This weekend turned out to be the kind of dream, where one doesn’t want to wake up. I got the opportunity to drive one of Audi’s most stylish cars. The A5 Sportback. A car that stands for style and performance in every breadth!

audi im 1 copyThe A5 Sportback arrived 10 minutes before 8 on Saturday morning. Attractive looking whichever side or angle you view it from. The sweeping lines and curves work very well from a design perspective. The body style has a coupe roofline that flows into defined haunches. Prominent sharply cut taillights and headlights give the A5 a sleek and sporty stance.

The A5 Sportback blends hatchback versatility, the spaciousness of a sedan and the styling lines of a coupe. The A5 Sportback is a design masterstroke by Audi, the way different features of their model range have been combined so well here.


Step into the car and you greeted with a cabin that exudes class and chic. The cabin is spacious enough for a six-footer to sit comfortably. Audi has worked on giving more cabin space.  It’s longer, narrower and lower than the car it replaces, but somehow more spacious. Headroom is adequate as well, unless you are very tall in which case you may find it a little tight… A sunroof which is standard for most luxury cars these days is available in the A5 Sportback as well.

The dashboard looks super and is based on the MLB Evo platform. The A5 Sportback comes with three-zone climate control, while the infotainment is a large eight-inch unit. It comes with 755W Bang and Olufsen audio system Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The virtual cockpit which a delight to use completes the package. Audi makes probably the best digital instrument cluster that’s out there presently. It comes with active and passive safety features as well. The on-board satellite navigation is very accurate, the few occasions I used it.

collage 1.jpgcollage 2.jpgThe Audi A5 Sportback is based on VW’s famous MLB platform with the engine feeding power to the front wheels mated to a seven-speed gearbox, which is as smooth, refined and as quick as they come. Under the hood is a 2.0l four-cylinder turbo-diesel which puts out 190PS @ 3,800-4,200 rpm and 400Nm @ 1,750-3,000 rpm. This engine is one of the best, not just because of the above-mentioned figures, but also of the high standard of refinement levels on offer. Start the car, press the accelerator and the power builds up quickly, with the torque hitting you around the 2,500 rpm mark. The revving is so rapid on this car, testimony to the superior TDI engines that the Audis come equipped with. The Audi A5 Sportback diesel claims to go from standstill to 100 in 7.9s.

collage 4.jpgI was lucky to drive it on relatively empty roads early Saturday morning. On the Bandra –  Worli Sea link, the A5 Sportback came into its own. Fast and quick on the go, the Sportback showed me the qualities which make it a top-class car in its segment. Braking was sharp, cornering was easily tackled without breaking into a sweat. The moment we got into traffic the A5 changed character and was equally at home there. Not once did I feel any stress even when we were moving at speeds of 40 km and less.

I spent a day driving the A5 Sportback. My impressions in this short period were extremely satisfying with everything the car has on offer in terms of luxury, performance and sports car sensibilities This is a car that’s as much at home in the city as on a race track. A car that’s on the must buy list for most auto enthusiasts worldwide…collage 5.jpgThe A5 Sportback is priced at 55.40 lakhs ex-showroom Mumbai.


Dimensions & Weight
Length 4733 mm
Width 1843 mm
Height 1386 mm
Wheelbase 2824 mm
Kerb Weight 1670 kg
Doors 4 Doors
Seating Capacity 5 Person
No of Seating Rows 2 Rows
Fuel Tank Capacity 54 litres
Engine & Transmission
Displacement 1968 cc
Fuel Type Diesel
Engine Type 4-cylinder in-line diesel engine with common rail injection system and turbocharging
Max Power (bhp@rpm) 190 bhp @ 3800 rpm
Max Torque (Nm@rpm) 400 Nm @ 1750 rpm
Mileage (ARAI) 19.2 kmpl
Turbocharger/Supercharger Turbocharged
Turbocharger Type Variable Geometry
No of gears 7 Gears
Transmission Type Automatic
Drivetrain FWD
Dual Clutch No
Sport Mode Yes
Manual Shifting for Automatic Conventional Shift
Driving Modes Electronic Presets
Engine Start-Stop Function Yes
Alternate Fuel Not Applicable
Cylinders 4, Inline
Valve/Cylinder (Configuration) 4, DOHC
Suspensions, Brakes & Steering
Front Brake Type Disc
Rear Brake Type Disc
Steering Type Power assisted (Electric)
Wheels Alloy Wheels
Front Tyres 245 / 40 R18
Rear Tyres 225 / 40 R18


If Harvey Specter from Suits rode to work, the XDiavel would be his motorcycle of choice. Power cruiser that’s mean looking with the kind of torque on tap that makes riding insanely fun…


A motorcycle that redefines what the modern power cruiser has evolved into in this century. First time you lay eyes on the XDiavel you are awestruck. The design lines are sleek, sharp with the trademark Ducati fit and finish. Ducati has always been known for making motorcycles that are the perfect mix of design and kickass performance. The XDiavel is no different.  Ducati fits a 152bhp, race-developed twin to the XDiavel because Ducatis have to be fast, furious and fun to ride. The XDiavel has riding position tailor made for a remake of the cult classic Easy Rider.

The low seat is comfortable and supportive; the handlebars aren’t too wide or too forward or back. The footrests are positioned high enough for ground clearance in corners. The bike comes with key-less ignition. The key only being used to open and shut the fuel cap.

Switch on the motorcycle and a loud grunt greets you. Start the motorcycle, give a whack to the throttle and you are greeted with a ferocity that means serious business. The moment we hit an empty patch of road after 20 minutes of traffic, the Xdiavel shows what happens when a sport bike maker like Ducati designs a cruiser. The acceleration for 0-100 is stunning. One can tell that this bike has been geared for acceleration rather than an academic top speed figure. Open the throttle and the Xdiavel goes like a Shoaib Akhtar express delivery trying to rip the top layer of tarmac from the road.


Cornering and holding the road is something the XDiavel excels at. After a few hours of riding on sharp twisties and bends it became obvious how the 240 mm rear tyre and 40 degree lean angle on the XDiavel comes into play. Peak torque comes into play at 5000 rpm but even at 2000 rpm you have enough and more for fierce acceleration on open highways. This is testimony to how right Ducati has got the power to weight ratio in the XDiavel.

The XDiavel gets Brembo’s M50 callipers, which are superb. Will braking be a reason to buy the XDiavel? I don’t think so. Interested buyers would be more interested in the multiple riding modes on offer and the cornering ABS that comes with it. And if that is not enough to whet your appetite, you also get launch control and cruise control!  I started in the “Urban’ mode that cuts the power to 100 bhp along with electronic comfort blanketing. This is tuned to make riding in the city on a daily basis an easy affair.

The ‘Touring’ mode gives you the full 152 bhp on offer, but is delivered with finesse and moderate electronic interference.  The ‘Sport’ mode lets you use the full range of power with minimal Traction Control, anti-wheelie and stability control in place.


The XDiavel comes with full LED lighting with the switch gear being back-lit too. The TFT instrument panel is simple and easy to use. The menu for changing settings and display is logical and easy to work with. The switch gear is well laid out too.

Ducati’s first ever belt drive should keep transmission lash to a minimum and be virtually maintenance free.

I rode it over 4 days in all sorts of traffic and road conditions. A complete head turner, I lost count on the number of time people asked me questions such as ‘how much average does it give” “What does it cost” “is it comfortable to ride”… Selfies were clicked galore, with people posing around the bike every time I parked.

The XDiavel is the kind of Cruiser you want to ride all day, albeit on open highways with no traffic. Like I said at the beginning of my article if you fancy yourself as Harvey Specter and wanna ride every day this is the bike for you…

The XDiavel is priced at Rs 15.87 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) and the XDiavelS starts at Rs 18.47 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).

If riding fast and furious in style is your thing then look no further. The XDiavel is just the motorcycle for you…

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Visit to Kalpa

ANJANA BOSE-TRAVEL WRITER     – By Anjana Bose – Travel writer

The first time I travelled to Kalpa was in 2002 as a part of a project. It was not a leisure trip, but the experience was like no other.

The Kinnaur district was, at that time, reeling under the flash floods and landslides of 2000. We had started early from Shimla. After brief stoppages at Kufri and Narkanda, we reached Sarahan by early evening. The road till Sarahan was quite nice and we were accompanied by a clear sky, beautiful peaks and lovely company. We parked ourselves for the night there after visiting the Bhimkali temple. Though we were staying at the HPTDC hotel, our driver-cum-guide took us to a relative’s house nearby for dinner. We met a few locals here, heard some stories of bygone era and their dreams for the future. The hot home-cooked food was better than any hotel could have offered.

kalpa 2

kalpa 1.jpg

The next day, we restarted our journey towards Kalpa – Rampur, Karcham, Kalpa. The road started deteriorating after Rampur. Soon, there were only pebbles for road. We saw the locals and army working together to fix the roads and to ensure that travelers like us were guided properly. For most part of the route hereafter, the Sutlej was at par with us. We could see and feel the immense power the river had within itself. The road became quite perilous as we moved towards Karcham. We experienced a couple of instances of rock-slides. At some places the river overflowed on the roads making it slippery, but the feeling the splash of the river was unearthly. The cliffs hung dangerously at many places but looking at the sun through these peaks were some of the best sights I have seen. We reached Karcham towards the end of the day and felt thankful. At the back of our minds though, we knew, that this is the same road we must travel on our way back.

At Karcham, we got to know that a dam was under construction which will control the power of the Sutlej and generate electricity, part of which would be used to light up this region. There were sure signs of progress. But, the continuous use of heavy machinery and transportation by loaded trucks made the road more dangerous resulting in frequent rockslides. We also came to know that monsoons render the route extremely dangerous for the same reason. But, they promised the Karcham-Recong Peo road was in a better condition. Well, it was better but nowhere close to our comfort levels. One of the main bridges was washed away making travel very difficult. Frankly, there was more than one occasion when we wanted to turn back. But, there was no option for that – the only place the vehicle could turn back was Reckong Peo. Also, the scenic beauty around us forced us to drive ahead, promising us many more visual treats. Finally, we reached Kalpa late evening. Once again, we put up at the HPTDC hotel. Even in the darkness we could make out that it was located near the summit with long stretches of wilderness around us.

kalpa 3.jpg

The next morning, we were awakened around 4am and what we witnessed was more beautiful than anything, anyone had told us of. Right from our windows we could see the majestic Kinnaur-Kailash range. The first rays of the sun slowly coloured the sky orange and then yellow. The snow-clad range reflected the sunlight with such force that it was difficult to look for too long. The beauty of it was beyond imagination. We were there for half a day, attending to project work. Every time we looked at the majestic range, we were awestruck. The colour kept changing, the snow appeared different and the clouds in the clear blue sky was mesmerizing. We were told that the Kailash peak and the mountain range changes colours 5-7 times in a day. We could not enjoy the peaks in their complete splendour as we had to leave for Sangla. But the memory of the short visit stayed with me and I promised myself I will be back.

Fast forward 2018. We planned to visit the hills and I immediately thought of Kalpa. The group included young and old alike, hence we decided to go for a longer visit. My earlier experience raised many doubts but reviews of those having visited in recent years coupled with the promise of a majestic and unforgettable experience helped us finalise our itinerary.

kalpa 4.jpg

This time round, we decided to take the HRTC bus service. The websites said 10hr journey, the people at the counter promised an 8hr journey; in reality, it took us nearly 12hrs to reach Kalpa from Shimla. The road condition throughout was good, extremely good. At many places, the rocks were bound to stop rockslides. We did find a few precariously hanging cliffs, but none hung as dangerously as the ones I had seen the last time. I was quite sad to see that advancement affected the natural beauty of the region. The Sutlej, which had been a constant companion in my previous trip looked like a distant dream. The river was now a little larger than a narrow stream lacking any kind of energy and strength. The good part being the growth of agricultural land along the banks of the river bringing in employment on prosperity to the locals. Prosperity though did not make them arrogant and they remain friendly and helpful. We had some mouth-watering aloo parathas, chana masala and various homemade preparations. We listened to their stories and heard interesting tales of how the region has managed to emerge a winner from the various calamities it faced. Important to mention that since my last visit, the Kinnaur region faced another devastating flood in 2005. The dam at Karcham was 100% functional. It not only provided electricity to the region, but also employment to the locals.

We reached Kalpa around 9pm. This time round we were booked into a small hotel that boasted of a better view of the range than the HPTDC hotels. Yes, there were 3 HPTDC properties now instead of the single one I had seen earlier.

Day 1 at Kalpa: We were greeted by a vibrant sunrise, early in the morning. The sight was as majestic as I remembered it. I sat at the balcony at 4am, wrapped in my quilt, looking at the sun breaking through. The day promised to be bright and sunny.

After breakfast, we walked down to the market. While I remembered a reasonably busy market place, this time round it appeared somewhat deserted at 11 in the morning. On enquiring, we were told that many work at Recong Peo and others at Karcham. That’s why not many people were around during the day. We walked down to the Monastery. Though small in size, it was very peaceful to be there. The Durga temple was our next stop. This temple is perched on a peak and surrounded by the snow clad mountain ranges. At the courtyard of the temple, I had this sense of being minute within this largeness of beauty. Here, we met a group of students who had come from Chandigarh. They were studying about the temple culture in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is claimed that the state has 2000 temples listed, and the count keeps increasing. We also met a very noisy family from Mumbai whose main contention seemed to be that no one had prepared them for the chilly weather. The lady wanted to get clicked Yash Raj style, and was actually sporting a bright- coloured chiffon saree but was unable to take off the jacket for the photo shoot.
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Our next stop was Reckong Peo, which we reached using the local bus service. I highly recommend the use of local transport when in Kalpa. The roads are quite narrow and steep in some places. Those not used to traveling in similar road conditions will not be able to do justice to the drive. Peo, as its commonly referred to, was bustling with activity. We strolled around the market place before taking the bus back to Kalpa.

What was notable was that we had seen the Kinnaur-Kailash range and its neighbours change colours 4 times. Once back at the hotel, we parked ourselves at the balcony and did nothing much except look at the mountains and enjoy the beauty. This vigil was accompanied by regular supply of tea and timely snacks that the hotel provided. Kalpa is not famous for its nightlife or eating-out options. Once sundown, it tended to become somewhat monotonous. But having walked quite a bit, we were all tired and retired early.

Day 2 at Kalpa: This morning we were met with gloomy clouds which dampened our mood somewhat. We had plans of visiting the apple orchards and then walk down to Roghi village. At breakfast, the manager advised us against venturing too far, especially after 3pm. He also promised to put some extra quilts in our rooms as the temperature was likely to drop. We joked about the family from Mumbai we had met the previous day, as the temperature was significantly lower. We had to change our plans as the rain gods decided to meet us earlier than the expected 3 pm. We spent the day playing carrom and watching movies on YouTube. From a place with little electrification in 2002, to a place with strong data facility in 2018, yes, Kalpa has come a long way. Though it’s still a small sleepy town.

After the rain ceased towards the evening, we went out for a stroll, dressed in as many warm clothes that we could gather. We visited a nearby apple orchard which was deserted expect the sole guard at the entrance. Everyone was home because of the weather, he informed us. He treated us to jaggery tea which we were glad about. The cold started affecting us with sniffles having started among the youngest and oldest members of the group. We soon retired for the day, somewhat sad. We were leaving the next day but we had not been able to enjoy Kalpa as much as we desired.

Late evening we heard drumbeats. Locals had started gathering at the adjacent hotel. Though we wanted to, we were stopped as the drumbeats were because of a local religious ritual.

Day 3, away from Kalpa: Since we were boarding the 6am bus to Shimla from Peo, we left the hotel at 4.30 am. Enroute, we stopped for a quick visit to the Kalika temple at Peo. The temple was open even at that time of the day and peace prevailed. The remains of the festivities of the previous night was quite visible.

The sun continued to elude us as we bade farewell to Kalpa and Peo. As we left, we promised to meet again.


The last time I drove an Ameo it was the Ameo Cup Car at the MMRT – Chennai. Fast and furious are the adjectives that spring to mind when describing that car. Last week the stock version of the Ameo was waiting for me to drive.

How different was this Ameo compared to its race brethren? Let’s find out…

The Ameo is a compact shaped mid-size sedan, step in and the first things you notice is the flat-bottomed sporty looking steering wheel which is height and reach adjustable. There’s an accompanying armrest between the front seats.



Switch on the car and the responsive touchscreen infotainment system comes to life. This supports Bluetooth audio, USB, AUX, SD-Card support, voice command along with mirror Link. The Ameo comes with rear ac-vent, electrically adjustable and retractable outside rear view mirrors. There are lots of features to choose from. There’s cruise control, reverse parking camera with sensors, automatic rain sensing wipers, one-touch power windows and a cooled glove box.


Put the Ameo into drive mode and the familiarity and efficiency of the VW TDI engine greets you. I drove in dense traffic situations the first day, conditions which are now a regular reality in Mumbai. The Ameo is completely at ease in such conditions.  There’s enough and more power for over taking when required, the braking is very responsive and sharp.

The thing I noticed after driving the Ameo over 70 kms that day was the fuel efficiency. The fuel gauge had barely budged from its starting position in the morning.

I was now looking forward to driving it on the highway over the weekend.

A trip to Shahapur had been pending for a while now. Shahapur is located on the Mumbai – Nashik Highway around 50 kms from Thane. This highway unlike the Mumbai – Pune Expressway and the Mumbai – Gujarat highway isn’t usually choked with very bad traffic most times. I was praying that the traffic gods played along, to ensure a smooth and pleasant drive. The weather was just perfect for such a drive.

The engine’s full potential came to life the moment we hit the highway. The 7 speed DSG gearbox is smooth, refined and lives up to its huge reputation. The shift from drive mode to sports mode is seamless. Shift to sports mode and the gear shifts in the Ameo happen at a higher RPM. 100 kms whizzed by and we were at our destination in a little over 2 hours. The Ameo’s suspension has been tuned for our road conditions. The stretches of bad roads we encountered once off the highway, were a non-issue, tackled very easily by the Ameo.

The handling is sharp and very responsive. The hilly terrain I drove on with its series of corners was tailor made for the Ameo. The car handled that very smoothly and efficiently.

In my conversation with Sirish Vissa – Head of Volkswagen Motorsport India, he had mentioned how the Ameo cup car had a solid foundation to start with. The stock Ameo is a very solid product in terms of handling, suspension, engine and transmission.

This is a car that has more power than any other car in its price range and category.  The cost for the Ameo starts at ₹ 5.67 Lakhs and goes up to ₹ 10 Lakhs.  The petrol version starts at ₹ 5.67 Lakhs. The diesel version starts at ₹ 6.7 Lakhs.

There are lots of features on offer for the price. Combined with the fact that this is an easy car to drive around the city, makes the Ameo an attractive proposition in the mid-size sedan category. So, if that is the kind of car you are looking at buying next, take the Ameo out for a test drive…

Time to Wine Down!

The range and variety of wines that are available these days, allows you a choice for all occasions. From Reds to White, Sparkling to Dessert wines, we are spoilt for choice. A simple barbecue to a formal wedding party or that lazy Sunday at home with friends, having to choose from your favourites can be quite a task. So here’s a list of some major grape varieties and their common characteristics which will help you choose your favourite wine for your next party…

Wine! Because no great story started with someone eating a salad!

Benjamin Franklin once famously declared that wine is “constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”

Without a doubt, wine is one of the most beloved beverages of all time. It has been hypothesized that early humans climbed trees to pick berries, liked their sugary flavour, and then begun collecting them. After a few days with fermentation setting in, juice at the bottom of any container would begin producing low-alcohol wine. According to this theory, things changed around 10,000-8000 BC with the transition from a nomadic to a sedentism style of living, which led to agriculture and wine domestication.

Wine has long played an important role in religion. Red wine was associated with blood by the ancient Egyptians and was used by both the Greek cult of Dionysus and the Romans in their Bacchanalia; Judaism also incorporates it in the Kiddush and Christianity in the Eucharist.

The first known mention of grape-based wines in India is from the late 4th-century BC writings of Chanakya, the chief minister of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya. In his writings, Chanakya condemns the use of alcohol while chronicling the emperor and his court’s frequent indulgence of a style of wine known as “madhu”.


The range and variety of wines that are available these days, allows you a choice for all occasions. From Reds to White, Sparkling to Dessert wines, we are spoilt for choice. A simple barbecue to a formal wedding party or that lazy Sunday at home with friends, having to choose from your favourites can be quite a task. So here’s a list of some major grape varieties and their common characteristics which will help you choose your favourite wine for your next party:


White Wine grape Varieties:

1. Chardonnay (Shar-doh-nay):

The king of the white grapes- Chardonnay is one of the most popular grape varieties and you will find its name on many labels. Each winery produces its own individual style based on differing fermentation techniques and use of oak barrels to age the wine. Some winemakers prefer not to use oak aging at all (often identified on the label as “unoaked”).

Unoaked Chardonnay Tasting notes:
Dry to slightly off-dry, light to medium bodied, crisp, clean and refreshing. Fruit aromas and flavours include apple, pear, citrus and tropical fruits.

Oaked Chardonnay Tasting notes:
Dry, medium to full-bodied, slightly rich, lightly refreshing to buttery smooth. The bouquet and flavours may include ripe apple, pear, pineapple, melon, fig, oak, spice, vanilla, nut, butter, cream, honey and coffee bean.

2. Riesling (Reez-ling):

Riesling, one of the finest grapes in the world, is able to retain its acidity as it ripens, and is produced in styles ranging from bone dry to honey sweet. If Chardonnay is the king of the white grapes, then surely Riesling must be queen.

Riesling Tasting notes:
Bone dry to sweet, light and delicate to fresh and clean to rich and oily with age. Aromas and flavours of peach, apricot, citrus, tropical, floral, mineral, and steely.

3. Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris (Pea-no Gree-gee-o or Pea-no Gree):

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same grape, but stylistically different. Pinot Grigio is a lighter more refreshing style of wine, while Pinot Gris is often a gently perfumed, medium body, slightly rich wine and a typically slightly deeper in colour than most whites

Pinot Grigio Tasting notes:
Dry, light-bodied, refreshing and lively. Green Apple, delicate pear and citrus aromas and flavours.

Pinot Gris Tasting notes:
Dry, medium-bodied, slightly rich and smooth. Aromas and flavours of delicate perfume, melon, pear and spice.

4. Sauvignon Blanc (So-vee-n’yohn Blahn):

If a wine could be referred to as “green” this would be the grape. An aromatic varietal with recognizable “green” aromas.

Sauvignon Blanc Tasting notes:
Dry, light to medium body, with refreshing acidity. Noted for its aroma of grass, gooseberry, bell pepper, asparagus, citrus, herbaceous tones, even tropical fruit, melon and passion fruit in riper styles.

5. Gewurztraminer (Gah-vurts-trah-meener):

Gewurz means perfumed or spicy in German, and traminer is a reference to the town of Tramin in the Italian Tyrol region, where the variety originated.

Gewurztraminer Tasting notes:
Dry, to off-dry, medium-bodied, smooth and slightly rich. Distinctive aromas and flavours of Lychee, fruit, rose petals, rose water, tropical fruit, spice and perfume.


Red Wine grape Varieties:

1. Cabernet Sauvignon (Cab-air-nay So-vee-n’yohn):

The king of red grapes. A full-bodied, dry red wine, usually aged for many years in oak barrels. Often blended with Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting notes:
Extra-Dry to dry, medium to full-bodied, often aggressive in youth and silky when aged. Bouquet and flavours consisting of Black currant, black pepper, spice, strawberry, oak, cedar, violet and chocolate.

2. Cabernet Franc (Cab-air-nay Frahn):

Rich, expressive flavour, Cabernet Franc is usually blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Cabernet Franc Tasting notes:
Extra-Dry to dry, medium to full-bodied, smooth and fresh to seriously rich with aggressive tannins in youth. Bouquet and flavours of red and black fruit, spice, oak, green pepper, dried leaves, olives, tobacco, earth and herbaceous notes.

3. Merlot (Mair-lo):

Silky with fruity flavours, Merlot is sometimes blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to soften the muscle of Cabernet. Mellow, seductive and a much-loved varietal.

Merlot Tasting notes:
Dry, light to medium-bodied, silky and smooth, slightly rich. Expect a bouquet and flavours of plums, red berries, blueberry and spice.

4. Shiraz/ Syrah (shee-rahz/ see-rah):

Oak aged for many months, Shiraz exhibits rich, ripe fruit character with a soft, plush mouth-feel, whereas Syrah is extra-dry with youthful tannins, moderate acidity and notes of wood, and red and black fruit.

Shiraz Tasting notes:
Dry, rich, smooth, full-bodied, with almost sweet, ripe fruit flavours and hints of chocolate.

Syrah Tasting notes:
Extra-dry to dry, medium to full-bodied. A bouquet and flavours of spice, black pepper, oak, earth, red and black fruits.

So go ahead, pour a wine that encourages heartfelt conversations and laughter because it is said that You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy wine & that’s kind of the same thing!”

Please get in touch with us for personalised wine tours on the email id below.

Email: wanderers.outventures@gmail.com


Here comes the New Ciaz…

The Ciaz from the time it was launched has developed a loyal following. Having sold 2 lakhs plus units so far, the car has become a key player in the mid-size sedan segment.

The new Maruti Suzuki updated Ciaz has arrived on our shores. Last week Maruti launched the latest offering of their most premium model. Priced between Rs 8.19-10.97 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Ciaz brings some more equipment, cosmetic upgrades and a spanking new petrol engine.

The Ciaz from the time it was launched has developed a loyal following. Having sold 2 lakhs plus units so far, the car has become a key player in the mid-size sedan segment.

Good looking with enough styling changes make the Ciaz impressive to look at. The front and rear bumpers along with the grille are all new. I particularly like the new shape of the headlamps. The higher variants in the model range i.e. Zeta and Alpha will get LED headlamps, taillamps and chrome on the grille. The Alpha version also comes with LED DRL’s and 16-inch alloy wheels that are completely new in design. The instrument cluster comes with a new colour display. The other elements inside are like the previous model Ciaz.


Maruti has given the safety aspect a major upgrade. The dual-front airbags, ABS with EBD were part of the previous generation which are carried over to this model. The new model of the Ciaz also gets rear parking sensors. A speed alert system starts beeping when you touch 80kmph. The beeping then becomes continuous when the car hits 120kmph. This is in conjunction with speed alert regulations that the government is going to make mandatory next year onwards. The idea is to deter drivers from speeding. But will this help.? Unfortunately, I don’t think so. Knowing our penchant for “jugaad” its only a matter of time before local mechanics find a way to de-activate this.

There are seat-belt reminders for the driver and front passenger, a standard in most cars today. The new Ciaz also comes with the Isofix child seat mounts that are standard across the whole range. Big thumbs up for promoting child safety which we at Outventures and Rotormouth fully support and welcome. The top-spec variants come with cruise control, automatic headlamps with an auto-levelling functionality.

New Petrol Engine Introduced…

The new Ciaz introduces the new Suzuki’s K15B motor for the first time. This replaces the previous K14B 1,373cc, four-cylinder petrol engine that made 92hp and 130Nm of peak torque. The K15B 1,462cc four-cylinder engine makes 105hp and 138Nm of torque. The transmission option on the petrol engine is unchanged with a 5-speed manual offered as standard. The automatic comes with a 4-speed torque converter.

The diesel Ciaz remains the same as before. The specifications of offer are 90hp, 1,248cc, four-cylinder motor which produces 200Nm of torque with a 5-speed gearbox.


 The Ciaz has always been the most fuel-efficient mid-size sedan in its class…

Nothing changes with this model. While the diesel gives you ARAI rated fuel efficiency figure of 28.09 kpl, the petrol gets a pretty significant bump in fuel efficiency, even though engine displacement size has become bigger with this model. The rated figure is now 21.56 kpl for the manual and 2.28 for the automatic. The increase respectively is 0.83kpl and 2.44kpl for manual and automatic. In India where fuel prices determine buying choices this will be welcomed with open arms.

The reason behind the improvement in fuel efficiency is…

The mild hybrid system that comes with the K15B uses a lithium-ion battery which is mounted under the front passenger seat. This helps to run start-stop function as well work with torque assist. The battery gets charged via brake energy regeneration. No other car in this segment offers this feature.


So how does the Ciaz drive?

I spent 2 days driving the car over almost 200 kms across great highway roads, congested narrow by lanes. Conditions of the road went from super to bad. How did the Ciaz fare? Let’s find out.

Get into the Ciaz one gets a sense of comfort and familiarity. Start the car and put it into drive mode or 1st gear and the pick-up is smooth and swift. The 1st day I drove the automatic over 80 kms. The engine is responsive; the 4-speed torque convertor works very well, there isn’t any sort of lag and makes for very good driving dynamics. Handling and braking are sharp. The suspension is well designed and tuned for our road conditions. Once we got off the highway the road conditions went through a sea change in terms of quality. The bad roads didn’t affect the drive quality of the Ciaz.

Next day we drove the manual on the Bengaluru – Hyderabad Highway. Oh! What fun that was. Nowadays most of us prefer driving automatics considering the appalling state of traffic in most cities. The manual was a sweet reminder of how much fun it can be when driving is stress free. Fast, responsive engine and gearbox with super handling is what one experienced during the drive. The safety beeping that accompanied us every time we touched 80kmph and beyond was a reminder of how regulated our driving is becoming now. Welcome to driving in the 21st century 😊

If driving in comfort, style, good features and performance is what you are looking for at a killer price…Then the Ciaz is the perfect mid-size sedan for you.

Location : The Taj Bangalore
Picture Credits :Kartik Sadekar

Mock pecan pie recipe – a baking challenge with a difference — My Custard Pie

Can you walk past a second-hand book shop without going in? I certainly can’t, and I generally leave with an ancient, well-thumbed cookbook in hand. These days ‘ancient’ means pre-1980’s and I’m drawn to those with lurid, colour plates of weirdly jellied concoctions or domed things with whipped cream, garnishes of rose radishes, and recipes […]

via Mock pecan pie recipe – a baking challenge with a difference — My Custard Pie