Hola readers, greetings from Chile! To your disappointment, I am not writing this from Latin America but the living room of my house, with the help of my ageing notebook. It’s about my recent Chilean wine encounter in the national capital.
The third edition of the Chilean Wine and Food Festival was held in a glittering setup at one of the five star hotels in the heart of the city. Organized by ProChile, the event was open to trade professionals and wine lovers alike and saw an enthusiastic bunch of food and beverage professionals, senior diplomats and wine geeks turning up in healthy numbers but still less against my expectation.
Along with my peers from the wine importing and distribution community, I was present at the festival exhibiting wines from our company. With about 40 wines to taste, it was probably the most expansive list of Chilean wines one can expect in India, in one place. Equally prominent was the showcase of another important Chilean export item: food, where Salmon, Pork and Turkey were the highlights. The guests had a busy time feasting on delicacies such as salmon ceviche with lavash, fried pork cubes with red onion pickles, risotto & turkey lemon jus and a live carving station of steamed whole salmon with ginger soya dip & pineapple salsa. The menu had many more options but all that can’t be accommodated here.
Speaking of Chilean wines, star wines from Montes, Anakena and Tarapaca were available for one to savour and get impressed with. Besides the quality wines our establishment has been importing for a long time, wines such as Miguel Torres Cordillera Chardonnay , Hemisferio Sauvignon Blanc and Tarapaca “La Isla” exhibited this country’s ability to produce varied yet wonderful whites. I wish I had more time to try the reds besides Anakena Ona Pinot Noir, Montes Merlot and Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon but I am content with the thought (and with the feedback from attendees), that I had tried some of the best stuff that Chile has to offer.
Many of the above wines are available in the retail market and a wine like the Montes Alpha Cab Sauv can set you back by about Rs 2500 (50 USD) in Delhi. This isn’t cheap by any means but that’s what excessive duties and tariffs can do. Even then, Chilean wines are some of the more affordable options available in India. These wines also have an image for offering value for money and seem to have struck the right chord with the Indian wine drinkers’ palate.
A well organized event with food and wine options galore, complemented by the efficient service and support from the hotel, a lot of credit goes to ProChile for conducting this event successfully year after year. Their team is a dynamic one with Nestor Riveros as a leader who is surely steering the Chilean wines’ boat in the right direction. Not only does such an event create the required buzz for Chilean wines, it also consolidates the country’s position further as a producer of high quality wines at reasonable prices.
The Mumbai edition of this festival would happen on 21st November and am certain that people there are in for a delightful evening! I hope to be present there and complete my checklist for the remaining wines. Please come by and say hello if you are around!