December 2011 - Posts
Margaux vintages with vegetarian food
In 2001, five years after his restaurant L’Arpège in Paris had won three stars from Michelin, Passard declared that he was throwing out 12 signature dishes from his menu because they contained meat. From now on, he would concentrate on vegetables and a little fish.
This should have been the death knell for Arpège but, over the last decade, the restaurant has gone from strength to strength and Passard’s example has made other great French chefs (Pierre Gagnaire, for instance) look again at vegetarian options for their menus.
So, I was intrigued. Could you really pair the world’s greatest and most delicate red Bordeaux with vegetables?
And how would Indians respond to vegetables cooked by one of France’s greatest chefs?
The afternoon before the dinner I chatted to Paul Pontallier about the decision to pair some of the best Margaux vintages with vegetarian food. It turned out that Paul himself eats very little red meat and loves vegetables.
He wanted to prove to Indians that vegetarians could enjoy great wines and so, he pursued Passard relentlessly for months till the chef agreed to come to India for a week and cook three dinners: at the Leela in Bangalore and the Taj hotels in Bombay and Delhi.
Passard gave us, as Sanjay Menon said, a master class in pairing but you can only have so much of that sort of thing.
More: The Hindustan Times
Wine sales are expected to grow by 25 per cent next year, according to the government wine promotion body.
But it’s slow going. “This country has five major religions and four of them forbid the consumption of alcohol,” says Mr. Sharma, who trains hotel and restaurant staff who have never tasted wine all about how to sell and serve it. There is nevertheless plenty of drinking – but here traditional village homebrew meets British colonial legacy. Indian drinkers usually opt for spirits, not wine, which is perceived as “weak” and unlikely to achieve what the drinker wants it to.
True to form, at the end of the golf club tasting the staff tidied up the wine glasses, the 70 participants settled back in their chairs – and nearly all of them ordered a whisky. “They always go back to what they know,” sighed Tarun Sibal, who heads marketing for Fratelli. Tastings, he explained, are a key part of his strategy. “We don’t make a soap, or a laptop, where we could just do an advertisement.” Individual drinkers, such as the skeptical Mr. Tandon, must be won over one by one.
More: The globe and mail
Sovna Puri puts her senses to use every day, as a wine taster, to distinguish every variety of wine. "It's like a never-ending story," says the 31-year-old Puri, Head-Tastings and Training, Sula Vineyards, referring to the study and understanding of wine.
Her role is instrumental in building awareness and educating people. "Sula's market share has gone from 25% three years ago to 60% today and a large part of that is simply due to the tastings we conduct with Sovna across the country," says Rajeev Samant, founder of Sula Vineyards. Puri also works weekends and late evenings. She doesn't mind it so much. "Every wine tasting is a party and you feel like the star of it," laughs Puri. Her clientele includes eminent bankers and their HNI clients, MNCs and their employees and the urban elite who host wine tastings for their guests. Puri also works with the top restaurants and hotels in the country to train their staff in choosing wines for their menus.
More: The Economic Times
Mumbai, Dec 27: Tilaknagar Industries Ltd. [TI] (BSE:
507205; NSE: TI), a leading and well established player in the Indian Made
Foreign Liquor (IMFL) industry, announced that the Hon'ble Bombay High Court has
dismissed the Notice of Motion no. 993/2009 in Suit No. 632 / 2009 filed by UTO
Nederland B.V. seeking to restrain Tilaknagar Industries Ltd. from the use of
Trademarks ‘Mansion House’ and ‘Savoy Club’.
Commenting on this development Dr. Keshab Nandy, Chief
Legal Officer,Tilaknagar Industries Ltd. said, “We are pleased by the judgment
passed by the Hon'ble Bombay High Court, which we believe provides fair justice
and validates our stance. However, we are awaiting a copy of the judgment. We
have in the past, focused immense energies & investments towards the brands
‘Mansion House’ and ‘Savoy Club’ and developed them as sustainably successful
products in the Indian alcobev sector. Thus going ahead, we remain committed to
drive growth and fortify our long standing presence in the industry on the back
of a solid business model with strong brands and geographic reach.”
Sales of Mansion House Brandy closed in on nearly 6 million
cases in FY 10-11 and is expected to show a healthy growth in FY 11-12. Mansion
House Brandy is the second largest selling brandy in the world as per the latest
reports of Euro Monitor and remains one of the fastest growing brands in the
TI is a leading player in the IMFL industry with a dominant
presence in South India and continues to successfully extend its footprints on a
pan-India basis as well as in several overseas territories. TI has over the
years, widened its product and brand bouquet, which today consists of more than
40 brands at attractive price points for varied customer preferences and tastes.
TI has strived to establish its distinct identity in the liquor industry and
positions itself in the premium segments by continuously introducing brands.
TI’s brand array houses two millionaire brands, Mansion House Brandy and Madira
Rum which have also been recognized as the fastest growing domestic brands in a
study by Euromonitor.
The Company has achieved a healthy volume growth across its
brands, with its well-established manufacturing facilities along with several
lease and tie up arrangements with manufacturing units across India. TI is
confident on exploring ample growth opportunities that the sector offers, to
deliver solid performance on a sustained basis.
About Tilaknagar Industries Ltd. (TI)
Tilaknagar Industries Ltd. (BSE: 507205 / NSE: TI) is one
of the renowned Indian Made Foreign Liquor players (including whisky, brandy,
gin, rum and vodka) with presence across India. The Company manufactures,
markets and sells more than 40 brands across all price points. TI’s subsidiaries
are Prag Distillery (P) Ltd, Vahni Distilleries Private Limited, Kesarval
Springs Distillers Pvt. Ltd and Punjab Expo Breveries Private Limited. The
Company exports its products to Western Africa, the Middle East, the Far East
and Caribbean countries.
For further information, please visit
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India produced more than 13.5 million litres of wine last year (five times more than the UK) and although it has been making it for decades, this is the first year it has made a real splash among British oenophiles.
The white Ritu viognier 2010 and red Zampa syrah 2008 flew off the shelves when Waitrose became the first UK supermarket to stock Indian wines during a special promotion in August and the Ritu had such success that the supermarket's online arm now stocks it permanently. Indian producers had a strong visible presence at the London wine fair for the first time this year and Sula Vineyards' Sauvignon Blanc 2010, which is produced in Nashik in Maharashtra, was awarded a silver medal at the prestigious 2011 Decanter World Wine Awards.
Indian vineyards mostly grow French, Italian and Turkish grape varieties. Wine production in India has increased 300 per cent since 2003 and there are now 30 more wine companies than 10 years ago, offering a greater sense of competition.
Wine consultant Aloka Chandra is a fan of the Ritu voignier that proved so popular among British supermarket shoppers. He also recommends Luca Exotic Lychee wine, which he says is "reminiscent of a Gewurztraminer", the sweetness of which works well with spices.
More: The Independent
A bottle of Remy Martin's signature cognac, Louis XIII, costs between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 2.5 lakh in India, depending on the state where it's being sold. But Patrick Piana, CEO of the renowned French cognac house, considers India a big growth market for Remy products.
Remy Cointreau India with its luxury cognac (a variety of grape brandy from Cognac, France) has a committed team working with important customers including fivestar hotels, top restaurants and on-trade and off-trade outlets. Nashik Vintners (Sula Vineyards) is the sole importer and distributor of their wine and spirits portfolio in India. They are in discussions with different airport authorities in India to introduce these special areas.
Their consumers are HNIs (high net worth individuals) who can afford to spend on ultra premium spirits and also have a taste for the finest things in life. Brand loyalty and a one-on-one relationship are very important for Remy brands and they plan exclusive tours for HNIs and liquor connoisseurs to the cognac region in France. At Cognac, they have tours for visitors offering tastings, master classes and visits to their cellars and the historical estate. We are seeing a growing number of Indian visitors.
Catching ‘em young
Globally and in India, there are efforts by Remy Martin to position some of their products as party brands to capture the energy of younger consumers. A recent campaign has been the Remy IceBoXX, through which they are training bartenders in metros to serve chilled cognac shots. This will help to introduce their brands VSOP and XO to many young consumers and also give them their first taste of cognac, the iconic luxury spirit.
In Hollywood, Louis XIII has partnered with Film Foundation, the firm set up by Martin Scorsese, and its efforts in preserving the history of classic films. They have been supporting creative genius and will look at doing so in India.
More: The Economic Times
This year marks 10 years of Moët Hennessy India, which started distributing Moët & Chandon and Dom Pérignon in retail spots and restaurants in metros this year. Together, the two champagne brands of the House control 80% of the champagne market in India in terms of volume.
Daniel Lalonde: CEO Moët & Chandon
In India a few days ahead of a globally synchronized event for the brand—charity auctions in 11 cities across the world to celebrate a 100-year-old champagne from the brand’s Grand Vintage Collection on 11/11/11 (11 November), Daniel Lalonde’s trip also coincides with the imminent launch of Chandon, an indigenous sparkling wine that will be produced locally in Nashik, Maharashtra. The first bottles will be out in early 2013.
In India, Moët & Chandon has been quick to use the Bollywood to make its presence felt. Arjun Rampal, Abhay Deol, among others have associated with them.
Lalonde believes that to sell luxury one has to be intrinsically obsessed with one’s product. It’s evident that he is caught up in the long history of his brand, and that the retelling of Pérignon’s story is the part he loves best. “Champagne is an artisanal product. My work starts with the story of Dom Pérignon, and I make sure it’s that way for my staff too. I tell them to pull out the anecdotes...people fall in love.”
With a predilection for oenology, Lalonde has his nose in the House’swines too. He spends about a week every month in Champagne, a couple of weeks at the head office in Paris and the rest of the time meeting consumers around the world.
Moët & Chandon’s estates include the Abbey of Hauteville, where Pérignon spent 47 years as a winemaker and where he is buried. Their most premium champagne, the cuvée de prestige, is named Dom Pérignon in deference.
While Mumbai hosts its annual wine tasting festival in November, the scene shifts to Pune in December, and January sees Delhi Food and Wine Festival kick-off. Traditionally, Indians have been known to be reluctant to part with their preferred poisons – whisky, rum and vodka. However, a growing local wine industry has seen a surge in wine drinkers across Indian metros.
More: Which Right Choice
‘We ordered a glass of crisp Indian chardonnay from the well-rounded wine list. Beers from the region also are available.’ -Izidora Angel (Restaurant review based on one anonymous visit. The Daily Herald )
While Indian and Nepalese restaurants are still a bit of a novelty in the suburbs, at least in large part to non-Indian patrons, the existence of three Himalayan outposts — Gurnee, Bloomingdale and Niles — is evidence of the cuisine's appeal and the restaurant's success. Owners Vivek Raj Kunwar and Kiran Byanjankar and chef Bishnu Subedi comprise the trio behind the unique chain, and they certainly have figured out how to make this cuisine accessible.
3747 Grand Ave., Gurnee, (224) 637-3000, himalayanrestaurant.com
Setting: Moderately quiet, white tablecloth restaurant with a subdued elegance
Entrees: $10.95 to $18.95
Hours: Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; dinner: 5 to 10 p.m. daily
More: The Daily Herald