Recently I attended a wine tasting session in my city which was truly amazing, maybe because of the fact that it was conducted beautifully, it was interactive and fun. And also the venue added its magic and made the night memorable. I believe that tasting wine in itself is an adventure that deepens your appreciation both for wines as well as the winemakers!
Look, smell, taste – when combined together give you the strength to go on to judge a wine and to carry on the basic sensory examination. These basic senses enable us to go on to be pro wine tasters. We need to be in the perfect tasting environment and need to keep in mind that we can smell several unique scents, but our taste perception is limited to salty, sweet, sour and bitter only.
Coming back to the event I was talking about – Pernod Ricard (India) organized this wine tasting session at Capella, AltAir (Saltlake, Kolkata). It was a wine tasting session of Campo Viejo hosted by international brand ambassador – Alexandre Barre. Campo Viejo is the #1 Rioja Wine from Spain, and is the newest premium wine from Pernod Ricard India. Campo Viejo will be available in Kolkata at the Spencer’s outlets in two variants – Campo Viejo Tempranillo (red wine) and Campo Viejo Viura (white wine). The price range starts from INR 1600 plus taxes and I am already in love with them! 🙂 By the way, Pernod Ricard is a French company founded in 1975 with their Headquarters in Paris and it is the world’s second-largest wine and spirits seller.
And as I have already said, the venue was mesmerizing and it added its magic making the night unforgettable. We were at the Capella, the breathtaking roof-top sky bar or rather restrobar, at the boutique resort called AltAir. Capella is there on the 20th floor and gives a jaw-dropping view of the city, mainly the Saltlake area and it looks stunning.
Coming back to wine tasting, let us delve a bit deep into the technicalities of wine tasting before wrapping up this article. Wine is the ultimate combination of smell and taste that allows us to discern a flavor. To start with, we should all be aware of the ‘5S for tasting’, they are:
1) Sight – That is basically the sight of the wine to determine the color and clarity. The glass should be about one-third full. Now we follow these steps to evaluate the wine visually – Straight Angle View, where we look straight down into the glass, then we hold the glass to the light, and give it a tilt, so the wine rolls toward its edges. This allows us to see the wine’s complete color range, not just the dark center. Then we have the Side View where we view through the side of the glass held against light showing how clear the wine is. Lastly, we check out the Tilted View where we tilt the glass so the wine thins out toward the rim providing clues about the wine’s age and weight.
2) Swirl – To get the wine spread and mix along we give the glass a good swirl, which will enable it to open up and we can breathe it in. After the swirl, the wine forms the tears that run down the sides of the glass. Wines that have good tears are wines with more alcohol and glycerin content, which indicates that they are riper, more mouth-filling and dense.
3) Smell – Once the swirl is done we go ahead to smell the wine to evaluate it by a sniff, whether it is fruity/ Savory/ dairy/ nutty/ spicy/ mineral/ woody/ floral/ herbal, etc. There can be several aroma contents in a glass of wine; to an individual, it can smell like anything. But we need to determine the basic smells.
4) Sip – The most important step when the wine comes in direct contact with our taste buds. It lets us determine the flavor and body of the wine. We need to take a sip, not a large swallow of wine. Then we should try sucking on it as if pulling it through a straw. This aerates the wine and circulates it throughout our mouth. We’ll encounter a wide range of fruit, flower, herb, mineral, barrel and other flavors. If we’ve done our sniffing homework, most will follow right along where the aromas left off. Aside from simply identifying flavors, we are also using our taste buds to determine if the wine is balanced, harmonious, complex, evolved, and complete.
5) Spit – This is the last step and it is optional. You may choose to spit out the wine after tasting it for better wine understanding. Well, I personally prefer not doing this 🙂
After tasting the Campo Viejo wine at this session I truly fell in love with the white wine – Campo Viejo Viura, maybe because I prefer white wine over red wine any day. I paired it with some cheese and raisin during the tasting session and it felt heavenly! It was smooth, tad sweet with a hint of honey and I absolutely loved it. This white wine is made up of high-quality Tempranillo Blanco and Viura grapes.
This white wine (Campo Viejo Viura) is pale yellow in color with subtle green hues. The blend of Tempranillo Blanco and Viura results in a highly aromatic wine – combining floral and white fruit aromas from the Viura with bright citrus characters from the Tempranillo Blanco. The Tempranillo Blanco also shows high levels of acidity, which imparts a wonderful freshness to the wine and lifts the intense fruity style of the Viura, to create an expressive yet beautifully balanced white wine.
Whereas, the Red wine (Campo Viejo Tempranillo) has a cherry red color. Its rich aromas have a pronounced intensity with an initial scent of ripe red fruit followed by gentle sweet notes of vanilla and spices. On the palate, it is perfumed, soft and fresh with a long finish with notes of fruits, vanilla, and cocoa. Though I felt the white wine was perfect for my palate and liking!
I am sure Kolkatans will love these Camp Viejo wines to the core. And talking about this session, I would love to attend more such sessions in future and spread the word about wine tasting techniques and Campo Viejo to my fellow readers and city dwellers.