The Wines of India

Wines of IndiaOn 19th April there was an interesting event at Vintners Hall, London –  a tasting of Indian wines, celebrating the book launch of The Wines of India, a Concise Guide, written by Peter Csizmadia-Honigh MW, winner of the 2014 Geoffrey Roberts Award.

The Geoffrey Roberts Award is an international wine-related bursary of £4,000, given each year to someone who can demonstrate to the judging panel a genuine commitment to New World wines. Peter Csizmadia-Honigh was a worthy winner of the award in 2014, enabling him to publish this interesting book about a country that has started to produce wine as recently as the early 1980s.

Named ‘A Concise Guide’, it is actually a lengthy, but worthy tome, of 452 pages which starts with detailed information about the history of contemporary Indian wine, subtropical winegrowing, grape varieties and wine styles. Modern winemaking began with Indians who had enjoyed wine on their travels abroad, in particular successful entrepreneurs and businessmen. There were already established vineyards in India, but for table grapes, so some realised growing grapes for wine wouldn’t present a problem. Continue reading

Jura Wine Book and Tasting in Geneva

Jura Wine Book and Tasting

A few photos from a successful evening at the Jura Wine Book and Tasting in Geneva on Thursday.

ura Wine Book and Tasting, Geneva

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Virgile’s Vineyard

Virgile's Vineyard

It was, as my old friend Michael used to say: “A happy chance” – Patrick Moon has had a couple of them, which encouraged him to write this book.

In 1997 Patrick, then in his mid 40s, decided to quit the legal profession, thinking that there ought to be time in life to achieve more than one thing. After spending a little time in India, in 2000 he inherited a run-down property in Saint-Saturnin, inland from Montpellier, in the heart of the Languedoc.

A lover of wine and good food he set about discovering the excellent and diverse local produce in his new home. He happened to meet a young winemaker who was also starting a new business in the Languedoc.

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Through a Sparkling Glass

Through A Sparkling Glass

You have been a wine drinker for a while then one day you realise that there’s more to wine than meets the eye. You want to learn more, only to discover that there is so much information to assimilate, and all this knowledge can often seem too daunting.

Here is a cheerful book that not only tells you serious facts about wine but, and more importantly, it looks at the stories, ideas and opinions about and around wine. And in a way that is far from daunting.

The book opens with the story of the invention of wine (with meetings between God and Kevin!) and the author’s father’s pleasure in serving humble wine stylishly and with respect, before embarking on a range of topics. Arranged alphabetically from anecdote and fact to advice and philosophy, all celebrate wine.

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Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine

Sometimes it’s a pleasant change to read a wine publication that isn’t technical or learned. So I enjoyed this book by the young American wine writer Mark Oldman. With its subtitle of “Pleasure, Value and Adventure beyond Wine’s Usual Suspects” Mark introduces you to a world of discovery of “little gems where costs are moderate and insiders hang their hats”.

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He caters to wine enthusiasts of all levels. He nudges the novice in the direction of identifying new styles that suit their tastes. For those with intermediate knowledge he introduces new and reborn regions as well as fresh twists on certain classics. For wine professionals the book is designed to fill in gaps and help choose “among the stars in the constellation of worthy wine types”.

With 46 chapters of no more than seven pages each he concentrates on what “you really need to know, sparing you lengthy elaborations on geology, chemistry and history”. Under the main heading of Brave New Pours, the chapters have inviting titles such as “Riesling from Austria: The Floral, Flinty Invigorator”, “Pinot Noir from Oregon: Fine-Boned and Ego Free”, “Bargain Bordeaux: Pedigree Lost, Value Found” and “Grower Champagne: Farmer Fizz, Brewed by the Boss”.

In each short, pithy chapter Mark focuses on how a wine typically tastes, a price guide, best food matches etc as well as comments from his “Bravehearts”, wine lovers he has interviewed about their vinous preferences. He even includes pronunciation as well as clear lists of advice including. useful food matching descriptions and recommendations for specific events, such as Mothers Day. I am reminded of a customer of my old wine bar who asked me to suggest a wine for Sunday lunch. “What are you having” I asked him. He replied: “Roast beef and mother-in-law”…

The best advice Mark offers are alternative wines at the end of each chapter (à la Amazon “if you like this, you’ll like that”) and summed up in one of the appendices where the “Usual Suspect” is on the left with “Brave New Pours” indicated to the right. This is especially useful for those wine buyers (and I think we meet many such people) who are daunted by the rows of bottles in supermarkets where the only assistance on offer is a dumb shelf talker.

Mark Oldman has written a very useful book in a relaxed, friendly and fun manner. It would be very useful for the novice wanting to explore the huge variety of wines on offer, as well as for those more knowledgeable to nudge them in different, exciting directions.

Brave New World of Wine by Mark Oldman is available from Wine Travel Guide Amazon Book store at  £14.99 but is shipped from the USA so takes 4+ weeks.

If you want more details do have a look at Mark Oldman’s website.