the-south-asian.com January 2008
- Book Reviews
AlpanaSingh - wine wonder woman
"I'd love to be the spokesperson for my generation's interest in wine—a wild dream, but maybe it's possible."
The Wine Wonder
Currently the Director of Wine and Spirits for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc., she oversees wine education & training, purchasing and bar programme development for the Chicago based restaurant group.
Prior to her position at Lettuce, Alpana served as sommelier for Chef J. Joho’s Relais Gourmand and Traditions et Qualité restaurant Everest in Chicago, where her job, as she says, "… was not to pick the wine for them (the guests at the restaurant), but to help them pick a wine for themselves" - not an easy task from a list of more than 1,400 wines!
Zinfandel drinkers are "unpretentious and extroverts."
Sweet rosé or white zinfandelers - "You’re possibly a homebody who’s not too knowledgeable about wine."
The book advises women to "Get over the ‘Pretty Boy’ phase" ("Pretty Boys" in this case being chardonnays!!!)
At a more personal level – get to know the signals from what a man orders!
"It takes a long time to drink a bottle (of wine), so if he
orders a bottle, he wants the date to last," she says. "But if it is by the
glass or if he orders beer, then he is just kind of like, 'I just want to
get this done and over with.'"
The best guys ask for the lady’s preference before ordering. "He really listens to you and wants to know what your tastes are, and then he orders based on what you want."
In her book, Alpana divides the world of wine into six basic
styles – Light whites (pinot grigio, chenin blanc and sauvignon blanc),
Sweet Whites (riesling and vouvray ) and Heavy Whites (chardonnay and
viognier); Light Reds (with low tannin levels, such as gamay), Spicy Reds
(zinfandel and syrah ) and Full-Bodied Reds (cabernet, malbec and rioja) –
as easy as that!
She is also the host of the three-time Emmy Award-winning restaurant review television show Check, Please!, which airs weekly in Chicago.
Alpana and husband, author Charles Blackstone, live in Chicago.
They do not have a collection of wine "…because we keep drinking it."
Alpana lends her support to causes that help the visually impaired, disaster survivors and local food banks.
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