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If Dom Perignon seems to be the name of some painkiller, if Bordeaux and Chantilly are not on your list of places to visit on a French tour and if the only thing you have drunk in the name of wine is Symphony or Sula, please pull up your socks. You are about to be briefed on the art of wine connoisseurship. This is crucial if you intend to take baby steps towards becoming a discerning Gentleman/ Woman. Commencons, Monsieur. Oh, get your French Dictionary right now! The wine guide for dummies begins! **Drum roll**
1. Pronunciation makes all the difference
The names of some distinguished wines can be real tongue twisters, especially for us Asians who are forever denying our own accents. Just learn how to pronounce the critical parts. Stringing two or three of these can help you respectably pronounce names. For example, ‘is’ is pronounced ‘ee’, -jolais is jhoe-lay (to pronounce the jhoe, imitate the turbo engine of a Boeing. So it comes out like zzz~shoe), ch is sh (‘Sh’ardonnay, instead of Chardonnay), Meur is muhr, noir is Nwaah, and so on. Do not make pronounce phonetically. You’d rather not drink at all!
2. Introducing and describing
Introducing a brand to a guest? Present the mouth towards him or her, caressing it in the palm of your hand. Hold it in the middle. The bottle is to be treated with utmost chivalry. Remember the name of the vineyard, a little history of its brewing, if possible the cultivar family of the grape (research on the ‘Royal 18’) and the age.
3. The nine types of wine
No, wine is not only dark crimson. In fact, wines are not even classified just by their hue. On the basis of taste, there are the Light Red, the Medium Red, Full Bodied Red, Light White, Rich White, Sweet/ Aromatic, Rose, Sparkling and Dessert. Each goes well with a particular dish. For example, Light White is good with veggies, while Bold Red is perfect after having a steak.
4. Discerning the flavour
There is the taste, there is the fragrance, and then there is the flavour; an experiential, heady mix of both. Tilt the goblet towards your nose and take a light whiff. Then take a light sip. The flavour will either by fruity, flowery, herb like or faintly woody.
The iconic stemware or wine glasses/goblets have an identity separate from what they contain. There are several designs available, including Hock, Standard, Coupe, Tulip, Flute and Alsace. You need to learn which style of wine goes with which glass. They are as bound to each other as tightly as a married couple. Remember, if you don’t know the kind of wine, you may get a hint from the shape of the goblet in which it is held. The stem is held between middle and ring fingers from below.Wine for dummies can’t get easier than this!
There’s so much to know, we agree that one post is just not enough! Watch out for part 2 of this most essential guide! But learn just this much, and you are on your way to building a sound base for wine mastery. Bonne chance!
Arghya Dutta Choudhury
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