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    Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Taj Coromandel launches a label of wine

    The traditional 40th anniversary gift is ruby. Appropriate then that the Taj Coromandel chose to mark its 40th year with the ruby Chianti Classico (`4,000) from Italy, branded as Kalpavriksha (the wishing tree after which the hotel is named). Lest white wine aficionados feel left out, also marking the anniversary is the Kalpavriksha Pinot Grigio 2013 (`3,500). Both wines were selected after tasting wines from a variety of countries, Elvis Taylor, the hotel’s sommelier, who came up with the idea, tells us. Taylor and Tilak Mehta, who handle the hotel’s wine portfolio, led a team of colleagues to select the wines, a process that took about six to eight months. Mildly envious of the duo who got to order and drink wines from across the world as part of their jobs, I asked, hopefully, if they had to do the “sniff, swivel, spit” routine. “No, we drank the wine,” Taylor laughs.
    The nose knows
    The team finally settled on the two wines that they thought best represented the hotel. The Chianti, which has a DOCG certification (the highest), is produced by the Casa Sola Winery in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. A gorgeous, balanced wine that pairs well with grilled meats, it is made primarily from the Sangiovese grape (that one is repeatedly told, comes from the Latin for the “blood of Jove”) blended with four per cent Canaiolo and six per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine is aged in oak barrels for 12 months and then rested. My friend notices the plum and blackberry notes of the wine. More sophisticated drinkers will be able to sniff out vanilla and licorice, I am assured, but my embarrassingly inept nose only sends “wine-yum” signals to my brain. Novice, no problem
    I have better luck with the refreshing Pinot Grigio that comes from Trebaseleghe where the three Italian provinces of Treviso, Padua and Venice meet. With a hint of tropical fruits and peach, it is perfect for the summer. This wine has an IGT certification and pairs well with seafood. Both wines are balanced and extremely approachable to even complete novices (the Taj is novice-friendly and the menu offers wine by 100ml glasses). The Kalpavriskha wines join a small family of wines celebrating Taj hotels and are the only ones in the city. They will be available exclusively at the Taj Coromandel and are permanent additions to their wine menu. Details: 66002827

    Ranjitha Gunasekaran

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