The onset of summer inevitably brings with it the three things that I enjoy most – reading in my New Delhi study, travelling to vineyards meeting people from the wine world and, of course, sipping great wine. While none of these is particular to summer, the relatively slow pace of life that the heat brings lulls me into an introspective mood, one from which ideas spring forth. Continue reading Reva K. Singh’s Editor’s Note which discusses the contents of the latest issue of Sommelier India.
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While in Bordeaux for the en primeurs in April, I was struck by the historic continuum of wine and the fact that over millennia, the vitis vinifera grape has changed little. The phylloxera epidemic in the 19th century threatened to make wine extinct. The French industry survived by grafting French ‘scions’ or grape shoots onto sturdy American rootstock resistant to the phylloxera aphid.
Reading Nicholas Wade’s essay, “Lack of Sex Among Grapes Tangles a Family Tree”, the other night, I was surprised that there has been very little cross fertilisation between grapes and the different grape families are actually closely related.
Did you know that Merlot and Cabernet Franc are intimately related? The latter is one parent of Cabernet Sauvignon and the other is Sauvignon Blanc, which in turn is the daughter of Traminer, the progenitor of Pinot Noir, and a parent of Chardonnay!
Such genetic conservatism has meant that over the years pests have got to know their grapes, forcing growers to protect their vines with stronger insecticides, fungicides and other such chemicals. It’s inevitable that sooner or later a regulatory body is going to say, Enough! And then growers will either have to plant sturdier varieties, go organic or add genes for pest resistance, which will open up a whole new debate.
In her groundbreaking new book on grapes, Jancis Robinson researches the parentage of many famous grape varieties. Let’s hope all this research leads to solutions even if they mean greater polygamy between vines!
The Sommelier India Women’s Wine Circle got off to a fine start. This is an initiative to bring our readers closer to their wines. Wine paired with an excellent meal at the Oberoi New Delhi’s stellar Italian restaurant, Travertino, served as a reminder of the important role that wine plays in building our food culture and how integral it is to the epicurean way of life.
This issue has several interesting pieces for all types of readers which I leave you to discover for yourselves. And now it’s back to my study with a flute of bubbly, planning your next issue!