Brews & Spirits

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The red wine Enthusiast

The red wine Enthusiast

Samsung or iPhone? Does your watch give better time than mine? Is the little band on your shirt the right one? BMW or Audi? Is this who we really are? Does that say we “belong”?!

If you are wondering why I’m ranting, here it is. It was one of those times when friends debate, colleagues discuss and your friendly neighbour opines on which was the right phone to buy, now that mine was dying.

And that it was time I put my 9-year-old car to rest and upgrade a bit. Buy, buy, buy… And so I did.

I was in Bengaluru that weekend and bought myself a box full of my favourite wines – key to my happiness and so far removed from the silly brand battles, thank goodness. This would be joy of the literally euphoric kind.

Like the sensible wine enthusiast, I let my bottles rest for a week or so to recover from jet lag (it’s true I swear) and finally gave in as I cooked an impromptu pasta and prawn dinner.

Needed some easy white wine to elevate the sauce and out came an icy bottle of a young Chardonnay from the Nandi Valley near Bengaluru. Then, of course, after a generous splash in the pan our waiting glasses were filled with the bright, gold nectar, which looked happy and had a very fruity nose.

It was juicy, slightly sweet on the palate and made you smile as you allowed the flavour to take over, the cool freshness complementing the zingy spaghetti.

Which brought me to this: there are those who drink red wine and those who will drink only red wine. Now, there’s nothing wrong in having a marked preference for a certain kind of wine. Go right ahead, if that’s what makes you happy.

Sadly, a huge majority does so as it has this crazy theory that if you have arrived, and are in the know, then red it is.

They will drink a glass or two or more, at all hours of the day, irrespective of the weather, the wine, its style, the grape. In bars, nightclubs, brunches, cocktail evenings… They quite often will simply ask for a glass of red wine. And they will drink it at “room temperature” (warm and usually quite awful)!

Some will call me opinionated; others will look upon me with disdain. But honestly, what a waste! To think of all the fun they are missing out on. The overwhelming sense of finding the unexpected in all the wonderfully fresh whites and the redolent-with-flavour rosés!

I love a glass of a juicy red wine just as much as anyone else. Cool, not warm – as cool as a matka (clay pot) holding water on a breezy day. Colder if the wine is young and of the current year or close to it. But to forsake all the other colours of happiness for it? Not a chance!

I remember one evening when I was asked to ensure some good wine for a friend’s uncle who was supposedly a connoisseur of sorts. Red. So I pulled out the best bottle I could, cooled it just right and had the glass all ready.

To my complete dismay, he preferred to drink it at “room temperature”, which, at that moment, was 34 degrees Centigrade! Damn!

For those of you who are wondering, the “room temperature” that wine experts refer to is approximately 16-22 degrees C, even cooler with current year wines.

So let’s keep our options open – wine or otherwise – and enjoy every offering that life puts forward. Then partake more often of those that make you most joyous!

Take a chance on things you are not sure of without just writing them off. There are always ways around bad choices and often great learning. Let our minds be open too of choices others make, not be disdainful of them.

Offer to show the way, but leave it to them finally to choose. After all, it is their palate and cup of joy. And if the bottle you have is all ordinary or undrinkable, use it in place of vinegar in a marinade or, better still, turn it into Sangria!

BTW, the decision on the phone was taken away by an unexpected gift of an iPhone! I still don’t understand it completely, but it is what it is. Now my friendly neighbour who “knows” cars thinks there’s no point my buying just another mini SUV that I mentioned in passing. That it’s about time I looked at the mini-Mercedes! Ahaha!!! And life goes on; thank goodness for wine…