Quirky Wine Questions with Mr. Abhay Kewadkar

Even seasoned wine connoisseurs admit that they are still learning something new about wine every other day, and the depth and variety of the fruit itself leaves room for so much debate as well as speculation.

In a freewheeling chat with Mr. Abhay Kewadkar, Director & Chief Winemaker Four Seasons Wines, and a person who has been intrinsically involved in setting up several Vineyards in India from scratch, we learnt a lot about the history of modern wine in India from his journey in the Indian Wine Industry. Here is a short excerpt from our interview session:

We did a little survey on Chef At Large, to find out from our users, about any questions that they have about wine, and we got a tremendous response. In the below video, we put these questions to Abhay, who answers these in exquisite detail where applicable. Watch it and get wine-educated!

For those who would like shorter answers to these questions, here is a summary of the Q n A Session.

Quirky Wine Questions- Answered

1. Which type of Wine helps you reduce weight and gives a glowing skin

There is no record or report to say that any particular type of wine can help in weight reduction or give a glowing skin.

2. Which wine is healthier red or white?

Published articles on health benefits of wines have recorded that a chemical compound called ‘resveratrol’ which is present in Red Wines reduces cholesterol in the blood and to that extent, Red wines are considered to be healthier than White Wines.

3. Which wine is best paired with meat? Red or white?

The basic thumb rule of food and wine pairing is Red Wine with Red Meat and White Wine with White Meat.  Having said that, there can be certain pairings where White Wine can be used for pairing with lighter red meats depending on the method of cooking and the ingredients.

Normally, one chooses Red Wine with Red Meat as the proteins in the meat interact with tannins in the wine. A White Wine with a Steak or a Lamb dish is very difficult to pair as proteins in the Red Meat will overbear the White Wine which lacks tannins.

For roasted pork, you may need a lighter to medium bodied Red wine like Pinot Noir. But for roast Pork with Apple Sauce, you can definitely choose the White Wine like Pinot Grigio or Chenin Blanc.

If you can move outside your traditional pairing you will find many whites will match well with roast pork, especially when it’s served cold.

Old Vine Chenin Blanc is a very enjoyable match for cold roast pork while an off-dry German Riesling makes a delicious match for roast belly pork.

WINE WITH STEAK

Leaner = Lighter – As a general rule, the leaner the red meat you are matching, the lighter the red wine you can use. A rich cut, such as prime rib, will pair nicely with a bold and high tannin red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon.

WINE WITH LAMB

Smooth Tannin – Because of lamb’s delicate texture and flavor, choose a bolder red wine with smoother tannin such as a Syrah or Malbec.

White Sauces

EXAMPLES: Yoghurt Sauce, Blue Cheese Sauce, Béarnaise, Bechamel, Stroganoff, Peppercorn Sauce
PAIRINGS: Cream sauces offer a wide variety of pairing options: With a yoghurt sauce look for Grenache or even a Rosé wine. With a peppercorn sauce, match with wines with peppery notes such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz.

Tomato-Based Sauces

EXAMPLES: Espagnole Sauce, Marinara Sauce
PAIRINGS: Find medium-bodied red wines with ample acidity to match the acidity in the tomatoes: Wines like sangiovese.

 4. Myth about fish and wine? Which wine should we drink with fish and what type of fish?

If you are having a fish stew, you can go in for a White Wine, like Sauvignon Blanc, for a fried fish with a low level of spice, you can go for a Rose’ , but in case you are having a spicy Malabar fish curry like in Andhra Cuisine, you are better off, having a medium bodied Red Wine like Shiraz.

For lean and flaky fish like Sea Bass, Sole etc. one can pair with refreshing whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. For medium textured fish like Trout and Red Snapper one can pair with White Wines which have been matured in Oak, varietals like Chardonnay, Semillon. Try Riesling which is also a good pair.

For meaty fish like Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna etc. one can even pair with lighter Red Wines or Rose’ Wines.

Strongly flavored fish like Anchovies and Sardines can be paired with Champagnes/Sparkling Wines.

b) Can red wine be drunk at 10 degrees Celsius?

The list says it all.

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5. Which wine goes with which cheese? 

In case you want to taste Wines, for its evaluation and the formal tasting, I would not advise any cheese. But if you want to enjoy Wine with cheese, please go ahead and do so. Acidic White Wines go well with young and creamy cheese for eg. Sancerre with Chevre.  Older and heavy Red Wines go well with older and harder cheeses for eg. Barolo with Parmigiano.   Oaked and heavier bodied White Wines with cheese like Camembert.

Basic rule for cheese pairing:

Cheese and wines from the same region will typically go well together. Cheese with a high fat content = Smooth, oily wine.Cheese with high acidity = Sweet, alcoholic wine,Salty cheese = Acidic wines

6. Can an open wine bottle be reused? If yes, how many days?

Once you open the bottle of wine, the best way to store the remaining wine in bottle is to use a small equipment called Wine Fresh.The technique here is that the air inside the bottle is removed and the bottle remains in sealed condition.  This avoids oxidation. It is good to keep such open bottles in a refrigerator. White wines can stay upto one week and Red Wine can stay up to two weeks.

There are published articles on health benefits of wines have recorded that the chemical compound called ‘Resveratrol’  which is present in Red Wines reduces cholesterol in the blood and the extent Red wines is considered to be healthier than White Wines.

7. What temperature is right for a wine to keep in when not in use?

A good storage temperature for Wine is 15oc, both for Red and White Wines, however, you can invest in a multi-temperature-zone wine cooler, wherein you can store sparkling wines in the lower compartment  at 10oc and progressively, the temperature can go up to 20oc in the top most compartment wherein you can store heavy bodied Red Wines .

8. What’s the difference between Table Wines and Fortified wines?

Table wines or a still wine as they are called is a product of natural fermentation with Alcohol percentage ideally between 8% to 14%.Beyond this alcohol percentage of 14-14.5% the yeast dies.

Fortified wines are wines with Alcohol percentage between 18% to 24% and to achieve this Alcohol is added during or after the end of fermentation. Port wines are classic example of this.

9. Which wine can cause more water retention red or white?

This question is best answered by medical professional. In my understanding, water retention in some cases can be related to the alcohol percentage in the beverage, not necessarily the type of wine

10.What is the actual reason for the punts in bottom of wine bottles? Does it have anything to do with quality?

The only technical reason for having a punt in wine bottles is for sparkling wines.The sparkling wine/Champagnes have pressure inside them and Punt adds strength to the bottle which resists pressure inside the bottle. For still wines, there is no technical reason really but Punt is associated with better quality bottle and hence the better quality wine perception. Punt can also help in better stability when bottle is stored upright.