There is more to the wine in the goblet than its sparkle. And it takes a sommelier with an exhaustive knowledge of wines to give a low down on its characteristics. So when noted Italian sommelier Gionata Ottogalli visited News Cafe recently, there was a lot of learning for the city folks beyond the red and white wine nomenclature. A member of Italian Sommeliers Association and a student of viticulture, Gionata, hails from northern Italy known for its white wine. His father Gianni Ottogalli is a renowned sommelier as well.

Gionata was in the city as part of his India tour to promote Italian wines and to conduct wine tasting sessions for connoisseurs. His first impression of the city has been its chaotic traffic, the festive hues of Holi, and of course the biryani.

“I liked the biryani here though I would have liked it less spicy. It is different from the pizza and pastas that we normally eat back home,” he says.

Lauding the Italian fare offered in the twin cities he adds, “I went to a few restaurants to try out Italian food and found it very good.”

Life as a sommelier is hectic, says 25-year-old Gionata, who intends to be a wine-maker eventually. “Sometimes you have to sample over 100 wines each day for days together for the flavour, aroma, sight, texture and other parameters. It is an experience. And there is lot of travel involved.”

Gionata has participated in wine fairs in Milan, London and Universal Studios, LA. He has also worked in a winery in Santa Barbara, California, a County on the Pacific coast known for its vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms. Having sampled wines from Australia, New Zealand and Afghanistan, “Indian wine is sweet unlike the dry wine in other parts of the world and can go well with fried food and appetisers. Hyderabadi finger food such as the ‘chota samosa', pakodas and fried fish can be perfectly paired with wine. Wine appreciation helps people learn finer nuances so that the next time they sample wine they know how to relish it,” he says.

Omar Khayyam would have agreed for one.

Indian wine is sweet and can go well with fried food and appetisers, Gionata Ottogalli tells SYEDA FARIDA