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Blog: Boo Boo Blooper- Chapter 2

Posted: Saturday, 29 September 2012 12:28

Blog: Boo Boo Blooper- Chapter 2

September 29 : When I read a wine article in a newspaper that starts with ‘It’s only when the Indian wine connoisseur can tell the Rioja from the Gaia, the Bordeaux from the Bouvet-Ladubay that an Indian wine company goes beyond the vineyards of Nashik, to the Loire Valley,’ I switch off even when it follows with an interesting report about a French winery in Loire Valley owned by an Indian company.

An interview with Abhay Kewadkar of Four Seasons with a journalist of Livemint is not the subject of my Blog; that is simply the journalist’s prerogative. What upset me is the way the article started. I wonder if the journalist likes to show off the poetic acumen, but I could not see the connection between Rioja and Gaia or Bordeaux and Bouvet Ladubay. They say a good wine is poetry in the bottle. I wonder if that inspired the reporter.

It is another matter that Four Seasons, owned by the UB group which bought the Loire Valley based Bouvet in 2006 after its earlier offer to buy Taittinger in Champagne was spurned, is not located in Nashik but Baramati. But as I said, that is a matter between the reporter and Abhay!

For the uninitiated (Connoisseurs apparently know it anyway), Rioja is a popular and prestigious  wine region of Spain, making excellent red wines from Tempranillo, Garnacha (Grenache) and Graciano in varying proportions. You have Crianza, Reserva and Grand Reserva depending upon the aging of the bottle. But the Gaia? Why Gaia? I doubt whether the writer is talking of Vila Nova de Gaia, a small city across the Douro River from Porto, where Port wines have been traditionally cellared for decades. It is not a wine producing region but a storage and cellaring area from where the Port used to be shipped on barges over River Douro.

Perhaps she is talking about Gaia Gaja, the daughter of the legendry Barbaresco producer Angelo Gaja, who has gradually become well-known outside Italy too since she started working with her father a few years ago and looks after export. Although I know her personally very well, as a family friend, not all connoisseurs in India or other countries know her or need to know her to qualify as connoisseurs. The Gaia would indicate she is not taking about her but who else then? I give up though I have a hunch she meant GAJA!

And now Bordeaux vs. Bouvet - rhymes well, all right! But Bordeaux is a well known wine region of France, making some of the world’s best wines. The First Growths (Top Five) cost an arm and a leg while many others cost a finger or two. But it also produces some very ordinary wines, even though it generally implies the French wine region producing good quality wines.

Bouvet Ladubay on the other hand is a small winery that produces less than the Indian cousin (6 million bottles vs 8 million respectively, give or take). As an Indian I feel happy that it is now owned by an Indian (Vijay Mallya)- I even like the wines, especially their Rose Brut sparkling wine. But who in their right mind would compare a big wine region with a relatively small winery?

Maybe it is a trick question to throw the Indian wine connoisseur off balance.

The same could be said of the picture displayed in the article - pouring of red wine in a champagne flute - a big no-no for any wine connoisseur and novice alike. A flute is for champagne while the red wine glass is like a goblet with a stem-there is a wide-bottomed, slim topped wine glass for the red wines to be poured into, so that the bouquet could be enhanced through swirling. Abhay Kewadkar, the ever-chivalrous Business head of the UB’s wine division, whom I called only to enquire if the pic had been supplied by his company, suggested that perhaps the pic was of Bouvet sparkling red wine as they produce this unique wine too. I will let you use your imagination and decide if it is the red sparkling wine being poured into the champagne glass. (No prizes for guessing the right answer).

One of the things on my wish list is to get the younger journalists to understand that they don’t have to throw fancy sounding, incorrect wine-related words to impress the readers or assume that they are ignorant about such words. It is simply annoying to see incorrect graphics as they form a lasting image on the novices. This needs the editors’ attention and intervention and as such they are equally to blame for such boo-boos and bloopers that may play havoc on the impressionable minds of the young or new wine drinkers.

Subhash Arora  

For chapter I of such faux pax, read Blog: Difference between Chardonnay and Beaujolais



Rojita Tiwari Says:

Good Blog on Livemint article. Seriously, someone needs to tell the manstream media to not make people write about alcohol who have no or little knowledge about it. Rojita

Posted @ October 04, 2012 12:08


Remie Says:

It happens in most emerging wine-drinking countries, including Singapore. However, nowadays, the writer on a wine-themed article will consult a known REAL expert before the final copy.

Posted @ October 04, 2012 11:50


Anurag Mehrotra Says:

The following quote comes to my mind after reading this article: "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces." Basically, knowledge should not be put in front of people who do not appreciate their value.

Posted @ October 04, 2012 11:48


David Rowe Says:

Dear Subhash, Your article reminds me of an amusing spelling mistake on the wine menu of a hotel in Nashik, which proudly offers bottles of "Bouvet Rough" (which should of course be "Bouvet Rouge"). The perils of automatic spellcheckers? Maybe it tastes a little less rough when served in a Champagne flute!

Kind regards


Posted @ October 03, 2012 16:50


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