The increasing influence of wine while you dine

Even as British connoisseur and writer, Robert Joseph talks about India’s nascent wine industry, city chefs and sommeliers give their take on the same

more lifestyle Updated: Dec 14, 2017 19:09 IST

Cutting into a piece of perfectly-cooked steak, dolloped with a side of mashed potatoes and a handful of blanched vegetables, while gingerly sipping on a glass of crimson Merlot is hardly the kind of dinner we are accustomed to. The concept of drinking wine with your meal is believed to be a Western practice. But that does not seem to be the case in today’s day-and-age. According to Aditya Hegde, owner of Gymkhana 91, Lower Parel, the use of wine in food “is not limited to only European cuisines anymore”.

In an interview, Robert Joseph, a renowned British wine expert and author of four books, with another one on the anvil— all on wine; spoke about the development of the wine industry in India and how he feels that Kashmir could be the ideal location for producing wine.

Candy and Green have their own in-house wine


There are many restaurants in the city that serve wine and have sommeliers to recommend wine that best complements a meal. “With the growth in the culture of wine, there is also an increased demand for sommeliers. India is still novice in its wine-drinking culture. The need of the hour is education about the product, as there are a lot of finer nuances about wine that needs to be learnt, most important of them being the knowledge of the right food and wine pairing,” explains Moksh Sani, wine expert at Living Liquidz, a liquor chain.

Glassware too plays a pivotal role, as they are specifically suited to enhance the flavour of different wines. “Glassware can make or break your wine experience. Certain glassware makers make them to fit grape varieties,” says Nikhil Agarwal, sommelier of a wine and spirits consultancy, All Things Nice.

Vishal Atreya, executive chef, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu, lays emphasis on the role of wine in food, “Certain types of wine also act as a catalyst if used in the process of cooking meat. A small quantity of wine definitely adds a tinge of tang and blends well with the fats in red meat and rich creamy sauces.”

Tenderloin served at Henpecked, Kalaghoda


“Even though wine is a new entrant in the Indian alcohol market, which is dominated by whisky, industry insiders expect consumption to rise exponentially, particularly in urban areas,” says Dipak Adhikary, head chef, The Good Wife, Bandra (E). Ashuli Saini, wine expert, JW Marriott Sahar, explains that the increase in wine popularity is, “owing to initiatives such as the Indian Sommelier Championship, among other events, and enthusiasts who wish to become sommeliers.”

The inflation in the rising interest in the wine market in India is clearly because of the increase in the consumption of wine as a beverage and its usage in dishes — both savoury and sweet. “Wine, whether you use white or red, brings out the best flavour in food,” says Saurabh Udinia, chef at Kode, Lower Parel. Also, consumers are well acquainted and have the required knowledge of wine.Hegde feels, “Wine is no longer a niche item. Customers are aware of the varieties and pairings.” Saini adds, Today Indian consumers are willing to pay a price for quality. They have a plethora of options from both domestic and imported wines to choose from.”

Coriander and Lime-Crusted Lamb Shanks at Smoke House Deli, Bandra (W)

Here are some dishes that are served at eateries across the city that have used or serve wine (that complements the dish) in their preparations.

What: Red Wine Chicken
Grilled chicken tossed in veggies with dollops of butter and a splash of red wine and pepper sauce.
Where: Fish N Bait, BKC, Bandra (E).

What: Chocolate Cherry Bomb served with wine
Rich chocolate mousse stuffed with pitted sour cherries.This dessert is paired with a medium-bodied blend of Tempranillo, Malbec and Merlot that intensifies the berry flavour of the dish
Where: Shiro, Worli.

What: Coriander and Lime Crusted Lamb Shanks
This dish uses red wine in its preparation to bring out the flavours in the lamb, with a generous amount of coriander used as garnish
Where: Smoke House Deli, Bandra (W).

What: Red Wine Poached Pear Salad
If you are a vegetarian, this salad is ideal for you as it has pear poached in red wine, scattered with candied walnuts, arugula, crumbled feta and balsamic dressing
Where: Fable, Juhu.

What: Lamb Shank Blue Cheese Truffle Ball
This succulent piece of lamb is slow cooked for 18 hours in red wine
Where: Kode, Lower Parel.

What: Brown rice Paella
This rice dish is prepared with a red wine deglazed pan, where the wine helps accentuate the flavours of the mustard and chicken
Where: The Sassy Spoon, Nariman Point.

What: White Wine and Star Anise Poached Salmon
Salmon poached in a white wine reduction with star anise, which serves as the spice boost. It is served with pickled vegetables
Where: Doppio, Breach Candy.

What: Tenderloin - served with a Shiraz jus
Spiced tenderloin steak and asparagus, served with an exotic Shiraz jus preparation
Where: Henpcked, Kalaghoda.

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First Published: Dec 14, 2017 19:07 IST