A lot of you would agree that the invention of wine was the best thing that happened to mankind, after all in vino lies the truth! Although, wine is currently the trendiest drink in social circles, it can also get pretty intimidating if you can’t get the basics right. We spoke to Ajoy Shaw, chief wine maker at SULA Vineyards, and here are some very interesting pointers he shared with us.
(Make a mental note, thank us later. Cheers !!!)
What You Like Is What Is The Right Pairing For You!
To achieve a successful food and wine pairing, it is necessary to evaluate the basic components in both the wine and the dish. The principle is to try to balance these, so that neither the food nor the wine overpowers the other but the combination results in that third flavor.
- Intensity – flavor intensity in food needs to be matched with flavour intensity in wine. Riesling and Shiraz are two wines high on flavors. Capsicum and garlic are examples of food item that is high in flavour intensity
- Spicy food should preferably be paired with a fruitier wine with a higher residual sugar. When it burn on the tongue from spiciness – sweetness soothes the palate
- For foods with a high level of acid such as fresh tomato dishes, pickled vegetables and salads, select wines with fresh acid – Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or a youthful Cabernet Sauvignon
- Heavy food, oily, fried and rich – should preferably be paired with an acidic wine (ex. Sparkling; Sula Brut, SulaSauvignon Blanc) which would help cleanse the palate and cut through the richness in the food.
- Chewy meat/protein – pairs well with a tannic wine (ex. Dindori Reserve Shiraz, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon) Tannins help to break down the protein in the meat
Brush Up Your Wine Etiquettes
When you order a wine bottle in a restaurant, the waiter will show you the bottle first and this is for you to check the temperature, the vintage and the label. You cannot return a wine later saying it is not the right vintage.
A small portion of the wine is poured for you after opening the bottle, so that you can assess whether it does not have any flaws due to storage or cork. Usually you cannot just return the bottle just because you don’t like it.
Always hold the wine glass by the stem or the base as holding by the glass bowl warms the wine. Sip slowly and enjoy the wine rather than gulping big mouthfuls.
Even if you are assessing the wine by taking in a little air through the mouth, try not to make a big sound.
Taste lighter wines like sparkling and white wines first, followed by reds and finish with sweet wines.
If you are going to taste a lot of wines or you are driving after visit to a winery, use a spittoon after tasting and to dump the excess wine in the glass.
If you are not having a proper meal with the wine, have some light food or starters as wine by itself on an empty stomach can give you a high very fast.
Be careful of sweet wines and low alcohol wines as they seem pretty innocuous but still have enough alcohol to make you tipsy
Drink enough water in between so that you do not dehydrate and will prevent having a headache later.
Serve Your Wines Right
Wines need to be served in wine glasses at the right temperature.
There are specific wine glasses for whites, reds and sparkling but a regular wine glass can be just fine.
The serving temperature varies from wine to wine with lighter wines served at comparatively cooler temperatures. So, sparkling wines need to be served really cold between 6-8 deg. C while other whites can be served from 8 to 12 deg. C. Reds need to be served slightly chilled with lighter reds like Pinot Noir served at 15 to 16 deg. C while robust reds can be served at 16-18 deg. C
Older wines open up with decanting in a carafe or a decanter. They should be opened some time before serving to get rid of the pent up gases in the bottle during ageing.
Global Wine Trends
People around the world are drinking more and more wine with the fastest growths in China and the USA. Sales of Prosecco, an easy drinking sparkling wine, is rising very fast and has become very popular everywhere. Rose wines are very fashionable and “in” right now in Europe and the USA
Wine culture in India is growing rapidly and though consumption is minuscule today, many Indians have tasted wine. The sales are growing at nearly 20% year on year. Wine lists are found in many restaurants starting with medium priced ones to top end five star hotel restaurants and bars.
More and more people are visiting wineries. Over 220,000 visitors came to Sula in the last year purchasing wines and wine merchandise and choosing to sip on wines sitting on the tasting room deck.