Thursday, 9 August 2012

An amateur's guide to wine tasting!

Four Seasons Wines had recently hosted a food and wine tasting event inviting all city bloggers for a luncheon at the amazing Oasis Restaurant at Park Street, on 28th July 2012.


I had tasted red wine before but I never really understood what the hype was about! Nevertheless, I was very excited when I was invited for the event. Part of my excitement was also because this was going to be my first meeting with all the other city bloggers.



The invite!



The bloggers - (L-R) - Swarnali Das, Anupriya DG, Ayantika Bhattacharya, Sayantani Saha, & Me



Also the one who took this picture - Debiparna 



And also Shayoni!


We were welcomed at Oasis by the owner, Mr. Pratap Darayani and Four Seasons Wines representative, Mr. Peter Mitter and once we were all seated and served with platters of snacks, we all got to doing what we love so much…clicking pictures! We were so engrossed in talking and laughing that the wait for former Miss Earth, wine connoisseur and our host that afternoon, Miss Shamita Singha went unnoticed.



Before our enriching session with Miss Shamita had begun, Mr Peter Mitter enlightened us on his knowledge on wines.  He is one of the founding members of the Calcutta Wine club, the first and only one of its kinds in Kolkata.


Wine has much more to it than taste. It’s an experience which brings together all your senses. This is where the 4S come in to the picture – See, Swirl, Smell, & Sip!


The first sense – sight! You hold the glass against some source of light to see the color of the wine. The color of the wine gives you the age of the wine. A bright raspberry red color or a pale green to yellow is a typical young wine while a rich brick like color or a deep golden is an old variety. While you are at it, you can also feel the weight of the wine as in whether it’s a lighter or a heavier type. Then you swirl the wine in your glass, a table as a support would be helpful.


The second sense – smell! The purpose of swirling the wine is to let the aromas come out. You bring the glass close to your nose to get a whiff of the flavors infused in the wine. You might get a varied mix of aromas ranging from fruity and spicy, to woody and musty. You also start to paint a mental picture of the place origin of the wine.


The third sense – sound! This is a small part where you clink your glasses and say cheers.


The fourth sense – taste! And now you take a large sip and roll it in your mouth so that you coat your mouth completely with the wine and you can taste it entirely. You can feel the lightness or the heaviness and also the after taste or finish of the wine.



Now let’s come to what happened at the event. We had assembled to learn how to pair the right type of food with the right type of wine. The general rule here is white wine for white meat and red wine for red meat. But there’s more to it.



The lovely Shamita Singha telling us about the wines!


We started off with Four Seasons Chenin Blanc which was paired with Veg Wontons and Herb Infused Chicken Reshmi Kabab. The Chenin Blanc has a pale yellow color with lighter aromas of citrus fruits. Due to its lighter taste it pairs well with light foods like appetizers or snacks.



For the main course we were served Grilled Fish in Lemon Butter Sauce with Garlic Bread, Fries and steamed vegetables. This was paired with Four Seasons Viognier which is a little dry and has a pale gold color and tropical fruity aroma. This also has a smooth lingering finish. This pairs well with medium bodied, mildly spiced dishes as this is slightly heavier than the Chenin Blanc.



We went on to dessert with Brownie with Vanilla Ice cream paired with Four Seasons Blush Wine. This has a pretty salmon pink color and hints of floral scents and it works best with desserts or sweets.



Finally we also had a taste of Four Seasons Barrique Reserve Cabarnet Sauvignon Wines which is a deep purple colored dry red wine. It smells of rich blackcurrant and spices, and has a smoky woody aroma and has a rich lasting finish. This red works very well with very heavy bodied dishes like barbecues, or very spicy tandoor recipes.


My favorite was the Four Seasons Viognier, the reds might take some more time to get used to!



I am highly grateful to Four Seasons Wines, Mr. Akshay Gopal and Mr. Peter Mitter for organizing this wonderful event,  Mr. Pratap Darayani for the lovely venue and food and Miss Shamita Singha for taking time to enlighten us on the beauty of wines.


Four Seasons was generous enough for gifting each one of us a bottle of Shiraz red wine.




The afternoon was simply perfect with the right food, the great wines, the amazing hosts, and the fabulous ‘us’!


Images courtesy - Anupriya & Debiparna