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The non-alcoholic diaries: My experiments with wine

Not everyone is a fan of wine. One reason could be that wine is an acquired taste and does take a bit of commitment to learn about and like.

more lifestyle Updated: May 19, 2019 16:40 IST
Kabir Singh Bhandari
Kabir Singh Bhandari
Hindustan Times, Delhi
Wine,Red wine,White wine
Are you fond of wine too or would you rather opt for vodka, whisky, beer or something else? (The Pasta Bowl Company)

Being mostly a non-drinker, wine is the one liquor which I especially detest the most. Someone had once told me, “I hate it because it tastes like cough syrup” - and that description of the alcoholic drink has always resonated with me.

An uncle of mine had once tried to endear me towards wine by saying that I’m “supposed to sip it, roll it around my tongue and then I would learn to enjoy it.” That I needed to ‘acquire’ the taste.

Well, that didn’t quite work for me. Quite a pity really, considering wine is supposed to be fat and cholesterol free, both of which my recent medical tests confirm I need to cut down on. And it has many more health benefits, for example, to consume the number of antioxidants wine has, you would need to drink 20 glasses of apple juice or seven glasses of orange juice.

So, inhale its fragrance, sip it, swirl it inside your mouth, roll it around the tongue, and then maybe, just maybe you would enjoy it, or slowly ‘acquire’ the taste. It’s like one of those jokes on the internet:

The secret of enjoying a good wine:

1. Open the bottle and allow it to breathe.

2. If it does not look like its breathing, give it mouth to mouth.

Which is why, I always felt that I was one of the few people who weren’t fond of the drink, but a chance conversation with Prateek Arora, director, Q’LA, the European restaurant in Delhi’s Mehrauli area, convinced me that I might not be alone after all.

“As Indians, we are curious but not as willing to invest in wine education. People want to know more about wines and also do appreciate a wine experience but they don’t commit easily to a systematic way of learning about wines. iWine, the community for those interested in wines was founded on this principle - to make wine more engaging and providing education through interactive formats like ‘Wine & Pizza’, ‘Wine & Art’, etc,” explained Arora.

“Wine as a category has grown but it is still weak in comparison to other categories especially whisky. Wine, firstly, is an acquired taste and does take a bit of commitment to learning and like. Secondly, thanks to the taxation structure, it becomes an expensive proposition to pursue and not everyone would immediately take to it,” Arora told me.

My commitments lie in other places apart from wine, so tasting it was out of the question since I don’t like the bitter taste it provides. I did, however, discover a lovely strawberry flavoured spritzer at Q’la, which, for the uninitiated, is a hint of wine with club soda.

Either way, whether you’re a wine aficionado or not, the next time you’re at a get-together and someone says they’re “Drinking to your health,” do appreciate the gesture. You see, the phrase “to drink to someone’s health” originates from ancient Greece, where the host would take the first sip to assure his guests the wine wasn’t poisoned.

Cheers.

The author tweets at @shadowwarior and can be reached at kabir.bhandari@htdigital.in

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First Published: May 19, 2019 16:38 IST