Brunch with a twist. A Mumbai Wine Classroom

W3 Sunday! Traditionally it’s a day of rest and recreation, where one can, without any degree of guilt or concern, sequester themselves as far away from the trials and tribulations often associated with the machinations of life in Mumbai town. Trust the pioneering spirit of the team from W3 to throw a spanner in the works. A brunch centered around a wine tutorial?? Now there is a new level of wine entertainment to be admired….
Left: Dharti Desai Founder W3, Nikki Palun of De Bortoli Wines, Chandni Dhall Partner W3

The ‘classroom’, Valhalla, that uber cool venue in Churchgate, was suitably transformed into a classroom cum vineyard where the focus, a blend of great food, wonderful wine, with just enough interaction, made for a very entertaining and rewarding way to enjoy the day. Much apart from the impending fun and frivolity that has become a benchmark with W3 events, Dharti Desai’s nominated charity of ‘Save the Children’ also benefited with a 10% donation from the afternoon.
The Masters of Brunch time ceremony, Craig W.Wedge, international wine consultant W3, and Nikki Palun of De Bortoli Vineyards, did a fabulous job leading the assembled guests through a five chapter interactive presentation highlighting the life processes of wine.
The focal point for the afternoon, De Bortoli; 3 generations of Australian winemaking, was seen from the perspective of the vineyard to the glass.
Six wines from the De Bortoli range, newly released in India with FineWinesnMore, were presented as an accompaniment to the delicious four course menu from the team at Valhalla. As is always the case, Sundays tend to meander on at a snail’s pace and this particular day was no exception. The lackadaisical musings of a small group of budding wine aficionados set the tone for the duration of the event. This was not about cramming the mind spaces of the assembled with a barrage of vinous gobbledygook. This was a Sunday, heaven forbid! Between mouthfuls of delicious culinary treats washed down with liberal amounts of good Aussie booze, the task was easy. Tell a simple story of wine from the family perspective of De Bortoli, and have a little fun along the way. And that’s exactly what they did.
The first wine in the glass was the Willowglen Semillon Chardonnay. Taste buds can always do with an early morning wake-up call and this was the best way to do it. This fresh, zesty mouthful of flavour and texture was a wonderful way to get everyone’s attention, and as accompaniment to the first course soup, it turned out to be a fabulous partnering.
The Accomplice Chardonnay and the Windy Peak Classic Dry White were next.
The Accomplice Chardonnay offered a little more weight in the mouth with ripe fruit flavours, a delicious mid palate creaminess and a gently winding finish. A Moorish little thing if I must say! The Windy Peak, a super swish blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon was an absolute joy to drink. Whilst both had opposing personalities, the melding of flavours and textures of both with the second course salad, proved to be a favourite of those doing the eating and drinking.
The reds started in the same fashion. The first red in the glass with the main course was the first release Windy Peak Nouveau Shiraz. The particular wine, modeled around the carbonic maceration practices of wines from the Beaujolais, offered a delightfully approachable alternative to the usually rich, unctuous styles favoured by Aussie Shiraz aficionados. Whilst deliciously light and fresh with juicy wild forest berry fruit flavours and a touch of gentle spice, the wine finished with enough texture and weight to appease the most serious of wine drinkers.
As a post main course cleanser, the Accomplice Shiraz and Willowglen Cabernet Merlot, enabled the tutored to sit back and relax to the antics and anecdotes of Craig and Nikki as they entertained the last chapter of the afternoon aptly named, ‘That was good, can I have another’.
Both wines delivered what we have come to expect from good quality Australian wines; big mouthfuls of juicy flavour with enough stylistic twists and turns along the way to make them stand out from the crowd and please all in attendance.
It was a difficult task to have anyone put there glasses down long enough to eat the dessert, let alone stop them from starting the wines from the beginning all over again.
In summary, it is hats off to the team at W3, Wine Women Wit for raising the bar and demystifying wines in such a pleasurable and entertaining manner. Furnishing the guests with a special certificate of participation was the last order for the day. A memento for a job well done for this lazy Sunday!
Johnny B. Pinot

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