Gaja is one of the iconic wineries of Italy, with estates in Piemonte and Tuscany. Gaja Wine Ambassador Michela Inghese was recently in New Delhi to promote Gaja wines in India, which are distributed through Brindco. I caught up with her in Le Cirque at the Leela Palace in Delhi. We tasted and discussed three wines: Gaja Dagromis Barolo 2006, Gaja Barbaresco 2008, and Gaja La’Marcanda Promis 2009. Showing very well at this point of time, and my favourite among the three, was the Gaja Dagromis Barolo 2006. Watch my videotaped conversation with Michela.
Brindisi airport is a dramatically situated entrée to Puglia, the heel of Italy. Airplanes descend over the Adriatic, offering tantalizing glimpses of the turquoise sea and sandy beaches, before flying over a beachhead and making a grand landing on a small air-strip. Grand though is not a description that would apply only to Puglia’s coastline. Puglia (Apulia in its Roman origins and now in English) is well-known for its scale in wine and food production. In addition to a significant amount of wine, most of Italy’s pasta and olive oil are produced here. Continue reading
There is at least one online liquor and wine shop in India. It is the online shop of Bangalore-based liquor chain Madhuloka, which has a dozen brick-and-mortar liquor stores in the Garden City. It appears that their free-delivery for online sales is restricted to Bangalore. Continue reading
Last night I attended a tasting featuring wines from one of India’s newest wineries – Fratelli. Fratelli is doing many things right. One of the main is that they use only estate-grown grapes – that is grapes grown in their own vineyards. This is a big plus point for quality. Sub-contracting grape-growing to outside farmers, which is very common in India, can result in variable quality. Continue reading
From left to Right: Anthony Gourmel, Aman Dhall, Hugues Lechanoine
A conversation with Hugues Lechanoine, Managing Director of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, on April 4th, 2012 in New Delhi. The assessment in the introductory paragraphs below is my own. The transcript of the full-interview is below this summary.
Baron Philippe de Rothschild (BPDR) is a company that straddles the two extreme ends of the wine business – the very top-end luxury category through its Bordeaux first-growth Château Mouton Rothschild, and the value-branded end of the business through Bordeaux brand Mouton Cadet, and Chilean brand Escudo Rojo. Occupying the middle are other super-premium wines such as Opus One (in partnership with Robert Mondavi) and Almaviva (in partnership with Concha y Toro). Continue reading
Reports continue to trickle in about the impending cuts in India’s import duties on wine and spirits from the EU, as part of the EU-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) currently being negotiated. This latest report from the Economic Times mentions that the government of India (GOI) plans to reduce the duties on imported wines and spirits down to 75% from the current 150%. Apparently the EU is not happy with this plan and wants the custom duties reduced to around 30% citing the fact that high state excise duties will still keep EU wines and spirits very expensive. The article mentions that the GOI may further bring down import duties on some alcohol to 40% over a period of a few years after the implementation of the FTA.
Will halving import duties to 75% from the current 150%+ lead to a boom in consumption of imported wine in India? I doubt it. Continue reading
WSET Level-2 Wine Course at Trident BKC, Mumbai
I recently taught a 3-day wine course in Mumbai (under the WSET Level-2 Intermediate Certificate Program). The course was attended by 12 eager candidates from the trade (hotels, restaurants, importers).
The course was held at Trident Bandra-Kurla from March 16th-18th. Over 35 wines from around the world were served as part of the course. Continue reading