the genesis of an entirely new wine region. A series of acquisitions and unstinted support from a host of investors helped establish Chapel Down as one of England's leading winemaking companies. Chapel Down was first introduced to FINE and me by H.E. Sir Dominic Asquith, British High Commissioner to India and his wife Lady Louise. At the FINE Ambassadors’ & High Commissioners’ Table, they made the first-ever presentation of English wine in India and they chose the Bacchus reserve from Chapel Down. The all round appreciation for the wine at our FINE Table got me interested in exploring the English terroir and I was able to manage a visit to the Chapel Down facilities in Tenterden, Kent. The very knowledgeable Experience Manager, Gavin Kean, guided me through the vineyards, the winery and the facilities. The vineyards are sandy loam soil, which drains well, and the bit of clay mix in the soil allows the roots to retain moisture. The southern western slopes of the vineyards get sun almost throughout the day. And being 15 m above sea level ensures that it’s never drastically cold. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 89

Frost is rare on the site. A self-irrigation regime is in place – rainfall is never in doubt in England! Viticulture wise, on the guyot trellis, two canes are chosen and retrained so that everything will grow again from there. 8 to 10 buds (grapes) on either side of a vine, give about a kilo and a half of rich ripe grapes. This is about a bottle of wine. So, roughly speaking, in every vine cane one sees a bottle of wine. 90 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA The winter months bring dormancy, when everything goes down into the roots. Around April, the green buds begin to crack into a new flower. Small tendrils and tiny stamen start to grow and they naturally self-pollinate in the wind. Generally, the fruit emerges at the end of June. In JulyAugust (6 to 10 weeks before harvest), the canopy tops are green harvested so that the grapes can continue to get direct sunlight and develop texture, tannin and

Roughly 100 days to harvest (around September – October), the fruit is reaching maturity and the sugar levels go up. In this time, herbicide and pesticide are used. At the same time, ground fertiliser are fully fed for more immediate, precise and bigger impact. The grapes berries are ready to be picked – usually in October but in the recent years it has been earlier – in mid to late September – an impact of warming. In the last 1015 years, about a degree and a half on an average have been added! softly, very softly, inflated into a balloon so that the berries release high quality pure juice over a period of 2-3 hours. The English wine, that Chapel Down makes, is booming All the grape is hand-picked, and all in whole bunch so that the sugar and acidity levels are retained, for which 70100 pickers are hired every year. They are tasked to keep all grape varieties and some plots distinct. The picked grape bunches are kept in boxes, which are roughly only half-filled, so that too much weight doesn’t create any juice that start to naturally ferment. The extraction rate for the first pressing – free run – is 510 litres per ton. This prized juice is used for the reserves and is the base for the sparkling wines. The second pressing involves a longer pressing procedure and increase in pressure to extract the rest of the juice, which can be used in blending or increasingly in the new spirits that the company is indulging in. All grapes are pressed on the Tenterden site. Pretty much everything is crushed whole bunch. Four presses – Euro is 3.5 tons, King Kong is 7.5 tons and the two Godzillas are 12 tons – are pressed into action for the crushing. All four are pneumatic bladder presses in which the membrane is The reds are macerated on their skins for about a day or so. Pumping over technique is employed to extract colour. Chapel Down is one of the few wineries in the world that whole bunch press for their rose. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA FINE England aroma. Care is taken to keep enough canopy so that photosynthesis keeps churning out sugars. 91

Most fermentation is done in the reusable inert stainless steel tanks which give the wines a light, fresh, fruity, exotic character. Some very interesting experimentation with wild ferments in oak are underway – these will add power to some of the wines in the range. The small volume of barrels used are all medium toasted French oak previously used in Burgundy. New oak, considered overpowering, is never used. The second and third fills work well to bring a subtle and more balanced flavour to the wines. Sparkling wines are fermented at 12-14 degrees, white wines 15-18 degrees, and red wines 25-30 degrees for upto a month depending on the desired level of brut and need for alcohol content. Longer ferments yield drier wines with high alcohol content. Shorter ferments yield sweeter wines light on alcohol. Chaptalisation is permitted. During tirage, yeast and sugar are added and in June (of the following year) the bottling is done for sparkling – 92 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA almost 50,000 bottles per day – which are lined up lying down horizontally. The yeast feasts on the sugar to create more alcohol and the natural by-product carbon dioxide which stays trapped in the bottle giving natural sparkly fizz. The yeast die when no more sugar is available and create a sediment called lees at the bottom of the bottle. Hundreds of thousands of bottles are ageing and waiting for their “right” time – but before they are sold the lees The vanguard of the genesis of an entirely new wine region

Plunged into a cold bath of -24 degrees, the top inch of the bottle is frozen. On the disgorging line, the crown cap is prised open and the ice cube ejected taking with it all the lees. The liqueur de expedition – natural liquified grape sugar – is dosed to give the brut levels – Chapel Down is generally between 9-10 gms. The cork is natural Portuguese, pre-treated for cork taint, which is more effective in terms of oxygen transfer. The muzzle cage is popped and compressed to snugly sit on top of it. A black rectangle on the caps ensures that each bottle is a clone of the previous one is ready to drink and, more importantly, wow the consumer! Premiumisation in the shape of the Kit’s Coty single estate was launched some years ago from the site on the Bluebell Hills of the North Downs. The single guyot trellis system in this premium vineyard did reduce the quantity substantially, but the quality of the grapes rose significantly – it was treated with a lot more care – a lot more emphasis on viticulture, a longer wild fermentation on lees and ageing. The grapes from this plot were held separately and showed that they out-performed other vineyards in terms of sugar levels, acidity levels etc. So, an exclusive range that took Chapel Down up the value chain was presented to the loyalists – and they approved. > FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA FINE England have to be removed. Riddled by 14 computer controlled Gyropalettes in the distribution centre in Ashford, the sediment of 500 bottles per palette is collected in the neck like a snowball going down a hill. 93

Tasting Notes Flint Dry 2017 Grape: 56% Chardonnay, 20% Bacchus, 7% Reichensteiner, 6% Schönburger, 5% Pinot Blanc, 2% Pinot Noir, 1% Siegerrebe, 1% Pinot Meunier, 1% Ortega, 1% Madeleine Angevine. Appearance: Pale yellow Nose: Aromatic. Green apple, pear and kiwi. Taste: Textured. Zesty. Fruity. Finish: Smooth. Refreshing. Alcohol: 12% Residual sugar: 3.2 g/l Food pairing: Caeser salad Inside Information: Grapes are grown predominantly on single and double guyot pruning systems, on varied soils including, chalk, clay and loam soils that allow freedraining. Hand harvested. Whole-bunch pressed. Each varietal vinified separately at cool temperatures. Part of the blend put under pre-blending malolactic fermentation. Final Verdict: Diligently assembled blend Tenterden Estate Bacchus Reserve 2016 Grape: 100% Bacchus Appearance: Pale gold Nose: Freshly cut grass, elderflower, mango, pineapple and granny smith apples. Taste: Citrusy, zesty and refreshing. Explosion of grapefruit and gooseberry. Finish: Juicy. Pure mineral. Alcohol: 12% Residual Sugar: 4 g/l Food Pairing: Crispy pork belly Inside Information: Fruit is sourced exclusively from the Tenterden vineyard which is home to the oldest Bacchus vines. The yields are extremely low, but the only the finest fruit. Whole-bunch pressed. Only best fraction of juice is used to maintain the purity in style. Final Verdict: Expression of the terroir Bacchus Reserve 2016 English Rose 2017 Grape: 71% Pinot Noir, 10% Regent, 8% Pinot Meunier, 4% Bacchus, 3% Early Pinot Noir, 2% Chardonnay, 2% Pinot Blanc. Appearance: Salmon pink Nose: Redcurrants and hints of floral notes. Taste: Abundance of strawberries and cream. Finish: Crisp. Refreshing. Alcohol: 12% Residual Sugar: 2 g/l Food pairing: Barbeque Inside Information: The vineyards are trained on single and double guyot pruning systems. The grapes grow on varied soils which include chalk, clay and loam. Whole-bunch pressed. Inking due to Rondo and Regent – no skin maceration. Cool fermentation and early clarification. Final Verdict: Light and effortless. 94 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Grape: 100% Bacchus Appearance: Bright yellow Nose: Powerful. Intense aromas of ripe melon, lychee and freshly cut grass. Taste: Dominated by tropical fruit and granny smith apple. Balanced acidity. Finish: Harmonious. Long. Alcohol: 12.5% Residual Sugar: 3.1 g/l Food pairing: Thai basil roast Inside Information: The fruit originates in Chelmsford and Wittersham. The best fruit is selected from the best vineyards. In 2016, summer and autumn were warm and sunny, yielding intensely flavoured grapes. A third of the hand-picked grapes were crushed prior to pressing to release more aromas while the balance was whole-bunch pressed to maintain purity of the fruit. Final Verdict: Rich and ripe.

Kits Coty Estate Bacchus 2016 Grape: 100% Chardonnay Appearance: Lemon yellow Nose: Cooked apple and hazelnuts. Taste: Rich tropical fruit – peach – and apple. Buttery. Rounded oak. Finish: Clean. Long. Alcohol: 12.5% Food pairing: Grilled lemon sole Inside Information: Chapel Down claims that this lightly oaked Chardonnay is considered to be one of England's finest white wines. Hand harvested in October. Whole bunch pressed. Put under wild fermentation in used French oak barrels for nine months. Final Verdict: Fine expression. Grape: 100% Bacchus Appearance: Light yellow Nose: Abundantly fruity. Oak in the background. Taste: Ripe tropical fruits – guava. Pure. Finish: Focussed. Exceptional length. Alcohol: 13% Residual Sugar: 2.3 g/l Food Pairing: Asparagus risotto Inside Information: The first Bacchus in the premium Kit's Coty range drawing from parcels in the finest terroir. Hand harvested in late September. Whole bunch pressing. Put under wild fermentation. Aged in French oak for nine months. Final Verdict: Complexity in the glass Rosé Brut NV Pinot Noir 2015 Grape: 100% Pinot Noir Appearance: Pink Nose: Ripe strawberries and raspberries Taste: Crisp. Red berries, cherries, redcurrants and toasty shortbread. Finish: Focussed. Pure. Effortless. Alcohol: 12% Residual Sugar: 8.5 g/l Food pairing: Classic English Summer Pudding Inside Information: The fruit is grown on the chalk and Wealden clay soil vineyards in Kent, Essex and Sussex. Put under cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks and full malolactic fermentation. Maturation on lees in tank for six months. Aged 18 months. Final Verdict: Elegant delicacy FINE England Kit's Coty Chardonnay 2016 Grape: 100% Pinot Noir Appearance: Light ruby red Nose: Blackberry, plum and leather with an earthy undertone. Taste: Clear precise flavours of soft red fruits. Low on tannin. Finish: Smooth finish Alcohol: 12.5% Food pairing: Game terrine Inside Information: The fruit is sourced from the south facing 95 acre Kit's Coty vineyard on the North Downs in Kent. Fermentation for 14 days in stainless steel tanks before 20% is matured in old French oak for nine months before being re-blended and bottled for release. Final Verdict: Perfumed charm Kits Coty Blanc de Blancs 2013 Grape: 100% Chardonnay Appearance: Greenish yellow Nose: Ripe green apple, hazelnut, freshly baked bread. Taste: Toasty. Well integrated oak. Mature. Finish: Savoury. Fine. Rich. Alcohol: 12% Dosage: 9 g/l Food Pairing: A delightful aperitif Inside Information: Hand-harvested in October. Put under malolactic fermentation. Part maturation in barrel. Three years ageing on lees. Final Verdict: Typical cool climate Blanc de Blancs FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 95

Union Red 2016 Grape: Rondo, Pinot Noir, Early Pinot Noir. Appearance: Light crimson red Nose: Intense blackcurrants, blackberry and black pepper with subtle vanilla oak. Taste: Cherries and strawberries. Light bodied and low in tannin bursting with flavour. Finish: Plenty of fresh fruit. Alcohol: 12% Food pairing: Duck confit Inside Information: Fruit originates from Kentish vineyards in Tenterden, Westerham, Lamberhurst and Appledore. Under careful watch, thin-skinned early ripening varieties such as Rondo ripen well in the cooler climate. The 2016 growing season was dry, warm and sunny. Final Verdict: Youthful easy red Nectar 2017 Grapes: 100% Schönburger Appearance: Pale lemon Nose: Medley of tropical fruit – mango, pineapple, lychee – laced with jasmine. Taste: Light-bodied. Peach with tones of rosewater. Finish: Short. Balanced alcohol, sweetness and acidity. Alcohol: 8.5% Residual Sugar: 53 g/l Food pairing: Pavlova Inside Information: Fruit comes from the vineyards in Sandhurst. 2017 was warm, sunny and dry. Whole-bunch pressed. Fermented at cool temperatures, midway through which the wine is chilled and filtered to remove the yeast and stop the fermentation. Final Verdict: Easy drinking dessert Brut NV Grape: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier. Appearance: Bright yellow Nose: Red apple and lemongrass. Taste: Freshly baked bread with hints of strawberry and quince. Finish: Elegant. Fresh. Alcohol: 12% Food pairing: The English classic – fish and chips. Inside Information: Hand harvested. Put under cool fermentation and full malolactic fermentation. Maturation on lees in tank for six months. Aged for 18 months. Final Verdict: Perfect partner to any celebration! 96 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Chardonnay 2014 Grape: 100% Chardonnay Appearance: Lemon yellow Nose: Fresh. Apple, white peach and kiwifruit with hints of fresh hay. Taste: Linear. Pineapple and citrus fruits. Finish: Long. Minerally. Alcohol: 12% Food pairing: Chargrilled citrus fish Inside Information: The fruit originates from Burgundian clone vines grown on chalk on the North Downs of Kent. The 2014 growing season was warm, sunny and dry. Hand-harvested. Whole-bunch pressed. Fermentation at cool temperature. Put under malolactic fermentation. Extended maturation on lees prior to bottling in August 2015. Final Verdict: Classic unoaked style Kit's Coty Coeur de Cuvée 2013 Grape: 100% Chardonnay Appearance: Pale yellow Nose: Fruity. Buttery. Nutty Taste: Tropical fruits – melon and peach – balanced oak. Finish: Fresh. Well integrated. Alcohol: 12% Dosage: 6.0 g/l Food Pairing: Mussels and Calamari pasta Inside Information: Chardonnay from only the very best blocks. Coeur de Cuvée is the finest cut of juice (heart) in the first pressing. Put under wild fermentation. Aged on lees in French oak for seven months. Only 1600 individually numbered bottles produced. Final Verdict: A Centurion.

Of joys departed, not to return, how painful the remembrance. ROBERT BLAIR In remembrance of those who lost the battle against COVID-19. In celebration of those who triumphed against all odds. In gratitude to the healthcare professionals. In thankfulness to those who helped.


text: S FINE L i f e s t y l e Last Impression Rajiv & Ritu Singhal • photos: John Lobb Ltd et against the backdrop of the St. James’s Palace gate-tower, built by Henry VIII, St. James’s Street in London’s Westend is where noble gents and fashionistas have indulged in their fancies – wines at either Berry Bros & Rudd or Justerini & Brooks; cigars at James J Fox, guns at Beretta or William Evans, hats at Lock & Co and shoes at John Lobb… FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 99

John Lobb Limited was founded in back one day” were words attributed him gain recognition in Sydney high 1889 by the namesake, John Lobb. His to John. Realising that with only his society. For the Great Exhibition of descendants have kept it, at least a skills, he wouldn’t be able to realise 1862 in London, John Lobb was the part of it, in the family since then and his challenge to the established boot- only gold medal winner from Australia the family firm is still reputed for the makers – so he sailed for Australia to – a big global recognition. Chuffed highest standards in the exacting craft jump onto the gold rush bandwagon. with this validation and armed with a of bespoke shoemaking by hand. The wood and glass-panelled façade of the current premises at No. 9, St. James's Street complete with majestic pillars, is crested with the Given his handicap, it was unlikely that he would dig for gold. But once off the boat, he created a demand for hardwearing boots, which prospector gold- very special piece of information – the measures of HRH The Prince of Wales – John made a special pair for riding boots for the fashion icon and sent them off to the Palace with an outlandish request for royal warrants that the the Royal Warrant! Which firm has secured – the large bold gold-painted was accepted!! letters L O B B celebrate John the founder and announce England the century and a half old quite a big shop on 296 family heritage. Regent Street to set him apart The Past set up the other proudly displayed on the main entrance announced worker family in the village of that the highest class of Tywardreath near Fowey customers were welcome. in Cornwall in south east A second shop at 29 St. England. crippling James’s Street brought injury early in his working him closer to Thomas’ career on the farm left the – and to realising his teenaged John lame. He dream. Before he died couldn’t continue to work in 1895, he added many with his father – he joined international honours to A as an apprentice to the local shoemaker to learn a skill that he would later owe his entire life to. The ambitious John wasn’t content being the best Cornish shoemaker and hobbled and limped to make a very dangerous 200 miles journey to 100 from to coat of arms that was Christmas week 1829 to agricultural and back shoemakers. The royal John Lobb was born in an moved his trophy cabinet with diggers readily exchanged their rags glowing references to the excellence of for, to foray into the Aussie outback his craft. terrain. In the boots, he skilfully crafted a special compartment in the heel to safe-keep the precious finds – this was much sought after. Successors maintained the bull run of international awards and recognitions. Grandson William Hunter Lobb created his own icon – the double buckle monk London and ‘demand’ employment Having earned a rather large booty of strap. The Parisian branch at 1 Rue at Thomas’ on St. James’s Street, a gold, John was able to acquire a shop du Vingt Neuf Juillet opened in 1901. leading bootmaker of the day. But, his on George Street in Sydney to set up In this Edwardian era of opulence and ragamuffin travel-worn persona and his own establishment – John Lobb, splendour, John Lobb shoes and boots belligerent attitude was reason enough Bootmaker – his first. Mastery of the were synonymous with luxury, quality for them to throw him out. “I’ll be gentle craft of last and awl helped and elegance. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

FINE L i f e s t y l e The Royals In deference to the vision of the founder, the family firm proudly holds a unique triple of the coveted Royal Warrants to be Bootmaker to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; to His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh; and to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. The Lobb’s are proud that the firm has managed to retain its royal recognition which also manifests itself in supporting the rare British crafts and craftsmanship. The Art A pair of Lobb’s boots or shoes are unique to the foot that they are crafted for by a team of specialized skilled workers, all of whom have acquired their skills serving in long apprenticeships. Once the customer has been accepted at John Lobb, after patiently waiting for what seems like eternity, the FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 101

indentations, protrusions and all, carved from a solid block of wellgrained maple, beech or hornbeam. The Last is the key to containing the foot in ease and comfort. The Clicker uses vast experience with hides and skins to choose, cut and pattern the no-less-than eight pieces of leather that form the upper – in the style ordered by the customer. The piece best suited to that particular part of the upper is used. The colour, weight, grain and flexibility of the leather is determined to ensure the smartness and durability of the shoe. At any time, John Lobb offers a minimum choice from fifty different leathers – the finest from specialist 102 merchants who have supplied for feet are examined by the Fitter, who told by a well-fitting, comfortable, worn meticulously measures each dimension shoe. a great many years and that meet of each foot and whose trained fingers These notes and tracings are translated record every individual distinctive that doesn’t deter Lobb from seeking by hand by the Last Maker with a feature and precision. In the rare event special skins if requested. In his story special knife into a precisely contoured of the Lobb’s, “The Last shall be First”, that personal contact is not possible, replica of the customer’s foot within a Brian Dobbs shares the incident when his practised eye will read the story millimetre, complete with the outlines, a gent walked into the store with a FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA their exacting requirements. But,

curious grey roll tucked under his arm FINE L i f e s t y l e and asked if a pair of shoes could be made out of his prized elephant’s ear! The Closer sews the pieces together, with all necessary linings and stiffeners, to give the upper its exact final distinctive shape whilst fitting onto the last for correct proportions. The Rough Stuff Cutter is responsible for the bottoms – selecting the materials for the welt, the stiffeners, the heels lifters, and the soles. For the soles, the best oak-bark English tanned leather is used, each being diligently selected. The Maker brings the carefully assembled upper together with the essential long wearing Lobb sole and the leather heel built up piece by piece. The dampened inner sole is moulded to the last’s bottom – the tautly drawn uppers and moist sole are securely sewn to the welt – a leather strip that runs through the front of the shoe. Precision drives this task – tensions must be evened through the shoe to ensure that the fit is akin to a cosy glove without any slack. A Maker at Lobb can tell the exact number and length of the stitches to the inch that would give strength to the union of the sole and upper on any shoe. The Socker fits the thin piece of leather that carries the shop’s name and the royal warrants printed in gold onto the innersole. Any padding or metatarsal pads required by the customer will be fitted. Once the eyelet holes are punched and the innersole smoothened out, the Polisher brings the shoes to their final pristine glory – using brushes, cloths, fingers, polish, water – sometimes even spit – the pair will get a well-deserved glowing finish. Such is the commitment of the Lobb’s – William secured a patent FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 103

for polishing wax using spirit black and long experience to perform their many have no shoemaking training. It was vinegar in 1906. interlinked tasks with love, care and baptism by fire! He was directed to great attention to detail through the lead the world famous firm of Lobb to long process to craft a unique individual carry on making high class footwear as pair of shoes so that the shape and masterpiece. a message to the world that whatever appearance of the shoes is maintained The Shop The Tree Maker will create wooden shoe trees exactly to each individual and their life is prolonged for many years to come. 104 In a period of rebuilding the firm the Germans did, London’s Westend was continuing to do what it did best – craft specialties for loyal wealthy customers. Another pair of John Lobb shoes has through the years of turmoil that were been born – “hallmarked” to combine the Great Depression and the World The premises were bombed to bits comfort and good appearance with Wars, the Lobb family worked to regain several times, and the resilience of the long wear for the ultimate satisfaction the lost glory of the firm. William’s Lobb’s brought them back as if nothing of the wearer. Many skilled craftsmen brother and Oxonian Eric Lobb joined had happened. From No. 29 established draw on their natural aptitude and the firm, the first in the Lobb family to by the founder to No. 55 to No. 26, the FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

store kept moving so that the task of FINE L i f e s t y l e making shoes for the world continued uninterrupted. Eric’s flair for the business that he had revived helped him consolidate many acquisitions of rivals. In 1962, sites were being cleared for the ‘Economist Tower’ and Eric stubbornly held out like a modern day Nail House – before moving to the present premises. No. 9 is not just a window for the sale of merchandise. It is actually an atelier, with an open layout that allowed the customer who walked in to be able to see and interact with the craftsmen working on their pieces in their work aprons with a multitude of tools. The Fits The Lobb order book determines how long it takes for a pair of shoes to be delivered. Normally, the first pair could take six months and that halves for recommends that the measures are the shoes (and lasts) made can be taken at the shop by the Fitter. They fantastic for years, some others could don’t make trial pairs – only shoes to be constantly coming in for fine tuning completion – now, that’s confidence! and adjustments all the way along. “Our fitting depends always depends on how difficult your feet are to fit with a well-fitting pair of shoes.” Lobb’s are only leather, which is very pliable and can be stretched, shrunk, moulded to the shape needed, and other natural fibres – absolutely no subsequent pairs. ‘Need by’ requests Fits do vary from individual to plastic – that can be adjusted if the are treated with compassion. Lobb individual. need does arise. Once delivered, some For some customers, FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 105

shoes may come back for maintenance after 40 years – obviously depending on how well they are looked after and how much they have been worn. The Patrons The Rich and the Famous – kings, maharajas, nawabs, actors, musicians, politicians, literati – all have flocked to Lobb’s for the last century and a half. A peek into the well archived firms ledgers reveal the distinguished patrons: The Aga Khan, Royals HRH Prince of Asturias from Madrid and 106 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA His Highness Maharajah Gaekwad Baroda Sir Sayaji Rao III, Opera Tenors Enrico Caruso and Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin, fashionista Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, businessmen Andrew Carnegie and Bernard Oppenheimer, wireless inventor Guiglielmo Marconi, prize-giver Joseph Pulitzer, singer Frank Sinatra, composer Cole Porter, novelist Ronald Firbank, Prime Ministers of the Great Britain like Neville Chamberlain or Harold Macmillan. Most would have about 4 pairs – some extravagant ones would have 40!

The Sale In the seventies, analysts modelled ready-to-wear lines as the growth drivers – where the millions lay. The focus of the Lobb family was always made-to-measure, never ready-towear. In 1976, the decision was taken by Eric to let Hermès acquire a controlling interest in the bespoke workshop in Paris – now at 32 rue de Mogador – and the global rights to the ready-to-wear lines. (Eric’s grand nephew) learnt the skills on the shop floor with the Rough Stuff Cutter and was guided by the older craftsmen. “For three decades with my father, John, I got to see exactly how shoes are made and experienced all the issues that come up in the making of a shoe. Once I became more knowledgeable, I was able to take more decisions.” William recalled. Jonathan started making Lasts – and stuck to that. The brothers rose the ranks to master their respective shoemaking skills. Nicolas, a professional property lawyer, took over administration. The craftsmen don’t just walk through the door – they have to be trained. Those who love to work with their hands and are keen to learn the crafts of the bygone age tend to be the long stayers. Some who have inherited the skills from earlier generations are worth their weight in gold. FINE L i f e s t y l e Casanova Frank Harris’ was a regular and in his account of his exploits in the gay nineties, one can count the number of beds under which his Lobb boot are found. From records reproduced by Brain Dobbs, between 1899 and 1902, Harris put a princely sum of fifty five pounds down for 18 shoes – on long term credit that allowed him to look the best – with a reasonable balance of fifteen pounds staying unpaid!! The Future The timeless traditions of John Lobb shoes – exceptional quality, fine craftsmanship, comfort, durability and elegance – are flourishing. The craft, expertise and ingenuity have been preserved at John Lobb through the times for any patron, who can be as well-shod as anyone in history. > While some in the family think it was a shame that they had to cede some control on the use of the name, John Lobb, the customers from around the world continued to flock to the family owned shop to order their shoes. Lobb presents an ancient craft to those who have the appetite. In the very tiny bespoke shoe making world, many customers realise a dream when they walk through the doors at 9 St. James’s Street. The Firm The legacy of the firm revered for excellence in handmade boot and shoemaking, is presently in the hands of the fifth generation of the founder’s family. The siblings, William, Jonathan and Nicolas manage the firm. As has been the family tradition, William FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 107



F lanked by Oxford Street and Marylebone in the north, Regent Street and Soho in the east, Piccadilly and St James’s in the south and Park Lane and Hyde Park in the west, Mayfair is the golden quadrilateral at the very heart of the London borough of Westminster. A fortnight long annual fair in May that ran for almost eight decades in the 17th and 18th century gave this district its name. Local upnosed nobility perceived the fair to “lower the tone of the neighbourhood” and had the loud louts relocated – these large rural expanses were earmarked for exclusivity and were developed for the then aristocrats and landed wealthy. Pristine, lush and beautifully laid out squares (with majestic trees dating back 250 years) and historic architecture make a stunning, full-of-energy, haven for the privileged residents who revel in the stylish civility that wafts through the peaceful, serene and rarified air. Home to some very influential people – Queen Elizabeth was born on Bruton Street, Winston Churchill’s bachelor pad was on Mount Street, the composer George Frederic Handel composed at his Brook Street apartment – the most coveted card on the Monopoly board earned its reputation as the playground for the rich and famous. Mayfair is a melting pot of global cultures, a bustling social icon and the place to be seen – specially from dusk to dawn – at one of the many private members’ clubs, signature gastronomic delights, landmark pubs, contemporary lounge bars or chic cafés. > 112 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA


ANNABEL’S The epicentre of London’s fun times can be traced to No. 46 Berkeley Square – the new home to the exclusive private members’ club, Annabel’s. Just two doors down from where it all began a little over half a century ago – spread across 26,000 square feet of enviable extravagance in an extensively renovated Grade I Gregorian Mansion. If you do get the chance to pass through the most-instagrammed façade – usually decorated with its signature building-sized Christmas tree or other topical installations – the Club is a delicate balance of glamour and grandeur with intimacy and comfort – perfect to “entertain and be entertained” through the day…. and night! Members, who waited rather long for this privilege, are spoilt for choice with as many as five restaurants to indulge their cravings. Be it the Signature Pizza Bianca – a truffle pizza that can be smelt from a mile away – at the “Garden” under the multi million pound (Wimbledon inspired) retractable glass roof or the very sinful Original Annabel’s Dark Chocolate Cake in “Rose” or India inspired Duck Dosas and Prawn Chettinad in the “Elephant Room” or Whisky Sours at the “Jungle Bar” – as if the prized few have options for every moment. And to complete the offer, Henriot Brut Sovereign Annabel’s Private Label is the “house” pour and Ruinart Blanc de Blancs or Rosé are available by the glass. Clément 114 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Roberts MS, Group Head Sommelier, curated the extensive wine list of rare, great and noble wines of exceptional vintages going back many many years and very proudly presents the largest privately owned collection of Dom Perignon – including the very rare Rosé Gold 2002 in Methusaleh at £40,000. Founded on superb service, exclusive ambience, first class cuisine and unparalleled entertainment, Annabel’s isn’t shy to make a statement. Annabel’s 46 Berkeley Square, London W1J 5AT +44 203 915 4046 |

Elegance and excellence in a gourmet experience? Hélène Darroze at The Connaught has catapulted food lovers into a new orbit over the last decade. A fourth generation chef, Hélène received the coveted 3rd Michelin Star earlier this year. “Every dish I have ever created is part of who I am”, says Hélène. Her obsession with ingredient quality and origin, creativity and eye for detail is ingrained in all the team – she signs her passion on every dish! The works of culinary art presented by Head Chef Marco Zampese and his team reflect the guest’s personal tastes. Parisian architect, Pierre Yovanovitch, kept with the site’s historic integrity and emphasised craftsmanship while customising almost every element of “Art de la Table”. The hand-blown glass chandelier with blue lacquered wrought iron brings contemporary contrast to two specially commissioned Damien Hirst’s symbolizing power and beauty of nature. Ceramicist Ema Pradere was commissioned for hand-thrown consommé bowls and Hermes’ Bleu D’Ailleurs was selected for the tea and coffee service. The Chef’s Table is special – only metres from the kitchen’s creative buzz. Seating 10 under the specially commissioned Rochegaussen cobalt blue fresco, specially made Matteo Gonet lamps spotlight the food and the chefs unleash a memorable experience. foundations that hold nearly 3,500 labels. The champagne selection balances wellestablished brands, discovery producers and vignerons. Frederic Savart Cuvée L’Overture Brut and Pascal Agrapart Cuvée Terroirs Extra Brut feature by the glass, as do rosés by Eric Rodez and Billecart Salmon. Krug Grande Cuvée from Magnum crowns the offer. FINE Spotlight HÉLÈNE DARROZE A bespoke, full sensory feast for each guest. Hélène Darroze at The Connaught Carlos Place, London W1K 2AL +44 203 147 7200 Daniel Manetti, Director of Wine, has the key to the limestone wine cellar deep near the FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 115

HIDEAWAY A vintage Parisian bric-a-brac feel was added to Mayfair’s Mount Street when Hideaway flung open its doors to give locals a much deserved coffee place. The small and spirited sibling of the Michelin decorated and widely acclaimed Hide on Piccadilly rooted itself in this tony neighbourhood after successful pop-up showings. The eccentric interiors of the quaint delicatessen mirror the founders’ quirkiness and subtleness and packs the coveted quality of Ollie Dubbous’ food into the customised offerings for those on-the-go who are timestarved – but without any compromises. “Our table service or food-to go surprises and satisfies our most demanding patrons who expect simple sophistication. We offer the option of private small gatherings with bespoke packages to suit every occasion and every budget,” says Andrew Alu who heads the kitchen. 116 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA Deli staples like hot beverages, viennoiseries, patisserie and confiture are complemented with vintage-inspired pastries, the classic ‘Croque Monsieur’, a signature lobster roll, freshly made sandwiches and salads… The coupe de champagne selection is extremely meaningfully selected from the humungous list available via Hedonism. Champagne lovers can choose from R de Ruinart, Ruinart Rose or Krug. And in case its tea that one is up for, the selection from Mariage Frères is extensive. Hideaway has in short time, but not unexpectedly, positioned itself as a deli of choice. Chief Executive Tatiana Fokina advises, “just walk-in (no reservations) and watch the world go by indoors or outdoors: enjoy a glass of Champagne in the summer sunshine”. Hideaway 100 Mount Street, London, W1K 2TG +44 203 146 8666 |

FINE Spotlight BENARES The ancient name of one of the holiest cities in India, Benaras has built a long-standing patronage for its vibrant and inventive Indian meals with a refined modern British panache. Since opening its doors in 2003, a flight of steps up at Berkeley Square House, Benaras Restaurant & Bar elevated the perception of traditional Indian cuisine and regained its Michelin decoration this year. It may not seem so, but it’s an 85 cover restaurant with a 30 cover lounge bar and many private dining spaces that are designed for special experiences. The prized Sommelier’s Table for 10 is backdropped by a fine wine wall to draw from! The team led by Mukesh Pandey will help you chose your seats, and you will never be disappointed with their recommendation. Chef Sameer Taneja draws on influences (and spices) from India to enhance the finest quality and impeccably sourced local ingredients. The Baked Malabar Scallop and Meen Dakshani are highly recommended. Tandoori Lamb Chops have an all-time high fan following. The six-course tasting menu with wine pairings rounds off an elaborate dining experience for those who may be shy of the á la carte. Those with limited time can’t go wrong with the Business Thali – in and out in 45 minutes! A wide selection of delightful Champagnes allows the option to create a balanced flavour profile for the gastronomic adventure through the sub-continent. Sip on 007 James Bond’s choice – Bollinger Special Cuvée – by the glass or if in the mood the indulge, there’s the Salon 1997 or the Cristal Rose 1989. Benares presents tradition with daring modernity. Benares Restaurant & Bar 12A Berkeley Square, London W1J 6BS +44 207 629 8886 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 117

DAVIES AND BROOK Daniel Humm, the Swiss born American chef, is revered since his three Michelin starred Eleven Madison Park was named #1 by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants some years ago. Adding further to the problem of plenty for gourmands in Mayfair, Humm launched his first outpost across the Atlantic at the most respected Grande Dame in the world – the Claridge’s. It was a homecoming of sorts – Humm had started here as a 15-year old kitchen commi. Davies and Brook, named for the crossroads which it opens to, is a place of casual elegance where guests are pampered with the most delicious and gracious dining experience. Architect Brad Cloepfil revitalised the space, removing layers, simplifying materials and colours and introducing bespoke contemporary geometries in the room and on the table. The menu blends the incredible bounty of seasonal local ingredients with the chefs’ global journey – complete with trademark surprises. The roasted duck that is dry aged in-house for a fortnight and glazed with lavender and honey; the bacon-wrapped and gruyère-topped “Humm Dog” and the Claridge’s Fried Chicken are the sought after signature dishes. Humm says he is “happiest when guests relax, enjoy our food and hospitality and then be inspired to go out and do amazing things”. They must’ve. Because Davies and Brook won the coveted Michelin star in short time. The Sommelier spotlights J. Lassalle Préférence; Germar Breton; Guiborat Prisme.14 Blanc de Blancs; Chartogne-Taillet Rosé; Pierre Péters Cuvée de Réserve Blanc de Blancs in a very balanced selection of over 150 cuvées – including some old and rare vintages – for the discerning Claridge’s guest. Davies and Brook at Claridge’s Brook Street, London W1K 4HR +44 (0)20 7107 8848 118 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA

If you are up for a Latin American rainforest adventure without traversing the oceans, Amazónico has been reimagined in London. The brainchild of Sandro Silva and Marto Seco, the very successful restaurateur couple who gave Madrid a celebrity-spotting spot, Amazónico is inspired by the Amazon – the longest river in the world (not the e-comm giant)! The founders’ homage to nature connects people, cultures and traditions. “We bring our energy to this fabled Square – our Latin American emotion and passion makes every visit of every guest unique”. The artist designer Lázaro Rosa-Violan used lots of wood and terracotta features sourced from the origin, only natural greenery and organic warm materials – all to capture the rainforest feel.” Through sight, touch and taste, guests are led through a sensory journey along the flow of the Amazon river, exploring the gastronomic heritage and culinary diversity of the Amazon basin. The ethnic cuisines of Brazil, Colombia and Peru and all influences of the Asian and Mediterranean communities that inhabit the area are a treat for the discoverer from lunch till the wee hours of the morning. The Champagne offering is a treat for old vintage lovers – the Cristal Vinothèque 1995 or the more ‘recent’ 2012 or the Dom Perignon 2008 from magnum or Dom P2 2002. FINE Spotlight AMAZÓNICO As dusk turns to dark, the resident DJ and house bands keeps the spirits high with inspired Latin jazz. The peacocks adorning the striking bar and lounge emanate energetic ‘elec-tropical’ sounds! Amazónico offers an explosion of the senses for the adventurer. Amazónico 10 Berkeley Square, London W1J 6BR +44 207 404 5000 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 119

THE GRILL Overlooking Hyde Park for the last nine decades, The Dorchester is one of the world’s most iconic heritage hotels – a place that defines its destination and is a destination in itself – completely steeped in history. The Grill is the personal modern day interpretation of one of London’ finest chefs, Tom Booton, who injected a fresh energy into the legendary dining room with his talented brigade – none of them have blown thirty candles off their birthday cake yet. The vibrant atmosphere facilitates a warm, approachable and relaxed dining experience. With a genuine commitment to sourcing the finest local and seasonal produce, the signature dishes – Prawn Scotch Egg with warm Tartare Sauce or Lobster Thermidor Tart – on the ever-evolving menu celebrate 120 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA the bounty of local growers. Even the plates are from Peckham potter, Laura Hughes and London creatives designed the centre appointments. With front row runway banquette seats to the performers in the kitchen, the unique Pudding Bar lends a theatrical element to the guest experience. As they indulge in the to-die-for desserts – the Banoffee Tart with Roasted Banana Ice-cream or the “Double Decker” – Booton will join them for a chat! The “Wine Vault”, hidden somewhere in the labyrinth of kitchen galleys, holds the crème de la crème of the carefully selected labels in the wine offer. Indulge in a glass of the evercharming Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Carte Jaune Brut or Rosé as you step onto the “The Dorchester Rooftop” with sweeping views of sunset on Hyde Park. The Grill at The Dorchester Park Lane, London W1K 1QA +44 20 7629 8888 |

Conceived as a relaxed Parisian bistro – vibrant and contemporary – this restaurant in the landmark Sotheby’s Auction House on New Bond Street is a favourite among art lovers attending auctions and exhibitions. With an emphasis on British design and craftsmanship, its design honours the Georgian heritage while also paying homage to the exquisite works of art that have passed through its doors. FINE Spotlight SOTHEBY’S Hanging above the diners are light fittings based on the “hands of Caravaggio” from the artist’s great masterpiece Supper at Emmanus, and his portrayals of St Francis of Assisi and Bacchus, the Greco-Roman god of wine and festivity. Open for breakfast and delicious all day dining food choices, the menu is inspired by the seasons and focuses on sustainable, locally-sourced organic produce. A must have is the Sotheby’s signature dish – the synonymous “Lobster Club Sandwich”. A small but carefully curated wine list is blessed by Serena Sutcliffe MW, the Honorary Chairman of Sotheby’s Wine, and each listing compliments the vibrant menu to satisfy the taste buds of the demanding Bond Street’s lunchtime cognoscenti. Sotheby’s private label champagne – the Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs NV elaborated by Champagne R&L Legras (depuis 1808) – is listed by the glass or by bottle. Don’t miss it, even if this rather unknown culinary haven at the heart of the art world is very discreetly tucked away. Sotheby’s 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA +44 207 293 5077 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 121

PARK CHINOIS Extravagance in an opulent experience. The bold red doors on Berkeley Street are an invitation to Shanghai of the swinging thirties. Plush interiors, superlative cuisine, seductive atmosphere, attentive service and flamboyant entertainment string together Park Chinois. Old fashioned glamour and live acts combine to great effect – the food and the show compete for guest attention. Authentic dishes are crafted with the finest ingredients by deft artisans. The indulgent menu traverses the length of China – the signature 72-hour roasted Duck de Chine and the handcrafted paper thin dim-sum platter are favourites with regulars. Gilded ceilings and silk lampshades light up Salon de Chine, where exotic Shanghai meets modern sophistication. Enjoy intimate, even romantic, dining with the live band serenading the finest jazz. Salon Noir is a cocoon that seats guests around a handsome Makassar Ebony table and is warmed by a roaring Carrara marble fireplace. A level down the spiral staircase draped in finely embellished red velvet to the vibrant and hedonistic Club Chinois – 122 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA where performers thrill and entertain guests with unique acts. Make a telling announcement that is most suited to the highly ornate plush backdrops – the golden hued Armand de Brignac in Jéroboam. Or just admire them with a glass of the Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque from the 2012 vintage. For the purists, there’s the charming blancs de noir – Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises from the vintage 2005. The chefs delight, singers croon, acrobats spin, burlesque dancers wow at Park Chinois – a time machine to go back into the golden ages. Park Chinois 17 Berkeley Street, London W1J 8EA +44 20 3327 8888 |

FINE Spotlight GALVIN AT WINDOWS The views from Galvin at Windows Restaurant & Bar atop the 28 storied tower (the tallest in Mayfair and its vicinity touching a little over 100 metres) that is the London Hilton on Park Lane are unparalleled. Stunning natural light glows through the floor-to-ceiling windows, highlighting the ornate burnished wood decorations. The restaurant has been laid out so that each guest enjoys their time savouring the gourmet meals without missing out on the views of Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, London Eye, BT Tower, St. Paul’s, Shard and other iconic London sites. On a bright sunny day, even the distant Canary Wharf and Wembley Stadium can be sighted. Head Sommelier, Rudina Arpi, has the last word on the cellar since she joined in 2012. Passionate about organic, biodynamic and natural cuvees from small vignerons, the gems on her list are Val Frison Cuvée Goustan Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature NV and Pierre Gerbais L’Audace Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature 2014. She could indulge you in a coupe of the 007 favourite – Bollinger. Galvin at Windows celebrates its 15th birthday – 15 Years At The Top – this summer. Guests will enjoy special moments at this unparalleled vantage point with a 360° panorama. Galvin at Windows 22 Park Lane, London W1K 1BE +44 207 208 4021 | The founder chef patron, Chris Galvin, and the team led by Head Chef Marc Hardiman, focus on innovative fusion crafted using the finest sustainable seasonal produce. “We constantly experiment, so that the melange of flavours offers true satisfaction, lasting impressions and inspiring experiences.” Discretely attentive servers lay out the meals, course by course, and pay attention to guest needs with warmth and care. FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA 123

CUT In five decades, Wolfgang Puck has created a highly respected eponymous brand in the culinary world – a television show, biography series, cookbooks, a cooking school, syndicated newspaper column, branded food and housewares – Puck is an oft-awarded celebrity chef whose hands celebrities eat from. Cut at 45 Park Lane (the intimate-sized Dorchester Collection jewel with world class culinary credentials) is a sleek, contemporary American steakhouse that delights the senses with evocative art, engaging design, vibrant energy and signature steaks – which included the previously unobtainable Japanese Wagyu! Newly appointed Executive Chef Jamie Shears’ style relies on quality, seasonal, sustainable produce – the Wagyu is great quality and 21 days aged but sourced locally from Suffolk – to elevate the menu by showcasing California’s flavour diversity and embracing Eastern Asian and Oceanian influences. Highlights are the Grilled Native Lobster and Potato Gnocchi with Asparagus, Morels in Sauce Américaine; Cornish Salted Caviar 124 FINE WINE & CHAMPAGNE INDIA with Sour Cream and Savoury Doughnuts… and for the vegetarians – Agnolotti of New Season Peas and Ricotta with 24 month Parmesan; Spinach and Tofu Dumplings with Shiitake Mushroom Bouillon. The longstanding favourites that patrons have come to know and love are still prized offerings. Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2007 Brut or Rosé – all by the glass, while admiring Damien Hirst’s Diamond Dust Psalms or gazing onto Hyde Park and the fascinating hum of London beyond the windows. From a very painstakingly curated champagne list, enjoy the range of master-crafted cuvées from the first ever champagne house, Ruinart – R de Ruinart, Blanc de Blancs, Rosé, or Dom Cut at 45 Park Lane London W1K 1PN +44 20 7493 4545 A celebrated feast in a picture-perfect setting.

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