If you go to think of it…wine can pretty much be compared to our lives. It has a story…just like all of us. The careful picking of grapes, the environment it evolves from, the winemaker carefully nurtures it, the aging that helps develop the depth in flavor and just how perfectly it accompanies food. It clearly involves nurturing, aging with wisdom and well companionship. With something that has a history of its own it involuntarily gains intellectual conversation and whole lot of attention. And if with its history, which is surely not boring, wine can wonderfully accompany your food and can surely lift up your spirits! And if invited for an event which involves wine and food…would you not go?? I promptly accepted the invite to attend a Four Seasons wine trail that was being organized by Ginger Claps at the opulent Veda in Palladium Mall, Mumbai. Great wine, delicious food, interesting conversations and a dramatically artistic location…a great way to spend time on a Saturday afternoon!
We were greeted by our wine connoisseur, Clive Castelino, a training manager at UB Group. Though a bit delayed but once the event began there was no stopping us from eating, drinking and being merry. Clive informed us that Four Seasons wine is made in Baramati, Pune which has favorable conditions for the growth grapes and also a perfect setting for making and storing wine. Four Seasons mainly use the French style of making wine and Clive gave us a brief idea about the process of making wine. But most of us there wanted to know more about pairing wine with Indian food. Generally when we head out for our meals we end up enjoying a glass of wine with Continental / Mediterranean cuisine or as a dessert wine but pairing them with Indian food is not yet out there.
Well, Clive said that the basic rule with pairing is that neither the food nor the wine should overpower each other.
Here are few basics regarding wine which will help you to figure out your drink better next time.
Colour: To check the colour of the wine tilt your glass at 45 degrees against a white clear surface. For white wines, the paler the color of the wine the younger it is. It gains color as it ages. Whereas, red wine starts with a purple color and then goes on to red gradually as it ages. So basically white wine gains color and red wine looses color as they age. The manner in which a wine is stored i.e. barrels or a steel tank also impacts the color of the wine.
Storage: Store the wine which has a cork at an angle in such a way that the wine is touching the cork so that the cork stays wet and the air cannot enter the wine bottle. If it is a screw cap then you can place the bottle standing up.
Serving: For Red wines just place them in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before serving. Extra chilling causes it to taste metallic or bitter. Whereas white wines are better served chilled because that helps control the acidity and makes it taste more refreshing. This is the logic that applies to lemonade. It always tastes way more refreshing if served chilled. Also remember to hold the wine glass by its stem. Holding the wine glass by its bowl affects the temperature of the wine and also leaves finger prints on the glass.
And next time when you sip a nice glass of wine follow the simple 4 S’s for Wine Tasting:
SEE – Check the color of the wine. It should be clear and not at all cloudy. Also remember that aging causes changes in wine color.
SWIRL – Swirl the wine by either using the palm of your hand as the base support or a table top. The swirling of the wine helps release the flavors and aromas of the wine.
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 smells fruitier and while red wine smells more berry like.
SIP – Take a sip of the wine and roll it around in your mouth so that you can taste and enjoy all the flavors that the wine has to offer. And then gulp!
So after all this lecture on wine…here are the wines we tasted and the food we hogged on. The food menu that Veda had planned for us mainly consisted of kebabs and they truly were spot on!!
We started off with Four Seasons Sauvignon Blanc which was paired with Delhi Chaat (Crispy spinach with sweetened yogurt, tamarind and mint chutney) and Basa tikka.
The wine had a very clear fruit flavor and was really light on the palette. The wine and food just perfectly complimented each other. I could taste the light spiciness of the basa tikka and it so didn’t overpower the fish. Also the low on spice chaat was perfect with Sauvignon Blanc.
Next we moved on to Four Seasons Blush which was paired with Malai Broccoli.
The strawberry and refreshing flavor of the wine beautifully uplifted even the light flavors of malai broccoli. We also found out that if blush goes bad it turns orange in color!
Next came the reds!! Four Seasons Shiraz paired with Kakori kebab (melt in the mouth lamb kebab flavored with cloves and drizzled with saffron).
This dark ruby berry wine went down really well with the clove hit from the kebabs. I guess this wine would go really well with our spicy Indian gravies thanks to its peppery notes.
And last up was the Four Seasons Barrique Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon paired with the most divine Galawat ke kebab or otherwise known as Galouti kebab.
The reserve was aged for 9 months had a rich purple color and a very complex aroma. After the Shiraz it did taste smoother but it was really high in flavor and the kebab was just perfect with it.
We ended with questions from everyone which lead to so many interesting conversations discussing whether Indian wines are vegan or no (which they are by the way!) and also figuring out what is Ice wine!!
We all parted after posing for a lot of pictures and a bottle of Four Seasons Merlot as our parting gift and I hope I get to up it soon!!
I would like to thank Akshay Gopal from the Ginger Claps and Ashrita aka Caramelwings for the invitation!