A warm winter afternoon, charming shaded seating with ample greenery and water misters, bunches of grapes strung along with lanterns bobbing from trees, contributed to a perfect ambience. The fourth Malaka Vallonné Wine Fest was held at the lovely al-fresco area of Malaka Spice restaurant, Koregaon Park, Pune, on 9th February 2014. Brinda Gill was among the guests.
That the venue was a draw was amply clear with all the tables occupied soon after the festival commenced at noon. The delicious cuisine and easy informality that Malaka Spice is synonymous with and choice Vallonné wines that capture the passion of the winery’s founder and CEO, Shailendra Pai, and resident winemaker, Sanket Gawand, added to the setting with most guests staying on till evening. Guests were spoilt with free flowing, refreshing sangrias – white, rosé and red – as well as the entire range of Vallonné wines, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Crimson Glory (a blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon), Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon Classique, Rosé and the dessert wine, Vin De Passerillage.
The restaurant’s regular à la carte menu comprising an extensive choice of Southeast Asian cuisine was on offer, and combined wonderfully with the wines. Adding to the fun of the afternoon were three trivia quizzes related to Vallonné wines and Malaka Spice and an informal wine Q&A around films and music, as well as a competition stacking plastic wine glasses. A drawing competition for kids and an oak vat, repeatedly filled with red grapes to stomp and take photos ensured that the fun continued late into the day.
Very pleased with the response to the festival, Shailendra Pai commented, “The festival is a combination of great food, great wine and great ambience. It is growing each year and it shows that people are really interested in wine-related activities. Next year, at the festival’s fifth event we plan to add a few more fun features that we are sure wine lovers will enjoy.”
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