Wine tourism in Nasik .. List of wineries

Nasik, Maharashtra, India

Grover Zampa Wine Tour (10)

Grover Zampa

Vallonne Winery Nasik

Vallonne

Reveilo Winery Nasik

Reveilo

York Winery Nasik

York

Chateau D'Ori winery Nasik

Chateau d’Ori

Renaissance

Renaissance

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Cocktail workshop in Mumbai on 6th December 2014!

Mumbai, India

The Happy High is curating a cocktail workshop on 6th December at one of Asia’s best bars Wink at Vivanta-By Taj, Cuffe Parade. Book your seats here 

P.S: A perfect place to be after all the shopping at the Uppercrust show on the 6th at the World Trade centre.

Cocktail Workshop In Mumbai

 

Kumta Honnavar Express!

Uttar Kannada , Karnataka

I can’t tell you how exhilarated am I to showcase the coastal towns of Kumta and Honnavar which are a part of the Uttar Kannada district in Karnataka. Kumta is my native place and Honnavar next door have been the destinations for me every vacation since childhood, things have changed a lot since then in terms of infrastructure but the towns continue to be sleepy with very good quality of life. Anyways my agenda always is food and these two towns are known for its seafood devouring residents. People who have originated from here also have a nose for good fish, like my parents the exception being me who always scouts of veggie food. Anyways hope you enjoy the pictures.

Kumta 

The Devray’s  ( Canara cold drinks) handmade icecream is a must have and so is his Ellu neer ( Seasame and milk drink). I had them all but forgot to click  as I hogged the Rs 7 scoop of Chickoo and mango icecreams one after the other.  Hotel Shubhas near Gudgar Galli and Hotel Kini in the market  are very good for local snacks.  Lastly hotel Moonlight  is good for fish and veggie meals alike.

Backyard, coconut and fruit  farms

Backyard, coconut and fruit farms

 

 

The white version of Kokum kadii made with unripe fruit   at Devray's Canara coldrinks

The white version of Kokum kadii made with unripe fruit at Devray’s Canara coldrinks

Ambya Humane  a sweet, spicy and sour delicacy made with local mangoes, Jaggery and tempered with Mustard, chillies and Curry leaf

Ambya Humane a sweet, spicy and sour delicacy made with local mangoes, Jaggery and tempered with Mustard, chillies and Curry leaf

Hitta ot Khotte are  idlis steamed in jackfruit leaves.  Best accompaniment is jaggery sweetened and cardamom flavoured coconut milk

Hitta or Khotte are idlis steamed in jackfruit leaves. Best accompaniment is jaggery sweetened and cardamom flavoured coconut milk

Misal Bhaji ... Coconut , jaggery and chilli flavoured rice flakes/thin poha  doused with coconut gravy and topped  with thick sev and chilli peanuts

Misal Bhaji … Coconut , jaggery and chilli flavoured rice flakes/thin poha doused with coconut gravy and topped with thick sev and chilli peanuts

Patrade/ Aloo wadi  made from Colocasia leaves stuffed with a sweet and sour lentils and then rolled and steamed. Fiinally sliced and pan-fried with a semoliina crust

Patrade/ Aloo wadi made from Colocasia leaves stuffed with a sweet and sour lentils and then rolled and steamed. Fiinally sliced and pan-fried with a semoliina crust

Sour Mango pulp with salt and pepper being sun-dried  to make Ambya Sathee also called Aam papad

Sour Mango pulp with salt and pepper being sun-dried to make Ambya Sathee also called Aam papad

Ambya Sathee after being sundried

Ambya Sathee after being sundried

Kagal Beach in Kumta.... Untresspassed hence tranquil

Kagal Beach in Kumta…. Untresspassed hence tranquil

Honnavar

Sheetal coldrinks is go to place for their Gadbad, otherwise did not come across a destination eatery but for the Bhattara in Gunvante. There are  a lot of tiny restaurants and  mass  brands like Kamat’s and I bet you will find a lot of fish places if you look around, I did not!

A must have  pitstop on the national highway. Breakfast for 5 at Rs 200. Known for its Benne Dosas

A must have pitstop on the national highway. Breakfast for 5 at Rs 200. Known for its Benne Dosas

The owner of Bhattare in action

The owner of Bhattara in action

Sweet and leavened deep fried buns with a coconut gravy

Sweet and leavened deep fried buns with a coconut gravy

Buns....

Buns….

Benne Dosa  aka Butter dosa  at Gunvante, Honnnavar

Benne Dosa aka Butter dosa at Gunvante, Honnnavar

Kashay. A hot beverage made with Coriander seeds, fenugreek, Cumin and more.

Kashay. A hot beverage made with Coriander seeds, fenugreek, Cumin and more.

Free fish pedicure at Gunvante , Honnavar

Free fish pedicure at a Kund in Gunvante , Honnavar

Gadbad.. 3 scoops of handmade  with sugar soaked fruits and fried fruits.

Gadbad.. 3 scoops of handmade ice cream with sugar soaked fruits and dried fruits.

Ragi Neer... Made by grinding and cooking Nachni/ Finger Millet. The drink is sweetened with jaggery and flavoured with cardamom.  A very good coolant

Ragi Neer… Made by grinding and cooking Nachni/ Finger Millet. The drink is sweetened with jaggery and flavoured with cardamom. A very good coolant

 coal smoked  kokum kadi  made with fresh fruit

coal smoked kokum kadi made with fresh fruit

Mallika Mangoes.. taste reminiscent of Alphonso, Dusseri and Totapuri

Mallika Mangoes.. taste reminiscent of Alphonso, Dusseri and Totapuri

Panfried semolina crusted breadfruit

Kadgi Phodi- Panfried semolina crusted breadfruit

Kasarkod beach in Honnavar with clean shore and clear  waters

Kasarkod beach in Honnavar with clean shore and clear waters

Please add to the list in comments if you know more and better places 🙂

 

Understanding Wine Basics

Deep into wines!

Deep into wines!

It will be my endeavour to keep the description as crisp as possible, the idea here is to empower you with enough information to choose and savour wines.

Wine is a fermented beverage made out of grapes. Well it can be made from anything that has sugars but for anything other than grapes, the ingredient goes as a prefix. For e.g Plum wine, Pineapple wine, Rice wine. So when we just say wine it is understood that it is made from grapes.

Types of Wine:

1.    Red/Rosso/Rouge

Made out of black grapes; these wines can come in a spectrum from very light bodied to highly robust wines.  These wines are consumed between 12-18 degrees celsius. This is the European room temperature. So always leave your reds in the refrigerator for some time in India.

2.    White/Blanco/Bianco

These can be made out of white or black grapes. A white wine from a Black grape? Yes because in a black grape only the skin is coloured but the juice is not.  So how does a Red wine get its colour? The skins are soaked in the juice for a day or two to extract colour and that is how.

White wines are consumed at temperature ranging from 8-12 degree celsius, based on the style of wine.

 3.    Rose/Blush/Rosado

These are in-between whites and reds; the pink colour is obtained by soaking the skins for some hours.  These wines are again are consumed at 8-10 degree celsius.

Wine hues.....

Wine hues…..

4.    Sparkling/Fizzy

The above three types are together called as still wines as these wines do not have trapped carbon-di-oxide and the fizzy wine does. C02 is a by-product of fermentation in still wines it is released and in sparkling it is not.  When poured in a glass it the bubbles or the mousse give  it a sparkling appearance. You can easily distinguish these wine bottles by their shape which is distinctly different from still wines.  Have them chilled; if you want a number then it is 4-6 degrees. Champagne is the most famous sparkling wine.

5.    Fortified

Fortified because these wines are fortified with spirit and hence the alcoholic percentage of these is anywhere from 16-22 % v/v. They may or may not be sweet, but all of those readily available over the counter in India are sweet ones. The famous ones are Port from Portugal (Port from Goa is an Irony!), Sherry from Spain.

 

Winemaking process:

 

Will end up writing a book if I were to blog about it, please browse through winemaking videos on youtube and enjoy a virtual winery tour!

 

Some grape varietals grown in India

Type Name Pronunciation
Red Cabernet Sauvignon Ca-bur-neh So-vi-ni-yon
Red Merlot Mer-lo
Red Shiraz or Syrah Shiraz…no complications
White Sauvignon Blanc So-vi-ni-yon Blon
White Chenin Blanc Che-nin  Blon
White Viognier Vi- yo-ni-eh
White Semillon Se-me-yon

There are more than 5000 grape varietals in the world. It is good to know the pronunciations but if you do not then please go ahead and anglicize it. Pronunciations should not at all come between you and your wine experience.

If you know jargons, great.  if not then wine is a poetry,let it flow!

If you know jargons, great. if not then wine is a poetry,let it flow!

Some common wine terms to begin with:

A dry wine:

Wine with very less sugar, to put a number; it is less than 6gms per litre of wine as opposed to a sweet which is more than 50 gms. The ones between the ends are called off-dry, semi-dry. Many time people get awestruck by the sweet-smelling aromas from the wine and call it sweet when in fact the residual sugar in the wine is hardly any.

Body of a wine:

The body of a wine is essentially its weight on ones palate.  For E.g. If you compare Water, Milk and Slice (The seductive mango drink), Water is lightest and Slice the heaviest.

Acidity:

It is the one which causes the mouth to water. The next time you sip a wine, take notice of how profusely or not does your mouth water the more it waters the high is the acidity.

Tannins:

These are elements in a red wine which makes your mouth go dry, the same feeling like when you have black tea. Tannins give structure to a red wine. They come from the grape skins and oak barrels

Reserve:

This term in India is predominantly used for wines to indicate their aging over a longer period in Oakwood. Oak gives certain characters like vanilla etc which makes the wine more complex. But this term is not legally governed and hence does not have the same meaning across wineries when you see it on the label. Reserve wines are more expensive for sure.

In my next I will try to highlight dos and don’ts of choosing a wine.  Till then please let me know if you would want me to cover something!

P.S :  High at  Hollywood! http://www.wine-searcher.com/movie-wines.lml

Trust your taste!

Money can’t buy you taste!

In the summer of 2007  as a beverage chap at Renaissance,Mumbai, I always wanted to crack open a bottle of  ‘Penfolds Grange’  an Australian red wine lying in my club cellar just to taste it( INR 37000 on the menu) because in my opinion then,anything expensive had to be superior in quality and taste.  Most of us ;as I look around think in a similar fashion equating money to taste and quality!

Do you think it is correct? I realized it is not; while I started to dwell more into wines while working at Soho House,London. For discussion sake a Burgundy (renowned wine region of France)  Pinot Noir (Red grape variety) wine  which is aged may fetch half a million rupees  a bottle while the one which is young can be bought for a couple of thousands. The former would smell of mushrooms and cabbage and the latter of strawberries.  So what do you like mushrooms,cabbage or strawberries!!!!! So get my point right, never go by the price to make a choice.

Experts can’t describe your taste they can only do theirs!

“I think the food is fiery spicy” said one and “I think the food is mildly spiced” said another for the same dish, with the mushrooming of so many bloggers/critics  like me , whom should you follow ?  Well I can say you can start with  the popular and then with some trials and errors find those who match your tastes. It is exactly like following a film critic to decide on watching a movie, every journalist would have a different rating, just a matter of finding the one who matches your taste!

Snobs are only laughed at!

You like your Old Monk more than a  Captain Morgan;say it, you like a  Vada Pav more than a Burger with relish; accept it, Your like your 100 Rs  “Port” wine from Goa than an original Port ,flaunt it.  There is no shame in being honest,than cutting a sorry figure when one is asked to elaborate one’s taste!  A couple of years back when I was conducting a Whisky tasting for a group, a gentleman proudly boasted of his love for single malts and cigars, and when the blind tasting began he went gaga over an Indian grain whisky and described it as a single malt!

Last words, if you like something just go ahead and say it ,savour it , the world will anyway make judgements!