The pink and purple hues of the evening sky reflected in the stemmed-glass-filled rosé wine. If I lifted it up any higher, the bubblegum colour of the evening sky and the wine would have merged. But I lifted the flute to my mouth instead, and the sweet taste of the drink brought me out of my stupor.
And while the celebration was impressive, it held no torch to the day I had had. Amid the Nandi Hills in Bengaluru, the Grover Zampa Vineyards divulged new spaces and new wines, as we fluttered from one tour to another. The freshly mowed lawns were lined with tables, lights cast a soft glow, and a small pond sat at the edge of the property.
Inside, they had introduced their flagship restaurant, Lounge de La Réserve, which serves Indian and continental food. My day started with a tour of the winery where the grapes turned to wine and found home in metal wats and wooden barrels of the cellar. In the basement, we sampled wine from different barrels, the grapes were from the same patch of land but the taste differed on the basis of the barrel’s make, and the time and temperature that it was stored in.
Surrounded by wine aficionados, the winemaker and a sommelier, I swished the wine around in my mouth. The sommelier told me to lean my head forward after gulping—the tingling sensation a cue to the acidity of the wine presented.
Acidity is the key to good wine. The sentiment was repeated in the tasting room, Cave de La Reserve, where Sonal Holland (India’s first Master of Wine) held a masterclass as a way of introducing the three new wines: Vendanges Tardives, La Réserve Royale Brut and a new Insignia. She walked us through the different notes and how to pair them with food. The dessert wine VendangesTardives was too sweet in the first sip, but it grows on you with its floral flavours and apricot-like taste. The new Insignia is charming; the medium-bodied dry wine is the kind you keep to age. When brought to the nose, I scented chocolate and berries. Taking a sip, I moved on to the last wine. Holland compared the notes of La Réserve Royale Brut with the likes of lemon zest, green apples and hazelnuts. I don’t know about the rest, but a taste of the wine reminded me of warm apple pies.
When the tours and the masterclass ended, I joined the party to put my new knowledge to practice. A plate of food and a glass of wine was a novice’s attempt at pairing. We all have to start somewhere.