Top 10 wine libraries in India

Top 10 wine libraries in India

Wine connoisseurs have a reason to celebrate. Travel from cellar to cellar to discover the best libraries in the country

Magandeep Singh
July 01 , 2014
06 Min Read

There was a time when the entire collection of wines of a prestigious five star property could be housed in a small trolley, and wheeling around this mobile display was a statement of pride and luxury in the most chic of hotels. Today, such would be considered much out of place if not downright paltry and lesser than respectable. Wine lists have grown exponentially and so have the cellars to store them, and in this superlative run-up to the biggest and best, establishments seem to be going to extraordinary lengths to justify their wine quotient and level of seriousness; I suspect that the time is nigh when the average wine cellar in just about any hotel will have its own pin code! But size will certainly not matter, at least not by itself. Content will be key and pricing will also help attract and keep clients. So, in case you are in the market for a good place to sip your wines, here is a list of some commendable places around the country.

1. Enoteca 360, The Oberoi, New Delhi  
Among the trendsetters of the wine movement, the one that made a wine library not just a style statement but downright mandatory for all luxury establishments, the place still retains its charm and splendour. Lovely collec­tion of wines but the convivial table in the middle where people may gather and share a sip with some cheese is perhaps the most attractive element.

2. Monsoon, Le Meridien, New Delhi
The wine library at Delhi’s unsung Indian fine-dining restaurant is a bit secluded; you have to make your way through the seating area towards the bar and then further encore before you see the ambiently lit display cases in a U-setting. The place is mostly locked, but you can see it from the adjacent pri­vate dining space. The wine collection isn’t anywhere near fabulous but still comprehensive.

3. Spectra, The Leela Ambience, Gurgaon
What the Spectra has is more of a wine wall to challenge China! Right from the entrance and till the very other end, this edifice in glass seems to go on and on, becom­ing more a structural element — defining and demarcating spaces within the restaurant — and boasts a storage capacity running into thou­sands of bottles! Definitely the most imposing.


4. Baluchi, The Lalit, New Delhi
The first among contemporary Indian dining spaces to think that a wine room was the way forward. Apart from the sumptuous fare that has become synonymous with the Baluchi brand, it was this wine room located right across from the bread bar (yet another unprecedented con­cept) that became the starting point of many a meal at this place. The place is well stocked and the wines by the glass are always on display, as also available to taste.


5. The Wine Company, Gurgaon
A new concept and it has already found many takers. The idea was simple: pick a bottle, take it to your table and order some sumptuous food to go with it. And all this at a very affable price. Needless to add that through the week, even working lunch times, the wine space in Gurgaon’s business hub is well crowded. Weekends are even more crowded. Just goes to show that with the right kind of motivation, there is always an excuse to indulge. +91-9999807072

6. Le Cirque, The Leela , New Delhi
The wine library at Delhi’s foremost fine dining destina­tion is narrow, almost too tight for two people to stand side by side. In value, however, it is head and shoulders above most in the country. From verticals of precious Bordeaux to a Champagne list to match the best in Paris, this is among the most superlative wine experiences in the country, but you do have to break a bank to truly partake of its marvels.

7. Akira Back, J.W. Marriott Aerocity, New Delhi
This is not a pure wine space but the Sake wall at the very slick Akira Back is a very Zen installation. The list is exhaustive (also expen­sive) but good Sake is never cheap and always rare. The local team are well-placed to advise on how one should proceed (Hyonjozo, Dai-ginjo, Jun-Mai are terms you may wish to acquaint yourself with) and all in all, combined with the drinks bar on the lower floor they have one very meticulous list on offer.

8. The Ritz-Carlton Bar, The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore
When a hotel chain with a repute as established and a brand as recognised as the Ritz opens its doors to India, the expectations are anything but underplayed. People, not just from Bangalore, expected the works and the Ritz-Carlton has everyone eating out of their hands. The wine library is an art installation almost, sitting at the entrance of their all-day dining in subdued shades, screaming style and somberness at the same time. The place is well-stocked but still far from what Delhi and Mumbai are capable of. Nonetheless, it’s a first for Bangalore.

9. Prego, Taj Coromandel,  Chennai
This Italian restaurant was too ahead of its times. It opened in a market with food that wasn’t quite aimed at the local palates. To be honest, I doubt it would have had takers enough in Mumbai or Delhi for that matter, given how the stress on the authentic was unprecedented. But they did have one swanky space with a dedicated wine room to the left as you entered the space. The collection was extensive, with meticulously chosen houses and vintages. Some bottles were always open for clients to taste. The place may have changed, but it remains a reference wine library in the city.

10. San Qi The Four Seasons, Mumbai
This being the first (and still, the only) Four Seasons in the country, the pres­sure to represent a brand as majestic must have surely been great. Happy to report then that they have more than lived up to expectations. The wine cel­lar is housed in towering glass walls that define the bar area, a massive struc­ture that allows for privacy as much as it flaunts a display right in the middle of the San Qi restaurant. But not just the layout it is also the selection that is commendable with certain Champagnes and cult brands of wines sourced spe­cially and exclusively for the property. The pricing is appreciable too then Four Seasons isn’t exactly competing for top budget hotel spot.

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