What exactly is good wine?

September 20, 2010 – Wine. You either love it or you don’t. Whatever the case, I would like to impart to you words of wisdom, from a sommelier by the name of Nicci Pain.

Nicci, who is one of three OFFICIAL wine masters in Africa – the rest are fakes! -, was present at the opening of the latest wine bar in Nairobbery last week, The Vineyard.

As the name suggests, the proprietor sells fruits of the vine in an area that kind of resembles a huge brick oven.

Unlike other establishments where you have no say on the house wine if you cannot afford a bottle of premium grape juice, The Vineyard has more than 30 different kinds of choice wine to choose from – that you can buy by the glass.

Managing Director Alessandro Scarci says “we are unique because we are one of the first wine bars to allow our patrons access to premium wine by the glass.”

“This is very appealing. Kenya is becoming a very mature market in terms of wine. More and more people are drinking good wine and the market is growing dramatically,” adds Nicci.


So what is good wine? It depends on what works for you individually, and Nicci taught us (guests at The Vineyard) how to do it properly.

-If drinking white wine, sparkling wine, or a rose, make sure you hold the glass at the neck because your hand on the body of the glass might mess with what its temperature is meant to be.

-Swirl the contents of the glass while the stem is flat on a surface. Quickly take a sniff of the fumes that come up (make sure your nose is right into it).

-After that, place a small amount of the wine on your tongue and hold it there for a second. At this point your mouth should be slightly open. Take in air sharply, before swallowing the wine.

-Pay attention to the after taste. If you like the sting of zest, or mild flavour or heavy layer on the tongue and teeth – pick accordingly.

After achieving the like status, ask for the bottle and look keenly at it. Whenever you go to a super market and are looking for wine, you may not get the exact one you are looking for. But if the details at the back of the bottle fit those you saw on your choice wine, you can be comfortable about picking it up.

Apart from making you look good you will also get to enjoy yourself. Another obvious thing to note is that the more pricey the wine, the better the product.

White wine MUST be served chilled and red wine should be fine coming from your fridge too. This is because room temperature by European standards was a cellar in someone’s basement in the French highlands. Easily 10 degrees Celsius?


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