My knowledge about wine was as good as the knowledge of cricket of my Spanish colleagues. Not that it has changed remarkably now. Since my first visit to Barcelona in October 2008, I had tried developing a taste for wine. The same is true for Blue Cheese and Anchovies as well. But what happened in Pamplona in 2009 will remain as my first lesson to the world of Wines.
This blogpost on Sandesh is written by my good friend, a corporate head honcho and (almost) globetrotter, Sunando Banerjee as a contributor for Mohamushkil. We are honored to have him on board as a guest writer …
wine with the CTO
It was a chilling night in Pamplona when I came to know that wine is more than just white and red. Our then CTO Paolo invited me and Frank to his place in Pamplona. We decided to pick up a bottle of wine from El Corte Inglés. While in the store, I look at Frank to rescue me as I was absolutely confused about which one to buy. Equally confused, Frank in his deep voice said, “Don’t ever ask a German to pick up a wine bottle.” Well, two utterly confused souls got rescued by the store manager. He smiled at us and asked about a budget and handed over a bottle of Rioja. He assured us saying, this is the best available in our budget. Impressed with the look of the bottle we went to Paolo’s place.
It was a cozy apartment at the end of the avenue, extremely well decorated with soothing lightings. We were late and Paolo’s kids were almost in their beds. We handed over the bottle to Paolo’s wife while we sat in the cozy sofas in his drawing room. Till this time, it was our happy time. The smell of the pizzas coming out from Paolo’s kitchen was making things merrier till I looked up.
The rectangular room had two huge bookshelves in one side of the room and two cellars in another side of the room. The bookshelves had books about wine. In fact, more than 90% of the books were on wines. And the cellars were packed with bottles of wines. I looked at Frank and understood that his expression was not very different from mine.
It was Paolo’s wife, perhaps looking at our expression, started talking about Paolo’s love for wine. To our utter disbelief, we found that not only is he is a professional wine taster but he is appointed by few of the vineyards at Veneto, a region in Italy.
The dinner was homemade pizza by Paolo with a session of wine discovery ranging from Grenache, Merlot, Shiraz to Cabernet Sauvignon. Irrespective of the influence of wine, it was one of the best pizzas I had until I visited Napoli.
And the introduction
What followed the dinner was almost a tutorial or an introduction to the world of wines by Paolo. That was the first time I came to know about the four major types of wines, red, white, rose (or blush) and champagne. The techniques of drinking different wines; the perfect temperature to have the wine. That evening we had Pinot Grigio from the vineyard where Paolo is a taster. We had some Chardonnay followed by Cabernet Sauvignon to Rosé and a few more that I don’t remember now. The winner to me was a Merlot from Castello di AmaL’Apparita from Tuscany. No wonder this wine is rated as one of the best Merlots. Personally, I love the oak soaked taste. The aftertaste of this dense merlot will make you fall in love for sure.
In my Spain office, I am always a hero when it comes to Single Malt as no one else really understands the taste. But that evening at Paolo’s place I understood a few things.
- I understood, that wine as a subject needs dedication that a mere human being like me does not have. Paolo explained the strict regimen of food and drink he had to undergo for three months before the tasting sessions. It was unimaginable.
- I understand how justified it was for my colleagues to fight on the wine supremacy between Catalonia and Burgundy.
- I understand how naïve I was (I still am not much better than) before
- I understand that India can never have a wine like Italy or Spain or France or even California.
That evening changed something in me permanently. I started enjoying Wine. And possibly that evening is responsible as to why I will never pay for a bottle of Sula. No wonder why my European colleagues do not even consider it to be a decent wine.
However, something remained unchanged… so Frank continued his love for beer (read German Beer) and I continued admiring Single Malt. However, my love of Merlot keeps growing and I had a wonderful time in Italy this year. But that will be another story to tell.
Sunando Banerjee is an avid traveler who has traveled or is traveling all across the globe due to his nature of work. Apart from a very successful career in IT, he’s an avid foodie and an integral part of the web series Foodka along with Mir Afsar Ali and Indrajit Lahiri. The write-up, as well as the photographs, are sent by him and we believe it’s his original content …