Archive for March, 2012

An Italian Dinner At Home

The week has been stressful, with loads of things to do, both at home and at work. By evening today, every single muscle in the body will refuse to budge. What do you need to shed the stress piled up over the week/month? A combination of flavorful, aromatic and healthy Italian dinner cooked lazily at home and some wine should do the trick.

Insalata and Antipasti

Start with a simple bruschetta made of fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. Pair it with aromatic and fruity white wines like Chenin Blanc or Viognier.

Throw in a Caprese salad made from fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil. Pair it with a Chenin Blanc. Highly acidic Sauvignon Blanc surprisingly pairs well with tomatoes. Try our Nine Hills Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc with this famous insalata.


Pasta and Risotto

If you are preparing hearty red meat sauce pasta, go for a Tuscan wine (Chianti) made from Sangiovese grapes as it has enough tannin to dance well with the tangy tomato sauce and the richness to complement the red meat. Closer home you can try full bodied dry or semi dry red wines like Nine Hills Cabernet or Shiraz with soft tannins.

And if you are in the mood for Pasta in Alfredo sauce, a Sauvignon Blanc will do wonders for the silky cream sauce. The wine cuts through the Alfredo sauce, while the herbal notes of the wine add a spring of freshness to the dish.

Try your hand at creamy risotto with mushrooms. This deceptively simple to prepare, Mushroom Risotto, is a great example of a dish that lends itself to either a red or white wine. With the strong earthiness of the mushrooms, a Shiraz that has similar strong flavors and a hint of earth would be perfect, but a pungent style of Sauvignon Blanc could be a delicious alternative if you are in the mood for a white wine.


No Italian meal can be complete with its signature desert, Tiramisu, with its layers of coffee-soaked savoiardi biscuits and sweet mascarpone cheese.


So spread your favorite table cloth, fill a crystal vase with fresh perfumed flowers, light some aromatic candles and put on some Italian music to bring the sunny spirit of the Italian countryside into your home. Now savor your home cooked Italian food with wine, of course!

Three cheers to “la Dolce Vita”!

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Phillip Deverell, our consultant viticulturist, came visitng

Philip Deverell, our Viticulturist visited India and our Nine Hills Vineyards during the harvest time in Feb-March where his skills and experience were utilized to further develop the viticulture capabilities of the vineyard.

Philip holds a Bachelor of Land Management Viticulture from the University of Sydney. On his various international assignments, Philip’s exposure to a variety of vineyards and wine production styles around the world developed his knowledge not only in different production techniques for high quality vines and wines but also a broad knowledge of vine varieties.


We, at Nine Hills Wine, lapped up the opportunity to meet Philip in person and gain some firsthand knowledge about vines and wines.


Q – Could you brief us on your role in the wine producing process at the Nine Hills Wines?


Philip –Nine Hills has a focus on producing quality wines that start in the vineyard itself. The team at Nine Hills work with our growers throughout the year to ensure that the grapes grown meet the quality and standard required by the Nine Hills wine making team. This process must be year round as there is only one vintage every year and if a mistake is made in growing the grapes, it may result in a reduction in quality.

There is a focus to produce fruit which exhibits varietal character and this can only be done from vineyards which are well managed. Any new growers must have their vineyard reviewed before supplying to see if it meets our standards. We would rather not harvest fruit from a below standard vineyard than harvest it and make sub standard wine.


Q – What is the purpose of this India visit?


Philip –My purpose is to review the current growing season and inspect the vineyards prior to harvest. It is important to inspect each vineyard to taste and assess the fruit. This is the first step in the wine making process as this will influence some of the techniques used by the wine maker.


Q – How are the wines for the current year shaping up?


Philip –Wines are still undergoing fermentation so it is very early in the whole process but the ferments are looking good and are exhibiting good flavors and aromas.


Q – Are the vines looking promising?


Philip –The vineyards are very clean and are free of pest and disease which is ideal at this stage. The vines are showing good ripeness and period of cooler weather earlier in the month has allowed the flavors to accumulate. Whilst we are early in vintage the scene is set for one of good quality.


Q- What challenges do you foresee?


Philip –The weather is warming a little which means that the ripeness will increase at a faster rate. This means that the team will have to work quickly to harvest the grapes at their optimum. Nonetheless, this is a nice challenge to have rather than having to deal with the threat of looming rain.


Q – What is your overall feel after this trip?


Philip –Picking grapes is a special time; it is the culmination of the growers’ and viticultural teams’ effort for the year and the beginning of the effort for the wine makers. The 2012 vintage for Nine Hills looks very promising.

Coming straight from the horse’s mouth, Nine Hills Wines is looking forward to an excellent vintage in 2012.



The Two Worlds Of Wine – Old and New

The old maxim says ‘Great wines are made in the vineyard’. Nonetheless, there’s a divide between “New World” and “Old World” when figuratively these terms are used to describe viticulture or wine making practices.


The term ‘New World’ wine is attached to the wines coming from countries, such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa or Argentina who began producing wines only after European colonization. In contrast, ‘Old World’ wine has been made and savored in the European and the Mediterranean countries like France, Italy, Spain, and Germany for over thousands of years.


One is curious how different it can get between the two worlds then. We give you the story…..


In Viticulture

  • Over centuries, the Old World wine regions have developed viticultural techniques and practices adapted to their unique climates and landscapes. In the Old World, vine density is higher and plantings are done at close proximity while in the New World, one would find lower vine density and more spacing between the plantings. This has enabled mechanization of some processes e.g. mechanical pruning and harvesting.


  • Old World producers draw upon their centuries of wine production and inherited wisdom. They hand prune and hand pick their harvest to ensure the best quality wines. On the other hand, New World producers experiment with new wine styles and innovative technologies. This helps them to respond to changing market needs faster. For example, they introduced new wine closures and packaging, such as screw cap, driven purely by consumer needs.



In Wine making

  • Old World wines are more traditional and ‘terroir’ driven whereas New World wines are typically bolder and fruit forward, in general more varietal driven.


  • Old World wine making,with its focus on ‘terroir’, places more emphasis on the role of ‘mother-nature’ in determining wine quality and how well a wine highlights the traits of the place where it originated. In contrast, the New World philosophy generally places more emphasis on the winemaker and the appropriate use of scientific and technological best practices to bring out the fruit flavors of a wine.


  • Wine regions in an Old World country are generally defined around a particular wine style and the same grape (red or white) may be grown to produce several different wines within a region. For example, Bordeaux and Burgundy are wine producing regions in France after whom the wines are named. As New World regions have gained the understanding of what variety grows best where,they are now focusing on particular grape varieties and the development of wine styles that are unique to the region.



Although some traditionalists believe that Old World wines are superior to New World wines, qualitatively, there is no evidence to believe that Old World wines are better than New World wines or vice versa. What is true is that they are different. Old World wines are more tannic and earthy with more layers of complexity while New World wines are bold, fruity and oaky.

In recent times, the globalization of wine has helped in blurring the dividing line as New World wine producers discover ‘terroir’ and Old World producers discover ‘fruit’.


Old or new, we love all. Just give us the Wine!

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