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Tasting Wine Without Wine Doggy Bags

Thanks to friends who said they loved reading my blog and especially about wines, I decided to write a little more about it. Another very good friend wanted me to talk about what wines I got 'drunk' on. Truth is, I grew up in Kerala, where the society is definitely conservative about drinking wine. You cant simply drink wine at a restaurant without inspiring raised eyebrows about the kind of 'character' you have. But, it was permissible for Christmas Eve and New Year's parties. It wasnt part of a daily dinner though I am sure I wouldnt have minded that one bit.

Later when I shifted to Delhi, I saw that it was no big deal to order wine for nearly every meal coz people accepted it as part of a good, evolving culture. Most restaurants and fine hotels always took care to recommend their wines. What stays in my memory was one or two occasions when my friends and I lunched at NUdelhi in GK2. We just stepped in and it felt like sheer bliss. There was such serenity that welcomed us that we knew we wanted to be there like forever. We ordered a delicious Spanish paella that was cooked in wine. I can tell you that just thinking about it makes me go all mushy coz it was so tasty. When we got back to work, I felt 'bubbly' for sure and was definitely in high spirits.

Another time, we ordered a Spanish paella at one of my haunts in Connaught Place, but it tasted so bland and was utterly dissappointing. I will never ever order a Spanish paella again at any other place other than NUdelhi in GK2.

I had noticed in many places in Delhi that guests are expected to finish the bottle of wine there and then. Or, they can buy one and take it home. In the US, the state of Iowa went ahead and endorsed a bill to let guests of a restaurant have their half-full bottle of wine packed properly to take back home. I think thats a good idea. More interestingly, these bags are sealed so that if cops stop you, they can check and find that the wine was well sealed and that whoever is driving isn't drunk but is just carrying that forward back home. There is also a perception that this would reduce growing incidents of drunken driving. And by the way, those of you who are wondering about that bag, trust me, it sounds apt. It's called wine doggy bags. Now, dont laugh!

Another saucy news for wine lovers, I read news that 12 of the world's most famous experts on wine set out to work. It's not like typical jobs where you can sit in front of your desktop and start your day's work and prioritize. Their job is one that I definitely envy. You must have guessed it. Yes, their job was to go out there and taste amazing varieties of champagne.

Herve Deschamps, a famed cellar master, featured about 20 remarkable vintages spanning years from 1846 to 2002. Isnt that a historic tasting experience? Better still, I feel wonderful and warm just thinking about
the Perrier-Jouet which dates back to 1825. It is the world's oldest vintage champagne which continues to be in existence. In fact, the Guiness Book of World Records has officially listed it.

When I read this news, my first thought was that: what must it feel like to taste that Perrier-Jouet, which is the world's oldest bottle. John Stimpfig, a British writer tasted it and said that it tasted like notes of caramel, mushroom and truffles. That sounds like heave to me. What about you? Can you just close your eyes and imagine it? Another person, Serena Sutcliffe, described it as having the flavor of figs and a slight 'nose of the sea' which defies understanding to me. Does it mean fishy? I dont really know. Sometimes experts on wines may not exactly be experts in words. You tell me.
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