The colony in the outskirts of Ranchi town was where I grew
up, amidst flora that included fruit bearing trees like guava, mango, wood apple and lychee. The cool confines, courtesy the shades of these trees, were one of the favourite hanging out place for me and my friends; a place where we discussed on topics of varying nature and argued in favour of our favourite soccer team. The lychee tree was my favourite amongst the other trees, primarily because it was always willing to accommodate me, with my short height not proving to be a barrier to reaching out for its branches and pulling myself up on the tree to rest in the crook between two branches. The bonding with lychee began thus and grew stronger with every passing season when the tree used to provide an inexhaustible supply of bunches of the red juicy fruits.
The town of Muzzaffarpur in Bihar is famous for its lychee fruit production. According to Wikipedia, Muzzaffarpur produces 300,000 MT of lychee annually, the quantity being 40% of total India’s produce.
I love the lychee, particularly because of its sweet taste and its hassle-free way of handling. The fruit is not as messy as the mango or the wood apple or even the sugarcane and certainly a minor hassle by way of it being handled when compared to the pomegranate. The fruit pulp, when chewed, burst forth to fill the mouth with pleasurable and heart warming sweetness. Once the sweet juice is drained out, all that remains of the pulp tastes something like an over chewed chewing gum-flat and rubbery.
These tastes and the associated memories came back to me as I took the first sip from the bottle of Lychee wine that a friend of ours make and gifted to us!
The wine, the colour of pale straw, had a clarity akin to that of the waters of a mountain spring. Just watching the daylight move in with ease and light up every single speck of this clear liquid was sheer delight to my senses. Then there was that sweet, heady aroma of lychee that pervaded my senses with every sip and brought the memories of youth back in a rush!
Those who love the flavour of Lychee would certainly, in my opinion, find this wine quite to their liking.
The only flip side to this great wine is the dryness factor. It may not be easy for everyone to consume more than a glass because the dryness factor begins to take hold on one’s senses and leaves an uncomfortable dry taste in one’s mouth.
To pair the wine with the right food was a difficult choice for me. The sweetness followed by the dryness inside the mouth would probably need to be countered with some fried fish fingers or chicken cutlet. Even a buttered Naan with some chicken malai kebab would go well. A little oily Indian fried food should counter the dryness and therefore should pair well with this wine in my opinion.