Thursday, January 16, 2014


Found myself invited for the Grover Zampa Stomp 2014. Thought it’s time to look back on where I have come with my likings for Wine.

6 years ago, when I was first introduced to wine, I realized how yummy cheese tasted! It gave a whole new flavor and fullness to the cheese and that’s what made me like wine for. I slowly took in the different colours, aromas, grapes, styles, percentage of alcohol, types of glasses, pairing of foods and likings. After staying in Italy, I took an oath to myself to not drink anything but Chianti. This remained unchanged even while I worked in Paris. The Bordeaux and merlot of France and tours to Versailles and French Riviera, having bourgeoisie French colleagues and even staying in a Parisian apartment could not change my mind. Nothing could beat an evening with 20 watt bulb, a DVD of ‘Casablanca’, some cushions with applique covers, Linguine in pesto, and a bottle of Chianti Classico.

And then I came back to Mumbai. Not only did I find Chianti was super expensive. But when I went to the wine stores, they looked back at me and said..”….Keeyanti ??” I can’t take that insult, Simply cant. I could sacrifice on my oath, if that prevents the Classico from being called out like that. I tried at a couple of good bars and restaurants, but they were either too polite in showing me the bar menu that said it can cost up to 5k for a glass or simply forced me to believe that the Sula they have will go as good or better with the food I had ordered !! ..Sula ?? I mean really ? Have you tasted the pasta at Indian weddings ? Is it pasta or paneer makhani…well Sula is something like that. I assume it sells in India because a lot of people don’t understand the art and jazz behind the wine.  And so, my intake of wine was limited to a glass here and there at expensive restaurants.

It was summer of 2010. In the scorching heat of Latur, that I was introduced to Nine Hills and Grover. While Nine hills weren’t as bad as Sula, Grover took all my attention. It tasted like wine. Like real Wine. It was a Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz from their La Reserve. I enjoyed that night. But I was yet to impress my husband with the taste. Wine still did not go well with him.

Then in 2001, in Kolkata, we visited Ameet’s colleague’s house. Although we carried a Chile wine for him, he offered me Cahors. I was relieved the world I stay in isn’t all that bad afterall ! I cherished the entire bottle to myself and let the others wonder what was so special or different from the Sula they were gulping down their throat. The next time we had a party at home, we brought in only Grover’s La reserve which was liked by all. And yet as a present all they had got for us was Sula and Four seasons. So we were stuck with these bottles to finish for sometime. Luckily I manage good pasta and risotto with bad wines – I managed to cook with some. However, note here, I have still not been able to understand how can my husband not feel happy looking at a good wine.

Spring of 2012. We visited Cyprus. And bang ! We found my husband’s tastes for wine! Ofcourse, I was living with a man who understood art beyond its spiritual meaning. Commandaria. One of the oldest wines in the world, one of the highest alcohol contents amongst wine, yet a happy wine, spiritual wine, over ripe, sugary and delicious! Can’t love my husband for anything more! We promptly bought a large bottle. We came back and I got pregnant. I stopped having wines and my husband lovingly joined me.

Must be mid 2013 that I started to drink again. The search for good wine had to be fresh. Found the mumbaikars a lot more knowledgeable this time. We were at one of our regular Italian restaurants when the owner suggested I have Sangiovese with my pasta. Being a Chianti worshipper which has 70% Sangiovese, I was almost not sure. Dint want to be disappointed anymore. Chianti is too close to heart to make me want to compare any taste even closer to it. And yet, try I did and ever since been asking for Sangiovese wherever I go.

Autumn of 2013, we visited Goa and my husband bought some Portuguese port wine to celebrate our Anniversary. Yes, my husband has this knack of making it perfect out of coincidence. First, falling for the commandaria in Cyprus and then the Portugal Port wine in Goa. Over the third glass, he asked, so what’s a port wine? As clueless that I am, I said, well, all I know is that it’s a blended / fortified wine. Has real cheap versions. I’ve had it in tetra packs while touring Sienna and that perhaps being first made in Porto (Portugal) and/ or smuggled from ports for which is called port wine. He did not question further and I dint have more explanations. But we are getting closer to understanding the wines he likes.

And so, 25th January 2014, at the Stomp, I look forward to seeing if the Zampa’s Chene beats my current love for Sangiovese and divine loyalty to Chianti. And to see if my husband finally finds a wine that he can call his in the Grover’s Shiraz rose. While that is yet to tell and just another reason to be at the stomp. We look forward to having some family fun with 3 generations shining their feet in wine!

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