CHAT Wine expert and export manager Micheal Negrier says India does not have to ape the west
Micheal Negrier started his career selling yogurt, so when he came to Bangalore, representing the House of Domaines Barons de Rothschild as their Export Director, looking dapper in a sharp suit and spoke of identifying highlights and other nuances of wine you know he has fared well for himself.
“Hennessey was my introduction into the wine business – I discovered a whole world and it became a passion.” Micheal has been educating himself about wine for over six years, “Yes, every vintage is different, it’s difficult to recognise a wine blindly. You need your nose and palette to understand what you like and don’t like about it. And the more you know the more you want to know and educate others.”
In the wine tasting business, the nose is like a muscle and you need to improve your perception from there. You need to exercise it to help you understand flavours, 70 percent nose and 30 percent mouth, according to Mr. Micheal, “Everything else is an added advantage.”
Globally the markets have opened up to include wine, albeit little by little. The markets have forfeited a small share of their local spirits to make place for wine and the nifty reds and whites are taking over. “Fifteen years ago, 50 percent of America’s market belonged to beer, but not anymore. The Chinese wine market has exploded with local wines booming and taking over a considerable share of the local spirits.” What about India? — “The market is still premature for wine,” says the expert. “Excise duties slow the markets and make it very expensive.”
Of the wine that they are exporting from the House of Domaines Barons de Rothschild – the company has made sure that they have tried to match the Indian palette, easy to drink, balanced and sophisticated.
And the eternal dilemma of which wine with what food, Mr. Micheal lays our apprehension to rest, “Well, it is important but not essential,” he says, before he continues, “In Asia it is not necessary to replicate what we do in Europe. Asian food is diversified, and spicy and matching wine takes too much effort. White wine has more acidity, freshness and zing and adapts itself to dishes. For the more spicy food you’ll need something more full bodied, with a lot more tanning and power. You can go through a full meal with one wine if you want,” he concludes.
CATHERINE RHEA ROY