Tag Archives: Merlot

Niel Joubert Merlot 2015, Paarl, South Africa

Niel Joubert Merlot

Appellation: Paarl


Blend: Merlot


Vintage: 2015


Tasting note: Deep plum core with fading edge. Rich ripe plum nose. Hints of chocolate and vanilla with floral backing. Equally rich plum flavours in the mouth and full, soft flow across the palate. Hints of chocolate develop in the mouth while the floral backing becomes more apparent. Supple tannins lead into dry, smooth finish.

The Ruffino Dinner at the Sahib Room, Palladium Hotel

I’ve had the pleasure of dining in the Sahib Room at the Palladium Hotel twice, the first time was when it launched and then again at the Ruffino dinner hosted by Sula last week.

Both times have been incredible and I think it is Chef Angad’s brilliance and Palladium’s hospitality that make it so special. Chef Angad specializes in North West Frontier cuisine with an expertise in Awadhi, Hyderabadi, and Kashmiri cuisines. He actually didn’t say much when I thanked him, but his colleagues who I spoke with the next day said they weren’t surprised, as he’d rather have his food do the talking. Well Amen to that!

Way back in my days with Sula, I had the opportunity of placing the first order for Ruffino to India, so I wasn’t going to miss this dinner for anything.  In my excitement, my guest and I were the first people to arrive. The dinner was hosted to welcome Joe Milner – Regional Director Asia and Jake Jacob, VP Asia of Constellation Brands. Ruffino is part of the Constellation Group – the world’s largest wine company.

The evening started off with Ruffino’s Orvietto Classico served as an aperitif. This easy drinking wine with lovely fresh, fruity and floral notes was served at the Sahib Rooms bar area. After a few glasses we were ushered into the restaurant’s plush dining space.

What followed was Chef Angad’s magic, a slew of dishes that included avocado and bamboo shoot tikkis, smoked spring lamb, grilled tiger prawns all of which paired really well with Ruffino’s Chianti – a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I had not tasted this wine in about 13 years and was pleasantly surprised by how well the wine worked with the food.

For the main course we had an indulgent black dal that I devoured along with the Kashmiri hand pulled lamb and biryani. This was served with a more serious wine, Ruffino’s Riserva Ducale, a Chianti Classico Riserva. By then I was completely satiated but pure greed made me ask for another glass. I really do like this wine and the label is just stunning. Dessert was delicious with the now fabled Kolkatta paan ice cream. You’ve got to try it. If you had to switch off the lights and have that served to you without disclosure you probably wouldn’t be able to tell that it wasn’t actually paan.

The wines and the company at my table were great and the Sahib Room managed to put me into a Sahib like food coma once again. With a number of great restaurants attempting to modernize Indian food springing up across the country, I am actually very glad that the Sahib Room has chosen to stick to tradition and I think that we can all raise a glass or two of Ruffino’s Riserva Ducale to that.

By Sommelier Nikhil Agarwal, Director at All Things Nice

Palladium Hotel's Chef Angad
Palladium Hotel’s Chef Angad
Ruffino's Riserva Ducale pairs perfectly
Ruffino’s Riserva Ducale pairs perfectly
Jake Jacob,Vice President Constellation Brands Asia
Jake Jacob,Vice President Constellation Brands Asia

Image 4 Blog

Joe Milner, Regional Sales Director, Constellation Brands Asia
Joe Milner, Regional Sales Director, Constellation Brands Asia

Notes from Chile

Notes from Chile - Dennis Murray of Montes

Montes have been a great ambassador for Chile, and a benchmark for many new Chilean wineries. This month we get into conversation with Dennis Murray of this iconic Chilean brand.

Your wines have been selling in India for some time now. Tell us how the Indian wine market has changed from your perspective?

With Indians having travelled and studied abroad they now embrace wine even more as they have seen its importance to their colleagues in other countries. I think Indians are much more knowledgeable about wine now since companies like All Things Nice and the Indian Wine Academy have helped to introduce, teach and sophisticate wine in India.

Is there a variety that has specifically done better in India over the others?

Cabernet Sauvignon has always been a favorite, followed by Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Where do you see India in the Chilean wine story in the future?

People are surprised by how important China is today to wine producers worldwide, the next country to surprise everyone will definitely be India. In Chile we see great potential, as more people are introduced to wine and have started pairing wine with food on a regular basis.

The spiciness and black pepper hints of the Carmenere red grape variety almost unique to Chile are a perfect match for Indian cuisine. We see opportunity in complementing local cuisines with Chilean wine.

Indians are travelling all over the world to discover wine regions, what can one look forward to on their visit to Chile?

In Colchagua, where we are based, you can find more that 30 wineries.  There are many hotels and restaurants nearby so people can enjoy the beautiful scenery, the vineyards and wines at leisure.

Tell us more about Taita, your flagship wine?

Montes Taita was a long sought dream come true. It is a big challenge to produce a Grand Cru Chilean wine to top our family of icon: M, Folly and Purple Angel. Taita grapes are dry farmed in a small vineyard in Marchigue. The wine is kept in new French oak barrels for two years and then four years in bottle before release. The first vintage (2007) was released last year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the winery. Only 3,000 bottles are made every 2 or 3 years.

People often talk about tradition sometimes being the opposite of innovation. What are the three “legacies” of the tradition that you would like to last for many decades to come?

I believe that wine production has to be a family business and not run by big companies. Wine needs to be made by people who love what they do. Since they make it for decades or generations they will take better care of the wines produced. Sustainable wine-growing is of great importance as we need to continue producing quality products using the less energy and water possible. Taking care of your land is not new, so I believe should be in the top list of priorities for decades to come.