Monthly Archives: August 2014

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The wines of Kerala – Part 2

Category : Canada , Kerala , Malayalam , Niagara

English: Nutmegs (Myristica fragrans) on a tre...

മലയാളം: ജാതിക്ക (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Read the full series.

The aroma of the Niagara wines reminded me of the nutmeg shells. Probably nutmeg shells are deeply imprinted in my memory database. I should tell my Mom to try making nutmeg wine!

Wines of Kerala

Wines of Kerala

Mallu winemakers traditionally use Bharani (ഭരണി ), the locally available porcelain container with a lid as French or American oak is beyond their reach. Porcelain obviously cannot bestow the fruity flavour to the wine. So we may have to find an innovative container for wine making. കറുവാപട്ട  (Cinnamon) may be a good replacement for oak, though I am not sure whether the flavour will be too much. Anyways, I am sure my Mom adds cinnamon to the wine that she makes.



Apparently, the oak barrels are air tight with no residual air at the top. Air changes the flavour of the wine. Wine should be allowed to breath only when the bottle is opened, just like the infant takes the first birth after birth. Bharani’s are not airtight. So this may be an important limitation for wines of Kerala.

Do you have any tips to improve the taste of our wines?

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Wineries of Niagara – part 1

Wineries of Niagara

Wineries of Niagara

My Mom makes wine. Her wine was the only wine I got to drink for a long time till I got hooked to the taste of Chilean wine served on Emirates flights. I am not a connoisseur of fine wines and I may not be able to differentiate red from white if blindfolded. But ever since I tasted the real thing, I tried to convince my Mom that what she makes is not wine, but fermented grape juice.


A wine Checkerboard.

Today after tasting wines from many of the picturesque wineries strewn over the Niagara region, I learnt many new things about the art of winemaking. I am more or less sure my Mom’s sugar syrup tastes not so “winey” not because of the grapes of Thrissur being different from the grapes of Ontario or the hot humid winds from the Athirappilly waterfalls being different from dry cool winds from Niagara falls. I have some theories and some suggestions for the “mallu” winemakers.

Wine stored in oak barrels

Wine stored in oak barrels


But first, let me summarize what I learnt today: Aroma contributes to 40% of the taste. So next time smell it before you gulp it down. The taste of the wine depends on the climatic conditions during harvest. The 2012 wines are the best lot in Ontario. The wine gets its fruity flavour from the oak wine barrels. Canadian oak is hard and not suitable for this purpose. So here they get it from US or France. Both give distinct flavours. When you smell the wine, it may remind you of some fruit based on your experience or “your memory database”. Do you know which fruit it reminded me of? Will be back with this soon.

Read the full series here.

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