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Destination Vineyards

October 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Rolling hills. Château. Stylish villas. Gourmet delights. Divine wines. Romantic walks. Holidays in wine countries give you all this and more. So which are the best? Let’s take a whirlwind tour of the best vineyards around the world…

  • Bordeaux, France: How can Bordeaux not top the list? It is the most important wine producing region in France and in the world. They have about 7000 chateaux there!!! Imagine that. Near the Atlantic Coast, the wines that take the prize are the reds — Staint Emilion , Medoc, Margaux.

  • Napa Valley, California: Napa Valley has long been synonymous with superb wine and striking scenery, making it one of the most popular wine destinations in the world. Home to nearly 400 unique wineries, the valley is situated north of the San Francisco Bay area and enjoys a Mediterranean climate. The top wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel.

  • Tuscany, Italy: Off the Mediterranean Sea coast, this region of Italy has everything that dreams are made of. Reds like Chianti and Montalcino have attained iconic status in Tuscany.

  • Stellenbosch, South Africa: Home to one of South Africa’s most visited wine routes, Stellenbosch is located east of Cape Town, with more than 100 wine cellars to visit. The region produces high-quality wines, mostly reds — Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Pinotage and Shiraz. Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are the prominent whites.

  • Barossa Valley, South Australia: This scenic region is highly regarded for its Shiraz and its other robust varieties of red wine. Characterized by its visibly rich German heritage, along with its rolling, vine-covered hills, Barossa Valley is a beautiful destination for sightseers and wine connoisseurs alike.

So where are you headed now?

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An evening of expectations

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Although only recently, Nashik has been rightly baptised to be the ‘Wine Capital of India’. Many enthusiasts even call it the ‘Napa Valley of India’. And why not? It is after all home to most of the top wine brands in our country. Nashik, being the biggest grape producing region, this is not unexpected. It is then not surprising, when one of the premier hotels of Nashik organised a wine festival and the top 7 wine companies in Nashik participated in an evening of “wine tasting with good food and music”.

We, of course, turned up in full gear (in chic evening wear and cameras in place) and expectations — only to be hugely, hugely disappointed. Apologies for breaking the suspense right at the start, but there was only this much to it.

First, about the wines there — while a number of them tasted just ‘flat and fatigued ’, we loved a couple of non-Nine Hills wine, chief among them being a Cabernet Shiraz. At the cost of sounding narcissistic, wines from our very own counter belonged to the superlative category. Personally, Nine Hills Sauvignon Blanc and Nine Hills Shiraz stole the show!!! Cheers to that. And frankly, this was the only reason we cheered about….

For, the food was despicable. Two reasons:

One — there was the usual round of starters (with cheeses, salads), soups, hard-core Indian main course dishes and desserts – one could tell that no care was taken or thought given to the fact that this was a wine festival and one of the basics of wine and food is that they should match. How about ‘doodhi halwa’ for desserts at a wine festival? ‘Goodness’ you screamed? We did too….

Two — While the hotel management would be patting themselves on their back for arranging a big buffet spread, they forgot that wine is a classy drink. Lovers of wine like a sit-down meal where food is served matching the wine being sipped. One is not expected to balance his glass while taking fills of ‘black pepper mutton’. Or stand in the ‘queue’ for rotis. That really is not the ‘wine type’.

But where we really grinded our teeth was on the music front. They played loud loud and even louder fusion.  This really nailed the coffin. No matter how hard we tried to educate the DJs and the hotel manager that jazz is what they should be playing, they wouldn’t listen. The banquet room simply reverberated with such loud, mindless music.

Couldn’t being able to take the mess any longer, we opted out after a quick dinner. That was the end to an evening of expectations – to taste wines, to find out how well they fit with our palette and plate, and to enjoy good music.

The Indian wine scene, as we mentioned in the beginning, is still in the teenage age. Experimentations and learning from mistakes is what will get them to the next level. Such events are an eye-opener for companies like us who not only make and sell wines, but also wants to educate its patrons on the nuances of wine.

Hence, let’s leave you with two thoughts —- wine doesn’t come in the category of drinks where the phrase “tally ho joa” applies.

Secondly, ‘louder the better’ doesn’t apply to all types of music.

What say?

Categories: Events Tags: , , ,

Nine Hills Wine

October 14, 2011 1 comment

Boring header? Where is that catchy headline, the embellishment, which works up images in the minds? Like how we have them for our homes. Cars.Phones (!!). And women would rather be caught dead than be without them!!!

Yup. Accessories!!! They transform the boring, dull to dapper, debonair.

And again, wine is no different – despite being a classy and sophisticated drink, it needs/has its share of ‘add-ons’ to glamorise it further…..you already know about the right glasses, the bottle openers, wine coolers. But have you heard of wine collars (!!), decanters, stoppers, clips? Bet you didn’t…or even if you did, you don’t mind another read….

  • Wine Glasses: Societal suicide, if you serve the reds or whites in wrong glasses. General rule – Glasses with wide, round bowls for red wines, long stem with a tall, narrow bowl for champange, smaller mouth glasses for white wines.

  • Bottle Openers: Of course, for wines that have corks!! There are numerous types of openers, like simple corkscrew, the screwpull lever, wine poppers and the most simple, wine key.

  • Wine Coolers: After all, it is imperative to chill wine. One can use small table-top or a glacette (simple insulated container) to chill one bottle. Restaurants often use larger refrigerator style units that store dozens of bottles at selected temperatures.

  • Wine Decanters:You got it right!! This is a glass vessel where an entire bottle of wine is poured to air it, remove sediments and stylishly pour into glasses. Make sure you use a decanter if you are serving older vintages…..

  • Wine Racks: Those cool looking racks we have seen in restaurants and stylish homes, where the wine bottle is stored lying down. Get one for your bar for the ultimate style statement!!!

  • Wine Stopper:No amount of planning can help with how many bottle you may need for your guests…and there are always leftovers. Fret not. Get a wine stopper to close leftover wine bottles before refrigerating them.  They are available in three versions – cork, rubber and plastic, and may have their tops decorated with precious metals/crystals. Get the one that suits your pocket the best!!!!

  • Wine Collar: Yup!! You read it right….its collars. These fit round the neck of a wine bottle. to absorb any drip that may run down the bottle after pouring. We don’t like stains, do we?

Convinced why we need the accessories?

Now shouldn’t we redo the caption of this feature? Nine Hills Wine – Jazz it up!!!