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A wine lover’s epiphany

Back in the winter of 2016, dining with fellow wine-loving Indian friends at “Le Fat Poodle” restaurant in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, I came across an unfamiliar name while perusing the wine list. Nestled in between familiar French and Californian wines was a 2014 KRSMA Sangiovese. Intrigued, we decided to try it. It was an amazing epiphany for us – a sophisticated, fruit-forward wine with just the right hint of oak and an excellent finish. For me, it was the moment when I realized Indian wine was as good as anything the world had to offer, probably better. Ever since then, I have sought out their bottles when returning home to Bangalore, initially from New York and now from Delhi, where I currently reside.

Later on, I discovered their excellent chardonnays (alas, no longer available), sauvignon blancs, and syrahs. Right now, their 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is staring back at me as I write this. KRSMA’s price points (particularly for the whites) indicates a belief that their product and quality has a well-deserved place in the nascent Indian marketplace for fine wine. My earnest request to the Chigurupatis is, please find a way to extend the reach of the finest wine produced in India beyond the South. Delhi should be a receptive audience and hopefully, we can host you at some point (maybe with one of your legendary wine vertical dinners).
— Vish Ranganathan, Gurugram

An invaluable guide to buying wine

SI’s first edition for 2020 contains plenty of enjoyable reading, starting with the editor’s page. Having recently moved to Bengaluru I find the editor’s list of wine suggestions, “Which Wine? Twenty for 2020” an invaluable guide to buying wine here. What I particularly like is that the list includes some of the best Indian wines which, by a quirk of marketing strategy and excise regulations, were not available in Gurugram my erstwhile place of residence. In the wine shops here the shelves are practically groaning under their weight. I keep a copy of the list in the car so that I never leave home without it.

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Then there is Rahoul Singh’s excellent write-up on “A Woman and her Wine Estates”, Caroline Frey, which is well worth revisiting a couple of times. The deft philosophical touches – for instance, drawing a parallel between the relationships of a rider and her horse on the one hand, and a vigneron and her land on the other, where the human parties develop an affection for the other despite their natural idiosyncrasies lend an interesting angle to the art of winemaking and wine writing.
— Raghu Bahadur, Bengaluru

Biren 007 on the menu

Four years ago a new menu was being created by the Taj in Bangalore. They invited me for a fun tasting and asked me to concoct a recipe for a cocktail, which is an act of typical indulgence that resulted in the birth of BIREN 007!

Now a new cocktail recipe is more than just sport for a Friday afternoon. The experiment was meant to create something special and innovative with an amalgam of flavours, contours, glass
types, and ‘cocktail-shaker’ intensity. The assignment took on a life of its own. My ex-colleagues Sherry Joe and Parvathy Jaya were co-opted to join the test taste panel. We experimented with Bombay Sapphire Gin, Cinzano Bianco, Angostura Bitters, a range of mixers, Indian tonic water, and 7 Up with some cut fruit. In the end I think we found a way to make the martini glass smile with a recipe brimful of romance and passion! Since then BIREN 007 has been served widely to several guests of this sassy establishment.
— Biren Ghose, Bengaluru

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