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Eat Stay Love | A Brave New World by Nikhil Agarwal

This is a fascinating time for whisky enthusiasts. Gone are the days when the entire world of whisky would be broken up into what the folks in Scotland made or what the Americans drank. In fact, even in Scotland and America, people are choosing rebellious artisanal brands over well-known commercial labels. Malt lovers are wandering off the beaten path to explore the more exotic and the unknown. And they haven’t been disappointed. Stellar quality whisky is currently being produced across the world from Japanese brands that have taken the world by storm ever since the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 won the title of ‘World’s Best Whisky 2015’, granting it a cult status; to its neighbour, Taiwan, who has introduced Kavalan, an instant favourite amongst collectors since its launch in 2008. India too has had its own tryst with whisky. Some distilleries have gone and done what would have been considered impossible—making single malts that are truly world-class using local ingredients. And then there is Australia’s island state of Tasmania where several distilleries have started creating magic, taking advantage of the gifts given to them by nature. A word of advice to venture capitalists looking to invest, put your money here. As for whisky lovers, they can now explore this sacred water of life from different parts of the world just like wine connoisseurs have been doing for decades. I, for one, am eager to see what we discover on this journey. Here are some labels that have caught my attention in the last year or so from my travels around the world.

The Quiet Man 8 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey, Ireland Recently launched in India, this coveted bottle is for the collection. It offers sweet and crisp floral fragrances with notes of vanilla and oak. On the palate, it leaves a hint of honey, warm vanilla and spicy oak, and ends with a smooth finish.
$53.00

Woodford Reserve, USA Woodford Reserve is a Kentucky Straight Malt Whiskey crafted from 51 percent malt. It is aged in charred oak barrels, which lends it a rich flavour and amplifies its nutty characteristics found in the original Woodford Reserve.
$43.00

Amrut Rye Single Malt, India
Amrut Rye Single Malt is the first Indian whisky to be elaborated exclusively with European rye. With this, Amrut has become one of the few distilleries to be producing with rye. Aged for five years in American oak casks, this is a fruity and delicate dram. On the nose, it is white peach, caramel, roses, bread dough and cassia buds, while on the palate, it leaves notes of cherry, papaya, sauerbraten, cocoa, lemon and caramel bite candies. The finish is refreshing with subtle flavours of lemon, melon, dry sand, quince, honey, wood shavings and lime.
$190.00

Kavalan Soloist, Taiwan
Owned by King Car Group and named after the indigenous group that inhabited the region, Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Single Cask Strength is a delightfully complex, multidimensional single malt whisky with vanilla, fruit and coconut highlights. Matured in hand-selected fresh American ex-Bourbon casks, the whisky is available at cask strength. Unlike some distillers, Kavalan does not control the climate during maturation and adds no colouring for consistency, which leads to greater evaporation, giving a lower yield and making the final product even more valuable.
$98.00

The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Year Old – Scotland
A personal favourite, this 14-year-old single malt is matured in traditional oak casks for 14 years, and then ‘finished’ in barrels that previously held Caribbean rum. Rich, sweet and creamy toffee on the nose combines with fresh fruit notes. On the palate, the malt is rounded with vanilla and sweet oak essence with a fruity character that develops with time.
$75.00

Yamazaki 18 Years Old, Japan
The award-winning Japanese single malt features a rich flavour of mature autumn fruit. The nose has raisin, apricot, café au lait, Mizunara (Japanese oak) with blackberry, strawberry jam and dark chocolate. The finish is long, spicy and smooth. We suggest you savour this exquisite elixir by itself, either neat, or with a splash of water or ice.
$1230.00

Lark Single Malt Whisky Classic Cask, Australia
Celebrating the distillery’s use of quarter sized casks, this complex tipple is distilled with Tasmanian (Franklin) barley and malted at the Cascade Brewery. The lightly-peated brew resembles a Scottish Speyside or Highland whisky in flavour. It is double distilled in locally-crafted copper-pot stills and aged in small, 100-litre oak casks. The spirit is matured for five to eight years in these small barrels, which have a much larger surface area-to volume of liquid. This allows a faster rate of evaporative losses and a considerably shorter maturation period than that required by the larger barrels commonly used in Scotland.
$145.00

Rampur Vintage Select Casks, India
Distilled in traditional copper pot stills, Rampur is a non-chill filtered single malt, refined and matured in the foothills of the Himalayas. It features rich fruity top notes, which are toffeeflavoured in the background with hints of honey, dried fruits and balanced spices. This handcrafted potion offers an all round balanced taste with malty and creamy vanilla. Shining in all its glory in beautiful golden amber, Rampur will leave your taste buds with a rich and long finish.
$60.00

Longmorn 16 Year Old, Scotland
The master distillers have used the perfect balance of first, second and third fill ex American oak and ex-sherry casks aged 16 years or more to infuse this premium malt with natural ingredients, including local spring water, barley from Moray and peat from nearby sources. It is fresh and green on the nose with notes of ripe pears and sweet vanilla, as well as hints of creamy chocolate. On the palate, the whisky is rich and compact thanks to the high level of tannins that develop with a vinous character and spice.
$110.00

Wine Tasting with Alchemy at The Chambers, Taj Lands End

Allan Scott Single Vineyard Moorlands Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand – Aromatic with lemon citrus and perfumed notes with hints of passion fruit and freshly crushed herbs. The palate is elegant with citrus, passion fruit and dried herbs; the oak influence is delicate and perfectly balanced with the clean refreshing acidity giving this wine a deliciously appealing finish.

Pighin Pinot Grigio DOC. 2015,  Friuli Grave, Italy – Straw yellow with lightly amber-coloured tinges in color with fruity and floral aromas including banana, pineapple and wisteria flowers. Persistent, excellent body and correct balance.

Château de Parenchère Cuvée Raphaël AOC 2011, Bordeaux, France – A very dense, very concentrated wine with elegant tannins that stand out, but are mellow and smooth. They are elegantly      woody, but not excessively to leave plenty of room for the fruit.

Prunotto Barolo DOCG 2012, Piedmont, Italy – Garnet red in colour with ample and complex aromas of violets and berry fruit, full and velvety in flavor and very balanced. Its structure and body make it an ideal match for meat and game dishes and for cheese.

Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Napa Valley, USA – Deep, enticing wild berry and black currant fruit weaves harmoniously with layers of fragrant tobacco leaf, forest floor and toast in a complex ribbon of flavor that flows into a deliciously long finish in this powerful yet refined taste of Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon. 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Merlot.

Blind Tasting at Cafe Zoe

Casablanca Vino Spumante NV, Nasik, India: Pale straw color revealing its fresh and young character. A generous fruity nose of kiwi and grape fruit layered with lime and floral undertones.  Light bodied. On the palate reminiscent of pear and green apple with a predominant acidic structure.

Bertani Soave Classico 2015, Veneto, Italy: Greenish yellow in colour, this white boasts a light nose exuding floral and fruity aromas. Discover this dry, fruity and light-bodied wine expressing lively acidity and offering a slender texture. It also unveils a light mouthfeel that leads into a short finish.

Fratelli Chardonnay 2016, Akluj, India: Straw coloured with light green reflections, the wine has citrus aromas of orange and lemon with subtle notes of white flowers. On the palate, Fratelli Chardonnay exemplifies great balance. It reflects the freshness and minerality of the sandy soils it is grown on. An east-west sun exposure ensures proper ripeness and thus, good acidity. The use of French oak lends roundness and buttery notes on the finish. Elegance and structure combine together to make for a delicious wine that does justice to the varietal.

Casillero del Diablo Reserva Chardonnay 2016, Casablanca, Rapel & Limari, Chile: Light lemon yellow with expressive and attractive aromas of pineapple, citrus, and vanilla. This elegant wine is balanced with bright acidity and a long, memorable finish.

Grover’s La Reserve Blanc 2015, Nasik, India: La Réserve Blanc is aged in French oak barrels, with the fragrant notes of honeysuckle, apricot and pineapple. Rich and powerful with a long persistence, it finishes on tropical fruit, citrus and soft oak notes.

Le Grand Noir GSM 2015, Minervois, Languedoc Roussillon, France: A lively Grenache-Syrah-Mouvedre with prominent notes of black cherry, blackberry, dark plum with hints of cloves and black pepper. Well structured, medium bodied with gentle tannins.

Dona Paula Malbec 2016, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina: Intense purplish red color. Sweet, spicy and intense aromas, with notes of red fruits and herbs (such as Herbes de Provence). In the mouth, this wine is soft, velvety, fresh, and well balanced.

Sula Rasa Shiraz 2015, Nasik, India: It is a complex wine, with power and finesse. Crafted from handpicked grapes from our own estate vineyards, Rasa Shiraz is aged for 12 months in premium French oak barrels and then further matured in the bottle before release. The wine is drinking beautifully now, opulent and lush, with supple tannins and a peppery finish.

Reveilo Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2014, Nasik, India: Barrel aged in French oak, the bouquet of this wine is exceptionally intense. The fruity notes of cherry, raspberry and blueberry are enriched with the spicy notes of pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. On the plate, the structure is extremely full. The body is velvety and harmonious.

Martell Hosts Art D’Artisan With Sommelier NIkhil Agarwal

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Martell, the oldest of the great cognac houses hosted ART D’ ARTISAN, a fine evening for the crème de la crème of Chennai at ITC Grand Chola where Martell celebrated its 300 year old legacy of craftsmanship through art, gastronomy and conversations.. Cognac enthusiasts came together to celebrate the evolution of Martell Cognac through this finely curated evening.

Focusing purely on French elegance and style, the evening witnessed chosen installations crafted by Jean Francois Lessage, scion of the legendary couture embroidery family, where the art pieces reflected the dimensions of curiosity. Just like the brand Martell, his designs have today become a paradigm of French artistry.

Moreover, showcasing Martell’s passion for gastronomy, the evening turned each moment into a gastronomical pleasure where all the guests came together under one roof to indulge in sumptuous combinations of international and Indian cuisine. Sommelier, Nikhil Agarwal, paired these combinations with the luxury of different blends of Martell Cognac. In the first course, Nikhil and Jean Francois Lessage himself, spoke of the artistry of the French 19th century, the Martell founder’s craftsmanship and Jean Francois’ artwork. Also, being the first luxury liquor brand to collaborate contemporary art with gastronomy, Nikhil shared his thoughts on the concept of the 19th century French artistry along with Martell’s art of distillation while the guests enjoyed Martell VS served with the chef’s choice of appetizers.

In the second course, guests were served molecular fare as Nikhil and Anil Thadani, General Manager, ITC Grand Chola, spoke about Martell’s passion of gastronomy. The element of curiosity was also brought alive by the chef through the use of unique ingredients and innovative presentation of the food while the guests indulged in a pairing of the main course with Martell VSOP.

The evening culminated over an indulgent pairing of the Martell XO where the complimenting notes of XO and desserts were savored over a riveting rendezvous with S. Muthiah, a renowned historian, as he spoke about the French way of life, literature, art and the cultural exchanges between India and France, creating a sensorial experience.

Living up to its rich legacy with French elegance, ART D’ ARTISAN brought alive a prefect amalgamation of Art, Gastronomy & Conversations, for its discerning epicureans.

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FRENCH WINE DINNER AT SOFITEL BKC, MUMBAI

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A classic 4 course French Wine Dinner at Sofitel that you can enjoy al fresco in the company of French wine lovers and Sommelier Nikhil Agarwal.

Address: Artisan, Sofitel BKC, Mumbai

Date: Friday 11th November, 2016
Time: 8:00 pm sharp
INR: 3600  all inclusive per person

MENU AND WINE LIST 

Chandon Brut Sparkling NV, Nasik, India

AMUSE BOUCHE

Melon And Vodka Aspic With Balsamic Pearl

APPETIZER

Deconstructed Caesar Salad

Pan Seared Quail, Crisp Pancetta, 63’c Cooked Quail Egg, Trout Fritters, Parmesan Mousse

Or

Deconstructed Caesar Salad

Marinated Morel, Potato Crisp, Garlic Spheres, Oyster Fritters, Parmesan Mousse

Baron Philippe De Rothschild Cadet D’OC Sauvignon Blanc Bordeaux, France

Lemon Grass Sorbet

MAIN COURSE

Farcies Jarret D’agneau – Stuffed Lamb Shank

Caramelized Onion And Artichoke Stuffing, Truffle Potato Hash, Asparagus, Red Wine Jus

Or

Légumes Farcis Stuffed Vegetable

Caramelized Onion And Artichoke Stuffing, Truffle Potato Hash, Asparagus, Roasted Onion Sauce

Chateau Moulin de Mallet AOC Bordeaux Rouge France

Chateau Piochet AOC Bordeaux France

DESSERT

Raspberry And Chocolate Truffle Slice, Candid Narangi, Mascarpone Cream

To make a reservation please call 9820698883 or email info@allthingsnice.in

MAISON ALBERT BICHOT Special Cuvee, Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France

MAISON ALBERT BICHOT Special Cuvee, Chateauneuf du Pape

Region: Rhone Valley

Nature: Red

Grape: Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre

Aroma: It is fresh, young and complex, with a whole variety of spices, including various peppers, mild paprika and ginger.

Body & Taste: Generous, powerful and fat, it has superb body underlined by delicate oak.

Suggested Food Pairing: Goes well with all red meats, game, cheese, and will take quite spicy dishes. Serve at 17°C

Wines of India

Leading Indian wineries have come together to form ‘Wines of India’ WOI, a collective body set up as an initiative to support and promote Indian wine in India and internationally. Wines selected to be part of the Wines of India programme have been selected on the basis of merit only and will represent only the best India has to offer.  The body currently represents 12 of India’s most favourite wineries; Sula Vineyards, Charosa Vineyards, Fratelli Wines, Reveilo, Myra Vineyards, Vallonne Vineyards, Good Drop Winery, Soma Vineyards, Grover Zampa, York Winery, Nine Hills and Four Seasons.

WOI has selected All Things Nice to manage all marketing activities on behalf of the entity, with  Sommelier Nikhil Agarwal appointed as  Director of the programme. You can now look forward to a series of exciting events and experiences celebrating these fantastic wines. Stay tuned to the event page on the website for regular updates on how you can enjoy Wines of India with us!

IWSC shortlists Nikhil Agarwal for his Outstanding Achievement in the Wine Industry

We are so proud to announce that Sommelier Nikhil Agarwal, Founder and CEO of  All Things Nice was one amongst five contenders shortlisted  by the  International Wine and Spirit Competition 2015 (IWSC), for The Julian Brind Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Wine Industry from scores of entries around the globe. We congratulate Michael & Charlotte Sager Wilde, winners in this category were felicitated at the IWSC Award Banquet held at London’s Guild Hall on 26th November, 2015.

Sponsored by Waitrose, the Outstanding Achievement in the Wine Industry was created in 2012 to highlight an individual who demonstrates exceptional contribution to increasing awareness of wine and spirits

 The original aim of the IWSC was to award excellence to wines and spirits worldwide. This remains the aim today, with the Competition now in its 46th year, encouraging consumer and trade recognition for quality products and personalities.

The IWSC receives entries from nearly 90 countries worldwide. No matter where the entry originates, whether it is youthful or aged, it is judged according to its class and treated with respect and consideration.

The Competition has the support of many of the world’s top wine and spirit producers, setting the international benchmark for quality. The unique combination of detailed technical analysis and specialist judging panels means that gaining an IWSC ‘Competition Award’ is an exceptional achievement.

 

All Things Nice in Geneva

The birthplace of Red Cross, a home to the United Nations and the global home of peace as the locals like to think of it. Here there is a genuine sense of welcoming and happiness. I was lucky enough to be part of it for a few days, to witness a kind of Utopia where culture, natural beauty, luxury and a trait to be the best or to make things better especially on a human level are all seamlessly woven into a fabric that is Geneva.

I’d never been to Switzerland, countless times at Zurich airport in transit but for some reason I didn’t venture into the country itself. This time on invitation from Geneva Tourism I’m finally here occasionally writing and frequently glancing outside my window at the wonderfully luxurious Hotel D’Angleterre. My room overlooks the lake, the beautiful city and the magnificent Mont Blanc in the background. I think I spent more time looking out my window at all times of the day and night gazing endlessly into this small but beautiful part of the word.

Getting here was easy, I flew Business Class courtesy Swiss Air and after a light bite of wild mushroom soup and seafood cromesquis over a couple of glasses of PSI 2010 from the ultra luxury and rare Dominio de Pingus estate and Cognac I settled in my bed to snooze away till landing in Zurich from where a short thirty minute flight brought me to this paradise.

Geneva is luxury in every way you think about it. There’s a sense of indulgence here just like the beauty that surrounds you. Everything is available to you, you want a hedonistic bottle of fine wine, go around the corner at Lavinia, a store selling top end wine and spirits or perhaps you’d like a box of some very fine Cuban cigars and a bottle of Karuizawa, a fabled silent distillery from Japan, head to the original Davidoff store down the road.

Some luxuries of course don’t need money of course, a ferryboat takes you across the lake and the iconic Jet d’Eau sprouting water ninety feet into the hour is intoxicating or a walk into the old town on the mountain to see ancient architecture, art galleries and the Cathedral. Perhaps some local fish from the lake, like Smoked Fera topped with caviar at Cottage cafe or freshly shucked oysters at café du Central. The local produce, the cheese and the wine from the surrounding regions are just all so good. I found a grape variety that I now adore called Chasselas. Perhaps something as simple as a slow walk in the morning as the sun rises from behind the mountains with a warm cup of coffee or a glass of vino sitting along the bank of the lake in the night. I even got a chance to cycle through the vineyards on an electric cycle making my hour-long cycle journey up and down the picturesque sloping vineyards a breeze. I’d go to Geneva simply to do that again.

The thing is. Everything in Geneva starts at the top, the standards are very high. Perhaps too early to say this in my article but if you’ve got the money there is everything you can dream off in Geneva, this town knows how to do it right. Even the nightlife is good to with restaurants serving cuisines from around the world and of course neighboring countries like France and Italy and in select pockets lots of bars and restaurants. Some of the night clubs are truly decadent and play grounds for the wealthy, here there is very high end consumption at very high prices, case in point I’ve never so many people drink Louis XIII in any one given place ever.

I loved that before I set off for dinner in the evening the Head Sommelier at my hotel would start my evening with a glass of Dom Ruinart, a truly luxurious Champagne or that when I came back to the hotel I could relax over a top end single malt in perhaps the most advanced Cigar room I have ever been to.

A short tram ride away is Carouge. This is a quaint beautiful town that doesn’t necessarily feel like Switzerland with a pop up market every Wednesday and Saturday. I would recommend coming for the market, buying some local cheese perhaps stuffed with truffle and bread, some wine and then heading of to one of their many secret gardens where you can have a blissful few hours in sheer beauty enjoying your spoils. If you’re still hungry head to Café du Marche which is adjacent to the market for some truly wonderful food.

I had a chance to visit the Vendage du Russin the harvest festival in the tiny village of Russin fifteen minutes by train from Geneva. The wineries open their cellars and serve delicious food and the whole town erupts into a carnival with a parade, the festivities continue all-day and late into the night. Its really simple to get there and if you’re in Geneva when this happens its worth a visit.

The thing is folks and I mean this, Geneva is hedonistic pleasure and I can go on about what’s good here. It’s really tough to come back to your normal life after a few days here. You miss it, you miss the experience of being somewhere that is truly happy, utterly beauty, sophisticated, warm with any of the world fines luxuries at your doorstep. My last hour before I left for the airport at six in the morning was what made Geneva a little more magical. I decided to look outside my window one last time for a few minutes to capture it before I left and saw in the star filled sky the brightest and biggest star I have ever seen, hang over Geneva.

I will definitely be going back there again, I think I need to be in Utopia again.