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Master Sommelier Alpana Singh At SABA Event

Ranjani Saigal
03/31/2007

Since wine is not native to South Asia many South Asians feel daunted as one tries to look intelligent while reading a wine list. This can be a challenge especially for those in the sales and marketing field where wining and dining clients is an essential part of the job.

To demystify the art and science of wine, the South Asian Bar Association invited Master Sommelier Alapana Singh, who is only one of 121 (and one of 15 women) Master Sommeliers world-wide to speak at their “Wine and Spice” event held at the Bombay Club in Harvard Square on Thursday, March 22, 2007.

“The event is a fundraiser to help support the mission of SABA,” said President Annapoorni Sankaran. SABA has several core missions that includes being the regional voice for the concerns and opinions of South Asians in the community generally, and in the legal profession in particular, providing a forum for professional networking and development, legal scholarship and education, advocacy and community involvement, promoting the advancement of attorneys and law students of South Asian Heritage, and supporting provision of legal services to the South Asian community and working with other bar associations, governmental agencies and community groups to achieve greater involvement in and understanding of the American legal system by the South Asian community. The event was sponsored by Michael Parikh and Raman Sivasubramanyam of Merrill Lynch, Private Client Group and Bombay Club.

Master Sommelier Alpana Singh put everyone at ease by assuring the audience that they should feel confident in expressing their likes and dislikes about wines. “Wine is like art. It really is all about what you like,” said Singh who is the Director of Wine and Spirits for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. She has won several awards including the Bon Appetit’s Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year and has published her first book Alpana Pours about being a woman, loving wine and having great relationships.

What kind of wine works well with Indian food? “Wines that are lower in alcohol (14-15%) go well with spicy Indian food. Chilling the wine will helps tone down the alcohol,” said Singh.  “While there are wines that work well with certain foods if there is only one wine you would like for an entire meal, a Riesling (White) or a  Pinot Noir (Red) would be a good choice.”

What makes a wine expensive? “It is the quality of the wine. Certain years produce excellent grapes that make for good wines. I would suggest looking at wines from places where the real estate is less expensive like Chile and Argentina for it is possible for them to produce good wines cheaper than in say California,” said Singh.

The evening featured three whites, three reds and a dessert wine. The 2006 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand was considered perfect for samosas, yogurt dips, coconut curries and salads. The 2006 Cousino Macal Riesling Dona Isadora Chile was a choice to compliment spicier dishes. The nuttier flavor of the 2005 Tormaresca Chardonnay Puglia was considered right to pair wit spices such as coriander, cumin and turmeric.

The 2006 Red Diamond Merlot Washington was considered a perfect match for lamb kababs while the 2005 Alamos Malbec Mendoza was a good choice for creamy cheese and meat dishes.  The 2005 Hayman@Hill Pinoy Nior Santa Lucia Highlands was a good combination for everything from grilled vegetables to shrimp and chicken. The 2005 Quady Elektra Orange Muscat was a great match for desserts soaked in syrups.

Treasurer Shobha Pillay along with Board Member Neil Sherring and others from the board put the event together.  The SABA executive committee also includes Vice President Samia Kirmani and Clerk Mohan Thomas. Indu Anand, Manisha Bhatt, Kajal Chattopadhyay, Tejal Mehta, Shahzia Rahman, Smriti Rana, Neetu Sehgal, Sonia Shah, Dhara Sharma, Neil Sherring and Natasha Varyani are members of the board.

The event was enlightening as it was entertaining Alpana Singh’s expertise and her presentation skills made this an event to remember. To learn more about SABA please visit their website at http://www.sabagb.org.



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