Much ATOUT about fine things

Fascination for the grape and its rich heritage has made this lady a storehouse of knowledge.

What started out as a natural affinity for the bubbly for sommelier Sheetal Munshaw soon turned to rosés and sweeter Alsatian whites. In complete sync with the barrels and oaks, she knows her tasting notes well and confesses she thrives on various sonnets or tenets that many struggle to understand. She visits various cities across India and wine is part and parcel of her life now.

The elegant connoisseur is also part of the Atout France, France tourism and she pipes, “As director, my role entails showcasing France to India and India to France and to showcase the potential of India as a key emerging source market for France to the French tourism network.”

Recalling her tryst with wines and how wine appreciation became second nature to her, Sheetal who was in Bengaluru recently, states, “My first formal course was in Cape Wine Academy South Africa where I did my intermediate levels in wine appreciation and worked at iconic vineyards in Constantia. I did many short courses including an appreciation course with the CAFA Bordeaux Wine Academy and the WSET Level 2. However, my first tryst with wine goes back to my college years while on long stays in France, I discovered my preference for wine over other spirits. I thrive on discovering new wine styles and varietals, my most recent discovery being the Torrontes grape variety from Argentina, thanks to a specialist wine importer.”

Her adoration of the grape extends to her wine tours. “Being on wine tours has been an integral part of most of my travels around France or romantic getaways with my wine loving husband or on wineland picnics with my son. As I go through my wine memorabilia, my repertoire is ever evolving, but it wouldn’t be complete without some unforgettable memories of la douce France, where it all began in my case. The verdant vineyards of France have played host to some of the best wines and each region produces its local wine, right from the capital city that is a treasure trove of specialised cellars; my favourite being De Vinis Illustribus that specialises in millesime or old vintage wines. I have some of my best memories in Bordeaux, which is also the birthplace of many artisanal wines with modest price tags! Some of my preferred white wine indulgences have their origin in France’s chateau country of the Loire Valley. I’ve also experienced some momentous wine tastings at Cape Town, South Africa and the Hermanus wine route. But what tops all was our family visit to Seppelt where Australia’s sparkling Shiraz wine style was founded in a maison entrenched in 160 years of wine making tradition. A wine rendezvous that remains etched in my memory is a tryst with the bubbly, thanks to Rajiv Singhal ambassador to champagne in India.

Besides that I recently held a wine appreciation dinner with Gauri Jayaram of Activ Holiday Company in Bengaluru for a discerning audience,” she pipes.

When she’s not indulging in wines, Sheetal loves to discover new places, cultures, cuisines and people. “The French language has been one of my biggest passions. I’ve also dabbled in various dance forms including classic Indian, Salsa and still looking forward to finding the time to discover dance forms I haven’t explored,” she signs off.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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