My parents are disappointed in me. And not for any other reason than the fact that I do not understand wine. When both your parents work in the hospitality industry and have been in kitchens all their life, your knowledge of wine should ideally go beyond the cheapest port wine you can get your hands on at the local supermarket. Mine doesn’t. Imagine their forlorn faces when as a teenager I started devouring car magazine after car magazine instead of the latest issue of Sommelier. Time to make some amends then?
It was that time of the month when I took our trusty Terrano somewhere around the country to discover new food. Nashik has some of the country’s finest vineyards and wineries, and I’m pretty certain it has some insane restaurants to pair them with. Nashik is a stone’s throw away from Pune — some 210km if you head up NH50, the Pune-Nashik highway. But this road is being widened and the roadworks have turned this route into nothing short of an obstacle course, so we headed to wine country via Mumbai. This route is about 70km longer, but the roads are flawless and distances could be covered much faster.
The Terrano kept us comfortable all the way from Pune to Nashik
Once past Mumbai, you get on to NH3 which heads all the way to Agra, but we were going only up to Nashik. This road has a lot of truck traffic, all sorts of goods carriers from central India and north Maharashtra frequent this road and being in an SUV like the Terrano is a real godsend. The SUV’s 1.5-litre diesel is a real punchy motor and has a whole lot of accessible torque — 248Nm right from 2,250rpm. Keep the car on boost and overtaking these long convoys of trucks is no problem at all. There is one interesting bit of road — the twisty hill climb just before Igatpuri. It is a one-way stretch with no nasty surprises waiting on the other side of a corner so you can really enjoy your car all the way up. You’d think being a burly SUV, the Terrano would have trouble cornering hard. But no, it stays planted and offers plenty of feedback through the steering and pedals, keeping you on top of things.
Now we weren’t heading inside Nashik, we were visiting the wineries just outside the city limits and our first stop was the York winery. It’s located on a 9-acre property and is surrounded by its own vineyards. We made it here just in time for lunch with Kailash Gurnani, the man who owns the place. The York property is rather tranquil, and has a small restaurant called Cellar Door on the ground floor, and an open air lounge with a stunning view of the adjacent vineyards and the Gangapur reservoir for you to enjoy your wine. No wine for us though, we were driving.