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Money can’t buy taste

THE ASIAN AGE. | AJIT BALGI
Published : May 26, 2017, 12:35 am IST
Updated : May 26, 2017, 12:35 am IST

Heavy on the pocket doesn’t mean better for the palate. Wine expert Ajit Balgi busts some myths as he talks about flaunting our personal choice.

An expensive glass of wine, or your favourite Old Monk. Enjoy them both, says Ajit. (Photo: Pexels)
 An expensive glass of wine, or your favourite Old Monk. Enjoy them both, says Ajit. (Photo: Pexels)

It was the summer of 2007, and I was a beverage professional in a reputed hotel. The one thing I always wanted to do back then was to crack open a bottle of  Penfolds Grange, an Australian red wine lying in the club cellar, just to taste it. It was valued at Rs 37,000 on the menu, and in my head back then, anything this expensive had to be brilliant in quality and taste. Naturally, we tend to equate high prices with premium quality.

My stint in London amplified my interest in wines. A bottle of a well-aged Burgundy Pinot Noir, the red grape variety, could fetch half a million rupees while one that was relatively younger on the shelf could be bought for a few thousand rupees.

The former would smell like a mixed bag of mushroom, cabbage, vanilla, red fruits and more while the latter had more of refreshing fruit and sweet spice notes. What then would be your obvious choice?

Old Monk

Experts describe an acquired taste.
What we Indians find regular to our palates, the West describes more or less as spicy. The expert version of a dish can become a notch better with your experimentation. Who, then, do you follow? The recipe or your improvisation?

The answer lies in your taste. Whatever works for you and your palate is good enough, even if it does not meet with expert opinion. He talks about a taste that he has acquired over a period. What you cultivate can become your preference.

Life is too short to fake it
Who is to decide that an Old Monk is not better than Captain Morgan or that a vada pav can’t compete with a burger? Flaunt it as you own it. Most of the wine notes brands — Indian or imported — are flavours unheard of. A self-proclaimed wine aficionado might announce aromas like acacia, red currant, hawthorn, or more. But does he know what they are? My two cents would simply be, savour what you like nd let the world judge. Life is too short to drink wine you don’t enjoy. Cheers!

Ajit is the founder of wine and beverage consulting and experience firm, The Happy High

Tags: mushrooms, vanilla, white wine, wine, penfolds grange, burgundy