Guess who’s back on GG? Latin Sardar! And today he is sharing some happy (hic) news with us. Why don’t we launch straight into the post!
I’ve always considered myself some sort of a pioneer, always getting into things way ahead of my time. I was the first one in my circle of closest friends to get my hands on a personal computer, get a laptop, learn to cook and appreciate a good drink among other things. I know, I still have to get hold of some modesty. But I’m working on it.
Of all the things I’ve done (and I’m mighty proud of), I love the ones I got to share with some people who constitute a very important part of my life. One such moment was in summer of 2009 when Prerna was about to leave for Kerala to be married all over again to the same guy (I know, but he is an awesome guy and it’s a rather long story). It was the middle of May, the hottest time of the season and my birthday, so we decided to head out to a place where we could get a drink with some good food. We went to this Italian joint in South Delhi and ordered an assorted platter of grilled meats and a bottle of Sula Sauvignon Blanc, 2007. It was her first time with a white wine and Ithinkshe liked it because she was shoutingat me, “boy, why are you still single?”. Those were the exact words used and that was the day I successfully converted a quintessentially rum & coke girl to a wine drinker.
Today, almost a year and a half to that day, I just wish she was in Delhi to accompany me to a wonderful wine tasting experience the other night. It was an event organized and hosted by ProChile India, the Chilean Embassy’s trade mission in New Delhi. I was there on invitation from Spot & Tell. My initial skepticism about going to the event was fueled by the fact that it was a real wine tasting and professional sommeliers would be present in the same room and I, for one, did not want to look stupid.
Luckily, I watch Travel Channel, some say a little too much, but that’s not the point. The point for the evening was Pisco, something I thought I’d never see unless I travel to Chile or Peru. It is a drink native to the region and essentially a liquor distilled from wine and is available in different varieties defined by the aging process. A good enough Pisco has a light yellow tinge, almost reminiscent of a commercial citrusy vodka. The more aged varieties have a deeper, far more richer color. The taste, despite of distillation of the young wine, retains a hint of citrusy, rather fruity extracts and a rather woody and smoky character to it.
Next in line that night was another first time for me, a wine made from a grape varietal I’d not heard of yet, Carménère. Originally from France, the Carménère was thought to be extinct in Europe after a wine crop plague that affected the region in 1867. However, it had been sitting pretty in the wine producing valleys of Chile, producing some excellent, deep red, medium bodied wine with a rather amazing bouquet. No two wines of the same varietal I tasted had the same character to it, a pleasant surprise for the palette.
Carménère was definitely the star of the night. However, other varietals were in no mood to be left behind. There were the usual Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons with nothing usual about them. Each bottle had its own bouquet of aromas and characters.
The wines I sampled last night were from the entry to the mid level on offer by Chilean vintners which should be available in the Rs.800-1500 bracket, with only a handful of offerings from experienced and much larger vintners like Miguel Torres crossing that mark. Two of the ‘must look out for’ bottles are the Manso de Velasco and the Cordillera from the Miguel Torres cellars. Most of these wines promise a great pairing with Indian food. The well-balanced, spicy and fruity flavors in each bottle promise a great time every time you open a new one.
Can’t wait to get my hands on one of these and begin with a festival of flavorful experiments in my own kitchen. Cheers!
P.S. Btw, if you want to read more about the festival and Chilean wine, you can do it here.
* So that’s Italian and not quite accurate, I know!