columnist

MARCH
2015

Women & Wine!

Publisher : Magna Publications - CITADEL Pune

You may be a successful business woman, a sparkling socialite or a responsible spouse to your networking driven husband who likes to bring guests home every now and then. In all the scenarios above, it is most imperative that you should know how to wine and dine in a manner that you are totally at ease rubbing shoulders with the crème de la crème of society. Every person should be aware of the stemware involved so that you can be tastefully and aesthetically correct. As part of my image consulting, I often get asked to teach fine dining etiquettes and therefore I thought it’ll be best to share it all with the women, who aspire ‘sophistication’ and ‘know-how’ about these etiquettes. So let’s get started!

Urban dictionary aptly defines ‘Sophistication’ as a mix of knowing when a joke's over, caring somewhat about the consequences of your actions, talking about something of reasonable importance, having a good dose of common sense, not letting your immediate reactions control your life, knowing how much information is too much to share and not wearing your jeans lower than your thong. Well, I would say that they’ve hit the bullseye. Being a socially acceptable person; has become the need of the hour, irrespective of the economic status you share in the society. With the increasing awareness of soft skills it is important that you know how to hold your drink, especially if you are a woman!

Having a glass of wine either at home or at a party has become the most common attribute for all women, they think it qualifies them to being socially acceptable! But what they forget is that it is the finer nuances which come with it that you should showcase to be appreciated by the keen observers and connoisseurs, be it your boss or your friend! India is essentially a non wine savouring country, but with so much influx of world cuisine and culture, wine has become the preferred ladies drink.

Wine is one of the most sophisticated drinks in the world, rich in flavour but yet so simple. Its diversity comes from the different types of grapes, where it is grown and in what manner it is produced. The most famous types of wines are red and white wines, followed by rosé and sparkling wines. There are other wine specialties around the world too, such as the Portuguese Port Wine - a very rich flavour, often used by chefs in their signature dishes.

Befitting any occasion, a glass of wine is considered classy and wines in moderate quantities does contribute to your health. It can be paired with any cuisine, served as an aperitif before meals and of course great with just about any diner dish in the world. The general rule is that red wine is paired with read meat and white wine with white meat. Red wine is to be served at room temperature and white wine is to be chilled. Red wine is considered to be the most classic in the kingdom of wines, mixing the delicious red grapes with a wide range of aromas, from oak to eucalypti, chocolate or even mint hints. Broadly classified in three categories a Merlot pairs well with just about any dish, especially with desserts. A glass of Shiraz is a great accompaniment for meat dishes and a Cabernet Sauvignon pairs perfectly with all meat dishes.

Needless to mention that a White wine is made from great varieties of white grapes which are deliciously combined with citrus and spicy flavours. It makes a great pair for seafood and Italian dishes. A Sauvignon Blanc is a classic choice for wine lovers, and comes as a great pair to salads and poultry dishes. A Chardonnay is an exquisite white wine, produced mostly in Burgundy in France, but also on the coast of California. The delicious wine is a great accompaniment to seafood dishes, poultry, and pork. A Pinot Gris, also known as PinotGrigio by its Italian name is a little bit more fresh and crispy, perfectly made to accompany seafood and pasta dishes. You can safely order a Riesling wine, which comes with appetizing flavours of lime, apple, and pear, combined in a crisp blend.

If you don’t like the body and richness of a red wine then stick to Rosé wines, which are a softer version of the red wine.

Just as white and red wines, the rose palette is very diverse. California is one of the biggest producers of rose wines and you can chose from a Zinfandel Blush, a Pinot Noir or a Sauvignon. And if you feel luxurious then order a Sparkling wine, that brings a fizzy or bubbly texture. By far the most luxurious drink of all is Champagne, a well-known produce of France. Champagne is savoured in moments of celebration, and the prices reach the levels of its worldwide fame. It is served in a slim goblet called a flute!

The Spanish have their delicious version of Sparkling wine, known as Cava, mostly coming as Brut and Semi-Sec and definitely affordable.

Dessert Wines are sweet wines generally served with dessert. A rule of thumb for choosing a wine is that it must be sweeter than the dessert being eaten. Ice Wine and Raisin Wine are some of the most common ones that are usually served and preferred. At every wine tasting, especially those comparing "old world" wine to "new world" wines, the inevitable question of terroir arises. terroir is a French term that literally translated means: earth, or soil.

However, there is no such thing as a literal translation of anything French. In a larger context, wine tasters try to define terroir as the specificity of place, which has come to include not only the soil in a region, but also the climate, the weather, the aspect of the vineyards and anything else that can possibly differentiate one piece of land from another. Now that we are refreshed with the kinds of Wines let’s understand in detail how to select the stemware for it. Believe it or not, the shape and size of a wine glass can actually affect the taste of a wine. Selecting the right wine glass has a lot to do with the establishment and the type of impression it wants to achieve with the guests. Quality stemware is thin and tapers at the rim rather than rolling to a thick edge. Both red and white wine glasses are often designed with ample bowls and narrower tops, so that the wine can be swirled around and the aromas can gather at the top for a fuller wine tasting experience.

3 STEPS TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT WINE GLASS:-

First of all, a good wine glass should be made of a thin, clear glass. Avoid choosing wine glasses that are very thick, that are colored, or have etchings or other decoration on them. While these may look nice on their own, it detracts from the wine within.

Second, when choosing wine glasses, the shape of the bowl is important so that the aromas can be focussed towards your nose. It should also allow vigorous swirling of the wine in the glass so that it can interact with air and volatilize. Most wine tasting glasses have a tapered shape that gently tapers together as you go up the glass.

Third, when choosing wine glasses, the lip of the glass also affects how the wine hits your palate and thus how you taste the wine. The lip of the glass should be as smooth as possible to allow the wine to glide into your mouth smoothly. Avoid glasses with a thick, rolled lip that cause turbulence in the wine and can lead to more harsh and acidic nature in the mouth.

WHITE WINE GLASS

White wine glasses are often smaller in capacity than red wine glasses, with a narrower design from bottom to top. They are designed to be consumed within a few years after fermentation, so the larger bowl is not as necessary as with aged red wines that have deeper complexity. The narrow openings allow for the bouquet to gather and accentuate the drinking experience, even though the bowl is typically smaller.

RED WINE GLASS

Red wine glasses should have a wider, deeper bowl but narrower mouth. When more wine is exposed to oxygen, the flavours get opened up. These are easy to cup in one hand, allowing the wine to warm slightly from body heat. Wider bowls are also easier to swirl without spilling, helping expose more of the wine to the air and release crucial aromas. Fine, full-bodied wines such as Pinot Noir benefit from wine glasses with large bowls.

CHAMPAGNE GLASSES

Sparkling white wine and champagne are served in tall, thin glasses, often called champagne flutes. Much like a pilsner glass, this allows the bubbles to be directed all the way to the top of the glass, making the carbonation last longer and improving the aroma.

SHERRY GLASSES

Sherry is a fortified wine made from Spanish grapes. After fermentation, brandy is added, creating a sweeter flavour than many port wines. Sherry glasses are often used for dessert wines of all sorts, since they are much smaller in capacity, often between 2 and 7 oz. These glasses sometimes taper or flare at the top.

There are some very generic rules as well for selecting your stemware... For wine accompanying dinner, choose wine glasses that are slightly larger so that they can accommodate larger pours while still having ample empty space in the bowl. Wineglasses just for tasting wine at a wine tasting party don't need to be as pretty or expensive. An all-purpose wine glass might be the glass of choice for someone looking for a single glass type that can be used often and for different varieties. Although the experience may not be as complete and memorable as it would be with the perfect wine glass, these provide function at a lower cost and with lower risk of breakage. You’ll find these at most of the restaurants in India.

The kind of glasses that can be used to accompanythe wine that you are planning to consume have been shown. I hope that this knowledge will help you hold your own in the next social gathering and not appear gauche. Cheers and enjoy your drink responsibly.


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