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September 8, 2014updated 02 Nov 2022 12:18pm

A case of … Vijay Amritraj

1. The first wine

The most important questions really are not “what” (or when) but why? This is the only thing I expect from the standpoint of liquor.

I was 19, in New Hampshire, USA, celebrating a big tournament win. It was the Volvo Championships in 1973. It was a good experience. I enjoyed it. However this may have been because I won!

2. The finest wine

I have been lucky enough to drink all kinds of wine, from the finest châteaux, to grands crus all the way down to the worst wines. Wine culture, I feel, is drinking a good decent wine, not over the top on cost and palatable enough to drink enough but not feel the effects the next day!

However this week I enjoyed a Montrachet in London with my friends at Rolex, including the Chairman. It was a wonderful experience, drinking a high quality wine with friends, people I know well. They are also wine connoisseurs and know their wines well, which added to the environment.

3. The last wine

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What was the wine?
I attend so many events and functions across the world over the year. I have been fortunate to drink good quality wines across the world, but in general have been drinking more white than red recently.

4. Dessert island wine

If you were forced to drink a single wine region/country/style for the rest of your life, what would it be – and why?
French wine. And why? I don’t know, more for the taste. The average French wine is generally good to an extent, so is Italian. We’re in a time where there is lots of good wine from different parts of the world. However I have a little more affinity to French wine, followed by Italian wine, then Northern Californian wines.

5. Wine 101

If you were forced to get rid of a single wine region/country in the world, what would it be – and why?
This is a tough one to answer; as soon as you drink a bad wine you’d be much better off not drinking the wine again, and drinking water.

6. Wine book

What book should no wine library be without?
I’m always looking more for wine regions. I don’t know wine as well as I know regions, so a book on regions themselves would be fun to read, as well as educational.

7. Wine hangout

What’s your favorite place for wine drinking?
There are numerous fun places I have been to around the world. I can’t pick somewhere specific. I go on over 100 plane trips a year, to different cities, visiting nice wine bars with local friends makes the wine experience even better.

In the UK, I would say my favorite place for wine drinking is in the evening, in the courtyard of St James’ Court, a Taj Hotel.

8. Dream wine

If you were given unlimited funds, what single wine would you buy?
I don’t think I’m the kind of person who’d want to buy a whole lot of wine at once, in the same way that whisky drinkers drink and collect 50-year-old whisky. I would prefer a nice, good quality wine, whether it’s a rich red or a light white, it doesn’t have to be hundreds of thousands of pounds. I am not the sort of drinker to drink by myself in a corner of my house. I’d rather be out drinking in a wine bar with good ambience and friends.

9. House wine

What’s your house wine, your everyday drinking standby?
Obviously living in LA, northern Californian wines are very popular, mostly from a white standpoint because of the warm [weather]. On average I drink about 70 percent white wine, 30 percent red wines. In general the regions I go to are Napa Valley, then Tuscany, and then Bordeaux, all of which are of course well known for their wines!

10. New wine

What’s your favorite recent discovery?
I have tasted certain New Zealand wines that have recently come forward and are making good inroads. The name escapes me, but the whites were perfect and I really enjoyed them. I feel the wines we have put out [the Grover VA Reserve Collection] will be able to compete with that market of wine. They are not expensive, but wines to drink on a weekly basis.

11. Winemaker

Who is your favorite winemaker?
When people travel and drink wines on their travels, they don’t go to Australia and look for French wines. In the same way you wouldn’t go to Italy to drink wine from the Napa Valley. I believe it’s important to taste the premium wines of the regions when you are there.

12. Wine place

What’s your favorite wine region to visit?
I would say Italian wine regions, as they are just beautiful, from a visual standpoint. So is France, but Italy is perhaps a little more historic. So I’d have to say probably Italy and France.

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