5 best wines for the festive season


5 best wines for the festive season

Harish Acharekar, winner of the Indian Sommelier Championship 2015, helps you pick

By Anjan Sachar  October 16th, 2015

Wine is one of the easiest but also the hardest things to gift – it’s an obvious choice for most occasions, but finding the right one can get tricky. So we turned to Harish Acharekar, sommelier at the Four Seasons Hotel, Mumbai, who has recently been named the best in the country at the Indian Sommelier Championship 2015. Here, he decodes the five best wines to help make gifting (and drinking) better. Because who really needs a reason to grab a glass – or even a bottle – of some Pinot from time to time, right?

Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva Brut Cava, Catalonia, Spain
“A refreshing creamy head with flavours of fruit, bitter almonds and sourdough stick. Pairs well with seafood (salmon and lobster), sweet pastries and desserts.”
Pair it with
Crisp skin salmon, sweetcorn purée, vegetable ragout, lobster bisque 
Apple gujiya  (deep fried pastry with a sweet filling of evaporated milk and dry fruits)

Chandon Brut, Nashik Valley, India 
“A favourite with most Indian bartenders and sommeliers – crisp and lively, with aromas of green apple, cinnamon and vanilla that lead to appealing flavours of tropical fruit and spicy anise. Pairs well with salads, citrus flavours and white meats.” 
Pair it with
Roasted baby beets with arugula, shaved fennel and pommery honey dressing
Bhapa Ilish (Bengali style, steamed Hilsa fish marinated in mustard)

Cloudy Bay ‘Te Koko’ Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand
“A signature wine at the Four Seasons Mumbai restaurant San:Qi, it’s rich and toasty. It has plenty of fresh fruit notes: mango melon and lemon accents, complemented by candied ginger, orange zest and vanilla bean details, with a crisp finish. Pairs well with creamy dishes, light pastas.” 
Pair it with
Sous vide tiger prawns with cauliflower silk and roasted root vegetables
Galouti kebab with varqui paratha

Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA
“Rieslings are perfect for sultry Indian weather. This one delivers sweet lime, peach and subtle mineral notes. This is my go-to wine, for any occasion and easy to pair with a variety of food.” 
Pair it with
Steamed pomfret with birdeye chilli and Thai dressing
Kalonji methi jhinga (jumbo prawns with fenugreek and black onion seeds)

Querciabella ‘Mongrana’ Sangiovese Blend , Maremma, Tuscany
“It has a nice earthy nose with some smoke and leather, along with blackberry, black cherry, and vanilla notes. Brilliant acidity with mild tannins.”
Pair it with
Pappardelle, braised lamb, sweet tomatoes 
Pan seared eryngii mushrooms with warm truffle polenta 

Photographs: Mariyana Misaleva via Shutterstock