The Wi-Not team reached Taj Ambassador, New Delhi on 25th March 2009, for a Belgian wine tasting. On offer were Les Vins de Roisin’s fruit wines produced and nurtured by Mr. Ludovic Boucart. Present there were also the Ambassador of Belgium who expressed his desire to see Belgian wines grow and prosper in the Indian market like their other products.
Before we went for this surprisingly refreshing wine tasting, all we knew and appreciated of Belgium were its diamonds, chocolates and beers but soon, enough, we all were to mutually agree that they had another rising star – their excellent fruit wines.
Owner and winemaker of Les Vins de Roisin, Mr. Ludovic Boucart, is a degree holder in oenology from France. His philosophy is to apply the basic principles of winemaking to fruits other than grapes in order to produce outstanding fruit-based wines. He told us that he was a natural healer as well and used this special skill of his to divert universal energies to his vineyard and fruits that actually made them taste better. The vineyard is actually planned, based on the much respected principles of Feng Shui, and all the fruits are organically grown and handled. They produce red, white and sparkling wines using primarily quince and rhubarb for whites, and cherry, raspberry and strawberry for reds.
Sparkling wines were made with red and white rhubarb using Méthode Traditionnelle, the same method that is used to make Champagne and other top sparkling wines of the world.
Another surprising point was the use of German oak barrels for wine maturation. The maturation could last anywhere between 3 to 5 years. Mr. Boucart uses first-use medium-toasted German barrels only and believes that German oak adds elegance and roundness to the wines. He also added that these wines could be enjoyed as an aperitif with a meal or well after. A few sips and tasting notes later, we couldn’t agree more.
Rhubarb Wine- Cuvée MINERAL 2002
Gurjit – Pale amber in colour with a very oily consistency and pronounced legs. The wine has a nose of minerals and sweet spices. Palate is off dry, has a sharp attack with balanced acidity, yeasty & toasty notes. Mid-palate is balanced but short on length. The wine will go well with Sushi, Chicken Seekh kebab, white-mild cheeses and as well as an aperitif.
Gagan – Clear to the eye with a medium-intensity light golden colour. Hints of lychees, stone fruits, guava and marigold were pronounced on the nose. Fruity and fresh attack, with a good dose of acidity on the palate was balanced with apt level of alcohol. A bit minerally on the mid-palate with a short-lived retrolfraction. Suggested to be had as an aperitif or with seafood, light flavoured chicken dishes, mild cheese, duck liver pate and fish.
Cherry Wine- Cuvée SAKURA 2003
Gurjit – Give me this wine in a Black tasting glass and I will tell you this is an aged Burgundian Pinot Noir with pronounced Cherry notes. Deep Ruby in colour, the wine has pronounced cherry notes on the nose. Palate is dry with oak showing through. Awesome balance between wood and fruit, the wine has silky tannins like an aged Pinot Noir and has notes of maraschino cherries, vanilla & cedar wood. It has sharp fruity attack with balanced mid-palate and a very long length. The wine is good to go with pigeon, duck, honey-glazed pork, pheasant and other game birds, mild-white cheese or, for true red lovers, by itself.
“Every drop’s bottled poetry.”
Gagan – The most impressive wine of the afternoon. ‘Sakura’ the name was inspired from Japanese for cherry trees (in blossom). Wine was dark ruby red in colour with medium plus intensity. It had a very sharp and profound nose with cherry notes being dominant, especially sour/ bitter cherries. Tannins from cherry and oak aging were easily detectable; young as when taken from the bark of a tree. The oak structure of the wine was light and round and that added an edge to the wine. The palate clearly had sweet and dark cherries with a muddy or a dusty finish. It was also a bit salty indicating black salt (mineral). It had smooth and light acid levels ranging between low to medium-low. Enjoy this wine with dark chocolates, cheese and glazed gamey meat.
Quince Wine- Cuvée SUAVE 2003
Gurjit – Amber coloured white wine, high glycerol content and an almost oily consistency. The wine is sweet with balanced acidity and notes of quince (!), dried apricots, raisins and vanilla. Sharp fruity attack, balanced mid-palate and a soft finish with a pleasing aftertaste. The wine is good to go with fruit based desserts, crème caramel and creamy or rich cheeses.
Gagan – This one is primarily a dessert or a sweet wine. Light amber colour with medium body. Notes of quince, fresh raisins, apricot jam, cashew and damp white-bread dominated. It had nice refreshing acidity with a good sense of balanced. On the palate it had an oily touch and was sticky as well. Figs, honey and fresh coconut water were very pronounced with some hints of fresh sugarcane juice. The wine can be accompanied with cheese, creamy desserts, tarts, crème caramel, fresh fruit crèmes and likes.
Sparkling Rhubarb Wine L’Effervescence de Roisin Cuvée Prestige 2006
Gurjit – Amber in colour with a fine mousse, and notes of red rhubarb on the nose. The wine is off-dry. Bubbles are consistent and silky on the palate. Raspberries notes emerge later. The wine is good to go as an aperitif or with seafood and surprisingly, also lightly-sugared fruit based deserts.
Gagan – Very attractive colour, like an Eiswein. Had a fine and a continuous and constant bubble. The wine exhibited a fruity nose with notes of fruit jelly, Christmas cake, fruit jam and also some bread, yeasty notes but the latter were not too pronounced. The wine had a sweet palate with sweetness of fruits and not of sugar. It also had noticeable acidity levels as the acid wasn’t sharp or citrusy yet was refreshing. I did find it a tad short-lived on the palate. The wine can be enjoyed with lightly cooked vegetables, salads and chicken stew.
Raspberry Wine- Cuvée AROMATIQUE 2003
Gurjit – Pale ruby in colour with ageing signs along the rim. The wine starts with a sweet attack with supporting acidity and pronounced notes of raspberries, strawberries and cherries. The wine is good to go with duck, or with cherries and red fruit based desserts.
Gagan – Ruby red in colour and carries a fortified/ sherry sort of a look. Nose is quite sharp and has a high intensity. Notes of chocolate, fruit jam, raspberries and blackberries, caramelized strawberry and blue cheese were noticed. The wine tastes a bit fortified and sweet. It was found to be higher on alcohol in comparison to its low acid and tannins levels. It is an after-meal wine to be enjoyed with a selection of cheese or chocolate-driven desserts.