I generally have four or five glasses of wine, and I get that slight tipsy feeling. That buzz which makes things around me move slowly! But most importantly, I feel happy! Post my drinks, I sleep it off like a baby! It feels like nothing can move me from slumber! Later on, when I get up next morning, I wake up absolutely fresh! And the best part is – there’s no hangover! That’s why I love wine!
But, I’m no expert or connoisseur when it comes to all things to do with wine. I’m a simple enthusiast. Learning to appreciate wine is one of the finer pleasures of life! And that’s what I did at a Wine Tasting session recently organized by Reveilo Wines at Pali Village Café, Bandra.
About Reveilo Wines
Reveilo Wines are one of India’s top wine manufacturers based out of Nashik, India’s very own Napa Valley. They are premium wine manufacturers with their wines being of the highest quality, matching standards set by international wine manufacturers. They owe a lot to their chief wine-maker, Andrea Valentinuzzi, who has more than 25 years of experience in viticulture and winemaking. Being an Italian, he has adopted to an Italian style of wine-making in a market dominated by an influence of a French style of making wines.
The wine tasting session was a fun filled (and wine in my belly filled) afternoon! In addition to some lip-smacking food, crackers and a range of cheeses, we got to try a lot of the red, white and dessert wines of Reveilo. Currently, Reveilo has 5 ranges of wine available in the Indian retail market, as follows:
- Regular Range: Syrah (Red), Chenin Blanc (White), Merlot (Red)
- Italian Range: Grillo (White), Nero D’Avola (Red), Sangiovesse (Red)
- Premium Range: Chardonnay (White), Cabernet Sauvignon (Red)
- Reserve Range: Chardonnay Reserve (White), Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (Red), Syrah Reserve (Red)
- Dessert Range: Late Harvest Chenin Blanc
I was really impressed with their Italian range of wines, namely, the Sangiovese, Nero D’Avola and Grillo. You won’t see any other Indian wine manufacturers making these wines. Furthermore, my personal favourites here were the Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and the Grillo. They were some really exquisite stuff!
Wine Tasting 101
In addition to tasting lots and lots of wine, this session was also an amazing knowledgeable session. I got to learn about some wine jargons and terminologies, wine and food pairings, and other interesting facts and myths, right from the experts at Reveilo! Also, we discussed a lot of small minute details that we sometimes take for granted or tend to overlook when it comes to the way we store, serve and consume our wines.
You’ve poured your wine in the glass. Now, what are you supposed to do before having your wine? And how do you have it? Well, you’ve got to remember the 4 ‘S’ terms. See, Smell and Swirl the wine before you Sip it to get the best experience. Wondering why?
- Step 1 – See: Seeing the colour of the wine helps you get a fair estimate of its age. White wines get darker with age. The opposite is valid for red wines.
- Step 2 – Swirl: Wine needs to breathe or rest in exposed air before it is ready for consumption. Therefore, swirl the wine in the glass to let some oxygen into it which helps aromas open up and for you to get the best flavour.
- Step 3 – Sniff/Smell: Before you sip on the wine, you’ve got to smell it. Its scent will give you a hint of what’s to come, whether it is fruits, herbs, spices and/or other earthy scents.
- Step 4 – Sip: And finally, comes sipping the wine. Don’t just drink it. Roll it in all corners of your mouth and let it linger there for a while. This exposes the wine to all your taste buds and helps you detect the subtle nuances of the drink – that is wine!
Different Wine Grapes
“Cabernet. Sauvignon. Chardonnay. Shiraz.” I’m sure there are a lot of us who are blind like a bat when we read the labels on wine bottles and wonder what are these hard to pronounce, Harry Potter spell-like names! Well, they are the grapes that particular bottle of wine is made from.
Here’s a list of some common wine flavours that you’ll across and what they consist of:
- Cabernet- black currant, cherry other, black fruits, green spices
- Merlot- plum, red and black fruits, green spices, floral
- Syrah(or Shiraz, depending on vineyard location) – black fruits, black spices – especially white and black pepper
- Chardonnay- Tropical and citrus fruits with creamy notes of apple, pear, peach, and apricot
Wines and Temperature
Temperature is a big factor when it comes to wine. There isn’t a lot of wine awareness in India, and as a result, a lot of restaurants treat wine like beer and store it in freezers and serve it absolutely chilled! You just can’t do that!
If you’re a layperson like me, wondering how to store your wine at home, store it in a cool and dry place, where it’s not exposed to sunlight.
There’s a common misconception that “red wine is supposed to be had at room temperature”. The ideal temperature to have red wine is around 16-20 degrees Celsius. In a way, the statement is correct, but it’s not applicable in India, where room temperature goes in excess of 30 degrees because of our climate. “Have red wine at European room temperate”, that’s what the statement should be like!
Red wines are supposed to be served cool, so you might want to pop in the bottle for a good 20-30 minutes in the fridge, before serving it. White wines are to be served slightly chilled, so you might want to leave it outside the fridge for a few minutes before serving.
I’ve noticed there are different wine glasses in different restaurants. I used to think that it is a décor choice, but it’s not! Who would have thought the glassware affects your wine experience! Basic thumb rule for glassware is – larger or wider glasses for red wines, smaller or narrower glasses for white wine.
Holding your wine glass
How do you hold your glass of wine? Well, not like you a hold a glass of your regular drinks. You hold it by its stem and not the body because the heat transferred from the palm of your hand can distort the flavour of the wine.
All in all, I loved Reveilo’s collection of wines! Wine is best enjoyed with good food and good company. That’s how the experience was! It was a wonderful session and I can take back a lot of knowledge about wine. Furthermore, I can share it with my friends and family, thereby increasing awareness about wine, something India really needs. I would like to thank the team at Reveilo Wines and the Food Bloggers Association of India (FBAI) for making this session possible.