With monsoons and winters approaching, hotels’ Human Resource departments have pulled up their socks. We have quite the clients under our belt and trainings at various properties have begun already. There is some extensive travelling to be done and some expensive bottles to be uncorked, all for love of wine education.
The interactive, sense-of-humour infected, alcohol-laced, joyous sessions cover serious topics like wine basics, tasting theory, tasting methodology, reading labels and pronunciation tips, food and wine pairings, and service and storage principles ending with an hour-long exam and blind tasting practicals. All this is normally spread over a few days of training at every property we visit.
The day begins with an introductory session with wine definitions followed with basic tasting and pronunciation exercises, moving on to wine service practicals and finishing off with a couple of wine tasting sessions with two brackets of reds and whites. Finally, at the end of the training, students are put to the test of taste with a blind tasting and theory exam. Shaken up with a serious bout of questions, the attendees were then made happy with their favourite dishes – Indian, continental and oriental – paired with some excellent wines. This exercise remained the star of the sessions too. Food and wine pairings not only lifted the spirits (literally), it was also voted to be the most knowledgeable one. The day, and so the training, were sealed with tastings of some bubblies and sweet wines. CHEERS!!
Below are the tasting notes of some of the wines that were tasted blind during the exams:
Wine 1: 2007 Kendall – Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, USA
Clear young wine with pale lemon yellow shades and tinge of green and medium(-) intensity.
Clean bouquet with off-dry notes of fruity sweetness, dominant peaches, pear, guava, apricot, passion fruits, granny smith apple, pineapples and white fruits. Citrus punches and overpowers most of the bouquets.
Off-dry clean palate with a fruity impact showing white stoned fruits, steely, minerally, citrus notes with a layer of exotic fruits, dry powdered ginger, lemon, pineapple, peaches and melons- both rock and honey-dew. Mid palate notes hints of kiwi, figs and slightly oxidised apples, fresh cut grass and asparagus. Medium(+) acidity, medium alcohol, medium(-) body and aftertaste ranging not over 4 seconds but leaving palate wet and refreshing with acidity to come back for.
Med-price range. Consume now or in another 6 months. Pair it with blue eyed cod dishes, salads, light seafood with mild flavours, light appetizers and starters. Great to drink on its own too, a summer wine.
Wine 2: 2006 Henri Bourgeois Pouilly Fumé, Chavignol, FRANCE
Clear young wine with a clean pale lemon yellow sight with hints of greenish tinges
Clean bouquet with a fresh smell of exotic and white fruits. Stone and mineral impact at first but not aggressive or attacking. Notes of fresh honey dew melon, peach, pear, guava and asparagus follows and finishes off with a citrus touch, fresh cut green apple, cotton and ripe white mango
Clean dry palate with medium(+) intensity, hitting with citrus notes at first. Moves on to passion fruit, white spices, lemon, cut and kept fresh apple, smoke and oak, steely finish to stay with. Medium(+) acidity, medium alcohol, light body, short aftertaste not remaining over 4 seconds but acidity appeals to come back to; fruity notes vanishes off sooner. Mineral, smoky, steely characters to look out for.
A great aperitif wine to hold on to and pair with crisp and light dishes. Not too complex, a good value wine ready to be enjoyed now.
Wine 3: 2004 Brand’s of Coonawarra Chardonnay, Coonawarra, AUSTRALIA
Clear wine with dark lemon colour reaching to golden hues with medium(-) to medium intensity
Clean nose with sweet white fruit aromas dominating with citrus, ripe white grapes, mineral, creamy, banana aromas to follow. Definite notes of malolactic fermentation with no prominent signs of oak treatment, though sight suggests so. Pineapple touches and leaves, doesn’t stay
Dry wine with a clean palate. Citrus notes with hint of spicy characters hitting afresh throwing notes of oak as it leaves. Medium(+) acidity, medium alcohol, medium body, aftertaste longing up to 5 seconds. Nice balance between fruity sweetness, fresh acidity and moderate alcohol levels. Malolactic fermentation notes leaves a clean soft, round and balanced aftertaste begging for more.
Overall, crisp white wine with citrus notes and oak character, well balanced with fruity palate. Can be enjoyed on its own and appreciated with crisp high acid/citrus soft white smoked and grilled chicken, pork, fish and prawns meat dishes. Value for money wine
Wine 4: 2006 Louis Jadot, Pinot Noir, Bourgogne, FRANCE
Clean well aged wine with ruby red core with faded rims ranging from very light ruby red to tawny.
Clean bouquet with medium intensity. Earthy and berry aromas with a hint of commercial LPG gas notes (when opened, slowly went away).Oak is visible but does not dominates. Smells of dusty tannins but not very powerful ones.
Clean dry palate with citrus/acidic attack, salty and tannic. By the virtue of it being an aged wine, earthy oak flavours, plums, berries (red and dark), jamuns, nutty, dusty woody tannins forms a nice structure that becomes a character to come back to. Medium(+) acidity, medium tannins and alcohol, body ranging between medium and medium(+). Red fruits with dusty tannins lingers with acidic touch remaining on the aftertaste that hangs on for up to 5 seconds.
A mid-price range wine which should be consumed now. Pair it with nice saucy, meat based pasta or mild red meat dishes from continental side of the menu to appreciate it better.
Wine 5: 2000 Sartori Amarone Della Valpolicella, ITALY
Clearly an aged wine with a dark rich garnet colour with fading rims ranging from brick red approaching tawny, orange shades.
Clean to smell, medium(+) intensity of aromas, mainly spices, aged plums and earthy wet soil. Very Italiano, complex notes with red fruits (both dark and soft), blueberries, blackberries, dried cherries and meaty aromas.
Dry clean well aged wine with medium(+) intensity palate that grows from powerful flavours and chocolate-spice range and finishes off with a distinctive bitter note. Notes of earthy soil, oak, dark red fruits, blackberries, some oxidative + rancio characters, dried black mango ceviche, meaty sausage notes, dark chocolate, spices, herbaceous with some eucalyptus notes. Medium acidity, medium alcohol, nice round tannins of medium intensity that sticks and are enjoyable, medium(+) body and long aftertaste of up to 6-7 seconds.
Decanting and breathing suggested. High value wine that must be consumed now. The wine begs for food and shall be delivered. Roasted pork and lamb dishes accompanied with jus or red wine reduction, steaks and grills, ox cheek with chocolate sauce, and likes will compliment the wine well.
Wine 6: 2005 Green Point Shiraz, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
Clear wine with a dark ruby red colour with high intensity that shows limited/ restricted aging process as rims are still up tight
Clean to sniff with medium(+) intensity throwing notes of earthy, peppery, red dark fruits, dark berries, oak aging and dark red soil. ‘In your face’ expression yet soft and delicate natured. Capsicum and spicy notes with hint of red rhubarb finishing off with some candied notes at the back of it.
Clean palate with beautiful array of flavours joined along with a back structure of soft round tannins and dusty earthy finish. Oak dominates on the mid and back palate, notes of peppers, spices, cloves, earth, jamun, red dark berries, dark cherries, tea leaves, plum and black olives. Clean palate and long tasting aftertaste ranging up to 6 seconds, with a finish to look out for. Medium(+)body, medium(+) flavour intensity, medium alcohol, medium acidity, medium(+) tannins.
High value wine with a new-world character. Great to drink now or anytime in next 1-1.5 years. Perfect to pair with robust red meat dishes with heavy sauces, steaks, lamb chops, some oriental dishes, most heavy Indian meat dishes and spiced curries, kebabs and roasts.
Wine 7: 2000 Château Clarke, Lirac-Medoc, Bordeaux, FRANCE
Dark ruby colour with a clean sight, dark core and fading rims, becoming light ruby red. Aged wine.
Clear complex nose with medium intensity that hits first with a bag of mixed berries (red+dark), plums, nutmegs and spices, cloves, pepper, earth and oak. Shy personality. We took time to appreciate it. Sharbat, dried cherries show some sweet notes, “An Indian Paan Style Nose”. Dry ginger chutney, tamarind water + dominant violets.
On the palate, it was dry with very young tannins that grips up very well and strong, dusty and powdery in nature with an impact of new fresh barrique aging notes. Needs aging to make them round. Managing away from tannins, it has dark cherries, plums, brick, earthy and blackberry notes to dominate. A nice layer of oak leaves a dry finish to enjoy, hang on and come back for. Spice, nutmeg, cloves, peppercorns, tangy mid-palate and aftertaste of oak, violets and spices. Medium acid levels, medium alcohol, medium(+) body, aftertaste of 6 seconds, medium(+) tannins that are dry, young, fresh, powdery and oak-chips like.
Young red wine that calls for food, heavy grilled smoked protein rich meat dishes with a heavy sauce to enjoy with, not many vegetarian dishes to adapt to. Age for a minimum 2 more years, will dominate in food and wine pairing, high value wine.