From the wine connoisseur – Seagram’s Nine Hills

I was never a wine guy. Domestic whiskey and the frequent flirting with an assortment of beer from all over the world has been my weekend drink. There was this one time I brought wine home, and even though I don’t have very clear memory of how that went, it sure wasn’t good enough to take me back to it. But that has all changed off late – especially, I must mention, due to the excellent range of  in-flight wines served by Air France during my recent trip to the US. I will confess I’m now hopelessly in love with wine, and especially with the red variety. This love blossomed every Monday through Thursday, during the evening complements, throughout my month-long stay at Marriott’s Residence Inn in Atlanta and the final weekend I spent at my uncle’s beautiful house in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, and as I now realize, very foolishly, I never kept track of the I wine was having; the names to go along with those elegant bouquets and those absorbed-on-the-tongue flavours have been lost into nothingness. There still exists a slim chance that I may have saved the Menu offered by the airline, but I’ll never be able to give name to the intoxication I enjoyed during my hotel stay. Therefore, in order to make up for my inexcusable sins, I decided to make a detailed account of every wine I savour henceforth. I begin tonight with an Indian red variety I decided to pick this weekend – Seagram’s  Nine Hills.

Harvested and fermented in the wine capital of India – Nashik; Nine Hills, a Cabernet Sauvignon has a rich terracotta colour. The bouquet, albeit nothing like those of the varieties I savoured during my trip, is still one that will invite you to take a healthy first gulp. Once served, the Nine Hills takes a deep texture at the bottom with a hint of thin purple on view at the brim – possibly the expected lack of quality showing up – nevertheless it is one that does not disappoint the slightest. Time a for a little shake and the wine swirls and twirls delightfully for the connoisseur,  softening  only very slightly. Here we go then – the first gulp, and umm.. I must say the Nine Hills is definitely not bad wine, on the contrary it has a nice palate with a few inexplicably, yet enchanting, flavours throwing little hints all over your tongue. The grapes that went into this wine were definitely of the highest quality and there has been an obvious effort to achieve perfection in the blend of flavours.  Next comes the aftertaste, and here’s where it leaves a little to be desired – its basically more of a wash-down variety – in ways compatible with the Indian wash-down drinking style. But there is a little bit of lingering .. was that a bit of vanilla there ?

Everything said, Seagram’s Nine Hills is premium domestic wine, keeping Nashik’s reputation very healthy. For INR 565 or $10.49 ( in Maharashtra ), it is real value for money and would easily place in the mid-shelf of any common western wine store. Try it for its rich taste and texture, and obviously for the sweet-mild intoxication that comes along. The bouquet and the after-taste is where it could probably have been better, but hey ! what do I know, I’m only just getting started !

I’d give it a nice 3.5/5 on my wine chart. The Nine Hills is a good glass.

Enjoy Responsibly.

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Yeh Saali Zindagi

YSZ is not really refreshing, its not something we haven’t already been coming across with all the smart Indian flicks these days, but where it does captivate you is its strong dialog, the inter-twined fates of its characters, and some really brave character acting. And to that you can add a little bit of Irrfan Khan!

Irrfan Khan & Chitrangda Singh

The story is about 2 Delhi goons, Arun (Irrfan, who is more of a corporate thug cum gangster) and Kuldeep (Arunoday Singh, your perfect Purani-Dilli gang member), who are desperately both in love, or rather trying to win their love back, and at the same time, entangled with their dirty money jobs. Their love interests are played by Chitrangda Singh (Priti, who waits for Arun to propose, and waiting too long, starts dating another guy) and Aditi Rao ( Kuldeep’s wife, who’s irritated by his dirty work, but extremely passionate about him ). The story keeps flirting between undertones ofobsession, crime, extortion, cheating and gang brawls, all of the while, with some really witty humor sprinkled all over by some of the best raw dialog of recent times.

While the genre is a familiar one, director Sudhir Mishra’s treatment is refreshingly zany. In place of gloss and gimmicks, he goes for the brash brutalities of love and lost love with layers of inter-twined protagonists with dedicated precision and subtext. But, the real deal-clincher is the very real-world ( full of everyday abuse ) dialog, arguably better than the likes of Kaminey ( although I don’t remember watching that movie ), and full of stimulating wit, which keeps you hungry for its next bit all the time. The background score  is well in sync with the storyline, with some really hilarious/sensuous themes packed along with the fast paced Dilli music.

It is a fast-paced black comedy, that made the multiplex audiences go hooting last night, so it has to be worth the dime, and a little more. Irrfan Khan is once again, back to his best, and Chitrangda Singh really keeps catching the eye. This would probably be my first Bollywood review, so I guess watch it for that !

Rating – 8/10

Kart’s Spring Summer Collection 2009

The best i’ve come across this year:

1. TV Show, UK- Skins

2. Song (+ lyrics ), Blue October – Hate Me

3.Movie, UK – Trainspotting

3. Movie, Indian – Dev D

5. Movie,Indian – Luck By Chance

6. Movie,USA – The Wrestler

6. Movie ( Series ), USA – Kill Bill

8. Movie ( Series ),USA – Star Wars

9. Movie ( Series ), USA – X-Men

10. TV Show, USA – Californication

X/Y

Now that the 3 day break is doing its last moments, here’s what I’ve been through:

Tropic Thunder: 9/10

How to lose friends and alienate people: 6/10

Dev D: 10/10

Australia: 8/10

Back To The Future -1: 7/10

Cloverfield: 9/10

Kill Bill Vol.1: 10/10

Lock Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels: 8/10

TV

Lost s05e08: 9/10
How I Met Your Mother s04e16: 5/10
Heroes s03e19: 6/10
The Big Bang Theory s02e17: 8/10
Kyle XY s03e09: 6/10
Some of the regular South Park: 6/10

The best entertainment of 2008!!*

2008 would probably be an year i’d remember more for the sporting entertainment it provided compared to anything to do with film and television. Here i list some of the best from the year-gone-by.

(*only includes events i witnessed myself)

1. UEFA Champions League Final- Chelsea vs Manchester United, May 21st 2008, Moscow.

2. Indian Premier League Final- Rajasthan Royals vs CSK, June 1 2008, Navi Mumbai.

3. CB series Finals (India vs Australia), Jan -Feb 2008, Australia; & Australia tour of India, Nov-Dec 2008.

4. The Dark Knight ( July 2008 )

5. US President Elect Barack Obama’s victory speech, Nov 5th 2008, Chicago.

6. How I met your mother ( Season 4, TV)

7. Welcome to Sajjanpur ( Sept 2008 )

8. Heroes (Season 3, TV)

9. Everton vs Aston Villa, EPL, Dec 7th 2008.

10. Russia vs Holland, UEFA Euro -2008, Jun 21st 2008.

11. Usain Bolt’s WR sprints, Beijing Olympics, August 2008.

12. US President George W. Bush getting the ‘boot’ from Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi, Dec 14th 2008.

13. Burn after reading (Sept 2008).

Genre Talk-1

I’ve discussed a lot about movies here, taking individual movies under the scanner, n i believe it would be nice if I could talk a bit about genres, some movies/genres that I’ve tried n liked in the various genres, n those which I won’t ever recommend. Guess it’d be an alphabetical list, I begin with A today:

Action: I don’t watch many action movies, never a great fan of violence, and out n out stunts bore me. Action, hence, generally comes across as a supporting category for me. Disaster flicks, Westerns, Sci-fi, Superheroes would generally be the main themes. The thing I believe with action movies is that, most of them, in their sole purpose of fight situations, often tend to wander away from a definitive storyline. The one movie which wins me over on this theme purely would definitely have to be Brad Pitt and Ed Norton starrer Fight Club.

Action Recommends: Fight Club (Action + Sci-fi), Sholay (Western + Action + Indian), The Bourne Series (Action + Sci-fi + Adventure)

I just can’t go through: Kill Bill’s, Eastern Martial Arts flicks.

Adventure: Its interesting defining an Adventure genre different from the more likely parent categories of Action, Sci-fi, Fantasy, etc. An adventure movie maybe classified as one which involves the central character(s) involved in an unprecedented situation (an adventure), generally undertaken to serve a cause, and involving action as an undertone. I could classify a very wide range of movies to fall into this category, from the Harry Potter’s to LOTR’s to Forrest Gump to Indiana Jones to even Wall-E. Adventure is an appetizer upon which most movie buffs devour, n I’m no different.

Adventure Recommends: LOTR series (Fantasy + Adventure + Action), The Prestige (Adventure + Fantasy + Sci-fi), TV series Lost (Adventure + Sci-fi)

I just can’t go through: Not found one yet (can’t remember any right now)

Animation: Animation as a taste appeals only with a few of its examples, although kids love any anime they get. Pixar animation deserves a special mention for its excellent work in bringing out some of the best modern-day animation movies. Old names like Walt Disney, Hannah Barbara also keep contributing heavily into the anime genre. Anime as a genre has also seen contrasting main themes over the years, and modern day anime, especially a lot of the Japanese work covers almost all things comprehendible.

Anime Recommends: Wall-E, Ratatouille, Death Note, South Park, Crayon Shin Chan.

I just can’t go through: Most of the other kids based anime programming, n almost all other Japanese anime shows.