Happy New Year! I hope and pray that 2016 turns out truly awesome for you on all fronts- including plenty of good wines to root.
As I look forward to sharing much more than ever on wine and spirits this year, let us start the journey with some interesting wines that I came across in the preceding period.
The year 2015 concluded for me with a famed Premier Grand Cru wine, that too in double magnum measure. My previous post made on the Christmas of 2015 narrates the experience. The wine was brought in by a good friend living in Singapore, whom I do not get to meet so often. It also made me ponder on the nature of Grand Cru and equivalent wines (let’s call them prestige wines) being similar to such good friends. One would like to meet them often, if it were not for the existential constraints.
However there are other good friends who are situated closer to us and whom we keep meeting regularly. Extending our analogy, these are the wines that we enjoy on a day-to-day basis. There are also some wines which may not be our regular ones but nostalgic one time ‘acquaintances’ whom we hope to ‘meet’ again. These wines are generally not available through regular channels- rather picked up during travel, gifted by somebody and likewise.
A true friend of wine must look beyond prestige wines if he wants to discover the hidden pleasures of the wine world. It is akin to finding a multitude of orchids in the wild rather than sticking to what the florist has to offer.
For me, one such wine was a Shiraz from the Clare valley, Australia which was sent to me by the producer for an honest opinion on how this wine would probably fare in India. Not talking of price points for now, I found this wine to be delicious and very much suitable for a country with a rich cuisine like India.
Another interesting wine I came across was from Ethiopia that I procured from an unusual source- an auction by the Customs department. Most wine lovers would be surprised to know of a wine from Ethiopia since the country is not particularly famous for its wines in the current day. Nevertheless, it has a centuries old history of winemaking. The wine called ‘Dukam’ was a generic blend of red varietals. Not expecting much from it, I was delighted to find it to be an unpretentious and well made wine pleasing to the senses.
Then there was a Bulgarian wine that I showcased at one of the wine dinners. The wine was offered to me by the Bulgarian embassy in New Delhi urging me to pair it with the main course of the contemporary Indian spread. Amid other better known wines, it turned out to be the hero wine of the day.
During my trip to the Champagne vineyards I tasted a lot of Grandes Marques Champagnes. But there was this utterly beautiful bottle of a Rosé Champagne from a boutique winemaker called Edouard Brun which was gifted to me by a French friend. I couldn’t probably have found this wine otherwise due to its limited production and relatively localized market. Ferrying it back to India, I shared it with my close friends- who haven’t stopped raving about it till now!
The final wine that I would like to share in this space is a sweet wine from Romania that arrived directly from the producer. I initially wanted to pair it with dessert at a wine dinner but dropped the idea owing to its light body. Wondering the next day at breakfast, I had a Eureka moment,realising that the Indian breakfast of kandha poha (water soaked flattened rice flakes, pan fried in mustard oil with onions and Indian condiments) would be an ideal accompaniment for this wine. And indeed, it turned out so.
There are many more wines that I would like to share in this post, but for the space constraints. Uncommon wines particularly from the Czech Republic, Malta, Georgia and Greece surprised me with their quality and value for money in the year gone by.
But the year has just started, hasn’t it?