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Do you know the right glass for your wine?

February 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Ever wondered why champagne is served in a flute and not in a coffee mug? Simply because wine is passion, it represents fine living, etiquette and all the good things in life. As surprising as it sounds the wine, connoisseurs believe that the glass you choose has a tremendous impact on the quality and intensity of aromas. The acquisition of excellent stemware is the first step towards improving your wine experience.

Stemware Basics:

Most common wine glasses are red wine glasses, white wine glasses, and champagne flutes. Then there are Sherry wine glasses too. A new concept of Wine tumblers (without stems) is also gaining popularity.

Red Wine Glasses

Red wine glasses have rounder, wider bowl, so that oxidation takes place rapidly altering the flavor and aroma of the wine.

Bordeaux glass: Appropriate for hearty and full bodied red wines, like Nine Hills Wine’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz. This glass has a long stem, broad bowland narrower opening. The shape of the bowl concentrates the aromas and flavors while the narrow opening allows the wine to go to the back of the mouth.

 

Burgundy glass: Broader than the Bordeaux glass but has a narrower opening than the body. The apple shaped bowl works well for fine and delicate wines like Pinot Noir that need a huge area in which to gather their aromas. This style of glass directs wine to hit the tip of the tongue.

 

White Wine Glasses

Tulip glass: A tulip shaped glass is characterized by a deep bowl that is narrow at the bottom, broad in the middle and narrow at the opening. The stem of the wine glass is shorter than the average wine glass. The narrow opening preserves the crisp, clean flavor of the white wines as it reduces the rate of aeration.Perfect for Nine Hills Wine’s Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc!!

 

Champagne Flutes

Ideal for Champagne or Sparkling wine, flutes are tall to allow the proper development of bubbles. It has a narrow and tall bowl while the mouth is small to keep the wine sparkling longer in the glass. The long stem allows you to hold the glass without warming the liquid inside. The design of the flute adds to the aesthetic appeal of champagne as it allows the bubbles to travel further due to the narrow opening.

 

Sherry Glasses

Sherry glass is used to drink sherry wines and also port wines.

The stem of a Sherry glass is shorter than other wine glass varieties. The bowl is broad at the bottom, long but tapers into a narrow mouth. The narrow opening is meant to enhance the aroma of the sherry wine.

 

Stem-less Wine Glasses

With time, a new concept of stem-less (without stem) wine glasses has evolved. This modern innovation is often criticized by traditional wine lovers and wine connoisseurs as they believe that these glasses do nothing to enhance the aroma or flavour of the wine. These glasses affect the temperature of the wine as they are nursed in hand. Also these glasses do not have the same visual appeal as the traditional varieties.

Good glasses are important for the wine tasting experience and will ultimately define whether you will like the wine or not. So leave the coffee mug for the coffee and drink your favorite wine in the right glass.

Cheers!

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Organizing a Wine Dinner

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

As the wine culture in India is rapidly taking momentum, more and more people have started taking their wines seriously. You will find wines being served not only at big lavish parties but also at casual home dinners. You can organize your own wine dinner and make a success of it by following a few guidelines.

The first rule of thumb is to pair your wine well with the kind of food you are serving as the subtle taste of wine can bring out the fine flavors of the food. If you are serving more than one kind of wine with the meal, the general theory is to serve white wines before reds, light wines before heavier and bolder ones, and dry wines prior to sweeter ones.

Every wine lover knows the rule of pairing the meat with red wine and fishes with white wine but when it comes to multi-course Indian cuisine, with its complex flavors of spices and sauces, it becomes a different ballgame altogether. In here, it would be better to consider the manner in which the dish is cooked, which part of the country the dish belongs to, what the key ingredients are and which spices have been used. And finally the key is to trust your own sense of taste and what you think you enjoy the most.

For the aperitifs, serve your guests some dry and refreshing wines. A glass of bubbly (champagne) and sparkling wines with delicate hors d’oeuvres should be ideal to start with. They cleanse the palate and their neat acidity helps in working up the salivary glands. Our Nine Hills Shiraz Rose with its fruity aromas is perfect for appetizers and light entrées.

Red wine is a good match for red meat, barbeques and chicken. Our feisty red wines, Nine Hills Shiraz and Nine Hills Cabernet Sauvignon can stand up to fiery and intense food favoring chilly, garlic and spices.

For lightly spiced vegetarian dishes or sea food, you will do amazingly well by choosing a crisp and delicate white wine like our own Nine Hills Sauvignon Blanc.

And finally, to satiate your sweet tooth, you can serve sweet wines also called dessert wines (as the late harvests have a generous amount of residue sugar in it) as an accompaniment to a dessert or as the dessert itself.

If you are ever in doubt, then champagne is your savior as you can never go wrong with serving champagne. The bubbly sparkling wine pairs tremendously well with most Indian dishes.

Now make a child’s play out of your wine dinner. Bon Appétit!

Vine To Wine

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

In September, we had done a feature on the stages of grape-growing – Nine Hills Vineyard Cycle. With this feature, we take you on the journey of the grapes from being harvested to when it’s ready to be sipped as wine – the Vine to Wine journey.

  • Ripening & Plucking of Grapes:
    • When the grapes are ripe enough and reach the right brix level, our winemaker plucks a handful to find out if they taste just right, chews the seeds and measures the sugar content. Once satisfied that the time has come, he gets his team of vineyard workers to harvest the grapes.
    • As they set out to harvest their produce, vineyard workers aim to do it in the shortest possible time, early in the morning.
    • They collect all the grapes in large crates which are then rushed to the winery for crushing

  • Crushing of Grapes: No, in wineries, they do not crush the grapes with their feet. It is considered unhygienic — They use pneumatic presses. Red wines are produced by de-stemming and crushing the grapes into a tank and leaving the skins in contact with the juice throughout the fermentation. Most white wines are processed without de-stemming or crushing and are transferred from picking bins directly to the press.
  • Fermentation: The juice, skins, and seeds (not for white wines) are poured then into stainless steel fermenting tanks. Special wine, cultured yeast is added at this stage to this grape juice. Fermentation begins when the yeast begins to feed on the sugars present in the grape juice. Carbon dioxide and alcohol are by-products of this process.
  • Aging: Once the grape juice has fermented into wine, the wine is poured into barrels/tanks for aging. During the aging process, the wines change tanks/barrels several times in order to remove solids from the bottom of the tanks.
  • Bottling: When our winemaker is satisfied that the wine is now ready to move from the barrels/tanks, they are bottled where the wine will stay and continue to age. Once the wine in the bottle is ready, it is then shipped and sipped by you and me!!!

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?

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…