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Getting to know your bottle of vino a little closely
Abhirup Dam  1st Feb 2014

The hi-tech wine taps at Iredus, Gurgaon

ow many times have you ordered a glass or bottle of wine with your food and ended up not liking it at all? How many times have you been intimidated by a long wine list with vintage traits and other information that made little or no sense? How many times have you been overcome with a strong sense of inferiority while watching someone suavely order a vintage? Well none of these are skills impossible to acquire. Cultivation is the astute individual's ladder to success.

It is time to get drunk!
So as not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk;
Get drunk without stopping!
On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.
When I first read this verse as an undergraduate student of literature, I made a rather quick choice.

When confronted with Baudelaire's insistence on getting drunk, wine just soared past as the most desirable vehicle. Poetry did follow suit, while virtue was diligently kept at bay. But for most us, wine was representative of alcohol at that time and did not feature as anything remotely close to a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. But times were soon to change. With the advent of the Internet, knowledge of world cuisine and wine was just a click away. When I arrived in the capital, I was already well-armed with information on wines but without any real experience in tasting.

Any online tasting guide will tell you that colour, astringency and aroma are the key markers to evaluate a wine. These are also essential when you choose a wine that suits your palate. Essentially dry wines are those with the least amount of residual sugar and are quite acidic and crisp on the palate. You will find a host of views, some even conflicting, on aerating and decanting wines. But I have come to realise that no amount of scriptural knowledge in this case helps. You need to get your tongue dirty.

The Delhi Wine club, founded by Subhash Arora is an organisation dedicated to wine lovers and enthusiasts.

The Delhi Wine club, founded in 2002 by Subhash Arora, is an organisation dedicated to wine lovers and enthusiasts. One can become a member of the club and participate in various tasting and appreciation sessions that the club organises quite frequently. The Club ensures they host an event each month or schedule special sessions when an expert visits or a new vintage is launched. Arora said, "We presently have around 150 members who regularly meet over dinners and tastings. The Club also emphasises wine pairing with food. The only criteria to become a member: you need to love wine and be open to expand your palate." Arora also runs the Indian Wine Academy, a private consultancy company devoted to the promotion of wine in India through various programmes including wine appreciation, short term courses, and trade shows. The Delhi chapter of the Wine Society of India also hosts various wine tasting sessions at premier restaurants in the capital and has a retail outlet for those who want to pick up choice blends.Image 2nd

The Delhi Gourmet club, started by noted food writer and journalist Sourish Bhattacharya, primarily emphasises food but hosts pairing sessions. Some of the club members are veteran wine and dining aficionados and such congregations are great to pick up handy tips from.

You can also visit Iredus in Gurgaon, The Lodhi Garden restaurant or the Westin, which have all installed hi-tech wine taps allowing patrons to taste a vintage before ordering it. The Wine Company, a wine bistro located at Cyber Hub, Gurgaon will be hosting weekly corporate wine tasting sessions. You can also buy bottles off the retail outlet at the bistro and the staff will be happy to help you choose.

While high-end restaurants in India still struggle with employing trained maitre-d's, whose primary job is to take a diner through the menu and help them select a suitable accompanying beverage, consumers can definitely develop their taste and acquire firsthand knowledge about wine with a little pro-active participation.

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