The private dining room at Riwaz at the Ritz Carlton was set-up to co-host this #happyhigh wine tasting held in association with the Food Lovers Magazine. All of us were excited for this exclusive tasting because this was unheard of!! The tasting comprised 4 sparklings, 2 reds and a white and what made them special was that they were stored in the Bengaluru weather for over 6 years and many of them were meant for drinking young!!
Present for the tasting were Ruma Singh – Journalist and Wine writer, Kripal Amanna – Editor; Food Lovers Magazine, Heemanshu Ashar – Ex- President; Bangalore Wine Club, Mohit Nischol –Business Head; SDU wines, Nilesh Singh – Food and Beverage Manager; Ritz Carlton, Manu Manikandan – Beverage Manager; Ritz Carlton, two consumers; both IT professionals, Sandesh Kamat and MK Kulandhaisamy and lastly Ajit Balgi – Founder; The Happy High who led the tasting. Kulandhaisamy who owned the wines was noble enough to store them and then let them be uncorked for this; one of its kind wine experiment!
The wines weren’t tasted blind and every member on the panel cited their opinions freely and discussed the wine and its nuances. So following were the wines:
Le Chablisienne, Chablis 2001
Made from Chardonnay grapes, this wine is known to be lean and crisp with citrus, green fruit and mineral aromas, more importantly Chablis of this stature is meant to be drunk young. 2001 vintage should have been drunk latest by 2006 if not younger, we had no hope but this wine surprised us! It was bright gold and complex on the nose with some bready notes to begin with, followed by honey and apricot. The palate did not confirm the nose however it had an amazing long toasty finish. The wine continued to evolve in the glass with time and ended up with aromas almost reminiscent of a Riesling. As Ruma put it ‘Couldn’t have judged it to be Chablis if it were to be tasted blind’. This wines behavior certainly brings in hope to those who have some old stock up their cellar!!
Chapel Down, Non Vintage, English Sparkling
This produce from Kent in Southern England with its bracing acidity and fruit is slated to be a worthy competitor to the French heavy weight Champagne. Again meant for early drinking and this one gave away in 6 years or may be much earlier, however the aromas were hinting of cork contamination and had little to do with age. Naphthalene, Moth balls, wet rug, wet socks etc were some of the descriptors used by the panel. One thing that was noteworthy was the mousse; it was the finest amongst all and very persistent. It went on for more than an hour!!
Oudinot NV Champagne
The label said ‘consume within a year of purchase’, we managed just to break some rules here and it did not pay off. The panel unanimously declared the wine oxidized and it was flat on the palate too.
Moet Chandon NV Champagne
This needs no introduction, but you may not have tasted a one aged in the cool Bangalore climate for 6 years. This one stood the test of time and came out clean. It had a youthful colour was pleasant to drink. A younger one would have been more exuberant though. Nonetheless this was a thumbs up!!
Gerard Seguin Gevrey Chambertin 2002
A village wine from Burgundy and made of Pinot Noir grapes,this one has the potential to age and it proved to be right. We decanted the wine an hour before and it had very fine sedimentation. Pale Garnet in colour, this pour was a treat on the nose with notes of Coffee, Cocoa, Spice, leather with little underlying fruit. On the palate it was easy with mature tannins and bursting with flavours just like it did on the nose. The wine with a medium finish was the highlight of the tasting.
Domaine Dubois Nuits St Georges 1er Cru 2002
One of the 3500 bottles from the vintage and with a premier cru classification, we expected a mouthful. We decanted it and it was heavily sedimented. It however struggled on the nose and ditto on the palate; it had big tannins and was drinkable as a wine but maybe we could have got the better of it a few years earlier. The Gevrey Chambertin would come at a much lesser price than this one thus giving us a good evidence to reinstate that price and quality cannot be equated.
Dom Perignon 1995
We saved this big daddy of Champagnes for the end. This one takes 7 years to be released post harvest and this must have been in 2002. It was deep gold in colour with heavy oxidative; honey and nut aromas and was lackluster on the palate. This again came as a surprise since this wine has an ageing potential of a couple of decades at least. At the moment hotels in the country would be selling you a 2002 or a 2004 vintage of the wine.
This wine tasting may not have been a delight for ones palate but for a couple of wines, what it surely did was give a perspective on aging with samples that were meant to age and those that weren’t. It was a well spent Saturday afternoon indeed! Now go back to your wine collection and see if you can make anything interesting out of it....