When the city was recently witness to a wine-pairing dinner at Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort and Spa, with a wine expert from Mumbai, we braced ourselves for a lot of wine lingo. We were prepared to hear in excess words like oaky, acidic, fruity, earthy and every other term that gets thrown around too often around wines.
“As humans, we all perceive tastes differently — some like it sweet and a few others appreciate sourness. So, there cannot be one rulebook for wine and food pairings. Particularly when Indian food is so diverse, with each state having food of different kinds, one cannot say that only a particular kind of wine goes well with a certain curry. Instead, people should discover things for themselves, and drink it if they like it with their food, else go on to another kind. Dining should be an enjoyable experience and not bound by rules,” asserts Craig, who works with Fratelli Wines.
Hailing from Australia, he made India his home for the past decade, and consults for a number of wine companies, while also running his own wine import firm. “Over the years I’ve spent in the country, I have seen wines evolve along with restaurants and food. Now I see so much diversity in wine styles in India,” he notes. For the wine dinner curated by the resort’s chef Pramit, along with executive chef Mukesh Sharma, Craig brought along a slightly sweet and bubbly 'Noi' sparkling wine from the brand to start off. “As a general guideline, one can start with a fresh and vibrant young (recently bottled) wine or sparkling wines as they taste a little sweet and can help stimulate the palate. Start with a delicate (young) wine and then go on to trying full-bodied (complex and generally aged) wines during the course of the meal. Pair delicate foods with delicate wines and end the meal with full-bodied (aged) wines,” he suggests.
For instance, the garlic prawns cooked gently with extra virgin olive oil, was paired with a made-in-India chenin blanc (white wine), which was also subtle and delicate, while the chilli and tamarind lobster was served with chardonnay (also a white wine with a little more complexity than chenin blanc). “Indians often tend to assume that the wines made in the country lack in their standards and look for foreign wines. But the wines made in India are comparable to some of the benchmarks set across the world,” he stresses.
- There are no rules – taste and try out different wines with food to see what you like the best
- Start with fresh and young wines to stimulate your palate and then move to full-bodied wines
- Pair delicate foods with delicate wines, and end the meal with full-bodied wines