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    With reds, whites and an exclusive chardonnay selection, Library Blu offers you triple the fun.

    Recent trips abroad have seen days punctuated with customary wine tastings—standing in rustic wineries in New Zealand, sipping their signature reds, or deep in the cellars in Australian vineyards, sampling whites and rosés. But I haven’t yet had a chance to take my love of wine on a world tour, with pit stops in France and Italy, and detours to new world producers in South Africa, Argentina or Chile. Which is why, when a city hotel announced tasting flights across a range of whites and reds, we were quick to visit.

    By the glass
    Library Blu, at The Leela Palace—which incidentally received the gold certificate at the Whiskey Bars of the World 2016—prides itself on its rare collection of spirits. But we are more interested in the bar and pub’s 150-label strong wine list, from which food and beverage manager, Hitesh Sangwan, has curated three flights, showcasing three wines each. Since we are in for the whole hog, we begin with the whites, so as not to let the more robust reds overpower our palate. The Flight of Discovery is presented, one glass at a time, starting with a crisp Pouilly-Fumé (France), moving on to a citrusy Villa Maria ‘Private Bin’ Marlborough (New Zealand) and finishing with a fruity Masianco (Italy). Each glass comes with a custom-made coaster that describes the wine and what you can expect (eyes, nose and palate), making it a great experience for the beginner, too. And if you would like some insider information—from the meaning of a painting depicted on a label to how a wine got its distinctive name—the bartenders are a fount of knowledge.

    Tannins and taste
    The ‘king of white grapes’, the Chardonnay, gets a flight of its own. The creamy Bourgogne (France), with hints of lime and oak, is a great start before I move on to a sweet Woodbridge. My first taste of a Californian white is heady—mostly thanks to its strong nose of honey—but its lack of mouthfeel is disappointing. However, the final glass in the flight, The Olive Grove (Australia), makes up with its citrus and berry notes. The ruby reds are reserved for the end, perfectly named the Flight of Elevation. Though a fan of white, the Bodega Norton Reserve (Argentina) wins me over with notes of dark chocolate. The Bibi Graetz Casamatta Rosso (Italy) is a tad too tannic for my taste, but the full-bodied Gato Negro (Chile) is charming with hints of cherry and vanilla. While I wouldn’t recommend all three at one go, a flight or two can make for a great nightcap.
    Flights of Discovery and  Elevation at Rs 2,500, and  First Class Chardonnay at Rs 2,750.
    Till November 30. Details: 33661234

    — Surya Praphulla Kumar

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