'I get to try local cuisines'

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'I get to try local cuisines'

Australian winemaker Stuart Rusted has been learning many things about India on his visit here and that includes how Indians have a fine palate for wine. 

    The winemaker for Wolf Blass, an Australian winery,  was in the city for ‘The Fine Wine Affair’ at The Oberoi Bengaluru.

     “From the wines that I have tried here, I am happy to see that India has a fine choice of selections here. However, the flavour palate is much of a sweet style of wine unlike what is usually available in other parts of South Asian regions. I think the palate here is mature in some way,”

Talking about the wine- making process and how a sommelier adds to the process, he says, “Winemakers, like me, are the ones who produce the wine whereas, sommeliers help customers choose the wine. There is an overlap with what we do, though. But at the end of the day, we work together to understand what the customers are looking for and work towards that.”

However, with the change in trends, it takes years to produce the wine. “When you plant grapes in your vineyard, it takes several years to harvest the first batch. And the final product will be available only after 10 to 15 years. For example, in the late ’90s, people preferred buttery, rich and oaky-styled wine. But that has changed to a finer and less oaky flavour now. It takes time and practice to perfect that.”

Unfortunately, global warming plays a big role in it too. He explains, “Grapes are tough plants to manage but as long as they have a hot summer and cold winter, they will be fine. But with global warming, winemakers have to heavily involve themselves in researching how to overcome this. We are still in the process of figuring it out.”

Ask him how good is Australian wine with Indian food and he laughs, “I am still learning about the flavour pairing. From an Australian point of you, if I were to try an Indian dish which is spicy according to me, I will choose something that is sweeter. As a winemaker, there are two options I can contribute to this. One is to bring in the flavours of Australia and hope that people like it or make one that is appealing to the customers here. But the latter would mean that I am not being true to my authenticity.”

When Stuart is not researching about wineries, he is busy thinking about cricket. “I am a sports nut and I am thrilled about the cricket season. I also enjoy rugby very much. And thanks to my work, I also get to travel a lot and try local cuisines,” he shares.

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