Sip before you leap

Updated: Feb 27, 2020, 10:06 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

A tasting event on February 29 is dedicated to wines that were bottled in leap years dating back to 2008

Opening an aged bottle of wine is like opening an ancient chest that holds unknown treasures. You don't know what flavours the drink has developed with time. It could have been fruity to begin with. But over the years, it might have developed complexities that have a cheddar-like character, for instance. So — borrowing a line from the film Forrest Gump — it's also like opening a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get.

It's this unpredictable trait that will be showcased at a wine-tasting event at a BKC restaurant this Saturday. The date is February 29. That is why all the wines that will be presented were produced in a leap year, sticking to the theme. The oldest one, Rioja Reserva from Spain, was bottled back in 2008. Vishal Kadakia, the expert who has curated the event, tells us that it's made from tempra nillo grapes that are dark in colour. "Rioja is an Indian-bodied style of wine aged in an oak barrel. It is fruity and medium-bodied. We will try and see how the drink behaves after 12 years. Has the fruitiness decreased? What are the new flavours? I don't have these answers, so we will all find them out together at the session," he says.

Vishal Kadakia

He adds that the second-oldest wine on offer is an eight-year-old Left Bank Bordeaux from Saint-Estephe in France. It is made of red fruits and develops a leather-like character with age. Then there is a Portuguese Red from Alentejo, also manufactured in 2012. Kadakia says, "This wine is made from Alicante Bouschet grapes that are known to age well. They can even last for 30 years, but we will find out what happens to them after eight."

A bottle of Rioja Reserve from 2008

The newest wines at the session — a volcanic one from Mt Etna and Blaufrankisch from Austria — are both four years old. Kadakia tells us that the fruits in the former imbibe the minerals in the volcanic soil they were grown in, while the latter is made from grapes indigenous to the country of its origin. He also says that the common factor between all these drinks is that each has distinct characteristics. In fact, even if two wines are grown in vineyards only 10 km apart from each other, they would be different since wine is essentially agricultural produce and the maker's touch determines its eventual flavour. So keep an open mind, and palate, when you attend the tasting session. There's an element of mystery involved and the possibilities are endless with each bottle.

ON February 29, 5.30 pm
AT CinCin, Raheja Towers, BKC.
CALL 61378070
Cost Rs 1,000

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