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Delhi Wine Club

Wine drinking and driving Speed                                    Thursday, August 07 2008. 18:20

I had gone to the Polo Lounge at the Hyatt day before yesterday,  to meet a bunch of guys from New York who had been in touch with me and were in Delhi for a couple of days. It had suddenly poured causing a big traffic jam which saw a young under- wine- drinking age girl nick my car and a long delay in arriving at the meeting.

The young man I met was an amazing fellow. The Russian born Gary Vaynerchuk migrated to the US with his father who opened a store in 1983 under the name of Shoppers Discount Liquors in New Jersey. He has helped take the business to new heights and made it a $60 million a year business- half of which is through the on-line store he started. Gary runs the 'Wine Library' and also hosts his own TV show on the web at

More on him in another article. But while talking I had to order a glass of wine. What was available in white? I asked the waiter ' Sauvignon Blanc from Casa Lapostolle' was a fair choice. But which vintage? 2005. What?

At which point all of us winced. 2005 should already be over the top for this unoaked, simple but pleasant wine. Having not much of a choice and time, I ordered a quick glass.

Fortunately, it turned out to be a 2006 when he brought the bottle to show me-good enough vintage. Sipping the crispy and juicy wine while sharing my thoughts on wine scene in India with Gary and his band of followers, one did not realise when another glass had been poured. Within the short span of less than 30 minutes, two glasses were down the gullet.

While driving back, I realised the folly in my usual statement, 'wine is not alcohol.' At several wine dinners, one imbibes .8 to a bottle during the course of a 5-course meal  and there has been no problem in driving afterwards. But today, it was not the alcohol level but its directly hitting the blood stream that had caused the havoc and I seemed to have fallen short of my dictum,' always sip wine slowly'.

It was dangerous driving to say the least- an irresponsible act I won't like to repeat and hope any of you don't ever have to either.

The speed at which you drink wine or any other alcohol is important. What is the speed at which one should drink and then drive safely? There is no scientific evidence or studies  that  has come across from experts I have asked. But discussing with several doctors in the health conventions in the USA, I usually find a consensus that one glass of standard unit per hour with food is a safe bet. This means during a normal course of 3-4 hours 3-4 glasses with food are ok. Of course, it also depends upon the individual metabolism.

But it is important to realise that the speed at which you drink does matter in getting intoxicated. Let's not forget that wine does have alcohol; and this day the fact came into play, it did!

So next time you have wine and drive immediately after words, I wish you a Happy Drinking and safe driving!

Tasting Notes

Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Casa Lapostolle

Straw yellow colour, light body, quite aromatic wine is so fruity, juicy and crisp that it makes me salivate just thinking about it. The harmonious wine had a great mouth-feel and ripe flavours with a citrus touch. As expected the after-taste is rather short.  A great pick-me up wine at anytime, that is at peak now and one hopes Hyatt does not have it in stock after 6-9 months.


Wine and Friendship                                    Tuesday, August 05 2008. 16:45

Besides the health benefits and lifestyle changes wine also helps build friendships. Therefore, delWine chose the Friendship Day last Sunday to start a wine blog for its readers.

Working 24*7 to bring out delWine twice a week puts me in straitjacket at times and affects my free spirited healthy lifestyle. This has inspired me to initiate a wine blog, initially on this website, where wine lovers can discuss any wine topics, and choose to be anonymous, if they like, using their own handle.

Don't like what is happening in Maharashtra? Surely, you are fed up with the high taxes. A particular retailer sold you a duff bottle and would not give you a replacement? Want to find where in Bangalore you can find a reasonably priced Chablis, Chianti Classico or Cava? You are not happy with screw caps and want to start a discussion with like minded people but do not want others to know who you are? This blog will be the place where we shall help you initiate the discussion.. so long as it is in colloquial and acceptable language and relates to wine and food, the two topics our website is dedicated to.

We hope this healthy discussion will help building up closer friendships and widen scope of getting more knowledgeable and tolerable about wine. We shall also share with you some of the wines tasted-whether or not they are in the market at the moment.

Happy blogging!

Wine Tastings

To celebrate the Friendship Day I chose two wines produced by my friends in Italy and France; Antonio Santarelli and Pierre Perrin whom I have met through wine connections over the last several years and consider as wine friends.

1.  Petit Manseng IGT Lazio 2007 Casale del Giglio

Produced by the Santarelli family in their winery in Latina, about 40 kms south of Rome in collaboration with the well-known Prof. Attilio Scienza of the University of Milan this wine is made with Petit Manseng, a grape variety from the Jura region of France, grown for the first time in this region by the family. The grape is late harvested giving higher level of sugar and slightly sweet but pleasant and fruity wine.

Tasting Notes: This wine with 13% alcohol content was brilliant, light golden colour; very clean and perfumed-full of fruity and spicy aromas. On the palate, the slightly off dry light to medium wine gives a very impressive mouthfeel. Very fresh and crisp-the first reaction is that of an exotic Sauvignon Blanc. Good structure too. After leading deliciously through the front to the back palate, the flavour disappears rather soon at the end though, with a rather short after taste. Quite refreshing aperitif wine for daily drinking, which will also handle grilled fish and chicken rather well. I  presume, it should be drunk young and will last 2-3 years. Vegetarians will love it.


2.  Châteauneuf du Pape 1985 Beaucastel 

Château de Beaucastel is owned by the Perrin family whose three generations have dedicated themselves into making wines which can be delicious and very age-worthy. The vintage of 1985 is one such example.

Beaucastel is also one of the few wineries using all the thirteen grape varieties, red and white, allowed by the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation, with a high percentage of Mourvèdre (30%), and Grenache (30%), Syrah 10%, Counoise 10% Cinsault 5% . Rest are divided among the remaining grape varieties: Vaccarèse, Terret noir, Muscardin, Picpoul, Picardan, Bourboulenc and Roussanne.

Grenache and the Cinsault give the wine its colour, intensity and softness. Mourvèdre, Syrah, Muscardin and Vaccarèse give ageing potential and dark, classic character. Counoise, Picpoul and other varieties provide freshness, fragrance and aromas.

I decanted the wine for about an hour and served it cool at 16º

Tasting Notes: Brick red colour. Clean with complex peppery bouquet. Well structured and rounded silky tannins with plenty of red fruit and leather. Fresh acidity has kept it young and vivacious. Good balance and persistence on the back palate made this seductive medium bodied warm wine an excellent way of celebrating Friendship Day with a couple of close friends.

You would have thought I had it with steak, mutton chops, sikandri raan or some heavy-duty red meat hearty dish. Well, I had it with a vegetarian pizza with mushrooms, peppers etc. and did not miss the pepperoni which would have made it even more delightful combo.

Ratings: to

Happy Tastings and a vary Happy belated Friendship Day!


August 5, 2008


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