What do you do when 15% of the women present at a wine appreciation event at a happening restaurant like Olive where excellent cuisine is made for wine, have never tasted wine or any alcohol? Well, for a start you never insist or encourage them to start; not because their husbands or daddies will be upset but it is a wine etiquette not to encourage teetotalers to take to spirits. It is only if they are inclined to, wine is the best beverage that happened to mankind … and the womankind.
So what did I do at this lunch organised on July 14 for the member ladies of Tashi Dalek, a club consisting of rich housewives with a charitable frame of mind, who are out to have a social and educative outing together once a month ? I had Sal, the man behind the bar to lace the aperitif wine, Freixenet Negro Brut Spanish Cava with some orange juice and make a mimosa like cocktail (we could have also used peach or mango pulp which was not instantly available). And the place was soon rollicking with female laughter and the bonhomie which you see usually a couple of hours into a cocktail party. Naturally, we overshot our budget by a long shot of the first wine of the afternoon.
Fetzer Dry Creek wine served with the salad turned out to be another winner. Served properly chilled this simple daily drinking, slightly off-dry but clean wine was paired so well with the salad that there was ‘encore’ for it even when the more serious Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay had been served. Frequent wine drinkers loved the Fetzer Peak Merlot which paired well with Risotto and the lamb dish. Even the chicken preparation matched the slightly spicy Merlot because of its tomato sauce that made it a medium bodied dish. Spaghetti was not suitable for Merlot but Chardonnay went well with it.
Fetzer Cabernet Sauvignon did not get fair treatment in the glass of the holders, many of whom even left at this stage having satiated themselves with generous doses of food and wine. The serious lot did find it a bit too coarse. It was a bit too tannic and the higher alcohol content made it a bit unattractive for the summer afternoon. It was also not matchable with any of the dishes, except the full bodied and powerful but excellent lamb preparation. I feel it would be better to taste it with lamb chops or burra kababs.
Mrs. Bindu Malhotra, President of Tashi Dalek and her band of loyal exec committed members did a commendable job of organizing and getting more than targeted ladies who had been partly beckoned by the reputation of the Olive and its excellent food. Kudos to the Chef, Ashwin Dsouza, men behind the bar and his serving staff for making the afternoon a roaring success for the ladies. As the cliché` goes, one expects extra-ordinary from the Olive and this day they got it. One does hope that the wine basics shared in the short time available would encourage some women towards this healthy beverage.
The event was organised in conjunction with Indian Wine Academy as a wine appreciation and promotion event. Wines were selected, paired and arranged by IWA. President, Subhash Arora presented the wines and talked about the wine basics and how to enjoy wine better.