|Columnist, travel writer and author, Jug Suraiya lives in Gurgaon with his wife Bunny, and Brindle, the street dog who adopted them both a while ago. Wine is a daily staple of the Suraiya dinner table, with Australian shiraz, Chilean cabernet sauvignon and Grover’s La Reserve being the preferred choices.
I am not a wine snob. I know there is red wine, white wine and an in-between wine called rosé which seems to suffer from an identity crisis. In London, I went to Vinopolis, an interactive museum dedicated to the history of wine. A Frenchman called Claude conducted a tasting session. He poured a thimbleful of wine, a Chardonnay, into our glasses. Claude told us to swirl our wine in the glass and observe its colour and clarity.
I swirled energetically and observed that some drops sloshed out on to the tabletop. I dabbed them up with my fingers, which I licked. Claude looked reproachful.
Claude asked us to “nose” our wine. We nosed. Someone said it smelled of green tomatoes. Someone said limestone. I said mine smelled of booze. Claude looked resigned. Claude told us to take a sip and draw in our breath sharply to appreciate the “finish”. Shhhhh! We sat there hissing like asthmatic anacondas appreciating the finish.
A couple of hours later, I appreciated the finish again. I’d bought a bottle of supermarket plonk (Cuvee Marks and Sparks) and taken it back to my digs. It seemed I’d hardly opened it before it was empty. Some finish. So, what wine do I like to drink? And the short answer to that is: LOTS.
Pop the cork, and never mind Claude.
Know your Wines
A good, dry rosé, served lightly chilled, combines the refreshing qualities of a white wine and the richness of a red. Rosé wines are usually made from red grapes that are only allowed to ferment a few days – too short a time for the grape skins to impart a deeper colour to the wine. The result is a pink, fruity wine that goes best with poultry, seafood, and spicy dishes. Don’t cook with these wines – they aren’t flavourful enough.
Although some wine snobs think they’re boring, Rosé wines have become quite popular. Susie Barrie writing in Decanter magazine, August 2005, says, “No self-respecting follower of vinous fashion will be found without a bottle of chilled rosé in the fridge, waiting to be cracked open. Rosé at all price levels is seeing an unprecedented surge in popularity (in the UK). And it’s not just cheap and cheerful pink plonk that’s being knocked back.”