Hotel Le Meridien launches Wines of the World programme

Cheers. Wine is in. It is the flavour of the times in the city, believes Chandan Thakur, Director F&B Hotel Le Meridien. A definite wine culture is growing as more and more diners are quaffing the drink. It is a new culture and is getting popular, says Chandan.

So know your wine. To familiarise and acquaint guests with the world of wines, Starwood hotels Asia Pacific have launched the Wines of the World (WOW) programme in all their hotels.

Different wines

So three glasses, imported glassware, as per the programme, await the palates of a group of nervous novices.

Begin by holding the glass right. Hold by the stem and do not cup it as cupping will warm the drink and alter the bouquet. Sight, smell and taste are the indices one goes by. Lemony yellow, dark yellow, pale straw colour one notes. The next step is to smell the wine. Then swirl the glass and let the wine open out its bouquet. Let it breathe. Then seek out the notes. Each wine has a nose and wine drinkers follow the notes carefully.

Is there a whiff of honey, or is it a scent of apricot? A hint of pineapple or a wild woody dash? It is a complex game of following your nose but yes it gives a lead. So know your nose. Fruity, oakey or citrusy?

Moving on to the wine on the palate. Don’t swallow or gulp, it’s a definite no-no. Roll it on the palate, let the taste buds open to the flavours. Let the essence from the grape suffuse the thirsting taste buds. Be sensitive to the sensation- acidic, sweet. Then format the flow. Does the wine have a body? Is it full bodied? Is it medium? Answer these questions. As explanation Chandan offers a simple comparison of drinking water and drinking milk. Water is light and milk stays on the tongue for a long time. Hence water has a light body while milk is heavier. That’s also the length of the wine.

“It is important for a wine to have a balance between sweetness and acidity,” says Chandan. Make a note of that while savouring a glass.

Wine wheel

The lexicon of wine is unique. And queries range from finer aspects like know the grape(Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Grillo, to name a few), the old and the new world wines, wine wheel, the terroir, the rules in wine drinking or the absence of it, the alcohol content, drinking wine and driving, wine pairing, sparkling wine, fortified wines and many more such questions rise and fall and the mood gets better with the wine flights,(three glasses of 50 ml red or white), both available for tasting.

As one follows the instructions one realises that wine tasting is complex and mysterious. It is the mystery that leads one on and slowly from it being a learning exercise one begins to enjoy the complexity. You unravel the subtle nuances and pop arrive at good conclusions. Yes, you are getting it. But knowing your wine and wine appreciation is not a single sitting affair. It comes over a period of time like acclimatising oneself to niche food, drink and unfamiliar tastes.

Chandan urged the group to individually express their inference. “Yes, go ahead and say it smells like old socks!” For there is a wine with that smell. So unfamiliar as the terroir may be but wine tasting is definitely going to have many in the city converted.

The Wines of the World experience is available at the Jules bar and the Library lounge of Le Meridien. For more details contact- 9567764502