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Sniff and sip

For Nicholas Audebert wine is not just a drink, it’s a way of life. He speaks to Dhvani Merchant on New World wines.
By Dhavani Merchant | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 17, 2008 08:34 PM IST

For Nicholas Audebert wine is not just a drink, it’s a way of life. French by birth and now South American by profession Audebert works for Terrazas de los Andes, a Moet & Chandon winery dedicated exclusively to the production of varietal wines in Argentina.

The wine-maker was in Mumbai recently to promote the Wine Portfolio Tour featuring premium New World wines.

How different are Old World wines from New World wines?
Traditionally, Old World wines personify elegance. New World wines, on the other hand, are intense, more fruitful and more flavourful. Making wine, old or new, is an art. A great wine is respect for your terra (land) and depends on grapes. Great grapesmake greatwine. Our wines areNewWorldwines,which are more intense.

Tell us about Argentinean wines.
Wines from Argentina are usually referred to as New World but that’s not entirely true. We have been making wines in Argentina for more than 400 years. It is one country which experiments with its wines. Argentina has the highest vineyard in the world at 1200 metres above sea level, at the bottom of the Andes. We have a huge glacier right behind the wine yard and use melted snowfor irrigation. The sunny climate and great grapesmake for outstanding wines.

What brings you to India?
Asia is one of the most mature markets in the world for wine. Countries like Japan and Singapore are big business for wine markers. India, is a young market but there is a lot of potential for diversity. Indians love their alcohol (laughs).

Have you tried Indian wines? How good or bad are they?
That was the first thing I did on arriving here.There is great opportunity for wine making in India. The diverse climate allows for quality grapes, which is critical for good wine. Comparing wines is not the easiest thing to do because different regions produce different kinds of grapes. The result is wine unique to the area, the way Malbec, is unique to Argentina.

What kind of wine would you recommend with Indian food?
Indian food is a heady on the senses. It’s a unique cuisine with a variety of flavours, textures and spice. New World wines complement Indian cuisine beautifully. Because of the intensity and texture, they go well with the flavours and spices of Indian cuisine.

Do you have a favourite wine?
(Laughs) Asking me to choose my favourite wine is like asking me which of my children is my favourite. Buying wine is not like buying a fruit. It’s an experience — one rich in culture, tradition and senses. It’s about occasions and moments and all things special. Wine, by itself, is an expression of passion – one for the wine-maker and one for the wine drinker. But personally, I love Old World wines.

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