There are innumerable wine varieties and varying tastes for the drink.
Wine comes in different blends and brews. There are fortified wines, sparkling wines, still wines, sweet wines, dry wines and more. Wine varieties, also known as grape varieties, represent just a part of around 600 kinds of grapes. Each wine variety has its own set of unique characteristics including size, colour, skin thickness, flavors, acidity and yield per vine. Only a few varieties of grapes comprise the wine varieties. Grapes used for making wine varieties need to be matched suitably with winemaking techniques and the micro climate in order to draw from the variety, its best potential.
Indian wine are commonly perceived to be good though not up to the international winemaking standards. However, there are many interesting facts about Indian wines. Essentially, Indian white wines are a shade better than the reds. Certain brands of Chining Blanc approach world standards with their nutty, honeyed notes and good fruit definition. The Sauvignon Blanks are usually subtle and clean, though a little on the acidic side and are rather subdued without the guava and cut grass aromas so often found in the best varietals of the same. Indian red wines tend to lack the ripeness that comes with green tannins. Many wines are over-oared to mask the faults in the winemaking. A lot more experimentation is due when it comes to this category of Indian wines. Among the Indian red wines, the Shiraz shows the best potential, with some of their blends displaying excellent spice and fruit aromas that suggest expressiveness and balance.
Indian wines need not be analyzed to be enjoyed. However, if you pay attention to the taste, you will find it easier to identify the tastes you like and dislike in a wine. Wine tasting is an art that comes with a little bit of experience and a little bit of expertise. In such cases a
wine tasting guide is the best solution. A wine tasting guide will teach you some of the basics of wine tasting including how to hold your glass, how to smell the wine, identifying different smells, how to taste wine, identifying different tastes, and wine accompaniments. Studying wine is a fine skill that requires one to closely observe characteristics like clarity and color. You will find wine tasting much more enjoyable when you know what you taste, see and feel.
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Taste! Washington is known among eonophiles as one of the most exciting wine events of the year. With more than 200 Washington wineries all under one roof, it’s like a wine tour on crack, no party bus necessary.
What I’m equally as excited about, though, is the food. At least 60 of the state’s best restaurants will also be under one roof, providing delectable treats to pair with all that wine.
Just to name a few:
- Anitas Crepes
- City Catering
- Dahlia Lounge
- Island Soul Caribbean Cuisine
- Perche No
- Spring Hill
- Wild Ginger
- Uli’s Famous Sausages
It’s a great opportunity to hit quite a lineup of A-listers. I’m heading straight for Barrio to try their Beef Tartare Tostaditas with radishes and sea salt.
Seminars begin at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center on Saturday, April 4th. This one doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but in the seminar titled “Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs’ Best New Washington Wines,” panelists including chefs Jonathan Sundstrom (Lark) and Jason Wilson (Crush) will talk about which wines they love and what they like to eat with them. Others will discuss the “garageist” winemakers that are gaining cult status, plus head-to-head taste-offs between Washington and French wines.
The Grand Tasting at Qwest Field Event Center on Sunday is where the real fun begins, where Washington Wine Commission’s Ryan Pennington promises “lots and lots of wine tasting and food sampling, some cooking demonstrations, various exhibits, and some fun wine and prize contests. I highly recommend spitting while you taste or it could be an early night.
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No one can truly say they know London well. To know London completely is impossible. London changes faster than pigeons descending into the fountains of Trafalgar Square. Home to inhabitants for over 2,000 years now London has grown from the protective circle of the Tower to a sprawling metropolis, the ideal platform for constant illustrious activity.
Always where there is history there are tales to tell. Tourists are naturally drawn to the regular tourist attractions, yet it is the true travellers that seek deeper to find the gems of a 2,000 year-old town. It only takes a very small amount of investigating to find something more rewarding, more interesting, more inspiring in London, than the London Dungeons (although it must be said – is a damn good laugh if you can bear the hour long queues!).
For instance, not even a minute’s walk from the London Dungeons is the Hay’s Galleria. This gem is for some totally bizarre reason hidden from all guidebooks and tourist information – no doubt to preserve its lack of thousands of tourists making it a less exclusive haven. Please go there! It’s a beautiful indoor/outdoor menagerie of a few select shops, with a vast concourse of cafes, market stalls, bands, presentations, and of course, it overlooks a beautiful part of the Thames.
Turn right from Hays Galleria and you find yourself in a Thames-side walkway next to the newest buildings in town. The architecture is phenomenal, and these lord-mayor buildings are still so new that you can imagine that the cellophane has just freshly been peeled off all the windows. You are welcome to enter the Lord Mayor’s building (it’s the one shaped like a golf ball), go to the top and marvel at the mind-boggling roundness of it all – plus of course see the spectacular views of the HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge & the Tower of London. Continue strolling directly into the I-Witness open-air gallery, before maybe snacking on a hot-dog in the mini-fairground.
Walk past the green that previously hosted many Hollywood film premieres in giant marquees, the David Blaine in-a-box episode, plus many other varied events, and you are literally underneath Tower Bridge, keep walking and you are now in Shad Thames, a true delight of traffic-free, cobbled streets full of people, giving you a precise feeling of how the London streets felt hundreds of years ago. It is as if these streets have been restored from long ago, thus delivering to the traveller a wonderfully rich blend of old and new in the same vicinity. Circle around Shad Thames, past the ever-changing Design-Museum, and find yourself in Butlers Wharf, a charming quay-side collection of bars & restaurants all overlooking the Thames opposite the equally picturesque St Katherine’s Dock. Trust me when I tell you that Butlers Wharf is the ultimate in romantic settings.
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Wine Tasting Component I: Look
The first step you have to undertake in wine tasting is visual.
1. Fill up the glass up to 1/3 of its volume; never fill it more than half;
2. Hold the glass by the stem. Initially you may find this too pretentious but there are good reasons for it:
а) by doing it this way you can actually observe the wine in it;
b) this will keep your fingerprints off the bowl;
в) the heat from your palm will not change the temperature of the wine.
There’s a good saying by one of the greatest French wine lovers, Emil Painot: Offer someone a glass of wine and you can immediately tell whether he/she is a connoisseur by the way they hold the glass.” Even though you may not think of yourself as a connoisseur, you could still learn how to hold the wine glass.
3. Focus on the color intensity and the transparency of the liquid.
a) the color of the wine, and more specifically its nuances, are best observed on a white background.
b) the wine’s intensity is best judged by holding the glass without slanting it and looking at the liquid from above;
4. Next comes the swirling of the glass. This can also seem too pretentious or even dangerous if you have a full glass or a white top. But this movement is important since it prepares you for the next step in wine tasting – the Taste. The easiest way to swirl the glass is to place it on a table or other even surface, and to swirl your hand while holding the glass by the stem. Swirl hard and have the wine almost touch the rim of the glass. Then stop. The wine leaves tiny traces with irregular shapes on the inside of the glass. Some “experts” then read them with as much zeal as coffee-tellers. The truth is however, that they are just an indicator for the quality of the wine – the more alcohol a wine has, the more wine traces it forms.
What does the color of the wine tell us? The wine’s color tells us many things about its character.
First, the color shows the grape variety. Let’s take two popular varieties as examples – cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir. Cabernet’s grapes are smaller, with a thicker and darker skin than those of pinot noir. As a result, the color of wines made from cabernet sauvignon is usually described as violet to dark while the color of wines made from pinot noir is associated with ruby.
Second, the color is influenced by the climatic conditions. A hot summer and dry fall result in ripe grapes, with a dark, intense color. A cold summer and rainy fall will produce undeveloped grapes with a lighter color.
Third, wine-making practices also have an influence on the color of wine. For red wine, the grapes are fermented with the skin. Since the coloring agents are in the grape skin, and not in the juice, the longer the process of maceration, i.e. the longer the skin stays with the juice, the darker the wine color will be.
Fourth, the process of wine aging also has an influence on the color of wine. The young red wines are rich in coloring agents and that makes their color denser and fuller. In the course of time chemical reactions take place in the bottle and a sediment is formed at the bottom. The wine’s color gets lighter and is often described as brick or amber.
Let’s go through an example: you pour yourself a glass of red wine and after carefully observing it, you notice a full granite color, good density, and not so good transparency. What conclusions can you draw?
Well, you can safely say that the wine is:
- from cabernet sauvignon grapes;
- from a Southern region;
- relatively young;
- from a good yield;
- that the wine-maker has gone for a good long maceration.
If you know the wine, compare what you know with what you see: maybe the wine has a very full color and the yield has been bad – this speaks of a good wine-making technique; or maybe the wine is too pale for its age – this speaks for undeveloped grape or poor wine-making technique.
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(EMAILWIRE.COM, March 17, 2009 ) New Delhi, India – According to a new research report “US Wine Market Forecast to 2012” by RNCOS, consumption of wine in America is anticipated to reach almost 906 Million Gallons per annum by the end of 2012. Consequently, US will become the largest consumer of wine in the world by outperforming Italy and France.
Though, even at this rate, per-capita consumption in the country is considerably low. Nevertheless, on an average, wine market has outshined the market of distilled spirits and beer for more than fifty decades. As per the report, USA is the fourth-largest wine producer nation globally, following France, Italy and Spain.
The research report further says that the growing number of new adult wine-consumers like women is anticipated to propel the market growth to much higher extent. This is because women comprise 52% of the country’s total population and 57% of the wine in the US is purchased by them. Thus, women represent huge market with immense purchasing power, which so far remained unnoticed. Women usually prefer judging the entire product, rather than getting swayed by wine ratings; however, label design, quality of wine, philosophy of wine, and shape of the bottle play important role in attracting the women consumers.
Additionally, in the 21st century, marketing strategies are increasingly focusing on women consumers, partly led by women themselves who are increasingly acquiring a significant stand in the wine market. Wine industry has now acknowledged that women account for over 50% of all the decisions related to the wine-purchase. Hence, it will be a good business practice to promote the products in such a way that they may appeal this potential section of the society. Definitely, overall outlook for the country’s wine market remains very optimistic.
“US Wine Market Forecast to 2012” provides a deep analysis of the market development and an extensive view into the US wine market. The report also forecasts on various segments of the US wine industry such as Wine Sales and Table Wine Sales. It is not based on a complex economic model, but provides a rough guidance to the direction of future movement of the market.
Moderate intake of alcohol could cut the risk of heart attacks in men suffering from high blood pressure or hypertension, says a new study, though it advises people to consult their doctor as well.
Traditionally, doctors advice people with high blood pressure to increase their activity levels, cut salt consumption and eat fewer high fat foods to reduce the likelihood of suffering a heart attack, stroke or kidney damage.
Researchers led by Joline Beulens of Wageningen University in the Netherlands studied 11,711 men with high blood pressure and suggested that doctors recommend patients to have a daily drink, according to the online edition of Daily Mail.
Participants filled out a questionnaire every four years including details of how often they drank beer, red wine, white wine and spirits. The research team also looked at how many suffered heart attacks, heart disease and strokes between 1986 and 2002.
During this time, a total of 653 suffered heart attacks of which 279 were fatal.
When the scientists linked alcohol use and heart problems, they found that the chances of suffering a heart attack were lower among men who consumed one or two drinks a day.
A drink was defined as being a glass of wine or a single shot of spirits.
Beulens said: “This was the first study to our knowledge that examined the risk of heart attacks among men with high blood pressure who drank moderately.
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The wine-maker Telish located in the Northern village of Telish, Pleven District, was the only Bulgarian firm to attend the India International Wine Fair, which took place on March 16-18 in Mumbai.
“The company is presently targeting the South Asian markets of India, China and Hong Kong. India is a new market for us. Presently, we are the first Bulgarian wine producers here and we plan to establish our presence in the Indian market”, the Sales Manage of Telish is quoted as saying.
And so Vijay Mallya has thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the Nashik Brigade with the launch of his locally produced range of Four Seasons wines and we were the fortunate ones at a wine dinner at Olive Beach which showcased his wines in what could be considered a soft wine launch.
On hand was UB’s business head of wines and their Chief winemaker, Abhay Khewadkar and his team. He is an old player in the Indian wine industry with stints at Chateau Indage and Grover Wines prior to starting the greenfield wine project for UB a couple of years ago, There he was, a proud man, standing in front of us, holding forth for his wines and telling us what went in producing them and why they were different from other Indian wines on offer in the market.
However before we got to his Four Seasons wines, we had as aperitif, Bouvet Ladubay Brut, a very elegant sparkling wine with a floral nose and a very fruity taste. This is a French import from the UB stable and in my opinion many notches above the best of the sparkling wines produced in India. However the same is not necessarily true when we look at the 3 varietals of Four Seasons wines which are being made in their Baramati winery and were tasted during our dinner.
The Chenin Blanc 2009 was by far the best of the trio. Like a lot of folks, I also prefer a Chenin Blanc which is on the drier side and this is what makes me say that this Four Seasons varietal could have a potential future in the Indian market. It had a lemony nose and a light body. Sadly it was not the typical fruity taste of a wine with a Chenin Blanc lineage, rather a slightly balsamic mouth feel. The Sauvignon Blanc and the Shiraz, both of the same maiden harvest, were young, frisky wines and displayed the miles UB has to travel to get within the shouting distance of those at the head of the Indian pack.
Undoubtedly, Abhay and his team have done an excellent job getting the whole operation up from scratch in such a short time. But I do feel their biggest challenges will be how they are going to tame the overpowering mineral overtones of their wines and bring in a lot more fruitiness and body to their wines. It would be unfair to pass judgment on Four Seasons based on just one harvest. At this point in time we can only wish them well and hope that their Reserve wines due to be released at the end of this year can propel them to the front ranks of the Nashik Brigade.
On the food side , Olive Beach did not disappoint – but then Olive, even in its previous avatar, was never known for artistically presented gourmet food as the ambience overshadowed all else and that was the residual positive impression one retained the next morning. Without that springboard, Olive Beach is at a major disadvantage which their lackluster food does not neutralize. After a listless Mediterranean salad and the combo plate of a coarse risotto and cold pasta, my Kolkata Beckti was easily the best effort of the chef that evening. Of course, the service was handled rather deftly to accommodate what seemed to be a record number of members inside the restaurant, reserved completely for the club.
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The two-day India International Wine Summit on “Overview of the wine market in India” and “The business case for the wine industry in India” was inaugurated at Grand Hyatt in Mumbai on March 16, as part of the 1st edition of India International Wine Fair & Gourmet Show 2009. Over 70 delegates from across the globe participated in the convention. Addressing the summit, Harshal Shah, Sommelier, Australian Sommelier’s Association, said that in the last few years there had been many tie-ups between domestic wine and alcoholic beverages manufacturers and foreign manufacturers. “Still we don’t have world class foreign wine brands in India,” Shah said.
Speaking on “Overcoming India’s restrictive import regime,” Sanjay Menon, importer, Sonarys, and director for Wine Society of India, said, “India is comparatively a new wine drinking country in the world. Here, people have just started appreciating wine and there is scope for faster growth than other Asian countries like China, Singapore and Japan. Importing foreign wines and brands in India will help the domestic wine industry to grow, develop and improve their product quality and size of the market swiftly.”
Menon also discussed the problems faced by the wine industry in the country. According to him, the development of the Indian wine industry faces a setback due to complex and time consuming import procedures by the government and banks, state-to-state taxation policies, PHO (public health officer) testing for every consignment, label registration obligation and lack of infrastructure & logistics like state-of-the-art bonded warehouse, cold chains and other wine storage devices.
“The expected market size of the Indian beverages market is about 200 million cases and 300 million cases of beer and country made wine respectively, whereas the country imports only about 2 lakh cases of premium wine every year. The world wine industry has the skill, experience, finances which can be shared to develop the alcoholic beverages market in the country,” Menon added.
He asked the government to provide proper direction and assistance to develop the industry, wine consuming culture and recognise domestic manufacturers for their creation.
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Shoppers at the Russian-wines sectionThere are even wines from Russia proper, and while many are still of the syrupy/sweetened category favored in the Soviet era and among the older generation, there’s been a few dry wines from Russia recently, hinting at a push toward a more traditional enological approach. Most Russian wines are cheap drinks made out of concentrate and only vaguely related to wine, especially those that are “made” in-or-near Moscow (don’t be fooled by their Russian-Icon-looking labels). The most serious Russian wines come from the Southern region of Kuban and Krasnodar where a real tradition of vine growing and winemaking exists. Prices are usually lower than the imported wine
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One Precious Kilogram…Le Méridien-Montparnasse, Paris.
Is there something more delicate and intensely aromatic than a truffle ? The retail price of the real thing, the “Périgord truffle” (Tuber melanosporum) is about 1000 Euro a kilogram in France, but the good restaurants can’t escape it, because the cheaper Chinese varieties of truffles are so tasteless that they can’t compete in terms of flavor and intensity. But you can do so much with less than a Périgord truffle that it’s worth the costs. The tiny black tubercle known under the Appellation name of Black Truffle of Périgord can be found not only in the Périgord region (in South-Western France), but also in Provence, in the Lubéron, as well as in Italy and Spain.
I spent a couple of hours in the kitchens of Montparnasse 25, the one-star restaurant of the Méridien Hotel in Paris, to see how chef Christian Moine prepares 3 dishes with less than a single black truffle.
The first surprise was to see for real a one-kilogram stack of these precious black truffles [picture above]. I try to visualize these dogs and pigs sniffing for the truffle’s aromatic signature in the wild… There’s another strange thing about the truffle, it is the aspect and patterns of its inside, that you can see on these thin slices on the left, and which evoke the human brain. Chef Moine then chooses one of them to prepare the dishes : here is a typical 5-centimeter tubercle which weighs exactly 26 grams on the kitchen’s precision scale.
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Chemin de l’Argile, la Cadière d’Azur (Bandol)
The red Bandol of Domaine Lafran-Veyrolles made our day when we tasted it at the Maison des Vins de Bandol, the Bandol tasting-house where you can taste for free among dozens of Bandol wines and buy bottles if you want to at the estate’s price. This wine was very beautiful and intense, with tannins already subdued and gentle, if firm and structured, and I wanted to know more about the estate. I went there alone on a hot august day.
Lafran-Veyrolles has always been an independant winery selling its wine directly to the clients. The estate is located a few kilometers from the mediteranean, between le Plan du Castelet and la Cadière d’Azur, along one of the renowned terroirs of the Appellation, the “chemin de l’Argile” (the “clay path”), not far from two Bandol estate named le Gros Noré and Pibarnon. It has about 10 hectares of vineyards, all around the winery, of which 6,5 hectares of Mourvèdre, the rest in Grenache, Cinsault, and some Clairette and Ugni Blanc. It also rents 2 hectares of vineyards, these ones mostly to make rosé. Overall, the estate is red-bandol centered. The white varieties make up 10 % of the whole surface,which is the average proportion in the whole of the Bandol Appellation btw. The estate is known for its reds, and for its long- and very-long-keep reds, says Michel, who works here to help Jean-Marie Castel, the vineyard manager and vintner in the estate. This is one of the oldest Bandol estates, Mr Ferec having in his time overlooked with Mr Peyraud (Domaine Tempier) the setting-up of the Bandol Appellation. The present owner is Mr Ferec’s daughter, and there has been a family continuity in the running of this property. The Lafran name comes from the farthest traced owner (1641), Melchion Lafran, with documents of that time designating this property as land, bastide (farm), vineyards, olive trees and walnut trees.
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