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Posts Tagged ‘Pairing’

Say Cheese. Say Cheers.

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

A recent post on our Facebook page, “Cheese and Grapes – Divine Combination” with a matching photograph, garnered quite a few ‘likes’ and ‘shares’. This prompted us to do a complete blog-post on how superbly cheese compliments wine, their specific pairing.

The globe-trotting Indians need not depend on foreign tours or duty-free stores in airports for their regular stock of good cheese. Several high-end super-marts across our cities now stock a wide range of cheese from the best brands around the world. Be it the softer varieties like Feta, Mozarella, goat cheese or the hard ones like cheddar, Edam, Provolone from the choicest of hamlets in Europe, you get them all in our country.

But just as wine-drinking is new in India, so is the appreciation for cheese. We therefore bring to you a feature which does not delve into an exotic and uber discussion on cheese and wine. For ‘starters’ let’s take the cheese that are easily available in the market and see how well we can pair them with our Nine Hills wines.

  • Cheddar:   Hails from England, is semi-hard and can be mild or sharp. The mild cheddar goes well with Sauvignon Blanc while you will love the sharp one with our Shiraz Reserve.
  •  Edam: Belongs to the Dutch country and is a hard cheese. Once again, you will simply love it with Nine Hills Shiraz Reserve.
  • Feta: This soft cheese comes from the currently financially-troubled country in Europe, Greece. Drink it with Nine Hills Sauvignon Blanc and see how it opens up the taste buds in your tongue.
  • Goat Cheese: Primarily a product from France, a number of other European countries excel in it too. It belongs to the soft cheese category and blends most beautifully with Nine Hills Chenin Blanc.
  • Mozarella: The country which gave the world Michaelangelo, gave Mozarella cheese too. A widely used cheese in pizza, pasta dishes and lasagna, mozzarella can be Mozzarella di Bufala (buffalo mozzarella) or mozzarella fior di latte (made from cow’s milk). Both are the soft variety and blend well with light red wines and the white wines. Nine Hills’ Sauvignon Blanc is the best match.
  • Parmesan: Named after an area in Italy, Parmesan is one of the world’s most popular and widely-enjoyed cheeses. It is usually grated and is used to make spaghetti and pasta dishes. Pairs exceedingly well with Nine Hills’ Shiraz Reserve.
  • Provolone: Once again from Italy, this cheese belongs to the semi-hard category. Provolone can be both piquant in taste (Provolone Piccante) as well as mild and sweet, Provolone Dolce. Both the types go well with Nine Hills Cabernet Sauvigyon.

Finally, there is no final word on ‘which cheese for which wine’. But remember, at the outset, the cheese you choose is dependent upon the type of wine you choose. Stronger cheeses should be paired with stronger wines, such as Cabernet. Lighter cheeses are best paired with delicate wines such as a Sauvignon Blanc.

Lastly, experiment with your own pairings and see if you can come up with a new ‘divine’ combination.

Cheese. And Cheers!!

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Nine Hills — Shiraz Marries an Indian

Syrah. Shiraz. Call it by any name, it is a very powerful wine produced from dark-skinned grapes. The use of the word “Syrah” or “Shiraz” only points to the place where the grape was grown — Syrah’s origins are from France where it is widely grown in the Rhone Valley.  It is also called Syrah in the rest of Europe, most of the US, some part of South America and in New Zealand. Shiraz hails from Australia and South Africa.

But this feature is not going to be a ‘Wikipedia-like’ account of Shiraz (Nine Hills call it by this name). Instead, we are going to get into a very difficult task of trying to marry Shiraz with our Indian food. Now that’s like opening a Pandora’s Box. In this country, you drive every 500 kms, and you step into a different ‘state and taste’. No wonder we are called a sub-continent!!!

Anyway, let’s get started — Here’s a picture of our bride (we are talking about marriage, aren’t we?) She grows in the hills of Nashik and is almost violet in colour. The wine then obviously is a deep red with hints of violet.

Other ‘vital-statistics’ of Shiraz wine can be quickly summarised to be a:

  • Full-bodied red wine with soft velvety tannins
  • With traces of cherry and strawberry in it
  • It should be served quite chilled (at 14-16 degree centigrade) in Indian conditions

Now the onerous task of finding an Indian suitor. While our ‘much-French’ lady would prefer to elope with the Italian ‘Spaghetti with meat sauce’ any day, we Indians have decided not to let go of her.

In our desperation to help find her a good match within our vast country, we have decided to give her various options (You are right!! Completely inspired by our ancient tradition of holding a ‘Swayamvara’, now made notoriously popular by those reality shows on TV…)

So here are the ‘grooms-in-waiting”…..

  • Biryani: The choice in this category is vast – Hyderabadi Biyani, Awadhi Biryani, Biryani from Kolkata (they have a big piece of potato in them too along with the meat and egg), Konkani Biryani.

  • Mughlai: Meat Darbari, Murg Kali Mirch (excellent pairing), Keema Matar, Nazvratan Korma (for veg), and the range of spicy kababs.
  • Butter Chicken, Lal Maas, etc
  • Meat cooked in Konkani/Mangalorean style.

Have you been able to figure out the secret to this match by now? If no, here you are — Shiraz is a powerful, feisty wine and nothing less than a real Indian prince can go with her hearty, intense flavour….. The spices need to tone down considerably though – after all marriage is all about adjustments…

Raising a toast to a happy marriage (meal)…Cheers.

P.S:

Marriages  are replete with gossips….we invite some from you on this…