The best wine bars

Want to try out that great Sauvignon Blanc from Meerlust that you have just read about? We tell you where to go for your next meal if you are a true wine connoisseur.

Rahul Sachitanand, Anusha Subramanian, Nitya Varadarajan and Anumeha Chaturvedi         Print Edition: August 10, 2008

The Bar
Grand Hyatt, Mumbai
Open:  12 noon to 1 a.m.
Contact: 022-66761149
Meal for two: Approximately Rs 4,000
Must try: Carpene Malvolti Prosecco Brut from Italy, Terres d’Azur, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile. If feeling flush, then order the Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac 2001

The chill factor
Centrally located at the lobby level of the Grand Hyatt, The Bar is adjacent to all the restaurants, making it an ideal place to sit back and unwind with pre- and post-dinner drinks.

Grand Hyatt, Mumbai
The ambience is pretty chilled out. The bar counter has some oversized bowls where the white wines are kept on ice and a special ice cube machine from the Hoshizaki Company of Japan.

As the name suggests, The Bar offers all kinds of liquors, but for the wine connoisseurs, it has a collection of 450 wines. What is interesting is the variety that is available—French and Italian wines as well as a strong focus on new world wines from Australia and New Zealand.

There are also some high-end exclusive wines apart from an eclectic range vintage wines and sparkling wines from across the globe, served by the glass. The Bar also serves some excellent food.

The snack menu features a varied selection of continental appetisers specially created to complement the wines served here. With its spacious surrounding and contemporary yet comfortable interiors, this place provides an atmosphere of style, comfort and excitement.

It also has temperature-controlled glass cabinets with separate sections for red and white wines, that are sure to lure any wine connoisseur.

The Enoteca
Taj Coromandel, Chennai
Open:  12.30 p.m. to 2.45 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Contact: 044-66002827
Meal for two: Rs 4,000
Must try: Pinot Grigio Italy, Château Margaux, Château Mouton Rothschild, Mouton Cadet and Green Point Shiraz 2004

The chill factor
Enoteca means “wine library” in Italian and was originally targeted at visitors who could buy local wines and taste them for a reasonable sampling fee.

Taj Coromandel, Chennai
The Enoteca at the Taj Coromandel is tucked away in the hotel’s all-new authentic Italian restaurant Prego and is easily one of the country’s best-stocked wine bars.

Choose from an extensive list of over 350 labels that showcase a staggering 75 Italian wines and also all the favourites from France. If you are interested in emerging wine regions, the Enoteca has labels from California in the US, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Chile and Argentina.

Sri, Prego’s well-informed sommelier, gives all diners a tour of the Enoteca. Diners are encouraged to sample a few wines and can then place their orders; a refreshing change from wine bars where you might not always pick the wine that suits your senses.

Ista, 1/1 Swami Vivekananda Road, Ulsoor, Bangalore
Open: 11 a.m. to 11.30 p.m.
Contact: 080-25558888
Meal for two: Wine bottles Rs 1,200 to Rs 18,500. Meal, a further Rs 1,500
Must try: Mount Pleasant Classic 2004, Cakebread Cellars 2005, Château Haut Lafitte Grand Cru Classe De Graves 2001

The chill factor
Bangalore doesn’t have an exclusive wine bar yet, so wine aficionados usually pick from a few luxury hotels and lounge bars when they want to enjoy their favourite wine.

Liquid has attracted a loyal following for its extensive wine collection, housing around 800 bottles, covering 17 grape varieties with some like the Louis Latour Chassagne Montrachet Cote D’Or costing over Rs 14,000.

Our choice was a bottle of Mount Pleasant Classic 2004, a white wine with faint fruity flavours. While we accompanied this wine with non-vegetarian dumplings, experts also recommend a five-variety cheese platter as another option.

While some basic rules like white meat with white wines are recommended by staff, there weren’t any fixed pairings to help newcomers.

What Liquid has going for it, however, is its ambience and tables set away from each other, giving the place a relaxed feel. And since it is relatively new, no one’s hovering close by to snatch your table just yet.  

Indigo Bar
4 Mandlik Road, Colaba, Mumbai
Open: 6.30 p.m. to 1.30 a.m.
Contact: 022-66368999/66368980
Meal for two: Rs 6,000-Rs 8,000 including a glass of wine each
Must try: Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2005 and the Chardonnay 2006 Laroche SOF

The chill factor
Indigo is a beautifully-designed bar with sea blue walls and leather arm chairs. For the 8th year in a row, Wine Spectator has presented Indigo with the Award of Excellence for having one of the best restaurant wine lists in the world.

Indigo Bar
This probably marks the restaurant’s commitment to a fine wine list that displays depth and a thematic match to the menu in both price and style. It is a “must-visit” destination for winemakers visiting India, where they showcase their wines, pairing them with Indigo’s food, over dinner.

Château Latour, Cos d’Estournel, Pontet-Canet, Gaja, Antinori and Vega Sicilia are some of the winemakers hosted by Indigo over the years. When you do come here, go for the Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2005 or Cape Mentelle, Australia if you like red wines.

White wine lovers can go in for the Chardonnay 2006 Laroche SOF. There are some very good dishes to go with the wines. Vegetarians can order English Cheddar and Beer Soufflé with Ratatouille Bruschetta.

Non-vegetarians can gorge on Lobster Bisque with Crab Ravioli or a Poha Crusted Rawas with Smoked Oysters in Katachi Aamti Sauce. There is also Indigo’s original Lobster Risotto with Black Olive Tapenade.

M-8, Greater Kailash-II, New Delhi
Open: 12.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Contact: 011-29215673
Meal for two: Rs 3,000
Must try: La Poja Monovitigno Corvina Veronese 2001, Gaja Sori San Lorenzo

The chill factor
Winner of the 2004 Wine Spectator award, Diva, the fine dining Italian restaurant in the hip GK-II M Block market, has an exhaustive and enviable wine list, comprising around 450 varieties of both old and new world wines.

Their cellar has wines from 40 regions of Italy alone and the French presence comes in the form of Château Latour Pauillac Premier Grand Cru Classe from the Bordeaux region.

Of course, you could also take your pick from some great new world wines from Australia, New Zealand and Chile, but the Italian ones come highly recommended.

The ambience is warm and cosy and the wines (each handpicked by master chef and owner Ritu Dalmia) are a perfect accompaniment to the Italian delights that the restaurant has now come to perfect. Among the dishes, the seafood pastas, and vegetarian items like Potato and Carrot Gnocchi are absolute must-haves.

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