Do’s and Don’ts of Drinking Wine
The first do when drinking wine is that you don’t need to worry about saying the right thing or perceiving the aromas and flavours as anyone else does. Wine is wonderfully subjective and your appreciation of it depends on the time of day, how much wine you drink, what you usually eat or drink, your mood and of course most importantly your own preferences. Do trust your own instincts and form your own opinions.
The wine world comes across intimidating at times but it really isn’t and once you get into it you will find that it is not that complicated either.
A couple of things you should do. Ensure your wine is at the right temperature. Too cold and you will not be able to taste or smell all the aromas and flavours, if too warm the wine will come across flabby and flat. Ideally wine should be drunk at 11 degrees Celsius for whites, 6 degrees Celsius for sparkling and sweet wines and 16 to 18 Degrees Celsius for reds.
Do drink your wines in the right glassware. The shape, size and thickness of the glass all matter and also of course the cleanliness of the glass. If you’re going to pursue discovering wine, I would recommend spending a little money on good glassware. Incorrect glassware can destroy even the best of wines. If in your trip on discovery road you intend building a collection at home it would be wise to buy a wine fridge to store your wines at the right temperature. Do not keep your wines at the back of your cupboard where they can be subjected to 40-degree heat.
Do allow some reds wines to breathe. Open the bottle and keep it open for some time depending on the wine you are about to have or pour the bottle into a decanter to speedup the process. You could also simply rotate the wine in your glass to enhance its offerings to you. Wine opens up as it comes into contact with air and releases otherwise hidden aromas.
Please do experiment with our local cuisines and cuisines from all over the world with wine. We have some of the greatest culinary traditions on the planet and not drinking wine with our food is a shame.
Do experiment, get a bunch of people together and constantly try new wines. The world of wine is very large with many countries, regions and grape varieties producing a plethora of styles for you to discover.
We even have a wine-growing region in our very own backyard – Nasik/Akluj/Nandi Hills to name a few and you will find that there is great quality being produced here itself.
Do not put ice in your wine, do not fill it all the way to the top and please do hold the wine by the stem of the glass and of course don’t be disappointed if the wine you have bought is not to your liking. Move on and do try the next.
Written by -Nikhil Agarwal
Sommelier & CEO, All Things Nice
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