Did you know that the word Vinothéque (for those who aren’t familiar with French) literally translates as a wine library. Mumbai got its very own “wine library” at the French luxury hotel Sofitel Mumbai BKC recently. Eager to know more, we dropped into their French restaurant, Artisan, for a tête-à-tête with one of their experts, Peter Sethi, Outlet Manager at Sofitel Mumbai BKC. Peter gave us an insider’s tour of this vinothéque and talked us through a fabulous food and wine pairing experience. We also caught a glimpse of Le Bar, which is like a wine cellar in itself.
What is the objective behind opening a vinothéque in Mumbai? Peter says, “since we are a French hotel, we love wine and we have some of the best wines in the city. We want to share our knowledge with all our guests so that they can share their knowledge as well as love for wine.”
What is the Vinothéque then?
It is basically a collection of 850 different labels of red, white and sparkling wine, all segregated and each stored at the appropriate temperatures. Peter explains, “the price of the wine does not matter, but the quality is what we look for while curating this list.” The wine from the vinothéque is available to guests at any dining outlet in the hotel.
As I walk around Artisan and take in the beauty and precision with which this vinothéque has been arranged, I am happy to report that all the wines are so easy to find and easy to identify as they have been arranged according to country and then region. So organised!
On the other hand, Le Bar, which at first glance appears to be a huge cylinder that stretches from the floor to the ceiling also features more of these wines and we were super impressed.
Le Bar is surrounded by maps of the wine producing countries along with highlighted wine-producing regions, etc. As one steps into Le Bar, it’s easy to get lost in a world of all things wine. For those who have never been to a wine cellar or a vineyard for that matter, you’re in for a real treat. And if you don’t know much about wine, this is a great initiation.
A Bottle of Wine for INR 1.4 lakh?
The vinotheque is also home to some of the most expensive and highest quality wines that come from the region of Bordeaux, France. The most expensive wines that Sofitel Mumbai BKC has in their collection are –
Chateau Latour priced at INR 1.3 lakh AND
Chateau Mouton Rothschild priced at INR 1.4 lakh.
Vegetarian Wine, anyone?
Moreover, the food and wine-pairing concept takes place at all the restaurants at the hotel. Even the vegetarian restaurant serves… wait for it- VEGAN and ORGANIC wine. Green peas are used in the process of making this wine, unlike the non-vegetarian wine (which are 90% of the wines that we consume) that uses dairy products.
We proceeded onto our French dinner at Artisan before we got more intel on the vinothéque.
On the starters menu were bacon wrapped prawns, and spicy chicken wings paired with Sauvignon Blanc.
Main course consisted of Coq au vin and Duck confit paired with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
And lastly, for dessert, crème brulee and rich chocolate mousse with Classic Gewurztraminer, a dessert wine of course.
All the food was absolutely delightful.
Anecdotes from the Vinothéque
Peter also had some really interesting stories about the wine to share with us.
One for instance is that he showed us a bottle that had an oddly shaped neck. The story behind this bottle is that, “This bottle, is dusty, and weirdly shaped, because the vineyard caught fire so the bottles started to melt.” This particular bottle of wine, is made from a blend of 13 different grapes. How amazing is that?
How you can enjoy the Vinothéque…
Wine dinners are held every month, usually at around INR 2,500 + taxes and that includes a delicious 5 course meal. Wine classes are also held at around INR 1000 per head including appetizers. For those of who are really interested in learning more about wine, wine classes are ideal as the entire wine-making process is explained, as well as the region it is made in, the soil needed, etc. so that you know exactly what you’re drinking and where its from. And you hear it right from the experts.
Wine from the vinothéque is available at all the hotel’s dining outlets so all you need to do is book a table and call for the sommelier.
So if you’re a wine enthusiast, visit Sofitel Mumbai BKC to check out their awesome vinothéque. Cheers!
Written By Kristianne Mascarenhas