Tag Archives: France

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2017 – Winners of Asia’s most trusted wine competition announced

Winners of Asia’s most trusted wine competition announced

decanter

The list of results is complete with full wine details, stockist information and tasting notes – a trusted source of wine recommendations for wine consumers in Asia.

A total of 3,235 wines were tasted in the Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2017 (DAWA 2017), the most since the competition launched in 2012. Fifteen wines have been awarded the Platinum Best in Show medal – the highest accolade.

“The sole purpose of the DAWA is to recognise and award quality. Originality and terroir are the most important for a wine to win an award.”, said Steven Spurrier, DAWA 2017 Chair. A majority of judges are based in Asia and include top sommeliers and Masters of Wine from 11 countries.

The Results

Australia continued its success from last year’s competition by taking the lead with two Platinum Best in Show medals for the Best Single White-Varietal and Best Chardonnay, both won by McGuigan. Australia has won Best Chardonnay for the second year, plus seven Platinum Best in Category and 26 Gold medals.

Argentina performed extremely well this year with three Platinum Best in Show, including one for the Best Red Bordeaux Varietals, one Best in Category and four Gold medals.

China performed well too, with Shanxi’s Grace Vineyard winning the Best Red Single-Varietal

China won 142 medals in total at DAWA 2016, compared to 12 medals two years ago.

France remained a strong winner with Bordeaux, Champagne, and Rhône winning a Best in Show medal each.

Italy also received a top medal for Best Red Italian Varietals for a red wine from Campania.

Spain won a Platinum Best in Show for Best Red Spanish Varietals, while Germany won one for Best Dry Riesling.

South Africa shone amongst Old World contestants by winning a Platinum Best in Category for Best South African Red Bordeaux Varietals.

The USA also scooped two medals for Best USA Red Bordeaux Varietals and Best USA Sweet in Platinum Best in Category.

Decanters tasting director, Christelle Guibert, said: “We gather some of the best and most influential wine experts across Asia to join our judging panel to find the very best wines for consumers.”

Where to taste the DAWA winners

New winners will be promoted at both trade and consumer events this year.

Wine lovers will have the opportunity to taste a selection of 2017 winning wines in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul this winter, including the Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter on Saturday 18 November. DAWA wines will also be featured at retail stores, restaurants and hotels across Asia.

About DAWA Judging Week

Over 50 top wine experts from across Asia joined our judging panel this year, led by Chair Steven Spurrier, Decanter’s consultant editor, and vice-chairs Ch’ng Poh Tiong, Shinya Tasaki, Gerard Basset MW MS OBE, Michael Hill Smith MW, Andrew Jefford and DecanterChina.com columnist Li Demei.

Joining this year’s line-up is Sonal Holland, India’s first Master of Wine; Tan Ying Hsien, Singapore’s first Master of Wine; and Adrian Zhang, Director of Wine at the Park Hyatt Shanghai. Most judges work at top establishments in Asia.

Judges gathered together in Hong Kong on 5-8 September to blind taste wines through organised flights.

How the wines are tasted

Decanter gives every single wine tasted an individual score.

Wines that meet the required quality are given a seal of approval (commended), or a bronze, silver, or gold medal. All gold medal-winning wines within each category are re-tasted and a platinum medal is awarded to the best wine in each category.

Each platinum medal winner from around the world is then pitted against each other to win the Platinum

 

About the DAWA

  • Launched in 2012 by Decanter magazine, 2017 is the sixth edition of the competition
  • All wines are judged blind in the best possible tasting environment and each wine is discussed on an individual basis by the panel
  • Find and taste DAWA winning wines
  • Kindly sponsored by Riedel glasses and San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna water

 

DAWA 2017 Results

  • 15 Platinum Best in Show medals
  • 41 Platinum Best in Category medals
  • 55 Gold medals
  • 609 Silver medals
  • 1,656 Bronze medals

DAWA 2017 Platinum Best in Show winners:

  • Best Dry Aromatic: El Esteco, Don David Reserve Torrontés, Calchaquíes, Salta, Argentina 2017
  • Best Red Bordeaux Varietals: Bodega Norton, Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina 2015
  • Best Red Blend: Miguel Escorihuela Gascón, 1884 The President’s Blend, Mendoza, Argentina 2015
  • Best Chardonnay: McGuigan, The Shortlist Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia 2016
  • Best White Single-Varietal: McGuigan, Bin 9000, Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia 2007
  • Best Red Single-Varietal: Shanxi Grace Vineyard, Tasya’s Reserve Marselan, Shanxi, China 2015
  • Best Sweet: Château d’Arche, , Sauternes, Bordeaux, France 2010
  • Best Red Rhône Varietals: Grandes Serres , Carius , Cairanne, Rhône, France 2016
  • Best Sparkling: Piper-Heidsieck, Rare Brut, Champagne, Champagne, France 2002
  • Best Dry Riesling: Hans Wirsching, Iphöfer Julius-Echter-Berg Riesling, Grosses Gewächs, Franken, Germany 2015
  • Best Red Italian Varietals: Rossovermiglio, Aglianico, Sannio, Campania, Italy 2015
  • Best Sauvignon Blanc: Yealands Family Wines, Babydoll Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand 2017
  • Best Pinot Noir: Craggy Range, Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir, Martinborough, Wairarapa, New Zealand 2015
  • Best Sweet Fortified: Henriques & Henriques, Single Harvest Boal, Madeira, Portugal 2000
  • Best Red Spanish Varietals: Bodegas Olarra, Erudito, Rioja, Mainland Spain, Spain 2015

DAWA 2016 Platinum (Best in Category) winners:

  • Best Chilean Red Bordeaux Varietals: Viña Casablanca, Nimbus Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipó Valley, Chile 2015
  • Best Chilean Red Rhône Varietals : MontGras, ANTU Syrah, Colchagua, Chile 2015
  • Best Chilean Red Blend : Santa Alba, Grand Reserve Syrah-Cabernet Sauvignon, Curicó, Chile 2014
  • Best Chilean Red Single-Varietal: Apaltagua, Envero Grand Reserva Carmenere, Apalta, Colchagua, Chile 2015
  • Best USA Red Bordeaux Varietals: Rocca Family Vineyards, Grigsby Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Yountville, California, USA 2013
  • Best South African Red Bordeaux Varietals : Leopard’s Leap, Culinaria Collection Grand Vin, Western Cape, South Africa 2015
  • Best New Zealand White: Paddy Borthwick, Pinot Gris, Wairarapa, New Zealand 2016
  • Best Australian Sparkling : House of Arras, EJ Carr Late Disgorged, Tasmania, Australia 2003
  • Best Australian Red Blend : Tyrrell’s Wines, Vat 8 Shiraz-Cabernet, Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia 2014
  • Best Bordeaux Right Bank: Château Cantenac, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France 2015
  • Best Bordeaux Left Bank: Excellence de Belliard, Margaux, Bordeaux, France 2015
  • Best Australian Red Rhône Varietals: Ulithorne , Frux Frugis Shiraz, McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia 2014
  • Best Australian Red Bordeaux Varietals: Wolf Blass, Gold Label Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia 2015
  • Best Barolo: Casa Vinicola Fratelli Casetta, Nicolello, Barolo Riserva, Piedmont, Italy 2009
  • Best Sweet Regional Italy: Gemma di Luna, Moscato, Vino Spumante di Qualità di Tipo Aromatico, Italy NV
  • Best White Languedoc-Roussillon : Bernard Magrez, Passion Blanche, IGP Côtes Catalanes, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 2013
  • Best Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Domaine de Nalys, , Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône, France 2015
  • Best Northern Rhône Red: Delas, Domaine des Tourettes, Hermitage, Rhône, France 2015
  • Best Argentinian Red Blend: Bodega Norton, Privada, Mendoza, Argentina 2015
  • Best Central & Eastern Europe Red: Georgian Wines, Saperavi, Kindzmarauli, Kakheti, Georgia 2015
  • Best Central & Eastern Europe White: Vaziani Company, Makashvili Wine Cellar Khikhvi, Kakheti, Georgia 2016
  • Best German Sweet : Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof, Goldtröpfchen Riesling, Trockenbeerenauslese, Mosel, Germany 2013
  • Best Central & Eastern Europe Sweet : Szent Tamás, Aszú, Tokaj, Hungary 2013
  • Best Fortified Portugal : Bacalhôa, 10 Anos, Moscatel Roxo de Setúbal, Setúbal, Portugal 2003
  • Best Red Rioja Reserva : Bodegas Ondarre, , Rioja Reserva, Mainland Spain, Spain 2014
  • Best Red Rioja Gran Reserva : Bodegas Corral, Don Jacobo, Rioja Gran Reserva, Mainland Spain, Spain 2004
  • Best Ribera del Duero : Condado de Haza, Alenza , Ribera del Duero Gran Reserva, Mainland Spain, Spain 2006
  • Best Red Portugal : Fundação Eugénio de Almeida, Cartuxa EA Reserva, Alentejano, Portugal 2015
  • Best Sweet Loire : Château La Variere, Les Guerches, Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru, Loire, France 2015
  • Best Red Languedoc-Roussillon: Château de Lascaux, Les Nobles Pierres, Languedoc Pic Saint Loup, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 2013
  • Best Regional Italian White: La Canosa, Servator Passerina, Offida, Le Marche, Italy 2016
  • Best Southern Italian White: Quintodecimo, Exultet, Fiano di Avellino, Campania, Italy 2016
  • Best Chianti : Rocca di Castagnoli, Poggio a’Frati, Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany, Italy 2013
  • Best Red Tuscany : Caccia Al Piano 1868, Ruit Hora, Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy 2014
  • Best Amarone: Cesari, Il Bosco, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Veneto, Italy 2011
  • Best Sweet Southern Italy : Ferruccio Deiana, Oirad, Isola dei Nuraghi, Sardinia, Italy 2015
  • Best Australian Riesling: McGuigan, The Shortlist Riesling, Eden Valley, South Australia, Australia 2009
  • Best Barbera: Poderi Elia, Vi Veje, Barbera d’ Alba Superiore, Piedmont, Italy 2012
  • Best Australian Pinot Noir: Curly Flat, Pinot Noir, Macedon Ranges, Victoria, Australia 2014
  • Best Australian Sweet: De Bortoli, Black Noble, Cross-Regional Blend, Australia NV
  • Best USA Sweet: Dr. Loosen, Riesling Ice Wine, Washington State, USA 2013

MOUTON CADET RÉSERVE SAUTERNES 2012, BORDEAUX, FRANCE

MOUTON CADET RÉSERVE SAUTERNES 2012, BORDEAUX, FRANCE

REGION: Bordeaux

GRAPE VARIETY: 75% Sémillon, 23% Sauvignon Blanc & 2% Muscadelle

TASTING NOTES: Bright gold in color. The nose opens on yellow fruit (peach, mirabelle), then goes on with airing to develop an attractive aromatic complexity on notes of bergamot, gentle spice and quince.

From a powerful, refined attack, the wine expresses crystallised quince and mirabelle jam flavours enhanced with a fresh touch of bergamot. On the finish, the wine’s sweetness and power bring a balance typical of Sauternes.

Bottle - Mouton Cadet Sauternes

MAISON ALBERT BICHOT Special Cuvee, Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France

MAISON ALBERT BICHOT Special Cuvee, Chateauneuf du Pape

Region: Rhone Valley

Nature: Red

Grape: Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre

Aroma: It is fresh, young and complex, with a whole variety of spices, including various peppers, mild paprika and ginger.

Body & Taste: Generous, powerful and fat, it has superb body underlined by delicate oak.

Suggested Food Pairing: Goes well with all red meats, game, cheese, and will take quite spicy dishes. Serve at 17°C

MAISON ALBERT BICHOT Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons Blanc Domaine Long-Depaquit, Burgundy, France

MAISON ALBERT BICHOT Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons Blanc Domaine Long-Depaquit

Region: Burgundy

Nature: White

Grape: Chardonnay

Aroma: Floral notes followed by subtle notes of oak and fresh fruit.

Body & Taste: Good structure on the palate. This wine is tangy, well-balanced and shows the lovely fullness one expects from a Premier Cru. A combination of linden blossom and almond give way to a long, rounded finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Try it with dill-marinated salmon served with a warm leek and balsamic vinegar flan for the contrast of flavors. Grilled chicken, with crispy skin and moist meat is a good counterpoint to the oaky finish of this defined wine.

Mans World Magazine

Article featured in Mans World Magazine by Sommelier Nikhil Agarwal.

My travels started with some pretty bizarre backpacking trips through Europe, North America and India when I was in my late teens. At that time I didn’t want to spend money on fancy restaurants, or clothes or gizmos and had actually never even had a sip of wine. I ate packets of chips for breakfast, lunch and sometimes-even dinner, visited the sites and museums I wanted to visit and then in the early eveningsI would unleash myself at the city’s coolest bars with a day’s travel savings all meant to be blown on Guinness and whisky – that too in some pretty impressive quantities, if I do say so myself. Now only one thing has changed – I eat well while there is still a lot consumed!

I now seem to travel more often that not with the intention ofeating and drinking and the decision on where to go is directly based on how good the drink and food scene is.

As a Sommelier,I’m fortunate that I do what I do and it’sbecause of what I do what I that I get to travel all over the globe regularly, scoping out the food and wines scenes.

Some of the greatest wine experiences I have enjoyed are in Australia. For one they produce a lot of truly high quality wine and yet it’s all very casual. The food in Australia is off the charts and the general level of quality of what’s on offer is very high even if you don’t go to the top end restaurants. The beauty about Australia when it comes to food is that it’s just so diverse. You have people from all over the world who have made Australia their home bringing with them their own regional cuisines and flavours. In a nutshell you are spoilt for choice and no matter which city you go to there is almost always a great wine producing region close by for you to visit.

I’d go to Melbourne and the surrounding wine regions of Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsulafor some Pinot Noir and definitely to Adelaide with Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, Eden and Claire Valley and McLaren Vale a few hours away. Barossa has the grand Yalumba winery and also the small and charming Rockford Winery, which you will fall in love with instantly because it seems to be stuck in a world that is long gone.

In McLaren Vale a gastropub called Victory Pub really got my attention. They have a stunning view of the sea, a phenomenal menu and a vast array of wine ranging from great to the worlds very best and most sought after. Drink a couple of pints early evening and then move on to the food and wine. I can’t tell you enough how I wish that pub were close to my home.On the west of Australia, a full day drive away from Perth you have the Margaret River wine region which producers exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.  All of these regions are very wine tourist friendly with great hotels and excellent restaurants.

One of my favourite wine places in the world would have to be Bordeaux in France. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage site and as you would imagine is drop dead gorgeous. I go during the month of June for Vinexpo, one of the world’s largest wine shows. This is a great time to visit because they are a few festivals like Fete de la music on at the time as well. Bordeaux is responsible for some of the worlds most sought after wines, a trip here and the surrounding area is guaranteed to give you a hedonistic dose of pure wine pleasure. Besides the Chateaux in the surrounding regions you have to visit Magnum Vin a wine bar in the building where all the chateaux pay their taxes in the centre of town.They offer a selection of about 30 wines, which keep changing every couple of weeks. You get to drink the very best at Euro 1.50 to 3 a glass!

When in Bordeaux you don’t necessarily have to be at a wine bar, just about any restaurant has a great wine list. I landed up spending a lot of my time at a restaurant called Le Petite Commerce on Rue Du Parliament. This is a restaurant with a lot of energy, great food and a lot of chatter. The wines are great, reasonably priced and the food is great.  Please visit Saint Emilion on the other side of the river. A charming hamletthat is beyond comparison and is full of small Chateaux producing some of the world’s best.Walk around, stop and sip on some wine, walk around, stop and sip on some more wine, you get the idea.

Don’t limit yourself to Bordeaux when in France. Travelling from one wine region to another is really simple. I’d take the TGV and take in the scenery as you go wine region hopping. I would go to the Champagne region, not too far from Paris and then the Rhone Valley personally.  You could head down towards Spain from Bordeaux and visit wine regions like Priorate, relatively close to Barcelona. I will admit that I seem to have the very best times in Spain, their style of wine making is what I like, their food is now globally renowned and the folks are friendly. A glass or two of Rioja and some Iberico along with an assortment of tapas in the company of the friendly Spanish, how can you go wrong!

I was recently in in Germany and visited Weisbaden in the Rhienghauwine region. Stay there a couple of days and visit the wineries in the nearby distance. Visit Baden or Franken a short distance away. This is Riesling country but do try their fabulous Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

If you get up to Mainz please visit Juliusspital, a winery in the heart of Mainz, walking distance from the bridge that cuts across the river, very Prague Charles bridge like. I was mesmerized by this place. For one, the revenue from the sale of their wines is used tosustain the hospital they run in the same complex. This is a state of the art winery with ajaw-dropping cellar that makes me want to go back to Mainz just to visit this place again.

Now you might not associate wine regions with a mega polis like Shanghai but it is worth a visit. I was invited to China to give a talk at SIAL, Asia’s largest food and wine showin Shanghai on the Indian wine industry recently and was completely blown away. For one the food, I’d probably go as far as to say their cuisine is probably one of my favourites and then to have a plethora of wine bars and wine savvy restaurants to go along with the food is fantastic. I have always liked Asian cities that are modern; they have this energy that I love. Millions of people, serious local food culture and western influences when it comes to lifestyle make these cities so exciting when it comes to food and drink. Hong Kong for example does food and wine so well along with Shanghai.

We can’t talk about wine and gastronomy and not pay a visit to Italy. I know all of us visit Florence and Venice etc but perhaps you should visit Alba in the Piedmonte region which is in the north west of Italy. For one you will have the fabulous wines of Barolo and Barbaresco to keep you company. Two, they can’t have some of the worlds best wines and not the cuisine to match them. I thoroughly enjoyed two dining experiences in Alba, one at Bovio in La Morra, the view is phenomenal and the other at Eno Club in the centre of Alba. With snow capped mountains as your backdrop, ancient architecture, some very fine wine produced in the most charming of wineries and food (I still remember my risotto), truffles, it really is a gourmands and wine aficionados dream come true.

Last but not least by any means a wine destination you need to go to is in our very own backyard. Indian wine has truly come of age and Nasik is scattered with some wonderful wineries that are pushing the quality frontier. A large number of you may have already visited Sula Vineyards, but please visit the others as well.  If you have not visited Sula yet, I suggest you go on a weekday rather than a weekend and enjoy this complete winery experience at your leisure. They have great restaurants and of course Beyond their hotel where you can sleep in heavenly peace. York winery is close to Sula and the Gurnani brothers that own the winery and run the show have got some excellent wines for you try. Their newly launched sparkling, barrel fermented Chenin Blanc and Arros are some of my personal favourites. The view is stunning and the food is more local in nature in comparison to Sula, which is what I really like about their tasting room.

By the time this article is out Vallonné Vineyards will have launched their rooms and café. Vallonné is pretty close to Grover Zampa so you could visit there as well. In a completely different direction, Akluj houses Fratelli Vineyards. They have created a top class winery with a few rooms. There is nothing in the surrounding area, which is what I like most about this spot. Pack a couple of bottles of their fabulous wines, go to their tasting point on top of their vineyards and breathe it all in.

As for me – the next stop is Sicily! Perhaps you may hear some more of my fine food, drink and travel adventures but till then bon voyage and salute!

Man's World, Authored article - Page 54, July, 2015

Man's World, Authored article - Page 55, July, 2015

Health Benefits of Wine

So what’s all the fuss about? Is wine really good for you or is it some clever marketing gimmick that a wine brand manager thought up? No, not one bit. There is clear proven reasoning why wine, especially red wine, is good for you. Here’s a look at why –

In the beginning wine was used in very early times by healers and priests who used wine not only for healing but for religious purposes as well. Wine was considered safer to drink than water at the time and therefore right form the start wine has always been considered somewhat of an alternative medicine or a drink with mysterious health benefits.

Red wine, more than white wine is rich in a compound called phenolics (sometimes call polyphenolics).These phenolics are derived from the skin (dark skin gives red wine its colour), stalk etc of the grape. These particular compounds have anti oxidant properties.

One of the many phenolic compounds found in wine that has gained considerable attention is Resveratol which has potent anti oxidant properties. This is also found in green tea which is also known for being good for ones health; don’t take my word for it ask the Chinese.

Any alcohol in MODERATE amounts is widely believed to be good for ones health including spirits and beer. The word moderate here is key and most countries have issued guidelines on what moderate drinking should be in terms of standard drinks per day per person.

The health benefits of wine became widely known in 1991 when the American TV show 60 minutes did a programme discussing how people in France were indulging themselves in eating a diet rich in fat no less and drinking copious amounts of wine without any bad effects on their health in comparison to their American counterparts. This is now commonly known as the French Paradox. The answer they found was in their habit of drinking wine and also the method in which they consumed it i.e. with their meals. The show overnight changed the fortunes of many wineries and producers and world over sales of red wine went through the roof!

Similar studies in Italy have also shown that drinking with meals also reduces the risk of heart attacks and other heart diseases.

The biggest advantage of drinking wine is its effects on coronary heart disease. A moderate amount of alcohol improves the balance between the harmful and beneficial forms of cholesterol and helps in the thinning of blood. Wine has also been linked in its effects on reducing the risk of certain kinds of cancers but there is not enough research to substantiate this accurately. It can help people with respiratory problems however can trigger wheezing in asthmatics due to presence of sulfites. This is why you will find that most wine labels will mention “Contains Sulfites’. Wine has also been linked to prevention of loss of vision with age, lowering the risk of non insulin dependant diabetes.

For weight watchers dry wines have fewer calories than other spirits or beers, especially spirits that are consumed with mixers.

Nobody advocates drinking copious amounts of wine or any alcohol to get incremental health benefits, infact that will do serious harm. However, there is a feeling backed by proof that moderate drinking is better for you than heavy drinking quite obviously but also better than not drinking at all.

On that note, I wish you compliments of the season and urge you to try and drink sensibly…Cheers !

Nikhil Agarwal, Sommelier and Director at All Things Nice – www.allthingnice.in

Article by Nikhil Agarwal for Mumbai Touch Down

I like women and women like me but that’s definitely not enough when you reach the dating-and-beyond stage. After spending a large part of my life in the company of some fine women, I have learnt to understand the art of detail. The thing being, who has the goddamn time??

The mounting workload, the clocking of incessant air miles and the perpetual deadlines leave little room for romance. However, in my journey to find the best wines and cheese located in different pockets of the world I had an epiphany, one that allows you to mix business with pleasure.

Wooing your partner with some fine wine and carefully paired cheese is a heady mix of detail and planning, couple that with a perfect location and you have a sure shot at whatever you are aiming for. Putty in your hands, so to speak.

Wine and Cheese is like Laurel & Hardy, Guns & Roses, Bill & Hillary, and other combinations that are frequently better than either independently. But be careful, you need to do the pairing properly to ensure maximum please and any cheese with any wine will not work. Regions or vineyards that produce fantastic wine usually have very high culinary standards and cheese is an integral part of the whole experience.

You don’t have to know a Cabernet Sauvignon from a Chardonnay to appreciate these destinations – they offer as much peace and scenery as they do great wines. Here’s a look at some destinations that are a winner every time.

We will start off with our very own Nasik. I would recommend making a trip to Sula Vineyards which has done an excellent job in creating a wonderful wine experience. Their tasting room with its breath taking view is one of the most perfect places on the planet in the evenings especially in the colder months. You could head to York Winery which is further down the road for more excellent wine and cheese with an even more dramatic view and then bring the evening to a close less than a km further down the road at Sula’s 21 room only hotel Beyond.

In Akluj, ahead of Pune is the state of the art Fratelli Vineyards with impressive accommodations literally in the middle of nowhere. Get them to hook up a scrumptious sun downer and dinner in their lookout point over the vineyards which are a little away from the winery/rooms for you and your partner. You will have never seen anything like it.

All the above wineries serve generous portions of assorted cheese as accompaniments ensuring that your taste buds are in heaven.

Away from India, if you are heading to the west coast in the United States, I suggest you make a trip to Napa Valley and its surrounding areas which are littered with wineries producing excellent wine. The wineries have tasting rooms, a restaurant or two and rooms that are perfect for some alone time. They even have spa’s so you have an opportunity to go completely all out in pampering her.

Bordeaux in France is another of my favourites; the city is mesmerizing with unbelievable architecture. If you are into wine, this is your mecca and every street corner has cafés and restaurants dishing out incredible cuisine, glorious French cheese with a wine list to match. You can also hire a car and drive into the adjoining vineyard regions, visit some grand Chateaux and carry a picnic basket to make a stop wherever your heart desires. Make sure you make a trip to Saint Emillion, a medieval town on the right of the river Gironde that produces top wines and is simply drop dead gorgeous.

One cannot talk about wine and cheese and of course romance and not bring Italy into the picture. Head to Tuscany, rent a villa or park yourself in the middle of a vineyard and take in the fantastic wines and gastronomy. Maybe after a glass or two you can tell her how much you love her in Italian? Try Castello di Quercetto, a legendary wine producing house with over a 100 years of history. I highly recommend renting one of their apartments and spending some quality time there. Open a bottle of two of their Super Tuscans and she will not be able to resist you. Additionally, your only 25 kilometers away from the lovely city of Florence ! Need I say more? Veneto is another region within Italy that produces fine wine, and with Venice one of the worlds most romantic spots as its main city you cannot go wrong.

In the southern hemisphere if you are travelling to Australia, especially the Southeast of Australia make a trip to the wonderful wine growing regions of Barossa and Mclaren Vale. Try their full bodied reds from the Shiraz grape varietal paired with some local delicacies. I highly recommend visiting the Woodstock Estate in Mclaren Vale for some fabulous hospitality and a charming setting. New Zealand is full of stunning beauty, wineries producing top class wines and world class cheese. Take a trip to Marlborough and visit the legendary Cloudy Bay winery. Also visit the charming Clos Henri winery for an old world kind of wine experience.

There is of course a lot more countries and regions to visit but this should keep you busy for a while and in your partners good books. There are thousands of cheese and endless wines and I hope that you spend a lifetime time taking in their pleasures along with your partner.

Cheers to good loving!

Nikhil Agarwal, Sommelier and Director at All Things Nice – www.allthingnice.in