There’s a new winery whose Indian owners were inspired by the Kama Sutra.
One of the newest additions to the lively wine and culinary scenes on California’s Central Coast is called LXV. It’s a labor of love for Neeta and Kunal Mittal, both natives of India, who met and fell for each other while attending UC Berkeley.
In their travels through the Golden State, Neeta and Kunal were drawn to the untamed beauty of the hills around Paso Robles. They also loved the wine being produced there. A few years ago, they decided to throw caution to the wind and start making Paso wine. Their goal: to create wines that pair with Indian and other spicy food.
If you visit the winery’s tasting room in downtown Paso Robles, a plate accompanies your tasting. It’s divided into four quadrants; each contains tiny bites of cheese coated in dry herb and spice mixtures.
With the 2014 Summer Satine, a well-balanced viognier, you taste garam masala, prepared by Neeta’s mom back home in India. The 2014 Heart Note, a rosé that was slightly sweet, goes with tamarind, brown sugar, cinnamon and merlot salt. The Crimson Jewel, a combination of sangiovese and petite sirah, is paired with basil, oregano, parsley, and dried bits of tomato, onion and garlic. The 2013 Lover’s Spell, a blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah, mates with black truffle salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and savory.
The Kama Sutra connection.
There are 64 arts in the Kama Sutra (contrary to popular belief, the ancient Hindu text is more than a sex guide. It also instructs the reader in the ways of virtuous and gracious living, and its lessons cover even mundane arts such as pillow arranging). Super Bowl fans and others familiar with Roman numerals know that LXV is 65 – in other words, wine-and-food pairing is being presented as the 65th art.
The LXV tasting room is more exotic than most, with deep blue walls, day beds filled with plush pillows and a very non-Western vibe. It’s worth a trip, especially if you’re burned out on the run-of-the-mill tasting room experience. There’s only one downside: afterwards you’ll be hankering for some good Indian food, and Paso Robles, alas, doesn’t have an Indian restaurant. Perhaps that should be the Mittels’ next project.