Wine-tastic celebrations around the world
Kishore and Smita Iyengar bring you their most exotic, exquisite and exceptional wine experiences from around the world for this festive season!
Wine-of-their-kind bespoke goblet moments are what celebrations are all about. Fly with us around the globe to grand toasts to superlative premium world wines that herald this high voltage festive spirit for you…
ROMANTIC CORACLE SUNSET WINE CRUISE – KABINI, INDIA
Drifting gently on the meandering waters of the pristine Kabini River fringing the misty winter veiled, world famous Nagarhole Game Reserve in Karnataka, our coracle sunset sojourn hosted by the Evolve Back Luxury Resort opened up with a fine award winning Wolf Blass Shiraz from South Australia.
The peppery and cedar wood flavors lent a fine encore to the dusky leather and tobacco notes, the well balanced wine celebrating our bespoke experience cheered with roasted nuts and mint dip. As the deep crimson shades stretched across the hills of Waynad, the wine heralded a symphony of lingering truffle flavors.
EXCLUSIVE MARBLE CAVES WINE AND CHEESE SOJOURN – ITALY
It was the first-and-only, custom created, and most exclusive premium wine experience in the world, within the yawning deep 2500 years old giant Carrara Marble caves atop the 300 ft. high hilltops of Massa on the Versilia coast in Toscana. It was unforgettably enchanting with an attendant local five star chef and eclectic tastings of two superlative wines, bespoke to the hilt, a rare privilege just for us.
The Limited Edition Lorieri Vermentino Reserve white danced on our palates with pineapple, lily and nectarine flavors, it was manna from the nearby cliffhanger boutique Lorieri vineyards. The superb Castello Di Bossi Chianti Classico DOCG complemented the grilled, off-the-marble block delights with oaky cherry Sangiovese magnificence. The aromas of violets and light cigar box enticed us with some fine herb encrusted one year-old matured Massa country cheese stored in a barrique. Against the massive marble facades, the wines reflected their sparkling nuances to the very hilt.
EXOTIC EIFFEL TOWER WINING ACROSS PANORAMAS- PARIS, FRANCE
With spectacular Paris laid out lavishly below us in glorious grandeur, we felt privileged to experience this exalted and renowned fine wining and dining landmark –The Restaurant Jules Verne atop the fabled Eiffel Tower.
The 360 degree panoramas silenced us for moments before our sommelier greeted us with a well chilled Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Rose with it’s almost fluorescent tones. The fantastic blush bubbly greeted us with red fruit aromas, blueberry hints and green apple flavors. We toasted to the experience and the grand vistas at this distinguished address.
Over choicest hors d’oeuvres we were honored with a classy, select Domaine Barons de Rothschild Lafite Reserve Speciale Pauillac offering an elegant nose of hedge flowers and grass, peppery and spicy flavors on our tongues and lingering cinnamon and vanilla. “C’est magnifique!”
UNIQUE TREETOP WINE EVENING – COORG, INDIA
Amidst giant branches, trunks and lush canopies overlooking a serene lake and mellow glows, we settled ourselves at the exquisite, elevated “Machan” the bespoke tree top fine grills dining landmark at the Evolve Back Luxury Resort in Coorg in the Nilgiri Hills in Karnataka.
As the distant trumpeting of elephants reverberated in the night and a seductive winter chill enveloped the setting, our vintage Ventisquero Clasico Carmenere from Chile stood out with flavors of blackcurrants, strawberries and hints of chocolate and oak.
Soft candle glows lit up our mood as we quaffed an earthy Donnafugata Sedara IGT Sicilia red with fine Nero D’Avola features of medium bodied tannins, spices and leather finish. The wines synergized with piping hot Indian Tandoori grills right off the skewers behind us.
ENCHANTING VIENNA WOODS BEETHOVEN VILLAGE WINING – AUSTRIA
Western Classical musical colossus Ludwig Van Beethoven spent considerable time at this small Heurigen village weinkeller (wine cellar) on the approach to his home on the forested hilly outskirts of Vienna. Legend has it that the fabled composer was once immersed in thought with a complex musical formation as the nearby church bell rang at 6pm, in the distance. He speang up and then completed his magnum musical rendition in full fettle.
One of his grand Pastoral Symphonies was born then, immortalized until this day. We sat on the wooden bench in the courtyard raising a tribute to this moment with a fabulous Domaene Gobelsburg Kamptal Gruener Veltliner. The cheery wine’s almost musical aromas –jasmine and apple, kiwi fruit and rose went on to nectarine, citrus and light bergamot on our palates. The melodies stayed on with us into the early night.
LUXURY YACHTING SUNSET WINE CRUISE – AUSTRALIA
Setting sail from the salubrious pier of Port Douglas in northern Queensland into the grand blue expanse of the Pacific, our bespoke luxury yacht zipped across the waves to a gentle cruise deeper in. Our skipper uncorked a well picked Banrock Station Chardonnay for us, fine Australian cheddar singing along. The white offered fresh floral and musky aromas with distinct passion fruit and white apple flavors.
As the sun took a mauve and maroon dip, an award winning Wolf Blass Bilyara Chardonnay created a stir with spicy oak, white peach and nectarine thrills on the taste buds. Sitting on the ring side, taking in the balmy breeze, we raised a toast to the oncoming Australian Christmas and New Year’s spirit.
EXCLUSIVE AURLANDSFJORD CRUISE WINE EXPERIENCE – NORWAY
We stood buffered by our woolens and the perch of the gentle steamer that cut across the mirrored Fjord in slow mo. Mind boggling frames of miniature villages and thrilling green hillsides with pencil-etched waterfalls greeted us from misty heights. We celebrated the natural spectacle with a Black Tower Dornfelder Pinot Noir from Germany, the heather and cherry flavors going onto the salute the vistas with fine Arabian dates and cocoa finish…surprising us to the hilt!
The haloed land welcomed us with it’s virgin magnificence as we continued our spirit with a favorite till we reached picturesque Flam our destination, -a Renieri Brunello di Montalcino DOCG from Italy that displayed striking notes of pencil lead, tobacco leaf and vanilla and red berry fruit.
BESPOKE BOMA GAME RESERVE WINE EVENING – SOUTH AFRICA
It happens only in Kwazulu Natal! Ensconed by a vertical twigs and branches bush enclosure deep within the estates of the Thanda Private Game Reserve in Hluhluwe, we were welcomed to real South African Bush dining with a superlative Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc. As drums, singing and dancing by the tribal Xhosas folk captivated us, we quaffed the gentle citrusy and pineapple flavors of the wine with charcoal grills.
In the far distance, deep throated growls of lions and cheetahs, colored the silence, reminding us of our ‘In the moment’ awareness like none other on earth….
ROMANTIC ROUTE WINE AND CHEESE TASTINGS – BAVARIA, GERMANY
An endless carpet of a zillion green shades soothed our sights as we took in the tended and turfed countryside furrowed by sloping vineyards of the Taubertal Valley. Positioned on the balcony of a weingut hut, we relished choicest German labels complemented with Bergkase Bavarian country matured cheeses. We were celebrating the heart of the famed Romantic Route with a crisp, aromatic Weingut Baldauf Genteel displaying nectarine, honeysuckle and peach flavors.
Watching fat cows grazing along the pastures, we stilled our minds to watch the calm and peace with a well chilled Black Tower Dornfelder Riesling with it’s unmistakable light plum, lily and jasmine bouquets, the dryness not interfering with the palate and cheeses. Fine wine that!
SOUTHERN ALPS SNOW PEAKS WINE TOASTING – NEW ZEALAND
The chopper swung in a sharp arc vertically lifting us to the top of snowy summits of the spectacular Southern Alps along Queenstown’s South island location. Landing atop a tiny plateau overlooking blanketed views of sea inlets and rugged cliffs we uncorked a fabulous, award winning Framingham Sauvignon Blanc that capped the altitude attitude. Peony, citrus and white rose shone through our senses as we sipped flavors of orange and grapefruit. A well balanced liquid jewel.
Winter is a visual sensation in this part of the world as we stood majestic amidst the cloudy wisps and miles of snow, toasting to nature’s ultimate, lasting magnanimity.
EDGE-OF-THE-WAVES FULL MOON NORTH SEA WINING NOSTALGIA – ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND
The verdant golf acres almost seemed to tumble down into the stunning North Sea shores here. At St. Andrews we strolled across the long stretch to the water’s edge where a tiny extended wooden pier was our dinner setting for that evening. The views? Surreal seacapes of endless neon orange, fluorescent purple and ultramarine juxtaposing the restless waves.
The celebration wine? A suave Castello D’Albola Oso Toscana IGT from the Zonin family opened up to the views with rich ripe cheery and plum flavors, the aromas of Dominican Panatellas and wood very distinct. The smooth wine seemed to lilt the silent symphony of colors across that changed with every passing moment. We smiled in appreciation.
UNDERGROUND ISLAND CELLAR WINE TASTINGS – THE MALDIVES
Under the stunning turquoise and cobalt blue ocean floor of the Indian Ocean expanse, the cozy and well appointed underground wine cellar at an eco friendly resort was hosting us exclusively for fine world wine tastings. It was a first of sorts and several labels followed the grand opening with a super Prosecco from Carpene Moltovi Special Cuvee Brut DOC. The striking ripe golden apple, strawberries and acacia flowers came out splendid, the flavors of pear and guava in light sync bowling us over.
With olives and honey roasted Spanish Almendros our Pampas Del Sur Malbec sang along with blackcurrant, plum and coffee tastes, a fine wine indeed. Above, the calm, warm lagoon waters seemed unhurried….
WORLD’S HIGHEST LUXURY LOUNGE BAR WINE EVENING – HONG KONG, CHINA
The music was retro jazz and instrumentals, the accent being saxophone and trombone among other highlights. The views were breathtakingly spectacular, jaw dropping and open eyed mesmerizing! That was Hong Kong’s celebrated Victoria Harbor below us and from the wide angle frames of the world’s highest luxury lounge bar –Ozone at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, we felt honored and very special. We raised our celebration goblet of a wonderful Austrian Schloss Gobelsburg Zweigelt from Kamptal with fruity bouquets, spicy notes and a fine peppery and clove palate.
The vistas of the sparkling bejeweled city sprawling below us were grand reason for us to clink crystal ..our Renieri Rosso di Montalcino DOC from Tuscany, Italy thrilled us with smoked tobacco and lightly spicy flavors, the earthy bouquet of hay and oak with cherry added zest to our slow but relaxed disposition at that grandstand ‘summit’!
SEDUCTIVE FLAMENCO DANCING AND MUSICAL WINE EVENING – SPAIN
Their seductive lithe female forms swept up a staccato musical storm on the wooden floors as Spanish guitar and full throated rustic gypsy virtuosity set the stage afire with raw Flamenco passion here in Madrid. At the one-of-its-kind Andalucian wining and dining Bodega –Corral de La Moreria we explored our adventure with a delightful Freixenet Cordon Negro D.O. Cava.
The green and citrusy sparkling sensation effervesced with suave finish and well balanced flavors of jasmine and guava going onto smooth lemon after taste.
As the pretty, full lipped dancers stepped up the crescendo with an array of amazing twists and on-toes calisthenics, we picked a classic Solar Viejo Tempranillo from Rioja, complementing the musical evening with polished wood and leather flavors, truffles and barbecue after tastes. Ole, Salude! That capped the Iberian oenophilic extravaganza.