At the outset I want to reiterate that all my posts in response to the prompts given by WordPress are as related to my wine passion and not my life in general. Since my blog page is about wines only so I feel it’s justified and relevant to do so.
And in my wine journey so far, the hardest personal goal I’ve set for myself is to pass the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines.
Having done the WSET level 1, 2 & 3 earlier, this appears to be a logical progression, but Diploma in wines is an expert level qualification which requires a high degree of commitment and hard work to pass.
Spanning over two years, this course covers all aspects of wine both in theory and practice. I know this is not going to be easy but I have accepted it as a challenge and would endeavour my best to pass it.
I first came across Caroline Brun through my Facebook page called as The Champagne Trails and soon realised that her life and work epitomises amalgamation of two of my main interests – Art and Champagne. The fact that my page is on the topic of champagne itself, further sparked my curiosity about her.
Caroline is a champagne ambassador and a painter. And she is one of my favorite artists.
She was born in an illustrious champagne family in Ay-Champagne.In her own words:
“My Grand-father founded Champagne René BRUN, my great uncle, Champagne Edouard BRUN, and my father Champagne Roger BRUN”.
La Disgustation Visuelle
The above title which means The Visual Tasting aptly describes her style of work. Caroline’s oeuvre is that she paints the tasting notes of champagne.
Growing up and later working in and around champagne took her extensively to the vineyards, wineries and even to the underground chalky cellars. And doing this over the years ingrained her with the very spirit of champagne.
It is exactly this spirit that she is able to translate into her art work. Every bottle of champagne has its own texture, tension and intensity which gets reflected in her paintings beautifully and convincingly.
Although I have yet to see any one of her paintings but I can imagine magic she’s able to create on the canvas as is evident from some of her works above.
Besides her, some of the other artists I like are Claude Monet and Renoir, both of whom were prolific painters in their own style.
Honestly it would be a nightmare. Losing all possessions in a material world will surely be a harrowing experience and I shudder at the mere thought of it. But as humans we are resilient and built to cope with adverse situations.
In such a scenario, I would take a stock of things (ironical pun intended) and plan out how rebuild my possessions and get cracking with actions to do so.
Roti, Kapda Aur Makaan In English this paragraph heading reads as Food, Clothes and Shelter which are basic needs for survival. I would secure these by taking a loan of money from my close friends and family.
Real Estate and Wines
Next would be to secure a job so as to earn money. This might again be with help and referrals from friends and colleagues in the field of Real Estate or Wines or both. My ultimate aim would be to start something on my own like a consultancy.
Wine Educator Once things return to the normal, I would also endeavour to become a wine educator. On one had this would ensure an extra stream of income but more importantly it would be a means to pursue my passion of wines.
It was during my initial days in the world of wines. As a natural progression I had started attending many wine soirées and wine events happening in the town where there was always something new to learn besides making like minded friends and contacts.
Normally on such occasions the host ensures adequate avenues for the proverbial breaking of ice where people meeting for the first time can talk to each other and get comfortable. This is a good practice since wine events (especially a formal wine dinner) can become quite intimidating if you are not regular in wine circles.
For this reason itself, people often attend wine parties in a group or as a family or they ensure that some of their known contacts are also attending, so that they feel connected and not out of place. Well I learned that the hard way at a wine dinner.
E & J Gallo Winery is a winery and distributor based out of California. Founded in 1933, it is now the largest exporter California wines. It is also the largest wine producer in the world, producing over 3% of the world’s entire annual supply and is also the largest family owned winery in the USA. But it was their tag line which appealed to me the most and which reads as “We serve enjoyment in moments that matter”.
EJ Gallo Wine Dinner With such commendable credentials I immediately accepted the (paid) invite to attend a wine dinner featuring their wines, at ITC Sheraton in New Delhi.
I don’t know anyone As the proceedings commenced I realised that I’m not familiar with any of the guests attending the wine dinner. Some people had come in a pair, some in a group and many others seemed to know each other already. I felt alone and isolated. The organisers also did not show any efforts towards any introductory interaction amongst the guests.
To make the matter worst, I was accommodated on a single seat table without any one one to talk too on left, right or front. Maybe they thought it would be more appropriate that way but personally it was one time I completely felt out of place.
Not a Social Disaster It was not total disaster though since being a social person by nature I did walk up to some of other guests to introduce myself and to get to know them.
Lesson Learnt So based on the lesson learned that day, I recommend to all of you to always ensure that you know someone while attending a wine event or best is to go with friends or family. I don’t say that this should be a hard and fast rule but it should be preferably so. Cheers !!
My computer occupies a small space along the front wall of my office next to the entrance door. Sometimes I feel we both have shared a destiny in the sense that at times there is an excessive work load on us and and yet at other times we vile away our time without any productivity.
My office work demands a heavy dependence on the computer mainly for making power point presentations. But besides that it remains mostly idle.
During off office hours, I also use it for creative work like making video clips and snippets on the theme of wine. Here’s one such creative I made recently. It’s titled Madeira’s Connect With American Independence.
To sum up, both my official and personal work depends on my computer so I cannot imagine a life without it.
Disclaimer With about ten years of wine experience, I’m not a novice when it comes to wine tasting. I’ve studied it and can write notes of a wine tasting reasonably well sans identifying 20 aromas in one sniff though.
To Taste Or Not To Taste There is a section of wine people who are against the very idea of tasting a wine. For them wine should be savoured for the pleasure of the palate and certainly not subjected to any scientific breakdown of aromas, flavours etc.
My Own Thoughts Whereas to a large extent I subscribe to the above idea however, if you are pursuing wines as a dedicated passion or a profession, then learning to taste wines is an helpful exercise. It widens your understanding of the wine like where it’s coming from, why is it tasting in a particular way, has it been made well, what’s lacking in the wine etc.
Blind Wine Tasting This is where the bottle of wine is covered with a cloth to hide its name and label (some exuberant organisers may also make you taste blindfolded instead). Though this makes wine tasting more challenging but again it’s ok for wine competitions, sommelier championships etc. Personally I’m not a big fan of blind tasting of wines.
What skill would you like to learn?
Having shared my views above, learning to taste wine properly is one skill I would like to learn more, as also to practice writing good wine tasting notes.
What Exactly is Wine Tasting? This must be the question in your mind if you’re not particularly a fan of wines. And even if you know about wines you may think ok, so what’s all the fuss about it?
To quote from BBB Good Food, “Wine tasting is different from drinking purely for pleasure, though it should also be fun. It helps to approach it methodically so you can get as much out of the wine as possible”.
Wine Tasting Notes Also as per Wikipedia “A tasting note is a taster’s written testimony about the aroma, taste identification, acidity, structure, texture, and balance of a wine”.
Wine Tasting Note A sample wine tasting template by WSET Global looks like this:
Why Are You Telling Us All This? Oh well, I got carried away in doing what wine enthusiasts do a lot – donning a wine teacher’s role. Apologies if I sounded like that. All the same I also hope in my heart that you liked reading it.
Now I move on to planning more about how should I go about learning the text book method of tasting wine.
I’ve come to realise that the daily prompts given by WordPress are mostly personal. This leads to twin challenges for me. First, being somewhat reserved, I feel bit uncomfortable in opening up to the world at large and second is that I try to relate each prompt to my blog theme which is wines, which becomes difficult at times. Nevertheless, as a blogger and a writer, I accept these challenges with a smile.
Today’s prompt too I shall cover in two parts, personal and my wine passion.
Personal Life As I near 54th year of my life, I feel I should pay more attention to slowing down and become more calm, composed and focussed. It primarily means ironing out my weaknesses and moving from strength to strength. I need to ensure that I’m a pillar of strength for my family. I need to put in efforts to stay physically fit and mentally alert and live life with hope, enthusiasm and love with my near ones. (Today its like I’m writing a diary entry).
The Wine Life As concerning my passion for wines and spirits, I need to pay more attention to acquiring advanced knowledge and further honing my oenological skills. I also need to build a community of wine lovers with a similar level of passion as me. Cheers !!
For a man to write well, there are required three necessaries: to read the best authors, observe the best speakers, and much exercise of his own style. (Ben Jonson, 1640).
Today (02 October), being a holiday here in India (and also a dry day) on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, I plan to do follow the above advise and catch up on my reading. And since it’s a long book, I plan to continue reading it tomorrow also.
So my #1 priority tomorrow is to finish reading the book titled But First Champagne.
Written by David White this book covers the rich history of Champagne as a wine region and also mentions details of leading producers of champagne, which is one of the best sparkling wines of the world.
The hard work put in by me makes me feel fulfilled by the positive results it generates. Besides quantified results, such hard work done also fills me with a sense of achievement, happiness and pride on a job well done.
Let me explain this with a real life example.
During the MBA course I selected a rather unusual topic for my lecture presentation which was titled “Drivers of rapid growth of wine industry in India.
I call it unusual since there weren’t any major studies existing on this topic in India at that time, which made my research very challenging. It called for a lot of hard work.
Fully determined to make a note worthy presentation I decided to put in my best efforts.
The methodology involved extensive study and analysis of the existing reading material on the subject (Secondary research) as also interacting with winemakers and prominent people in the Indian Wine Industry (Primary research).
An additional challenge was that the jury to which I had to present my work, also had amongst its members, academicians from the western countries who were well conversant with the subject of wines.
Finally my my presentation went of very well. I was also able to answer with confidence all the questions posed by the eminent members of the jury. The research work later got published in a book also.
The above is a personal example of how hard work put in by me not only brought me accolades and appreciation but also filled me with a sense of achievement and fulfilment.
Wine Educator Having become knowledgeable in the subject of wines, I would like to be a wine educator to further spread wine knowledge and educate those who have a similar interest in wines.
Viticulture Expert I would like to be a viticulture expert providing requisite advise to the wine houses on best practices in the vineyards with special emphasis on tackling the challenges of climate change.
Business Development Associate This role with any major international wine house, would be one where my two professional qualifications of MBA and WSET3 merge and would be certainly very interesting.
Heritage and Wines are two of my major interest in life and both these themes figure extensively in my blog as also in my social media posts and in discussions too.
Both of these passions merged during our recent visit to Hampi – a UNESCO World Heritage Site which also has on its ancient soils, a famous Vineyard.
The Lost City Hampi, the seat of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire, was a flourishing city in the 14th century. Located in the bank of Tungabhadra river, it attracted the Persian and even Portuguese traders.
However, after the defeat by the Sultanate Army this beautiful city of Hampi got neglected and reduced to ruins, which still remain.
A Vineyard Not far from the heritage site of Hampi also lies the KRSMA Estates which is a renowned wine house of India. It’s vineyards are on the same soil as in Hampi which is characterised by a mix of clay and boulders.
Founded in 2018 by a couple who are also fond of running marathons, KRSMA has fast grown in stature and reputation as one of best wine producers in India.
The estate also associates itself with the ancient Hampi region since it enjoys the same terroir as that of the ancient civilisation of the Vijayanagara Empire on the banks of the Tungabhadra River.
A combined trip to Hampi ruins and the KRSMA Estate is much recommended as it is a complete holiday experience packed with adventure and fun.
Coming back to the today’s prompt per se, and I’m most enthusiastic about the temples and cities of ancient India. And with a sprinkle of wines, this becomes even more captivating for me. Cheers !!
The Wineglitz India Academy proudly associates itself with is the prestigious brand : Academie Du Vin Library.
If you are a wine lover then most likely you would have heard about Steven Spurrier.
He was the one who in 1976, organised a blind wine tasting competition in Paris known as the Judgment of Paris, where California wines were the clear winners over the French wines. This single event added immensely to the reputation of the wines of California which till that time were not so much renowned.
The Académie du Vin Library was founded by Steven Spurrier and is dedicated to publishing the finest wine writing of the past, the present and the future.
Over a period of time this has become a community of both the wine writers of repute and the people who love fine writings on wine.
As a student of wine I think I could do more of wine educative courses.
My wine journey started sometime in later half of 2013. Before that I was conversant with wine as a alcoholic beverage but I was not actually studying it as a subject of interest.
Come 2014 and I did my WSET Level I II & III in a quick succession wherein I completed all three by August of that year.
But thereafter there has been a long gap.
Whereas it’s not a compulsion to undergo more courses on wines and spirits but since I feel that it’s one of my major passions, I feel I should do a few more such educative courses in order to broaden my horizons in my chosen field of interest.
Some of preferred courses in this regard are:
1. DipWSET also known as WSET Level IV or the Diploma in Wines
2. Some of courses offered by Wine Scholar Guild on different style and type of wines particularly Port and Sherry.
3. A few Ambassador of Wine courses viz Ambassador of CAVA etc.
I sincerely hope I’m able to pursue some or all of above courses in near future. Cheers !!
Quite frankly I have heard only one song from the album Nancy & Lee, which is the hauntingly melodious Summer Wine. I have listened to this song umpteen times and also used it as a background song in many of my social media creatives.
So to be fair to the prompt, I cannot call it my all time favourite album but this particular song is certainly one of my most cherished one.
Written by Lee Hazlewood, Summer Wine became popular after being sung by him along with Nancy Sinatra in 1966. It’s music video captures the essence of the 1960s culture and features Nancy and Lee in different scenes as relevant to the story of the song.
In a recent webinar hosted by the Wine Scholar Guild on the topic of climate change, Michelle Bouffard DipWSET brought out that there are only 60 Harvests left with us.
On broader level this means that the soil on our planet will last only for next 60 years if we do not tackle the issue of climate change with due earnestness. And my answer to today’s prompt relates to just that. I would like to be more informed about all topics (as relevant to wine industry) related to the umbrella term of climate change. Some specific ones are as below:
Currently we practice monoculture in our vineyards where only one type of crop i.e. vines are grown. Over the period of time agriculture scientists have come to realise that this system is not a sustainable one as it leads to a progressive degradation of soil. So what’s the alternative? Let’s see.
Often while driving through the countryside we notice lush green forests with so many different types of trees like Eucalyptus, Jacaranda, Gulmohar, Palm etc and we even go past banana groves and sometimes endless grasslands too. These all have been growing naturally without any human intervention since times immemorial. Same holds true in the jungles and natural parks also.
So the question arises that what’s sustaining this? Why isn’t the soil getting degraded in such natural environment whereas it getting depleted in the vineyards?
The answer is simple : Biodiversity
We have killed Biodiversity in our vineyards by growing only vines and also by using chemicals and pesticides to kill all the insects and worms in the soil. This has disrupted the nature’s regenerative cycles and resulted in a rapid degradation of soil.
Regenerative Viticulture implies a change away from this current system of monoculture and adopt regenerative agriculture practices in the vineyards so as to ushers back biodiversity in the viticulture ecosystems.
Ofcourse this is not going to be easy. But it can steadily yet surely happen by spreading awareness, education and creating support systems for vine growers.
Looking forward to reading your posts on today’s prompt too. Cheers !!
Hasselback is a style that originated at a restaurant in Sweden called Restaurant Hasselbacken, where they made small lateral slits in a potato and stuffed them with bacon and cheese.
This unique dish, delicious to the core, soon garnered attention of food critics and became quite popular. These days many other things are also cut in Hasselback style like apples, radish and even chicken.
Hasselback Chicken is made by making slits in the chicken breasts and stuffing these with ingredients of like spinach, cheese of choice, potato etc before keeping it inside the oven to bake.
Slit, Stuff and Bake To an amateur cook like me, this dish seemed quite easy to make. The thought of pairing it with a white wine was an added encouragement. And so I decided to give it a try. After all it’s justabout a slit here and a stuff there before putting it into the oven, I reckoned.
Epic Culinary Disaster What came out of the oven was not not less than a culinary disaster. Although it was palatable, but not delicious as it seems in the pictures. Certainly not a decent pair with wine.
So that was the brief story of my most epic cooking and baking fail. But as Winston Churchill said “Failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts”. I’m surely going to give it a retry soon.
So you’re going for a lavish 5 Course Wine Dinner, one you’ve been looking forward to since a long time.
You drive down to the venue in time, dressed impeccably. The first course starts with a customary glass of champagne and the flight of wines unfolds with a white or a rose wine followed by the red wines and even a Port or any other sweet wine to go with the dessert. A nice long dinner with plenty of food. You don’t feel drunk at all.
Now here’s the thing – should you drive back home or take a cab?
Before seeking the answer let’s do the maths. Each glass of wine served on the table was 150 ml. 5 courses makes it 5 glasses which is a whopping 150 x 5 ~ 750 ml. That makes it a full bottle of wine.
So just going by the maths, common sense and the legality of it all, you should not drive back and rather take a cab.
And that’s exactly the lesson I got after attending a couple of wine dinners and it is the one I wish I had learned earlier from my first wine event itself.
Now if I am going somewhere where I need to drink wine, then I either take a cab or get someone else to drive the car. And that’s my advise to you all too. Cheers !!
Wineglitz is a multi faceted brand which encompasses various kind of activities related to wines. It’s first wine dinner was held in winters of 2019 at Delhi.
The wine dinner which turned out to be a huge success, brought together passionate wine enthusiasts from different backgrounds, over some exceptional French wines.
There was so much of bonhomie and camaraderie generated that evening that it led all the guests to moot the idea of starting a wine club which would hold such wine gatherings regularly. And that’s how Club Wineglitz was created.
Since I was considered by all as the driving force for organising and conducting this wine event, so it became incumbent upon me to humbly accept the leadership of the newly formed wine club.
So quite humbly, I would not be wrong in saying that I’m the leader of a group of wine passionate members of the Club Wineglitz.
Today’s prompt is a beautiful coincidence. I just used my favourite word in yesterday’s story post on WordPress and today it’s asking about it.
Conviviality Yes, that’s my favourite word. And that’s also one of the reasons I love the wine culture since it’s all about conviviality.
More coincidence I just did a micro research on Internet to gather more insight on this word. To my surprise I found that conviviality is a major theme with the wines and spirits giant Pernod Ricard. So much so that in 2018 the company decided to make its corporate brand synonymous with its vision of conviviality.
We are all Convivialist To quote from the company’s magazine “Conviviality is the magic, the glue that binds us together, it allows us to meet our innate human need of connecting with one another”. I cannot agree more.
Wine Promotes Conviviality Wine is a social lubricant which encourages human interaction. To illustrate, while attending a wine Soiree, although we may arrive as strangers to each other, but wine breaks the social barriers and creates a connect almost instantly. Wine has that quality to promote conviviality and camaraderie.
So cheers to more happy and convivial times. Do share your views too 🥂.
It’s Wednesday and honestly speaking I have not particularly planned anything for the evening. Today’s Prompt though has got me thinking.
With a brief mid week introspection, I’ve now decided to do the following three things this evening.
Evening Walk Although going for an stroll in the evening is a daily affair for us but for past few days this got interrupted due to the rains. With a sunny day today, I plan catch up on the evening walk with my better half.
Catching up on Writing Recently I started writing on my first fictional story based on a wine theme. It’s titled The Lost Kingdom of Wine. Since today I would be back from work early so I would catch up on my writing and by working on the next chapter.
But First Champagne Don’t get me wrong folks, I do not drink on weekdays. But First Champagne is the name of a book by David White which I’m currently reading. It’s an in depth history of champagne region and it’s wines. I would utilise the free time today evening to catch up on my reading this wonderful book.
Having planned my activities, I now look forward to reading with curiosity about what you all plan to do today evening. Cheers !!
When you get introduced to the world of wines, you usually get conversant with certain basics elements of wine. You learn about wine terms like Tannins, Acidity etc as also about things like how to hold a glass (from its stem), how to go about tasting a wine and in general about the wine etiquette.
Whereas all such wine knowledge enables us to enjoy the wine however quite often we get carried away and starts focusing more on the technical details rather than relishing the wine in the glass.
With some people, such wine behaviour becomes an obsession. They feels pride in displaying their wine knowledge by intelligent wine descriptions or even in wine mannerisms like sniffing and swirling the wine glass. This is acceptable if done within limits and with the right intention of appreciating the wine.
However, if such a personality trait leads anyone to look down upon other wine drinkers or if he or she endeavours to belittle others or try to make them feel inferior, then it surely raises a red flag with me.
And I react by keeping a safe distance from any such wine snob.
Hope you concur with my thoughts shared above. Now I’m also eagerly looking forward to reading your answers too, on today’s prompt. Cheers !!
Today’s prompt comes at a time when I’m at the proverbial cross roads wherein I retire in a few weeks and enter another fascinating phase of the life’s journey. This puts me in an position of advantage from where I can, not only describe my idea of an ideal week but also pursue it in full earnest. And that makes it so exciting.
In days to come, I imagine a life full of creativity. Work shall be non linear (means not bound in a 9 to 5 mode). Activities around wine would surely be the main pursuits, since it is my passion.
If I really put it to paper then my ideal week would include a majority of the following:
Work on something which brings in not only material benefits and money but also leads to happiness. If it can be something related to wines, all the more better.
Reading It is something I should be able to do regularly on each day of the week both on wine and other topics. Fiction, non fiction, magazines, blogposts et al.
Wine Writing Again as a daily activity, to pen my thoughts on my experiences and passions, be it writing a blogpost, a research paper or in a longer perspective a wine book.
Wine Movies/ Documentaries Daily. Be it movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos or documentaries on Curiosity App and Wine Masters TV etc.
Podcasts A few times in a week I would listen to selected podcasts. Some of good ones are The Wine Conversation, GuildSomm Podcast, Jasper Morris Inside Burgundy to name a few. With time I even should do my own podcast atleast once in a week.
Audiobooks Listen to some good Audiobooks daily. Apps like Headway makes this quite convenient.
Family time Weekends have to be outings with wife and son, mostly over good food and fine wine at a comfortable restaurant or club.
Travel to beautiful vineyards both in India and abroad. Frankly this can not be done every week but since we are talking about my ideal week (and there’s no embargo) so I have to include this. Tuscany, here we come !!
So I said it all and it packs the week well. Now I’m ready for reading what all of you have written about your ideal week. Have a great day.
Deep in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, a group of adventurous trekkers embarked on a journey of exploration. Little did they know, their path would lead them to an extraordinary discovery—the lost Kingdom of Wine.
They walked almost continuously for three days taking short intermittent halts. On the fourth day as evening approached, the jungle foliage got thinner. A few miles further as they emerged out of it, their eyes fell on a mesmerising sight. Right in front them was a fascinating panorama of endless fields of vines adorned with luscious grapes glistening in the golden light of the setting sun. Towards the far end was a majestic palace on a hill.
Dear Reader, today I have taken my first steps towards writing a wine themed fictional story. This story titled The Lost Kingdom of Wine starts with the opening paragraphs as typed above. I would keep publishing each chapter in this space as and when I finish writing it. Do share your views and comments and even suggestions as to what should happen next in the story line. Thanks and cheers.
My two all time favourite athletes whom I respect the most are 1. Milkha Singh – also known as the Flying Sikh from India and 2. Usain Bolt – one of fastest men on earth.
Milkha Singh (1929 – 2021) also known as “The Flying Sikh” has been the only athlete to win gold in 400m both at Asian Games as well as Commonwealth Games. He represented India thrice in Olympics in 1956, 1960 and 1964.
I respect him not just for his achievements in track events but also for his inspiring life story. He rose from most challenging circumstances and fought all odds to become a shining star. He achieved success at a time when India wasn’t anywhere on the world map in athletics.
Usain Bolt (born 1986) is a Jamaican sprinter who won gold medals in the 100m and 200m races in a three straight Olympic Games and is considered the greatest sprinter of all the world.
“I stopped worrying about the start. The end is what’s important.” – Usain Bolt
I respect him for his grit, determination and outstanding achievements.
Bolt – Champagne Connection
In 2016, Champagne House Maison Mumm announced the special appointment of Usain Bolt as its newest CEO – Chief Entertainment Officer, with an aim to make Maison Mumm the top champagne house in the US.
Both these men have achieved great successes both on and off field and are certainly an inspiration to many.
Let’s face it, work can leave you exhausted and occasionally you need to unwind. For me this happens during the club night on each Saturday where I relax with a glass or two of some good wine while indulging in a game of Tambola.
Tambola, which is believed to have originated in Southern Italy during the 1500s, can be very interesting and sometimes addictive too. Usually I play only one game (also called as a House), and for remaining evening I just relish my wine.
Although this game was invented in Italy but my usual wine to go with it is one from South Africa called as Pinotage, which is also their signature wine.
This red wine was created in 1925 as a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. It is a fruit forward and an easy to drink wine which at times also shows notes of tropical fruits like banana.
Sometimes the club management also organises some singing and music, which adds to the fun.
So that’s my answer to today’s prompt – I relax with a game of Tambola with some wine on weekends. Looking forward to hearing about your idea of relaxing too. Cheers.
“All champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne” – if youlike wine then most likely you have come across this phrase. The reason for this is that sparkling wine can only be called champagne if it comes from the Champagne region in northern France.
While this is not exactly patented, however it is certainly covered by French regulation and tradition. Misuse of the name ‘champagne’ is strictly (at time fanatically) contested by French regulators.
Now if you are wondering as to which are these other sparkling wines in the world, then here’s the list. We have Prosecco, Asti, Franciacorta (all three from Italy), Cava (Spain), Sekt (Germany), Cremant (France) and the new kid on the block – the English Sparkling Wine.
Clearly the phrase what’s in a name, does not apply to world of sparkling wines.
Now here’s the twist. Whereas wine producing nations are so protective about the name of their sparkling wine, however there is also one generic word called as the Bubbly which denotes just any sparkling wine, irrespective of it’s country of origin or the method in which it is made. Any sparkling wine including champagne is (loosely) referred to as a bubbly.
Personally I too am guilty of using this word liberally, but at times the wine connoisseur (snob) inside me is aghast at this sparkling dichotomy.
And since I consider myself from the proverbial old School of thought and action, therefore calling any sparkling wine as a bubbly should not be palatable to me. I should rather call it by it’s designated name whether it be champagne, Prosecco, Cava and the like.
So yes, Bubbly is one wine word which I use regularly but I would like to give up. Cheers !!
Humans are creatures of emotion and we all have held grudges against someone in our life at some time or other. I’m no different, since there have been times when I have clung on to grudges against people. But with passage time and wisdom of age, I have learned to do away with all these with self introspection and forgiveness.
Today however, I shall talk about a grudge which I held against myself for a long time and that was because I intentionally deleted my earlier WordPress Account many years ago.
Well I will not dwell into reasons for doing it, but it was certainly an impulsive act which I regretted very soon after.
Run over by remorse, I opened a new website again, fortunately with the same name – Wineglitz. I approached WordPress to help me salvage my deleted posts and their support team went out of the way to help.
But there was a limitation, since once something gets deleted from their main server, it is technically not possible to retrieve it after certain time. All credits to them though, since some of my earlier content did get revived.
But my grudge against myself continued. There was this one blogpost I had written on my experience on going through the WSET Level 3 Exam and going on to pass it with Merit. It was a beautiful one, not only as a memoir but also as a first hand advise to others who were planning or going through this certification. I could not retrieve it.
But as they say time is a great healer and with time I let go of this grudge. Gradually I rebuilt my blog by writing so many new posts.
And i also feel that in certain ways the new beginning has been better since my writing has improved a lot over time. New website has also brought me in contact with new people and now I have all of you wonderful friends with me in my blogging journey.
Farthest I have ever travelled from home is the Andaman & Nicobar Islands in India. And today I share a story about how we went about organising a family wine picnic at the ocean side.
Although Port Blair, the capital city of these Islands, is well connected by air, however it still takes almost six hours and at times a flight hop, to reach there from New Delhi, our hometown. But once you land there, it’s a different world altogether and a paradise for someone like us who love nature.
It has pristine beaches with turquoise waters, hills, a string of smaller islands and the forest in its north which is home to Jarawa, the indigenous tribal community living in their native lifestyle since last 40,000 years.
We stayed there for three wonderful years, exploring all the nooks and corners of the islands. The only constraint was the practical non existent wine culture. With only one Indian and one Australian wine brand available locally, it became difficult for me to pursue my passion for wines. And this led us to plan something we could easily do – a wine picnic at the ocean side.
We had discovered this resort on a high cliff facing the Andaman sea which also had a walking trail leading down to the rocky beach. A perfect setting for a picnic.
Wine, Music, Photography Besides the wonderful family time, the picnic setting also allowed us to indulge in our passions wherein our son created and recorded music, I practiced taking some wine photos and my bride curating the picnic spread. Altogether wonderful memories created.
Foreword Each morning when I check the daily prompt by WordPress, I fight this urge to read what other bloggers have written about it. Normally I don’t. But quite frankly today I actually googled ‘why people write” for a cursory glance. Whereas I would not let this affect my thoughts on the prompt, but I do intend to use some of quotes I came across to highlight what I’m trying to say.
Because I can Before that starts sounding egoistic, I need to clarify that I’m referring to the ease of writing (and even publishing) which is available to us these days like it has never been in history of mankind. Social media platforms and blogging sites like WordPress etc have simplified writing at almost no cost to the author.
Natural Human Impulse The urge to write comes naturally to us which is aptly highlighted by Issac Asimov when he says “If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster”. I too yield to this natural human impulse to write a blog about things I experience.
Joy of Re-readingWe write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect. This (title quote of this post) is attributed to Anaïs Nin. I write blog posts not only for the pleasure of writing but also for the joy I feel when I re-read it. It may sound bit philosophical but many writer/ bloggers would endorse this.
Sharing my Passion Like most of other bloggers, I too write my blog posts to share my passion (of wines) with the world. It brings me happiness and even more so when it is read and commented upon by readers.
To discover what I know The quote “I write to discover what I know”byFlannery O’Connor is one in which I believe. Penning down something on wines gives a mould to my thoughts and often leads to understanding some more nuances about the topic, more than then what I started with.
Release of Emotions Writing in itself is an activity which can act like a release valve for your pent up emotions. At end of writing a blogpost I certainly feel bit lighter and satisfied. Anne Frank quote “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn” holds true for all bloggers.
Building a Community Any Blog serves as a platform to bring people together. The post is read by many and the ones who like it or have similar interests would get connected, often for a lifetime. Over a period of years such a community gains a critical mass by means of regular online interactions, comments, suggestions on blogposts and subsequently even leading to actual offline interactions by virtue of meeting in events etc. Such a close knit community favourably helps the motive or reason d’être of your theme.
Family Bonding My blogpost are often read and commented upon my better better half and at times by my son, both prior and after it is published. This healthy family engagement is certainly something I look forward to every time a write a post.
Monetisation Before this appears a selfish motive, I need to clarify that making money from my blog is never on my mind. But if it can facilitate my other wine business endeavours then why not. (Though I do not fully subscribe to the following quote but it sure is thought provoking): “Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.” – Virginia Woolf
Now that I’ve written my post, it’s time to read what you all have written on today’s prompt. Cheers.
I was not confident that my better half would agree to the idea of being “interviewed” early in the morning and that too on the topic of wine. But when I explained her that it’s in response to a WordPress Prompt, she agreed.
I asked her to reminisce about her best experience around wine. Now she’s not a great fan of drinking wine, but she’s always supports my wine endeavours, especially the ones planned with family.
We talked about the the time when covid scare had receded and things got back to normal. It was July of 2020. The shopping malls had reopened and we visited one, duly wearing our face masks. I also exploited this opportunity to buy some wines to re-stock the bar at home.
She remembered how, back home, after a brief discussion with me followed by a prompt internet research, she made a dish (more of a Hors d’oeuvres actually) called as the Parmesan-and Fennel Seed-Crusted Chicken Fritters.
The succulent fritters were paired with Cortiga Giara Valpolicella DOC which is a fruit driven wine with enticing aromas, from Northern Italy. It had a sharp acidity acidity which cut through the rich cheese thereby enhancing food- wine pairing flavors.
We later paired the same wine with chocolate too.
I end this post by expressing my gratitude to my spouse to have consented to this prompt based interview today, which has helped to relive some of the happy memories of a nice food and wine pairing at home.
It’s the first day of September. Traditionally arrival of this month is symbolic of change. It marks the end of summers and ushers in the new season of fall.
And right now I’m feeling excited.
Next few months are slated for a major change in my professional life and there’s excitement about what’s in store for me next.
The first WhatsApp message I received this morning on WhatsApp this morning is Why don’t you try Entrepreneurship? It’s from my professor from business school – and my mind is like : is this a signal from the universe?
Frankly, starting something on my own is surely on my mind these days as I’m mulling over pursuing my passion of wines through the medium of entrepreneurship or a business venture.
Just as September heralds a new season, it also holds a promise of change in my life one which should take shape in balance months of this year. And I’m excited about this.
Thanks to WordPress, writing on daily prompts has become a regular morning activity for me. And this is one daily habit which I feel is immensely adding quality to my life. I will try and elaborate this in next few paragraphs.
Overcoming Procrastination Whether it’s work or pursuit of a passion, procrastination is our biggest hurdle and I’m sure everyone will agree to this. Daily prompts have done what there supposed to do – made me write each day and that too during early mornings when mind is fresh and motivated.
Daily prompts help in tackling procrastination in writing. Image: Medium.com.
Pursuit of Passion The subject of Wines is something about which I’m passionate about. It is even the raison d’être of my Blog Site. And due to this most of the prompts result in me writing of some experience or a thought around wines and all this comes naturally (and not in a forced manner that I need to write on wines only).
Family Bonding Surprisingly as it may sound but it’s true. The prompt and the thoughts it creates in my mind are discussed by me with my better half each morning and this morning routine is a happy time for both of us as a family.
Burst of Creativity The daily writings on prompts is a source for expression of creativity, which is at its peak during early morning.
Autobiographical If you have also noticed, prompts motivate each of us to write about personal activities or thoughts and we we write mostly in first person about it, which gives the whole endeavour a somewhat autobiographical character. For me, it often leads to reliving some memories from the past or writing about something I’m planning to do in future, and I love that.
A Health Start of the Day To summarise, the habit of writing daily prompts is an an activity which is invigorating and satisfying and us certainly an excellent way to start a day.
Looking forward to to reading your views and thought too.
The last time I searched something online was yesterday when I googled for Latest trends in wine. I was looking for this since I wanted to create a social media video or a listicle based on this topic. Here are the two latest trends which I found relevant.
1. Sustainability The terms like sustainability, reducing carbon emissions, mitigating effects of climate change etc are widely known in the society nowadays.Consumers are aware of such environmental concerns and want to buy wine from brands who have aligned their winemaking with sustainable features.
2. Revival of Indigenous Grapes The adverse effects of climate change has brought into focus the need to identify and revive the indigenous grape varietals which are native to a particular wine region, since these are found to be more resilient and sturdy. Wine house like Familia Torres , has been doing a noteworthy work in this field since a long time now with favourable results.
These are just two emerging wine trends which I found pertinent to mention. The winds of change, however subtle, are surely affecting the international wine industry and we can hope to see many more such trends in near future.
If you’re in early 50s, you will surely remember the fun you had watching various episodes of the popular TV series called I Love Lucy. It was a comedy show in black and white format. And that used to be the TV show I loved watching as a kid amongst others like Star Wars, Bharat Ek Khoj, Ramayan etc.
Well it appears that Lucille Ball who played the character of Lucy in the series also had a tryst with wine or winemaking to be precise.
In the famous 1956 episode called as Lucy’s Italian Movie, Ball, hoping to bag a role in the film (which she mistakenly assumes is about Italian winemaking) ends up stomping grapes in a huge vat.
According to The International Wine & Food Society, her fellow actress inside the same vat, didn’t speak English and when it came time for their staged fight – she didn’t understand that the fight was supposed to be fake and a real fight ensued inside the vat between the two actresses, about which Ball would later say that “I almost died drowning in the grapes”.
Lucille Ball in a grape stomping vat
In Ball’s own words “Once the (filming of) fight started, the lady was bent on drowning me. At one point, she literally held my head underwater, and I had to fight to get my breath back”.
Sources: the images and story has been referenced from many articles on the topic though google incl History.org, IWFS, Reddit, Insider.com etc.
Each morning as I open the doors of the house I stand there for a few moments to soak in the whiff of fresh air and the warmth of the sun, which is so refreshing.
Luckily our present house has a beautiful garden where I sit along with my better half and between the sips of the morning tea we immerse ourselves in the beautiful sights and sounds of the morning. The chirping of the birds, the huge banana tree swaying with the breeze, sun flowers arching towards the sun and butterflies descending on the flowers to drink the nectar are some of nature’s wonders at this hour of the day. So wonderful.
It is also the time the mind is fresh and I feel motivated to write something, a blogpost maybe or simply answering to the daily prompts by Jets. Writing in the morning is so therapeutic. The title quote by Heraclitus i.e the sun is new each day brings out fully the essence of my post today.
Yes, the early morning is my favourite time of the day.
This seemingly a simple and a straightforward question What’s your favourite recipe?, actually covers a lifetime of my tastes evolving over time.
As is true for everyone, my first favourite meal in life was the Rajma – Chawal (Kidney Beans with Rice) prepared by mom. Though I still love it, however as I grew I also developed a fondness for many other dishes too. At a certain stage of growing up, it was the American Chopsuey which became a favourite.
A major change in my culinary journey happened about ten years back when I developed a liking for wines (which too was a healthy shift of taste from hard spirits like whiskey, rum etc).
Now in most parts of the planet and especially in the old world (Europe), wines have been traditionally seen as a part of the meal itself and it still is largely so.
And in any wine event like wine a dinner or a wine social, wines are normally served with paired food (like white wine with fish or a red wine with lamb etc). And so my wine passion introduced me to a whole new (an exciting) world of fine gastronomy, and it has been a constant culinary adventure for me since a decade now.
In each wine event, I discovered something new be it a Carbonara, Fettuccine, Risotto etc, and even different types of cheeses and truffles and dishes made with these. And as I devoured such dishes my tastes also kept evolving.
At home, we realised that the ingredients for most of such exquisite dishes are easily available in markets. So as a family we started experimenting by making these wine friendly dishes at home itself. With all credits to my better half, such home made food and wine meals soon became a source of joy and occasions for family bonding for us. My son’s interest in fine cuisine also helped.
Gruyere Cheese Spaghetti with Wine
So today I share the recipe of a dish which has become my favourite one, especially when paired with wine, and it’s called as the Gruyere Cheese Spaghetti.
Recipe – Boil water in a pan and put the Spaghetti in it. In a separate bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, olive oil, and a few pinches of black pepper. While the pasta boils, make the sauce. First, melt the butter in pan over medium heat. Once frothy, add the flour and stir to combine. Cook the paste for a minute and then slowly add the milk to the pan and stir. Now add cheese and stir until it is melted. Add the spinach and stir until it wilts into the sauce. Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan and stir to coat it in the sauce. Sprinkle the parmesan breadcrumbs over the top of the Spaghetti. (Recipe source – https://bit.ly/3eRRDkm)
A Word about Gruyere Cheese This story will not be complete without mentioning about its protagonist i.e. gruyere cheese. Gruyère is a hard yellow Swiss cheese that originated in Switzerland. It is sweet but also slightly salty, with a flavor that varies widely with age and is readily available in most of cheese shops and markets.
Hope you all try making it at home. It can paired a white wine like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc with it. Cheers !!
Those who follow my blog know that I’m someone who enjoys anything and everything related to the topic of wines. Whether it is a wine masterclass or a wine event or simply relishing a glass of wine at home, it’s all a source of excitement for me.
Coming specifically to today’s prompt, well the last thing which got me excited is the thought about becoming a full time wine educator. Teaching is something I like and combined with my passion for wines, this would certainly be a source of great motivation and excitement for me.
I would design the city of the future as a smart and sustainable one.
The population of the works stands at almost 7 Billion today and is poised to reach double figures in years to come. However, the resource on the planet are finite. Further the world is facing acute challenges of global warming and climate change which need a serious consideration. Urban population is also increasing at an astronomical rate with people preferring to reside in big cities. All of this makes it imperative to make out future cities both smart and sustainable.
Smart City I would ensure that the best minds are put together to harness technology to create a smart city in the true sense of the term. We would have smart buildings and city infrastructure. Buildings and urban infrastructure would be Net Zero – one which would produce energy (think renewable sources) in same quantity as it consumes it.
Sustainable City The city of the future would be a sustainable one. Simply put it would ensure that the urban development and ecosystem would benefit all sections and stake holders of the society in an equal measure.
Urban Wineries Rapid urbanisation has also affected wine production. Wineries and even vineyards located within city limits are not very uncommon these days. To illustrate, the city of Bangalore (also known as the silicon city of India) has presence at least three major wine houses viz Big Banyan Winery, Grover Zampa Vineyards and Domaine Sula.
My design of the future City would also ensure that these vinous establishments are smart and sustainable having a reduced carbon signature, a net zero infrastructure and which are sustainable for all its stakeholders.
My name came from a dream which my maternal Aunt had after I was born. And so instead of getting a longish name as per our community traditions, I got a beautiful one: Mukul.
The above was all I knew about the origin of my name and grew up knowing that it means a Lotus flower. But since now we have access to online search engines, I searched again and found interesting perspectives regarding my name, which I share in this post.
Vedic Astrology In the name Mukul, letters M, K & L occur once and U occurs twice. Name starts which M, which is the only letter you can pronounce without opening your mouth, just by using your lips. The persons with such names are usually quiet and mysterious by nature. (Seems quite true). Source Moon Astro.
Wikipedia Mukul is an Indian name which means “blossoming”. Frankly I love this since it matches with my niche of wine e.g blossoming like a fine wine.
Today’s prompt is just three words “What motivates you” however it’s the most difficult one for me till now. Here are my thoughts on this.
Sometimes I feel that motivation naturally comes to humans. One can say that we are inherently made up that way. I means imagine the world we live in, each person knows that death is certain but still we endeavour to do our best towards our slated goals during our lifetime. The human spirit for ‘achievement’ is universal and that’s the primary factor of our evolution and success.
What Motivates Me On a personal level, the main motivation factor for me is always keep trying to create an environment for me and my family, which is much beyond and better than what it presently is.
And going a step further, the two intrinsic ways in which I go about my motivation cycle is through a Quest for knowledge and Pursuing Passions.
I will not go beyond this since I see this becoming autobiographical. But here I would mention that my chosen niche of wines is surely helping me in my current motivations in life and I see it as a driving force towards achieving my goals.
Hopefully all the above made sense to you all as it’s certainly a tricky thing to articulate. Looking forward to knowing about your own views on this prompt too. Cheers.
Preface Today’s prompt made me relive my wine journey so far, since watching wine movies/ documentaries has been a constant activity with me from the time I started pursuing my passion for wines.
Cinematic Liberty Since we are talking movies so I too have indulged in a sprinkle of cinematic liberties, by sticking not only to the the topic i.e. movies, but also listing out wine documentaries and TV Series which side loved watching. (Hope WordPress and the readers will approve of this harmless liberty I’ve taken).
References Since we are talking about cinematic production by different agencies, I have sourced some of the description from producer’s channels like Netflix, Apple TV and also about some good reviews available online.
For Wine Enthusiasts If you are passionate about wines, chances are that you’ve already watched some of these suggestions. However, to in general to all wine enthusiasts I can vouch for sure that the movies/ documentaries/ TV series illustrated in this post would surely be a source of joy and learning…especially if you watch over a glass of wine. Cheers (in advance)🍷.
A Danish chef goes to Tuscany, Italy, to sell the goods he inherited from his father, but he meets an inspiring woman who makes him rethink life and love.
2. Barolo Boys
Several friends begin producing a red wine in northern Italy, and 30 years later, their product has become famous the world over.
A young man upsets his father when he pursues his dream of becoming a master sommelier instead of joining the family barbecue business.
4. Bottle Shock
Steven Spurrier, a British expatriate and wine shop owner, heads towards the Napa Valley to prepare for a wine-tasting contest, pitting his favorite French wines against the Californian wines. Based on a true story.
A middle-aged Miles is a budding writer while his friend Jack is a soon-to-be married actor. They take a road trip through Santa Ynez Valley wine country in order to celebrate his bachelor party.
6. A Year In Burgundy (Documentary)
Seven families discuss the cultural and creative process of making wine in the Burgundy region of France, shedding light on their connection to the land and their grape vines as well as the vagaries of the seasons.
7. A Year in Champagne (Documentary)
Seven families discuss the cultural and creative process of making wine in the Burgundy region of France, shedding light on their connection to the land and their grape vines as well as the vagaries of the seasons.
Four wine stewards prepare to learn everything about wine as they ready for the master sommelier exam, one of the world’s most challenging tests, which is presided over by the notoriously secretive Court of Master Sommeliers.
9. Rotten: Reign of Terroir (Documentary)
In the south of France, frustrated winegrowers go to extremes to stave off cheap imports from Spain and new competition from China.
10. Drops of God (TV Series)
While the world of wine mourns the death of Alexandre Léger, his estranged daughter, Camille, learns his extraordinary collection is now hers. But before she can claim her inheritance, Camille must best Alexandre’s protégé, Issei, in a test of their senses.
It is said or rather I personally believe that you get pleasure out of writing something twice. Once it is when you finish writing it, which gives a feeling contentment and achievement. And the second time is when you read it yourself soon after you have completed writing it – in my case this gives me a lot of happiness and I often reel in self praise of having written something very well to the best of my capability.
Well if that sounds amusing then do share your own views about this in the comments as also if you share the same thought as I mentioned in preceding paragraph.
Coming back to the prompt and having given a thought to it, I can say that the following are the things which I enjoy the most about writing:
1. Sense of Achievement I relish the sense of achieving something great once I finish writing. It’s almost like being relived of the project or task of writing which I had taken on myself.
2. Research I love the research work which I do to learn more about the theme about which Im writing. One one hand this helps me in writing confidently whereas on the the other, such research adds immensely to my knowledge.
3. Readingit Myself I As brought earlier, I love re-reading myself whatever I have written. This gives me a feeling of contentment especially when I’ve been able to write in a concise and easy to understand manner.
Besides above, I also feel happy if people read my post on WordPress and give it a ‘like’ or engage me with a comment. I mean we all love the views/ likes/ comments on our posts, don’t we ? 😊
If you’re reading this post then it’s a given thing that you’re a writer too, sharing your posts here on WordPress as also elsewhere on social media etc. So we are in the same proverbial boat, as also are so many others of our tribe. And the one thing which we all pursue the most is content or content creation, to be more precise. Isn’t it.
That’s where it’s get challenging. Continuous writing also demands content material such as pictures, photographs, videos clips etc and at times we feel constrained for these. Personally speaking, I often dig out these from my mobile phone memory bank and sometimes, like today, I request for pictures from my better half’s phone. She happily obliged and sent me a couple photos from a family dinner we had in recent past at Le Cirque New Delhi. Today’s post is around some of those pictures of Aperol and a cocktail made from it.
What is Aperol ?
Aperol, which has been around in Italy for many centuries is a type of bitter which was invented by brothers Luigi and Silvio Barbieri in 1919. Normally taken as an Apertivo, this bright orange liqueur is intended to be consumed before a meal as an appetite stimulant. However we ordered it along with our meal as an Aperol based cocktail called as the Aperol Spritz.
As per the Aperol official website, making of the perfect Aperol Spritz Cocktail is as easy as 3-2-1. That’s a ratio of 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol, 1 part soda water. If you’re measuring, that’s 90ml Prosecco, 60ml Aperol, 30ml soda. If you’re not measuring, just pour and judge by the colour.
Aperol Spritz is best served with ice, in a large wine glass, garnished with a slice of orange, in good company.
Coming back to our family dinner, we ordered Aperol Spritz with a sea food risotto. Now unlike wines, cocktails normally do not pair with any food. However, this one certainly added a zest of freshness to our dinner with its bright orange colour and a delicious taste.
With its bright orange colour and a trendy feel, everyone loves to pose themselves with a glass of Aperol Spritz which also drives it popularity. But besides being Instagram friendly this refreshing cocktail is also an equally wonderful drink.
What I love about my city New Delhi is that it is a hub of art, wine, and culture, with its vibrant galleries, rich artistic heritage, theatre amazing wine restaurants, bars and clubs.
“I asked my soul, what is Delhi? She replied, the world is the body and Delhi its life.” Mirza Ghalib
I have a deep passion for art, wine and culture and as a family we often try to self curate our outings at Delhi around these three interests. Here’s a post about one such event where we watched a play first and then went to an Italian restaurant in Delhi for wine and pasta. Hope you like reading it.
I would say that these days the one positive emotion I feel the most is : excitement. Let me elaborate more in following paragraphs.
Well feeling excited may not fall under the category of common emotions such as happiness, gratitude etc but I’m calling it so since my excitement is about perceived happy days in times to come, and so in many ways it is positive emotion for me.
An impending job change can be a source of concern, but for me it’s exciting since its an opportunity for me to look forward to greener pastures ahead which include staying in metro city, more quality time with family and of course avenues to pursue my passion for wines more dedicatedly.
To sum up, a healthy excitement about future is the positive emotion I feel most often these days.
Looking forward to hearing from others too. Cheers.
La Vielle Ferme Rose from the famed Famille Perrin wine house, was the second wine served in a flight of five that night. The proceedings started with a Prosecco (which is a sparkling wine from northern Italy), followed by this light and crisp Rose wine from Southern France which further set the mood for the refreshing party time which was to unfold ahead.
La Vieille Ferme Rosé ticks all the right boxes of a good rose wine. Light and fresh it is made with Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah – the wonderful trio of grape varietals, which add the aromatics, structure and a delicious taste to this wine.
The elegant Rose was served with the succulent Almond crusted grilled Sea Bass which, with its light flavour and fatty consistency proved to be a perfect pairing.
The winemaker’s description of this soft-pink coloured wine includes a revealing a nose with aromas of redcurrants in jelly and cherry sorbet. True to its style it was full of freshness and displayed a very nice balance.
It was a fun evening with a chirpy crowd with a nice conviviality vibe. Here’s a picture of our family in the memorable evening.
If you liked this post then maybe you would also be keen to read about another wine from house of Famille Perrin at the link shared below. Cheers.
Today WordPress notified and congratulated me on crossing 10,000 all time views on my blog site Wineglitz.
Although this is just a milestone in any blogger/ writer’s journey but I do confess to a sense of achievement in reaching this far.
This also takes my mind back to the time I started this blog site way back in 2014 and the initial phase which was quite a bumpy ride. Due to some unavoidable reasons and even unnecessary ones I permanently deleted the first version of this site.
As remorse of losing my writings and posts sunk in, I approached WordPress for help. Well they could not revive my deleted website from their servers but they did help me with opening a new site with similar name and re-instating many of my deleted blog posts, though not all of them.
Sometime later I again accidentally deleted many of my posts as I thought that these were draft versions. Sad moments again 🥲.
But those unfortunate things are just old memories now, not forgotten though. It did teach me a valuable lesson which I share with you all today and that is as mentioned below:
Never ever destroy anything you create, whether it is a piece of writing, music, or whatever in your field of creativity.
On a quantum philosophy viewpoint also, anything you create comes in this universe with its own vibrations and these never die.
In end, thanks to all of you who have been following and reading my posts on this site and your likes, comments and encouraging words. Cheers.
Parties are integral to the wine eco-system. Be it wine-tasting, wine promotion, wine social or a formal black tie wine dinner, it often becomes incumbent upon a wine professional to organise such parties. And since at times these have to be done at short notice, I suggest an emergency prepared plan which involves coordination of the following aspects: AWine Ambassador, Qualified Sommelier, Dedicated Host, Chef’s Involvement, Winemaker’s Presence and Innovation and Collaboration.
If that makes you curious then read more about it in the post shared below.
In the world of wines, the one word which I feel too many people used is Pairing. It implies pairing of wine with food.
Pair red wine with red meat, white wine with white meat. Or mild food with mild wines and big foods with big wines – these are some of cliched yet well established suggestions for a good pairing.
While the excessive stress on pairing right wines with right food does put an academic pressure on the simple pleasures of consuming wine with food however, there are times, when you come across a cuisine, which either introduces you for the first time, to the much aclaimed thrill of a good ‘food – wine’ pairing or reinforces your belief in the same.
Here’s one such example as seen in the photo shared above.The Italian dish in the frame is named ‘Tomino’ and is ‘Greek cheese & sauteed mushrooms over toasted bread in white truffle oil’ paired with a Prosecco (a sparkling wine from Italy – sometimes casually (albeit incorrectly) also termed as an ‘Italian Champagne’ by laymen.
The light and delicate Bubbly (another way of naming a Sparkling Wine) with its refreshing Acidity (marked by a watery rush on sides of the mouth after a sipping) balances the greasy mushrooms & cheese and in the process accentuates the flavours of the dish multi folds.
Also read these posts on interesting pairings of food and wine.
Try these combination for a fine gastronomic revelation.
One of these methods to improve the quality of vines in a vineyard is by using regulated deficit irrigation technique. It implies purposely withholding the water supply to the vine in order to subject it to a stress, so as to induce favorable physiological changes. But then how do you find out the level of stress so created in the vine? This is achieved by means of a vineyard equipment called as The Pressure Bomb, which allows to monitor the stress level in a vine at any particular moment. This helps in ascertaining the appropriate time at which the vine should be irritated.
Initially when the vines have just been planted, it is subjected to minimal stress levels by keeping them irrigated. But once established, these are subjected to deficit irrigation to manage canopy growth as also to improve the fruit quality.
The Battle of the Wines (French- La Bataille des Vins), sometimes also called as ‘The Battle of the Blends’ was a notable poem written by Henry d’Andeli in 1224 and tells the story of a famous Wine tasting organized by the French king Philip Augustus.
Over 70 samples from France and across Europe, including Cyprus, Spain and the Mosel region were tasted and judged by an English priest.
The priest classified the wines he tasted as either Celebrated for those which pleased him or Excommunicated for those that did not meet his standards. In the end a sweet wine from Cyprus (widely believed to be Commandaria) won the overall tasting and was awarded the supreme title of Apostle.
Staying alone at times gets on you. But in this age we have got technology to our rescue. So in an early morning bout of loneliness I found my self chatting with ChatGPT voice version. And it provided me with the context I was looking for while drafting this blog post and which is : “Golf and wine are demanding mistresses, never satisfied with your attention”. This phrase conveys a sense of constant and insatiable nature of these pursuits.
In fact this term was coined or rather used by one of my dear friend Parag Tripathi, in a mid session break during the WSET Level 3 course which we did together. I found it to be very pertinent.
Now although I have certainly tried my hand at Golf, but frankly this sport could never seduce me like an enchanting mistress. But wines, Ah that’s a different story altogether. It is surely an addictive quest.
Every wine lover would have his or her own reasons for for pursuing wine as an irresistible passion. As for me, as I look back at my wine journey, I can enumerate following five reasons for the world wines to be so captivating.
1. Wine – An Aspirational Drink. To start with, I feel wine is an aspirational drink. It has an allure of the proverbial “high life”. It’s something which, by and large, is still considered part of an elite lifestyle. And everyone wants a slice of exclusiveness and glamour associated with wines.
2. Wine and Food Pairing. Though some could ask that what’s the big deal about that? There may not be one but there surely lies a pleasurable deal in any good food – wine pairing.
Personally I experienced the same at an Italian Wine Dinner where I tasted a dish called “sea bass” which was paired with an Italian white wine. As the wine and the dish inter mingled in my mouth, something immensely pleasurable happened on my palate and the sensation went right on to my mind. It was the proverbial Eureka moment for me to be initiated into the world of the gastronomic delight of food – wine pairing. There has been no looking back since then.
3. Wine in Human History & Culture. Another fascinating thing is that through out the history of mankind, wine has been integrally intertwined with society, art, culture, economics, religion and other numerous aspects of human existence. And if you study wines as a subject, then you will find that it is also linked with science and even mathematics (if you’re counting your profits as a wine producer or a merchant).
4. Brotherhood of wines. Another bright side of wine is the camaraderie it generates. People whom you meet during a wine tasting or any other wine focussed event become your friends for life. Wine is a social lubricant, it encourages interaction and social bonding.
5. Every Wine tells a Story. Last but not the least, and certainly not as a cliche, every wine has a story to tell. The story of its terroir (means the place, environment and people associated with its production), the hard work and toil of people who make it, the history linked with it and so on. If you delve into these aspects then not only the wine experience becomes more pleasurable but it also adds greatly to the knowledge about the world we live in.
These were my reasons for loving wines. Do share your views too, on why you find wines so fascinating, in the comments box. Also read books on sustainable practices in vineyards and more available here. Use the code WINEGLITZ for a discount. Cheers!!
For me, it was an anniversary dinner with my wife at a French bistro which sparked an interest in wines. An interest which would soon turn into a consuming passion. Anyone who has treaded this journey would know how engrossing the world of wines can be. And so it was for me too. Sometimes in retrospection I look back to past about ten years to see how it all unfolded.
Initially it was about gaining wine knowledge on social media. Thereafter I started attending various events like wine dinners, socials, wine promotions and wine tastings. As my wine passion grew so did my thirst for knowledge and I did some of best wine courses available in the country. But the one thing that really fueled my passion for wines has been the books on wine which I read.
With Amazon giving an easy access, I went on a spree, reading whatever interesting I could find on wines. Wines have been there since the time of earliest civilizations and have played a prominent role in social, cultural and economic fields and continue to do so even today. During each phase of human journey there have been people who have written about wines and the trend continues even now with so many authors penning their experience with wines.
In a series of posts starting with this one, I would be talking about some of my favorite books on wine, both to share what the book is about and why I found it to be a great read.
Passions: The Wines and Travels of Thomas Jefferson – A longish name but the book itself is a gripping one and hooks you from the start. Thomas Jefferson was the fourth President of the United States, and interestingly he is also considered the Father of American Wine.
The book is set in late 18th century during the tumultuous times in France arising due to the French Revolution. Jefferson was on an official appointment as the Ambassador of the USA to France succeeding Franklin Roosevelt.
Fondness for wines led Jefferson to undertake an arduous journey through the wine regions of Burgundy, Cote Rotie, Hermitage, Bordeaux, Provence, crossing the Alps into Italy, travelling along the French and Italian rivieras and even Languedoc on the Canal du Midi and also some German vineyards. And at least one of the hotels he stayed in southern France is still functional and open for stay.
So impressive is his travelogue that it made me plan my own wine tourism in France, whenever it happens, on the same route which Jefferson traversed more than 200 years ago. It is on top of my bucket wish list. And if you also feel the same excitement as me then I recommend that you buy this book written by James M Gabler or borrow it from a library near you.
Empty nesters are what parents become once their children grow up and leave home to carve out a niche for themselves, often on a work assignment in a different city. Being one of the ilk we were delighted when our son joined us at home for a family reunion – une reunion de famille as the French would call it.
Solar Eclipse Day
Today was a partial solar eclipse day and the better part of evening was spent inside where our familial conversation veered around a variety of topics (including a Goa trip in winters), finally settling down for the evening plan for a fine wine and dine at Delhi.
The Qube, our choice for the evening, is a dining restaurant at The Leela Palace New Delhi, Having pleasant memories of being there earlier, we homed on it today too. It was full upto capacity by the time we reached and had a lively vibe about it. A glance through the wine list and the food menu indicated that it would be a good culinary experience tonight.
After a brief deliberation on the various choices available, we selected the Famille Perrin Cotes Du Rhone Blanc Reserve as our wine for the evening. It comes from the house of Famille Perrin which is a leading wine producer in southern Rhone and a member of the prestigious Primum Familiae Vini – an international association of some of the world’s finest wine producing families.
A blend of four signature southern grape varietals – Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Rousanne and Viognier, this Blanc reserve ticked all the right boxes to appeal favourably to our tropical palates. Whereas the strong Grenache provided the structural backbone to the wine at same time Viognier brought in the freshness to be complemented perfectly by the floral aromatics of Marsanne and Rousanne.
Buzz On White Wine & Tannins
Tannin in wine adds both bitterness and astringency, as well as complexity. It comes from the skin of the grapes and gives a feel of what our mouth experiences on a sip of black tea without milk. But tannins are most commonly found in red wine (and absent in white wine). However now many winemakers are using partial skin contact to create whites with firmer tannin structures and greater complexity with grapes like Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne etc. This brings more gravitas to the wine without sacrificing freshness. We distinctly noticed this effect in the reserve Blanc on our table. If true then it also explains how, although being a white wine, it paired somewhat reasonably with the lamb chops too. However this does call for bit of more investigation.
The staring pairing was to try out the wine with the baked bread starters and soup sticks and it was a fine match.
Next was to pair the wine with cheesy pepperoni pizza, which being the text book pairing with a white wine, came off perfectly.
Life Tastes Better After A Slice Of Cheesecake
Well the above caption by author Jason Shaw truly rang true while rounding off our family wine dinner on a sweet cheesy note with a slice of mango cheese cake.
13.5 % Alcohol Did You Say !!
The realisation dawned a bit late. The wine had a punch. Slight dizziness prompted me to check the alcohol content on the label of the bottle which to my surprise read as 13.5 % – quite high for a white wine, but then Grenache is a strong grape varietal and moreover no one was complaining, rather it helped us come back to the topic from where we started – the Goa trip in winters..maybe some more white wine awaits us on the azure shores of Goan beaches this XMas. Cheers.
The rainy in spell came unannounced. A week into October, the weather had been nippy already hinting at an early arrival of winters. It was pouring heavily by the time we reached the LTG Auditorium at heart of New Delhi. The watch showed half past three in afternoon.
Still half an hour to go for start of Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar we decided to stay in the car itself so as not to get drenched. The bard’s renowned play started soon after and despite rains and bad city traffic it was a full house. The ensemble of the actors did full justice in delivering a power packed performance which peaked with scene where a dying Caesar addressing his life long friend and confidante, said – Et Tu Brute.
Khan Market is an upscale marketplace in New Delhi and one where we headed after thoroughly enjoying the theatre. It was still raining as we searched our way to and reached the newly opened Italian restaurant named Tere Vita. It had a distinct pink interiors interspersed with chic posters and mirrors.
A quick browse through the giant menu (again pink) lead to our selecting a German Riesling for the evening. Though the bottle had a somewhat un-wine like name – Black Tower, which to me sounded more like a strong beer, but it did tick all the right oenological boxes on sampling and so we ordered it.
Riesling is, without question, Germany’s favorite grape. Widely planted it is the superstar of the white wine world. The grape originated in the Rhine region of Germany, and the best of them are said to grow along the banks of the Mosel River on the beautiful steep, south facing hills.
Black Tower, the wine of the evening however comes from the Pfalz wine region of Germany. It is produced by house of Reh Kendermann which is making German wines popular all over the wine drinking world.
Being very chilled when served, the Riesling appeared a tad tight and very citrus at the start but it opened up soon in the glass thereby revealing an aromatic nose and prominent flavour of tropical fruits which supported by a refreshing acidity soon screamed (or rather we did) for some warm cheesy food to pair with. Our first dish was the Porcini pasta which is made from the eponymous porcini mushrooms which are a famous and delicious addition in Italian cuisine.
The name porcini actually means “piglets” in Italian. For the French they are cèpe, for the Germans steinpilz meaning stone mushroom and the English also call them cep or ‘penny buns’
Next we ordered Fettuccine pasta which again complimented the wine perfectly. In Italian, fettuccine means “little ribbons” and the pasta does indeed look like a pile of ribbons on the plate. Traditional fettuccine pasta comes in thick ribbons which are robust enough to hold light to medium sauces, especially tomato and cream sauces.
The perfect day – night, theatre – wine outing was rounded off the a scoop each of gelato in cone the sweetness of which will keep alive the memories of a beautiful day.
The first zoom webinar by Delhi Wine Club was conducted on 24 May 2021 wherein the members of the club got a chance to interact with the owners of one of fine wine houses in Piedmont region of north Italy – the Mauro Sebaste Winery.
The webinar was moderated by Sourish Bhattacharyya, a renowned Delhi based journalist. Sourish, who is also an active promoter of wine culture and tourism in India, opened the session by inviting Cav Subhash Arora to share his views on the theme of the webinar, which was to discuss the Alba wine region with a specific reference to the Mauro Sebaste Winery.
Subhash started by reminiscing as to how the very first wine dinner by Delhi Wine Club was with wines from Alba. That was in 2002 and now after so many years the first zoom webinar of the club is also on the theme of wines from Alba. The world of wines always has its pleasant coincidences or maybe this was destined to be so.
Alba Wine Region
Alba is a small picturesque town in the Piedmont area of northern Italy, in the province of Cuneo. Considered the capital of the hilly area of Langhe, Alba is famous for its white truffle, quality wines, and the Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Company. As Subhash brought out, Alba is also called as the gateway to the wine areas of Langhe which has hundred of wineries producing an array of dynamic wines.
Mauro Sebaste Winery
Speaking from Alba, Sylla Sebaste, the scion of the Mauro Sebaste winery, brought out as to how the passion of her father Mauro Sebaste lead to the birth of their wine house. After the passing away of his mother Sylla – a famous winemaker woman and a true Langhe wine expert, Mauro left the family business and alongwith his better half Theresa, started the winery with a single objective – that of producing quality wines.
Nowadays, Mauro manages thirty hectares of vineyards with absolute devotion and care in order to produce wines of uncompromising quality. He produces an average of 120,000 bottles of wines each year which are exported all over the world. Now the next generation has also joined the family business – Sylla working in accounts department and Angelica involved in design/painting of the labels.
Mr Mauro and the Barolo Boys
Barolo Boys refer to a group of winemaker friends who brought in a revolution in the Langhe wine making techniques in 1980s which brought fame to the Barolo wine and prosperity to the Lange wine region.
Asked whether Mr Mauro identifies himself with the philosophy of Barolo boys, the winery team said yes he does but it’s also superimposed with layers of his own convictions. As for example Mauro still prefers the age old technique of maturing the Barolo wines in large sized barriques which enable minute and slow oxidation of the wine as opposed to the philosophy of the Barolo boys of using smaller new world oak barrels.
Mauro Sebaste Winery produces a wide array of wines and their cache includes the prominent 3 Bs of Langhe – Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera. Besides these they also make Dolcetto and amongst white wines, Roero and Gavi wines.
Many of these wines, especially the Barolo are made by vinifying wines from different parcels of vineyards separately and then blending these judiciously to make the final product. Although such process requires more efforts in the winery but it adds a lot of quality and structure to the wines.
The wine house is soon to launch an excellent sparkling wine too, with a potential to match the popularity of Prosecco – the quintessential Italian sparkling wine.
Compatability of wines with Indian food
Wine gatherings by Delhi Wine Club always have a twin focus – that of enjoying the wines being served as also to learn about their technical aspects. Though the webinar mode precluded actual tasting of the wines however true to their spirit of learning, the participants keenly discussed the aspect of pairing of these wines with Indian food.
Amongst all wines being made by the winery, it was felt by the majority of members that Barbera is the one which holds maximum potential of a perfect pairing with Indian food. Sourish exemplified this further by highlighting the excellent matching of Barbera with the Indian Dal Makhni (Dal Makhni is an Indian dish made with pulses).
Shraddha Dahiwal, a wine enthusiast from Pune, India who is presently undergoing an internship with the Mauro Sebaste Winery, was tasked by the club members to explain more about this wonderful pairing to the wine makers.
What shall it be then – Barbera d’Alba or Barbera d’Asti ?
Mauro’s winery produces both of the Barbera wines – Barbera d’Alba and Barbera d’Asti which take their names after the nearby towns of Alba and Asti. So the natural question posed to the forum was – what are the differences between the two?
The winery team explained as to how Alba tends to ripen early with intense floral characteristics, and smooth tannins whereas Asti is bright, with more red fruit flavours and aggressive tannins. As such Asti needs an additional year of the ageing process as compared to Alba.
Sylla went ahead to show everyone the soil samples of both places collected in a glass jar, with Alba soil having more clay and Asti with more Sandy characteristics mixed even with ancient sea shells and fossil material. All this provided a good understanding of the soil types existing in Alba and Asti.
And as to which is better is best summarised in the words of Luca Currado Vietti – “Alba is an elegant woman with finesse that you can dance with, Asti is a determinated, powerful, intense – a woman you gotta watch out for”..
So like this, the maiden webinar of Delhi Wine Club progressed and unfolded a vast cache of information about Alba region and its wines. The members of DWC ever alert, were ready with their questions too. These were addressed satisfactorily by the winery team which commendably came very well prepared with a host of information, wine maps and soil samples.
The webinar which was interspersed with wine knowledge, fun, humour and some wine goodies promised as prizes, ended on a positive note with hope by all to see the wines of Mauro Sebaste Winery in Indian markets soon.
These days my favourite pastime is watching and making YouTube Shorts. Here’s one which I published recently:
YouTube Shorts are short-form videos up to 60 seconds long which can be made and posted on YouTube. Somewhat akin to Reels on Instagram, Facebook etc, this format of short YouTube videos is quite popular nowadays.
Channel Much before this feature was introduced, I had already started my YouTube Channel. But I realised that not many people were watching the long form wine videos which I was uploading there, which was evident from limited number of views. So I did not pursue this much.
Curious Again When YouTube started the short video feature called as Shorts, it caught my attention again. I made and posted some short videos mainly by hit and trial method. However, these too didn’t garner much attention and views.
Tools & Techniques Somehow it struck to me that I need to learn more about how to use this new feature. And after some research, I realised that YouTube provides a lot of inbuilt tools to create good short videos. In addition, certain techniques like using apt keywords, proper title and descriptions, etc are also required to be used.
YT Studio To my surprise I also learned that besides the primary YouTube App, there is another App by the name of YT Studio, which facilitates correct formatting of content prior to posting.
Analytics YT Studio also provides a detailed analysis on the published shorts, which besides giving a plethora of data inputs, also helped me to know things like the best time in the day to post my shorts as also the days in the week when I get maximum views.
Not Getting Viral Soon I got the hang of it and my YouTube Shorts started getting noticed and garnering a lot of views, however these were still nowhere near to getting viral.
Story Telling With further experimentation, I started creating shorts around micro stories. Though this stretched the limits of my creativity but proved to be a success since the viewership increased exponentially.
Content Is The King Tools, techniques and tricks apart, what I have come to realise is that it’s the quality of your content that matters the most. Make original and interesting shorts and these will surely be appreciated.
Favourite Pastime YouTube Shorts provides a limitless scope of expressing my creativity which is both challenging and exciting. Creating short videos which convey my wine passion to the world in a story form is what interests me the most.
Get Cracking So if the journey of how I mastered the art creating short form videos excites you too then I strongly recommend that you check out the YouTube Shorts feature and start creating and publishing your content there. A lot of inspiration material you will find in your own posts already published on WordPress. Cheers !!
Pairing of Indian dishes with wines is one topic about which I’ve changed my mind over the years as a wine enthusiast.
Curry and Spices Let me be honest, Indian food and Wines do not naturally make a heavenly pair. The quintessential spicy Indian curry is a fierce match for the delicate wines and can be best avoided. However with a new generation of revolutionary chefs, this matrix is set for a change for better.
Turning Point My own revelation of how wonderfully a wine can pair with Indian food happened a few years ago at The Spice Market restaurant at New Delhi. It is run by a couple, both of whom happen to be talented chefs.
Indian Kebab with Red Wine So in this restaurant I was served something called as Galouti Kebab with Spanish Red Wine. As with any good food with wine, a pleasurable sensation engulfed my palate. The kebab paired so well with the wine that I became a convert and started to believe and even profess how well wines can go with Indian food.
More Experiments After this pleasant culinary discovery I followed it up by trying various other Indian dishes with both Indian and International wines. More about it later in the post, but first some trivia on the Galouti Kebab.
Galouti Kebab: The Melt-in-the Mouth Delicacy Originally Made for a Toothless King The legend goes that the Nawab (Chieftain) had lost most of his dentures due to old age, but his penchant for kebabs was far from dying. So for their toothless Nawab, the seasoned khansamas (cooks) came up with a popular variant which needed no chewing yet had the same rich flavours and taste of a kebab. It was christened as the Galouti Kebab.
Red wine with Chicken Tikka Chicken Tikka is another Indian delicacy which can go well with both red and white wine.
Last But Not The Least
During Covid times, Delhi Wine Club conducted a webinar with owners of the renowned Mauro Sebaste Winery in Piemonte, Italy.
The discussions took a surprising turn when Ms Shraddha, an Indian intern with the winery revealed as to how Dal Makhini, which is a staple lintel dish in most of homes in India, pairs very well with the Barbera wine produced by the winery.
Over the period of time I have been subjecting my palate to a variety of Indian dishes paired with wines. Staring as a non believer, I am now a firm advocate of such pairing.
With all such experiences also came a revelation about what clicks in any good wine and Indian food pairing and today I share the same with everyone.
The Secret lies in a thoughtful preparation of food. Selection of assorted Indian spicesfrom different parts of the country is the first step. Thereafter special ways of preparing the meal, for example slow cooking at a right temperature on a dim flame, and other such techniques are the key to ensure the ultimate pleasure of pairing Indian food with wine.
PS: Longish post but I do hope you enjoyed reading it. Do also share your own views and experiences in comments. Cheers !!