Archive for January, 2009

Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal

January 25, 2009

Rémy Martin 1738

Got to blend in with the times. Which is why I decided to go for a cognac and embrace hiphop this week. Having tried the VSOPs offerings of both Rémy and Hennessy before, I decided to try something else. The XOs are a bit prohibitively priced, so this 1738 variation of Rémy was the only choice. Plus, the liquor store had a gift packing with a leather hip flask. How appropriate!

The history goes that in 1738, Louis XV of France granted Rémy Martin a warrant to expand his vineyard. Hence the name. There is more history associated with their Varietal which google could give you, if you are so interested.

Notes — spices, dried fruits and hint of flowers on the nose. Smooth on the palette with hints of pepper and cinnamon which finishes off with chocolate and tobacco. Or as avataram once noted, pretty much like ‘ARR suganda paaku’.

Overall, a smoother version of their VSOP.


On Chile. And Obama.

January 19, 2009

All traditional wine-grape varietals originated from Europe. About two-hundred years ago, European varietals were brought to North America and cultivated. These early plantations failed miserably, for apparently no reason. As a second experiment, North American varietals were brought to Europe and grown there. Surprisingly, the European varietals died out.

Later, it was found that the North American soil contained a bug called phylloxera. This bug injects a toxin that adversely affected the roots of European grape varietals. North American varietals had built up immunity against this toxin, over the years. Some ill-fated troubleshooting had transferred the phylloxera across the Atlantic. The bug multiplied rapidly, completely routing Europe’s premium wine regions.

Then, the European varietals needed to be drafted with roots of North American varietals, to survive. Drafting effectively neutralized the effect of the phylloxera but it also cut down significantly on the age-span of vineyards.

The phylloxera cannot survive in the rugged South American soil. Grape vines in the traditional wine-regions of Chile do not need root-drafts and can live up to be older and with time, richer than those in the Northern hemisphere. Which is why Chilean wines will continue to get better and better.

P.S: I wanted to cleverly link this with Obama’s inauguration but I gave up.

Food – Wine pairing

January 19, 2009

The other author of the blog asserts that wine does not go well with Indian food. That is rather stunning given the amazing pairing I have had with Indian food and wine. These days I dont take finger food while I drink and instead enjoy the liquor for what it really is. I then finish off with leftover from lunch, which usually is arachu vitta sambhar sadham or adai-avial on a saturday night.

But, back in the days when the BMR was high, I used to be rather picky about what went with the sarakku. For instance, the Kingfisher lager is a fine beer (second only to the pilsner urquell in my opinion) which goes well with “urulagadda veppudu” from the liberty rooftop in kodambakkam or with “aloo kashmiri” or “aloo malabari” or some such dish from ranjit hotel on nungambakkam high road. Later on in Bangalore, I found out that the La Reserve from Grover vineyards goes well with sheekh kababs from bayleaf restaurant in koramangala. The Glenlivet 12yo goes well with a dish called “draco idli” at the haddows club behind nungambakkam ICICI bank. If you have to have vodka with Indian food, you need to order “poondu kuzhambu” at the raintree in connemara. They serve you that with rice and a certain vadaam that goes well with absolut peppar. Recently, me and my friend, both of us on the brink of stomach ulcer, discovered that the best food to go with a binge drinking session is tamizh style boiled vegetables with a pinch salt and pepper.

As you grow older there is only one thumb rule for selecting a food to go with the wine – it should taste the same when going in and coming out, or atleast be easy on the way out, should you end up hugging the toilet seat.

Wines, Goltis and All

January 18, 2009

Indian or Thamizh food is not for fine-dining. But if you have to insist on a wine, there is the Gewürztraminer varietal. Known to complement “spicy” food like Mexican because of its spiciness and aroma, the Gewurz does not quite  go as well with sambhar and palak paneer or whatever the hell North Indians eat with their Dunlop tire naan.  However, alcohol and food are acquired tastes and response to tastes can be faked, though not as well as goltis fake resumes, references and now account books.

America has given mankind many things, important among them fast food/beverage and impatience applied to industrial techniques, resulting in the glorious construct of rapid mass-production.  Oaking wines is a slow, expensive and time-consuming process. The American genius came up with fake-oaking by dipping huge oak-bags — like tea bags — in wine drums. The results put even the goltis to shame. Usually.

Glenmorangie 10 yo Original

January 18, 2009

My earlier adventure with the Glenmorangie was the now discontinued, burgundy wood finish. The 10yo Original is the best selling single malt whisky in Scotland and the Scots must be knowing something about scotch. The whisky was also ranked the best Single Malt in the 10 Years Old to 12 Years Old Category of Highland/Speyside Malt Whisky in Jim Murray’s “Whisky Bible 2008”.

Notes —  Flowers, toffee and vanilla on the nose. Sweet on the palette at first, almost like sugar syrup or toffee, then a hint of spice and peat before fading to a refreshing and warming mint.

Summary — A very delicate and complex whisky ideal for the first time single malt drinker. It is a bit bland to my taste however. I’d prefer an islay malt anyday.

investment advice

January 16, 2009

Buy a bottle of Duckhorn Vineyards’s 2007 Sauvignon Blanc or Goldeneye 2005 Pinot Noir or Korbel Natural. Or shares of J. Crew.


January 15, 2009

In the sunshine state, large spaces of several hundred acres are taken by amusement parks, roller-coasters, rafting and other activities of excitement. People whose peace is reasonably secure tend to get bored with life and ache for stomach-churning thrills pronounced safe by some government agency and lying capitalists.

Life itself seems to be a joy ride in the southern Florida, at least for visitors and new residents. The temperature is in the eighties even in January, there is no state tax on income and the St.Augustine grass looks nice on lawns. After an intense day at work, one could simply go to a beach or ride the Sheikra at Busch Gardens. Getting hold of free or discount passes is not at all hard**.
There is one downside tof living in the Tamp Bay area. The weather drives one to consume beer rather than whisky, thus making one slightly lower in caste and heavier in weight. But eventually, one has to do what is necessary. Sometimes, one gather enough gall to ignore a furious wife and get some real liquor. Two trips to India in three months demands some cost-cutting and one may decide to buy a cheap blended whisky like Ballentine.

Smell: Peat, smoke, sweet fruit.

Taste: Wood, dried fruits and then peat.

Summary: Smooth, balanced, well-rounded, medium body and has a nice finish. Along with Grants, among my favorite blended whiskies. Ideal if looking to save a few bucks and not willing to compromise too much on taste.

**Flying in/from/to the United States is infinitely more thrilling. Airlines which have stopped serving peanuts to cut operating costs are likely to intentionally overlook the one critical loose bolt, to cut maintenance costs

Balvenie 12 yo double wood

January 13, 2009

The only time I had The Balvenie before was about a year ago at a friend’s place and it was the 17yo, rum cask I believe. I did not like it much then, but I had already had Glenmorangie that evening. I remember it to be the burgundy wood finish, a bottling that had been discontinued. Balvenie 12yo doublewood

But plenty of sewer has flown down the cooum since and I thought I’d give Balvenie another shot. This time I had the 12yo double wood. Apparently, the whisky is matured first in the traditional bourbon casks for about 10 years and then in sherry oak for another 2 years and hence the name. The bourbon is supposed to mellow it down and the sherry add character.

Tasting notes — ripe fruits, banana, spice (cloves?) and woody. Bit of tobacco. Woodiness lingers long. Dry.

Overall, a very beautiful speyside whisky but not absolutely mellow like Glenlivet or boring like Glenfiddich.

The Glenlivet 12 yo

January 7, 2009

the glenlivet gift packingThe Glenlivet 12 yo is apparently the most popular single malt in the world and it is not difficult to see why when you taste it. Every year, during the holiday season, my local liquor store carries boxed gift sets of popular spirits. This year they had a Macallan in a fitting leather bag or in a box with a little ice bucket and a book (presumably detailing the various Macallan offerings) and the Glenlivet 12 yo in a box with two neat looking crystal glasses. My dishwasher had broken one of my whisky glasses and so I went for the Glenlivet.

When I heard the Kardashian sisters on TV say that they liked George Clooney for his intellect, I knew I had to have a drink.

The whisky is absolutely mellow and no single flavour is pronounced making it pretty complex and one has to fight to identify the flavors and tastes. Which is what I think contributes the immense popularity of the whisky.

Tasting notes — flowery and slightly fruity. Oak flavors and a hint of spice, a good balance between sweetness, spice and dryness with a long and warming (minty?) finish.

Overall, something everyone – from the casual malt drinker to the connoisseur could enjoy