Friday, 24 February 2017

A Wine-lover's Musings

 
Who said, " If you want to woo a refined woman, talk of wine and western classical music. She'll be drawn to you like a moth to flame." Well, whoever said, must have been a very polished and smooth flirt just like French wine. I've tried this trick and I've been pretty successful with suave women. Wine, woman and gesang (German word for song) never lose their appeal. In ultra-refined (European) societies, wine and western classical music always leave an ineradicable impression, provided speakers and listeners both have a smattering of wine and music.
But wine, like music, is a monstrous subject never knowingly tamed by any one individual and I suppose that's part of its charm. Remember, you can never truly be an expert-only the wine can be that. I remember, a famous British oenologist telling me, nay educating me, at a club in Madras that Marlborough in New Zealand and Sancerre (pronounced saaN sair) in France share a common grape variety (Sauvignon Blanc links them). This was nothing short of a revelation to me. He also told me that why women are naturally better wine tasters than men. Though not yet scientifically proven, it's believed that women wine tasters have finer sensibilities than those of men to discern the smoothness of delectable wines.
 Women discern beverages better than men. Readers may know that Trockenbeerenauslese, a top German QmP classification for very-high-quality sweet white wine, is produced from hand-selected grapes. And you know, men are still not employed for this delicate task. Interestingly, Pomerol area of Bordeaux (pronouncedbawr do) in southwestern France, famous for growing old Merlot vines on its clay soil to produce some of the best red wines in the world, used to employ nubile young girls for crushing the grapes till the late sixties. Now men also crush but connoisseurs say that the wines have lost some of their mojo ever since men were employed to crush grapes! Machines don't lend that indescribable element, which's provided by a human touch, more precisely a feminine touch. 
Wine and women have a very close relation. Because both are delicate and desirably fragile. Hollywood actor of yesteryears, David Niven, famous for his classic 'Separate Tables' (1956) used to say, 'The most divine sight on earth is to see a charming lady quaff Cognac from a shapely goblet.' Yes, you don't drink or even sip wine, you quaff it. " Maykashi ke bhi aadaab hua karte hain / Ek saans mein beadab piya karte hain " (There're norms of drinking / Uncouth drinkers drink in one go). The wine scenario in India is still burgeoning. At the risk of sounding a tad arrogant and pontificating, Indian wines are plonks.

Most of the so-called wine-loving elites of India cannot think beyond Champagne, Cognac, Port wine or Moet. The olfactory sensibilities required to relish wines are of paramount importance. One therefore must taste wine, not this sugary-syrupy Sula wine of Nasik vineyard, to drink life to the lees.


 In this short life, one must try all the refined pleasures for the satisfaction of all senses. John Keats understood this in his painfully short stay on earth when he wrote " Give me books, fruit, French wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors, played by somebody I do not know." The great poet didn't include women. But his another distinguished contemporary Lord Byron did: " Let's have wine and women, mirth and laughter / Sermons and sodawater the day after." Never forget his words.          

                                                                   -------Sumit Paul

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