Four Seasons had organized a wine tasting and sit down dinner, arranged by Melissa in coordination with Jyotika and Rushina last Wednesday at the Olive Bar and Restaurant, located at the Mahalakshmi Race Course.
Mr. Abhay Kewadkar, the Chief Winemaker, at Four Seasons, spirited us to vineyards and walked us through the finer nuances of wine tasting and wine pairing. Well, literally spirited! The evening started mildly chilly and it was a splendid night as the candle lights warmed the mood and wine goblets playfully clinked away every now and then, as we were served a different variety of wine, all made in Indian turf! I am thrilled to say that they were worthy of European competition too! Although the Indian climatic conditions do not meet the requirements for the best vines, Mr.Kewadkar mentioned that advances in science of grape growing have allowed wine grapes to flourish in areas other than Europe and a few other countries.
Not many of the old bunch of bloggers made it this time, but I met a few new people, and look forward to some wonderful moments in the future.
Wine and food pairing
There was bread, of course!
The first course of wine included Sauvignon Blanc (pronounced as saw-vin-yawn blon), a white grape, paired with a delicious salad made of wine cured grapes tossed with lettuce and arugula and toasted walnuts. The generous sprinkling of nutmeg ensured a perfect match. All I deciphered was that the wine was light but I am told that sauvignon blanc is made of white grapes that carries aromas of fresh grass, peppers and asparagus and hence pairs up well with leafy salad. If you are serving main course make spinach or other green leafy vegetables the centre piece.
The second wine we tasted was viognier (pronounced as vi-oh-knee-ay), a relatively rare white grape associated with the Rhone Valley in France. The wine is full bodied as compared with the sauvignon and carries a fruity aroma with mild spiciness. We were served sauteed mushrooms in pepper with thin slices of toasted bread.
The main course consisted of a Moroccan vegetable tagine (not in the tagine dish) with cous cous, served with merlot (pronounced mer-low) and cabernet sauvignon (prnounced kab-er-neigh saw-vin-yawn). We were left to decide the wine of our choice. I preferred the merlot. It paired well with the tagine, of which we were served rather large portions. Most of us had leftovers.
Rithika and I being vegans, could not have the dessert but the wine mulled with strawberries and rose syrup made up for the lack of dessert. A fun way to have wine!
The ambience was great, some good songs performed and tasty food served.
The food in fact was excellent! Service, a tad cold. Fortunately the evening was well organized by Tara and Melissa who together with the exuberance of Abhay more than made up for the service.
Despite that I concede that the decor had me taken. The murals at the entrance to the restaurant and the lighting inside was perfect.
Though it might read out of place in a food blog, I confess it is the restroom that stood out, made of natural, untextured wood, it had a rustic feel that I have been wanting in my house.
The two un-coordinated lamps that hung above made it feel warm instead of odd.
The vase in the corner was welcoming.
I could not resist making a second trip and clicking a few pictures. As you can see in the mirror in the pictures, Jo and Rushina, could not resist it either!
Having had four different wines in one day, traversing through various vineyards, crooners in the room and a crowded table of bloggers and friends. Life and laughter! It was in a way crowded house and four seasons in one day!
One vegan celebrity – Jason Mraz. My favourites are word play, bella luna, coyotes, love for a child, I’m yours, ummm… well most of them!
One vegan book – Don’t drink your milk by Dr.Frank A Oski. Contains everything one ought to know about milk.
One vegan blog – Bittersweetby Hanna Keminsky, blogger, cookbook author and knitter.