These aren’t just colours! They are different tastes, preferred by different kind of people. White wine, this is dry and on the sweeter side. This pairs when you have light meals like salad, soup or white pasta. It goes well with more of bland food. While on the other hand, red wine is power packed with spices, fruity flavours and several other elements. This goes with spicy food, like the Indian dishes like Chicken Tikka. But hang on, why are we talking about all this?

Flashback: I had planned to go to Nashik, stay there for a weekend and even visit a friend’s vineyard. I wanted to drive down in a sedan, which is automatic, comfortable and a good cruiser on the highway. As the roads near the vineyard have always been bad, I have always taken an SUV. But off-lately, the roads were mended and are good enough for a hatchback to go. That said, this trip had turned into a complete MotorOctane team weekend. More like a gateway weekend for us as we planned to turn it into a travelogue.

I believe in co-incidence and this just happened with me very recently. Because the entire team was due to go, I had change my plan and ask for an SUV. Something that can seat seven people in comfort, then my option boiled down to the Ford Endeavour. This is the red wine! Power packed SUV with aggressive styling, feature loaded interiors and amazing handler. There seemed to be some miscommunication and we were under the impression that there shall be no Endeavour for the drive. That is when I decided to get the Toyota Corolla Altis automatic, a sedan I have developed a liking for. It is a comfortable cruiser and so comfortable. When it comes to driving dynamics, it is a bit bland like white wine. And that was the exact colour the press demonstrator came in.

The second vehicle was due to be one of our long termer diesel hatchbacks. However, last time a change happened. Ford got back to us stating a red Endeavour will be with us, but a day later. Just what we needed. A power-packed SUV that has fantastic driving dynamics and is a joy when you get behind the wheel. Manoj and some of the rest from the team decided to stay back and decline coming by a day. The other half of us cruised in comfort to Nashik. The Corolla Altis is seamless, quiet and just perfect. To my surprise it was so refined. I have never had high hopes from CVT but this one was so good. There was no need to up shift or downshift manual even once on winding roads. If you are going out with your family, this is the best pick. The ground clearance is apt for such journeys. I didn’t feel the need of more power, one can comfortably cruise on the highway. With ease!

I did visit York Winery. This is right opposite Sula and if you ask me, they have the best wines. I’m not a big fan of most of the Indian wines. But York has lovely red wines and for whites, there is Soma, which again next door. Both the vineyards have excellent wines and are highly recommended options. In Nashik, there are multiple good places to stay. For instance, if you need a scenic view and are willing to spend a bit extra, then it is Sula’s residency stay (which is apparently called as Soma). If you need something fancy, then there is The Gateway Ambad (Taj property). Are you on a limited budget, Ibis isn’t too far either. Another hotel is Express Inn, but we haven’t been there. For Taj property, click on the link to know more.

Taj Gateway Nashik

What is an interesting thing is how Nashik is growing its reach with wines. Most of the vineyards offer wine tours too. There are several pilgrim places too and this is also a good option to halt, especially if you are heading to Shirdi.

On my way back, I shifted into the Ford Endeavour. I had been behind the wheel of the Endeavour for a long time before. And what happened surprised me. The 2.2-litre Endeavour was such a comfortable cruiser. This time though, I was in the pedal to metal mood. And the Endeavour responded. Despite being humongous, this SUV handled the twisties with ease. This was like one of the smoothest red wines. It had the punch, it had all the ingredients, but the delivery was linear and not at all jerky. While driving on the highway it did feel rather compact. It was the Endeavour that made be go quick, and sadly I started feeling bad. Not that work will start soon, but how I missed out on driving such a wonderful SUV.

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