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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Thursday, May 14 2009. 17:16

Blog: Wine Tasting as Meditation

Yoga is great for meditation but wine tasting can be meditative too when carried out in a proper room setting with certain types of wines in a conducive atmosphere as I found out during tasting of Barbaresco and Roero docg wines in Alba as a part of the Alba Wine Festival organised by Albeisa recently.

It is well established that after tasting 30-40 wines, the motor activity shifts to a lower gear despite the swishing and spitting of wine, as every sip does entail a few drops of the liquid getting into the system with tannins refusing to leave the palate and alcohol doing its dirty tricks.

But visualise a tasting room setting with a comfortable room temperature of 22-25º C and a room with bare white walls, white table cloth and most of the wines which are being tasted blind, wrapped in a silver foil with each taster having his own personal desk for tasting by himself. Also imagine that the wines to be tasted are similar in style and grapes, say a Barbaresco 1999 or a Roero docg 1999. The room is quiet where the only sound is made by the sommeliers bringing in new flights of wines or the spittoons are being emptied with fresh replacements.

You are just a few steps from getting into a meditative state provided you don’t have to score the wines for medals to be awarded by a jury of multiple numbers and you don’t have to worry if the wines are to be awarded any medals. The wines are not irritatingly tannic or astringent. In short, you taste a set of similar wines for your personal pleasure and rating.

You don’t even have to score or star- rate the wines if you don’t want to because the score or the points are meant only for helping you to understand the style, wine, grapes and other relevant characteristics of wine.

Under such circumstances and in an atmosphere like the ambience created by the organisers of Alba Wine Festival hosted by Albeisa to taste Barbaresco and Roero reds, the state of mind was really in a focussed zone where one felt quite meditative- a condition when the alpha level of mind dominates, when all your troubles seem so far away, when you seem to concentrate on wines but not stressing yourselves.

That’s when you are meditating. That, at least, is what I felt tasting the 70 odd wines one morning when the wines from both regions were generally fine and well- rounded with ripe tannins. With more than a few drops of alcohol finding their way in the belly with every spitting ritual, the brain could focus more easily on the job at hand with a relaxed mind and I felt in a zone-the meditative zone.

Alas, the same did not repeat the next day when I was to perform the pleasant chore of rating Barolos which were fuller bodied, more powerful and still quite tannic and that interfered with my meditative mood.

Subhash Arora


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