Since I stay in wine country I get to try a lot of wine varietals” says Sandeep Sinha – my friend from high school who stays in California. In the pic is a 100% Mourvedre wine which he relished recently.

Mourvedre is a red grape varietal which ripens fully only in hottest sites. It plays an important role in adding richness, colour and complexity to blends. We all know of the legendary GSM (Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre) blends from southern France.

When fully ripened it can develop gamey, savoury aromas that are sought by many.

The one in the pic is a 100% Mourvedre which comes from vineyards in Contra Costa County, CA where many of the vines are 80 to 100+ years old.

These ancient vines are low yielding and produce a Mourvedre of intensity and richness (15.5% ABV) which display flavours of plum, chocolate and a bit of oak.

“To give an Indian twist I paired this wine with a Mumbai style spicy misal vada pao – which worked wonderfully” says Sinha on the wine – food pairing.

I’ll have the 3rd Red” … she said candidly 

It was late february evening and I was perched amongst a group of enthusiastic wine lovers around a rustic wooden table. The set was immersed in mellow golden light of the lamp hanging from the roof.

Perch Coffee and Wine Bar  – a ‘must go’ place for wine lovers

Venue was the  ‘Perch Coffee and Wine Bar’ – a ‘must go’ place for a unique and enjoyable wine experience – at the upscale Khan Market in New Delhi.

My friend Anand Vermani, who’s studied wines at Burgundy, had just finished explaining about all the wine showcased that evening. Extending the wine courtesy he asked all about their choice for the next glass of wine. 

Deepti Agarwal, who was sitting at the head of the table, gave her choice very candidly. She wanted the 3rd Red, Period !!  (indicating from the sequence of wines served in the first round). 

Her statement would stick to my mind for a long time to come. Coming to think of it, how often we get bogged down and obsessed with the wine labels, names, tasting notes etc that the actual pleasure of what’s in the glass takes a back seat. We all are guilty of this, one time or the other, arn’t we ? Should we not just sit easy and enjoy the nectar in the glass ?

And here was a lady who was doing just that, enjoying the wine without getting into the wine semantics. Now Deepti is no wine newbie, she’s wine literate and knows her wines. But still, keeping her knowledge aside she prefers to savour the wines and the company – living the wine moment. 

I was truly impressed and  have often tried to emulate her wine style and even recommend to others.

The 3rd Red that day was the Pinotage.  It was one amongst a cache of imported wines by Sula Selections, the import arm of Sula – the leading wine producer in India.

Pinotage – dense color, bold flavors, spicy notes

Pinotage is a signature grape from South Africa and is a blend of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. It regaled all with its dense color, bold flavors and spicy notes. There were many converts that day – people who switched their wine preference to embrace Pinotage.

So, the next time in a wine scenario, in case your host asks you about your choice of wine – say simply the 3rd Red..or maybe last White or even the 1st Rose. Cheers.

Pictures courtesy – Perch Coffee and Wine Bar, Sula Selections

Harvest 2016

 Lamps fired to prevent vineyard frost 

“Vintage” in wine terminology refers to the year in which the grapes are picked (harvested).

World over, the 2016 vintage is likely to produce lesser volume of wines as compared to previous years owing to inclement weather conditions – almost a 20 year low production as per estimates.

El Nino in South America, frost and hail in France and poor weather conditions in South Africa – all these are likely to result in reduced yields.

As per OIV – Intn’l Organization of Vine and Wine, in 2016 approx 259.5 million hectolitres of wine will be produced around the world which is about 5% less than last year.

The picture shows fires being lit in vineyards as anti frost measures.

References- and

Pic- Google Images

3 Big B’s of Italy

Barolo, Barbaresco and Brunello are today amongst Italy’s best-known and most expensive wines. The reputation and stature of these three wines has grown so much over the years that it’s not uncommon to pitch them in the same league as wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy in France. And such is their aura and popularity the world over that they are often referred to as the Three Big B’s of Italy”. 

A comparative tasting of Barolo, Barbaresco and Brunello wines during “The Wine Fine Affair” recently held at the Oberoi Gurgaon, inspired Mukul Manku share his experience with Sommelier India readers. Read the full article here..

Yes that would be wonderful..

Why don’t you try some french wine with food” ? – an innocuous question by the bearer at a french bistro in New Delhi. I had taken my wife for an anniversary dinner. Till then I had never liked wines and wanted to say – “No, thank you”. Maybe the french ambience got better of me and I found myself uttering – Yes, that would be wonderful.

So the wines were served with dinner and it would be much later that I would register what we had – Chardonnay (White wine) for her and Cabernet Sauvignon (Red wine) for me – labels which were alien to me then.

The wines cast their magic- the aromatic, crisp, fresh white wine and the soft, rounded, fruity red wine bowled us over. The wine – food combination was so pleasurable that it sparked in me a keen interest in wines – which developed into a passion soon.

Thus, a simple visit to a bistro actually started my wine trail. So, to all those who often wonder about wines but are unsure whether you will like it or not – hit a bistro in your neighbourhood and when asked about wines just say – “Yes, that would be wonderful”. I promise you it would be so.