Traditional concepts of pairing white meat with white wine and red meat with red wine might still work in western countries but in India, it becomes essential to match the intensity of the food with the wine, says one of the country’s youngest sommeliers.
“Wine and food pairing is an individualised affair. What works for one person might not work for another depending on their taste and preferences. There is also a right way to do it and a wrong way to do which people learn with their own experience,” says Arjun Sachar, 29 who will be directing a two-day Delhi Wine Festival at the Hyatt Regency here over the weekend.
In India, where different regional cuisines have their own gravies and sauces, the relevance of enhancing the richness and subtle spices used in a dish is as important as pairing the protein (meat) with the wine. So, it is essential to match the intensity of the food with the wine.
“Light wines with light dishes and rich wines with rich/heavy dishes. Oaked Chardonnay’s or Oaked Merlot’s go well with tandoor dishes; kebabs with a Pinotage or a Pinot Noir; a curry that has a mild level of spice will go well with a Riesling; butter chicken with a Chianti,” Sachar, who has an MBA in Wine and Spirits Business from Bordeaux’s INSEEC Wine and Spirits Institute, told in an interview.
There has been a rise in the growth of wine consumption in India over the past couple of years, even though the market share is comparatively smaller than spirits.
Sachar said: “For a long time, most of the wine consumption would be in hotels but there’s been a rise in purchase from the retail segment and also standalone restaurants.”
“The more accessible it is and the more value wine importers and domestic producers can showcase their products, the better it will be for the industry as a whole. People today are ready to experiment and spend money for experiences,” Sachar added.