The Three Big B’s of Italy | Sommelier India

Barolo, Barbaresco and Brunello are today amongst Italy’s best-known and most expensive wines. The reputation and stature of these three wines has grown so much over the years that it’s not uncommon to pitch them in the same league as wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy in France. And such is their aura and popularity the world over that they are often referred to as the Three Big B’s of Italy”. 

A comparative tasting of Barolo, Barbaresco and Brunello wines during “The Wine Fine Affair” recently held at the Oberoi Gurgaon, inspired Mukul Manku share his experience with Sommelier India readers. Read the full article here..

Harvest 2016

“Vintage” in wine terminology refers to the year in which the grapes are picked (harvested).

World over, the 2016 vintage is likely to produce lesser volume of wines as compared to previous years owing to inclement weather conditions – almost a 20 year low production as per estimates.

El Nino in South America, frost and hail in France and poor weather conditions in South Africa – all these are likely to result in reduced yields.

As per OIV – Intn’l Organization of Vine and Wine, in 2016 approx 259.5 million hectolitres of wine will be produced around the world which is about 5% less than last year.

The picture shows fires being lit in vineyards as anti frost measures.

References- and

Pic- Google Images

Shalom India


Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin is on a six days visit to India

  India- Israel Wine Connect

Israeli President’s current six day visit to India is likely to boost bilateral trade ties between the two nations and this should also directly or by default, benefit the Indian wine industry.

In field of agriculture, India is already benefiting from Israeli expertise in farm mechanization, canopy management, micro/drip-irrigation and post-harvest management. It would be a viticultural boon in case these techniques are also extended to the vineyards in the wine regions of India.

Wines in Israel date back to biblical times and also find mention in various scriptures like the Old Testament. However, the “Moslem conquest in 636 AD blocked the wine industry for 1,200 years. Wine production started again, in 1870 thanks to the aid of Baron Edmond de Rothschild.”1

Seemingly, there’s an Indian connect too as “…with help of the Baron, the Carmel wine company was founded and it planted some of the first grapes from cuttings imported from India.”2

Israel too stands to benefit from an increased wine trade with India.  The rapidly growing market in India holds a  promise for Israeli wine exports thereby boosting their prospects of an improved International wine sales.

Wine enthusiasts from both countries should wish for the best !!


1    Indian Wine Academy. “The Story of Israeli Wine.” Published on 09 May 2012 and available at

   The Economic Times. “Israeli Wines Set to Lure India”. Published on 29 Mar 2005 and available at

Image –  Froim Ditza, Twitter  @Froim

Showcasing Wines of SA

A wine tasting event at the residence of South African High Commissioner saw showcasing  of wines of SA to the members of Delhi Wine Club.

Most wines had innovative labels viz ‘Sixty Forty’ – indicating a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz in that ratio as also ‘Five Climates’ which meant that grapes were sourced from a vast geographical region spread across five climatic zones.

The hosts were humble and welcoming. The wine houses were also enthusiastic about presenting their wines, which were sampled by experienced palates.

‘Pinotage’ was the clear winner amongst the guests  – which is not surprising since it is the signature varietal of South Africa.

Personally I liked the Chenin Blanc – again in a 60:40 format with Sauvignon Blanc.

Wines of Italy

‘The Fine Wine Affair’ organized from 14th to 16th October by ‘La Cave Fine Wine Spirits’ and Hotel Oberoi Gurgaon India, witnessed showcasing of over 100 wine labels, interactive sessions and masterclasses.

The pioneer wine event was widely attended and appreciated by Delhi NCR’s wine community.

I got an opportunity to interact with Mr Guillaume Blanchard, Regional Manager Castello Banfi Wine House where he talks about nuances of Tuscan winemaking.

Asked about his own choice of best Italian wines he says quite candidly that ‘it depends on the mood of the moment, the theme of the occcasion and at times even the temperature‘. Couldn’t agree more.

A wonderfully organized event and looking forward for more such wine events.

Watch the video clip of the interview here-

I’ll have the 3rd Red..

I’ll have the 3rd Red” … she said candidly 

It was late february evening and I was perched amongst a group of enthusiastic wine lovers around a rustic wooden table. The set was immersed in mellow golden light of the lamp hanging from the roof.

Perch Coffee and Wine Bar  – a ‘must go’ place for wine lovers

Venue was the  ‘Perch Coffee and Wine Bar’ – a ‘must go’ place for a unique and enjoyable wine experience – at the upscale Khan Market in New Delhi.

My friend Anand Vermani, who’s studied wines at Burgundy, had just finished explaining about all the wine showcased that evening. Extending the wine courtesy he asked all about their choice for the next glass of wine. 

Deepti Agarwal, who was sitting at the head of the table, gave her choice very candidly. She wanted the 3rd Red, Period !!  (indicating from the sequence of wines served in the first round). 

Her statement would stick to my mind for a long time to come. Coming to think of it, how often we get bogged down and obsessed with the wine labels, names, tasting notes etc that the actual pleasure of what’s in the glass takes a back seat. We all are guilty of this, one time or the other, arn’t we ? Should we not just sit easy and enjoy the nectar in the glass ?

And here was a lady who was doing just that, enjoying the wine without getting into the wine semantics. Now Deepti is no wine newbie, she’s wine literate and knows her wines. But still, keeping her knowledge aside she prefers to savour the wines and the company – living the wine moment. 

I was truly impressed and  have often tried to emulate her wine style and even recommend to others.

The 3rd Red that day was the Pinotage.  It was one amongst a cache of imported wines by Sula Selections, the import arm of Sula – the leading wine producer in India.

Pinotage – dense color, bold flavors, spicy notes

Pinotage is a signature grape from South Africa and is a blend of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. It regaled all with its dense color, bold flavors and spicy notes. There were many converts that day – people who switched their wine preference to embrace Pinotage.

So, the next time in a wine scenario, in case your host asks you about your choice of wine – say simply the 3rd Red..or maybe last White or even the 1st Rose. Cheers.

Pictures courtesy – Perch Coffee and Wine Bar, Sula Selections and Deepti Agarwal.

1st delWine Excellence Awards 2016

​”Whole is greater the the sum of individual parts” – the famous proverb captures perfectly the essence and spirit of the 1st delWine Excellence Awards held on 14th Sept at Delhi.

The awards ceremony was attended by a cross section of emminent wine professionals which included wine producers, importers, hoteliers, select sommeliers, media and some prominent wine enthusiasts – each adding a bit their own persona to the broader wine communion.

The pioneer event which was a platform to honour wine excellence, also proved to be a proud showcase of the growing eminence of Indian wine industry and a potent display of solidarity of the wine fraternity – the jam packed Peacock Ballroom at Pullman, Aerocity bore the testimony to the same.

The evening also witnessed felicitation of the 1st Indian Master of Wine, Sonal Holland – certainly a proud oeonological moment for the country.

Kudos and congrats to organizers, Subhash Arora, Sourish Bhattacharya and Sonal Holland, MW for the  successful conduct of the awards event. 
Jai Ho !!