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Wine-by-glass at Caperberry

Caperberry Restaurant at Bangalore which has established its reputation as a great eating place run by the star Chef Abhijit Saha, is fast becoming a wine destination as well with a new promotional wine by the glass offer which we highly recommend, writes Subhash Arora

During the Diwali promotion which starts on September 28 and lasts till October 18, a total of 10 labels, 5 of which are red and include a Rosé as well are all priced at Rs. 350 a glass. This is a very reasonable price, considering there is a customs duty of 150% and an additional excise duty of around Rs. 280 a bottle in Karnataka on imported wines. We would love to see a 5-star hotel in India (paying no customs duty) match this offer.

When Chef Saha called me last week, informing me about his plans to promote the wine-by-the-glass concept although he already lists a few wines as such on the menu, I was disappointed when he told me he was planning to price them at Rs. 500-550 a glass. His reason- high taxes as he is not exempt from paying the customs duties yet.

My suggestion to him was to work with the importers and get a special, promotional offer and keep the price between Rs. 300-350 a glass, even though it may be a short term proposition. In fact, short term would be better, as he could then give a chance to some other importer and promote their wine with the same concept.

I was pleasantly surprised when he promptly sent me the list at Rs. 350 a glass a couple of days later. He is not only a modern day chef-entrepreneur but understands that the food at his restaurant cries for wine and a special offer like this should entice the clients to order a glass or two and be experimental.

The initial offerings seem to be a majority from UB but it also reflects on the aggressiveness and a long-term vision of the importing company to support the concept which is universally accepted as the best way of promoting wine and for the customers it is the best way of training their palate.

The serving has surprisingly kept at 125 mL though, making it less than the standard 150mL/ glass serving. Perhaps, this is to account for any wastage, since wine should not be kept in the open bottle for more than 24 hours and he may end up some in cooking.

We highly recommend the denizens of Bangalore to go there and try 1-4 glasses at a sitting-with or without the food. The wine-lovers of the city would be doing themselves and the other like minded people a favour by making the programme a success. I do hope Chef Abhijit will continue with the practice to have monthly promotions at the restaurant, with different labels every time, giving all importers he deals with a chance to promote their wines. The consumer benefits tremendously by experimenting with different wines every time. It would then be a win-win situation for everyone.

A small post-script to warn the customers not to expect great quality wines at these prices. These are entry to one notch-higher level wines. Yellow Tail is the highest selling Australian brand in the US. The Portuguese Pink Elephant is delicious and drier  than the ubiquitous Mateus Rose; Bouchard are VDP wines from France-generally considered good value-for-money. Gossips is an easy drinking fruity wine-not laced with oak. Soledoro Trebbiano is an IGT Rubicone wine from Emilia Romagna; Trebbiano is the typical grape in Orvieto from Umbria and is also used in some Tuscan whites, but is always interesting value-for-money grape in the IGT Rubicone-dry, rich and crisp with delicate and fresh aromas. Torres wines are always refreshingly delicious for a glass or two at these prices.

Go for a glass or more and let us know what you think of the wines.

Subhash Arora

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