Four Season Wine Trail at Ardor: Lessons in Food and Wine Pairing
"O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provencal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen..."
~Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats
And who would find any fault with John Keats ardor for divine nectar - surprisingly Ardor also happens to be the place in Connaught Place where I was invited for Four Seasons Wine Trail. I would like to produce yet another quote by none other than our wine sommelier:
“All champagnes are sparkling wines but all sparkling wines are not champagne”Jyoti Nikhalje, Sr. Executive Wine Training and Activation at UB Group
|Four Season Wine Trail: Aimed at Urbane and Sophisticated Middle Class|
Without dwelling much over the spilled beans let me come back to the event i.e. Four Seasons Wine Trails at Ardor, Connaught Place in January. First, I’d like to give a brief overview of the fast changing food and wine scenario of a rapidly developing urban India.
Wine is fast catching up the imagination of urban youth and becoming an important part of gourmet dining. What wine does, if paired properly with food is make a symphony out of a meal going together with the food and adding a sparkle to the dining experience.
My first tryst with wine was during my college trip to Baramati (- co-incidentally Four Season wines are matured in the same region in Sahyadri valley). On our trip to wineries we had all purchased Zinzi Rose, White Red and all at throw away prices and even 4 bottles that I had couldn’t last two days. At that time – novice as I was and with no sommelier like Jyoti around to tell me about the finer nuances, I found Red and Rose quite appetizing and White to be okay.
The 4S of Wine Tasting
SEE –Before opening the bottle, notice that wine level in the bottle should be such that it touches the tip of cork to keep it wet so that the stopper doesn’t allow any air to creep in which could compromise the quality. After pouring wine in the glass, first look could tell you about the aging and process. If old and aged, white one is generally darker and red wine is generally lighter. A good quality wine should also be clear when you have a look at the glass and not opaque. Quality of grapes and duration of aging could lead to a range of color variations.
SWIRL – Gently swirl your glass of wine holding it at base and try to aim to coat the sides of the glass. The swirling brings out the latent power of wine, a sudden eruption like some sleeping volcano coming to life after long slumber. What actually happens is that the swirling sends oxygen through the wine which expands the surface area thus allowing the aromas to open up.
SMELL – After the swirling take a sniff of the aromas released by the wine. You will be surprised by the amount of aromas that fill up your nose. Fruity, peppery, herbs! White wine exudes citrus aroma whereas red wine is more berry like and warmer location such as Baramati adding darker riper scent.
SIP – Take a sip of the wine and roll it around in your mouth. The taste of the sip of wine is combination of the actual flavor as well as the scent.
About Four Seasons Wine Trail event at Ardor in Connaught Place
Four Seasons by UB Group is aimed towards the sophisticated Indians, the Movers and Shakers, the urbane young brigade who are redefining the outlook and lifestyle of rapidly developing India. They are educated, they have traveled, they love to experiment and they are sophisticated. These are the taste and traits to which Four Seasons will appeal. The wine trail that I was invited to, was an eclectic mélange of this heady mix of youth and urbane. These wine trails which are conducted all over the country aims to educate the populace about finer nuances of wine. After attending the trail, I could surmise that it won’t be long before Wine and Food pairing becomes part of the urban lifestyle wine and a staple at the dinner table of restaurants in cities.
I have been drinking wine for quite a few years now but before this I had never put into so much thoughts about wine and food pairing. Thanks to Jyoti, I could now call myself a wine literate (if not yet educated) person as opposed to the novice I was years back when I first tasted wine in Baramati. With so many experts on wines, and opinions being subjective more often than not, the discussion on the merits of bubblies could elicit endless discussions. Although a bit pedantic, her lessons were enlightening.
The journey of the Four Season Wine by United Breweries begins at a vineyards in Baramati in Sahyadari region in Maharashtra from where the grapes are produced, plucked and sent to a Four Season Winery located in Baramati to be prepared for primary ferment. The difference between red wine and white wine comes from the fact that in White, skin is removed from the grapes and plays no further part whereas in case of Red fermentation occurs with the skin. Yeast may be added to assist fermentation. It takes time before wine is fermented till it matures in wooden drums. Maturity could take anything from a few months to 15-20 years for top brands of wines. You could know the date of bottling but it's the taste, colors and aroma which gives you an idea about the age of a wine.
Wine and food matching is the process of pairing food dishes with wine to enhance the dining experience. In the opinion of wine connoisseurs and sommeliers around the world Food+Wine is all about fragrances, finesse and balance. For food and wine pairing, we were told that balance is the key word. It should be taken care of that the wine doesn’t overpower meal and vice versa.
When mixing food with wine, one should follow few basic rules of pairing. Sweet wines pair naturally with desserts whereas acidic wines go well with salty food, fish and salad. Another interesting thing about food and wine pairing is that wine of a particular region matches well with the local cuisines of that particular region.
Ah! You see quite an expert I have become. I think I am ready to give a lecture on finer nuances of food and wine myself. Thank you Four Seasons for the education.