Napa Valley wines

Inside Napa Valley wineries: part II In theory, making organic biodynamic wines is simple; just let nature do its job. Let the grapevine dance with the moon, dodge the sun, discover the stars 4   Shoba Narayan Napa’s Screaming Eagle. Photo: Eric Risberg/AP Beyond the blue yonder where chocolate-coloured grapevines stretch as far as the eye can see, a plant is making choices about its … Continue reading Napa Valley wines

Napa Valley. Wine. Sonoma Valley. Part 1

People in America, California particularly, have access to a ridiculous amount of great wines, many sold direct from wineries through wine clubs.  Here is a sampling.  Naturally, this being written for an Indian paper, there is an Indian angle.   Inside Napa Valley wineries: part I An Indian winemaker gets the best out of California terroir Shoba Narayan At the Nicholson Ranch, the entire process … Continue reading Napa Valley. Wine. Sonoma Valley. Part 1

Can you smell and taste through cyberspace?

Technology has conquered two of the five senses: sound and sight. What about the other three? How do you describe a wine in words? Shoba Narayan suggests we reach into our own heritage: A Chenin blanc could be called “Insipid, like Aunty Maria’s pork vindaloo” The killer app, at least in the fields of wine, perfume, cheese, or anything that relies on olfactory and gustatory … Continue reading Can you smell and taste through cyberspace?

Can wine be described well?

Lots of nice wine tastings coming up in Bangalore.  One with Food Lover’s Magazine. How best can you describe a wine? KRSMA Estates has invited me to a tasting of their wines next week, and frankly, I am a little nonplussed. Not because I dislike their wines, which I don’t, but because there is this whole brouhaha in wine circles over the esoteric terms and … Continue reading Can wine be described well?

Madras to Mumbai

I was conflicted about writing this, because I don’t think people should define themselves so narrowly.  In terms of the “land they sprung from.”  But I cannot deny the fact that such an identity exists.  So I wrote it.  Tried to keep it light. The psychology of a Matunga Tamilian I grew up in Bombay,” says Gayatri, one half of the Carnatic singing sister duo … Continue reading Madras to Mumbai

Wine glasses

How to balance multiple readerships is my challenge. Wine one week; heritage conservation, the next; and wildlife, the third. How to make wine glasses palatable for the activist so that they don’t dismiss it as frou-frou? I often think of narrowing down my writing to one topic. Just can’t figure out which one will sustain my interest. In search of the perfect wine glass A … Continue reading Wine glasses

KRSMA and Champ de Reves

My policy towards free stuff pretty much echoes my editors.  As far as travel goes, some magazines allow me to take free travel. The Taj group for instance, will email and say, let us send you here “just to experience.”  Of course, there is no free lunch and the assumption is that you will write about it for someone. I hate these golden handcuffs.  These … Continue reading KRSMA and Champ de Reves


Thank you Viveck Crishna for the help and info. Here is the piece that appeared in Silkroad. Met a tea taster, Shivram Warrior, who was saying that once you drink enough cups, you can identify tea like I identify pizza– its provenance, grease-level, which Ray’s New York pizza outlet, and time of takeout. At least I used to. Tea for Silkroad/Dragonair Continue reading Tea