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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Tuesday, January 19 2010. 12:55

Four Seasons Launches Reserve Wines in Bangalore

The much awaited launch of the Reserve range of the UB owned Four Seasons winery took place last week at the newly opened ITC Royal Gardenia Hotel where guests were treated to the two cuvees of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz with a formal sit down dinner. Maureen Kerleau, our special correspondent from Bangalore reports .

Everybody in Bangalore had been waiting patiently for the wines- especially myself, who had the privilege of tasting the ‘almost finished’ version with the Chief Winemaker, Abhay Kewadkar at Vinexpo in Bordeaux last June, and suddenly last week the launch was announced.

The superbly designed, very ‘royal’ bottle commanded the finest setting in Bangalore, with probably the finest dining in the city. What better surroundings but the brand new ITC Royal Gardenia – India’s highest rated, green hotel, whose motto “Forward to Green, Back to Nature” was very well suited to one of nature’s finest products – wine!

In contrast to the star-spangled, mega-launch of the Four Seasons Main Range last year, this was a more exclusive, formal setting, starting with the most inventive canapés, including ‘quail confit nestled on seven-grain crostini’ to welcome the guests, accompanied by the Four Seasons Blush, which, as everyone knows is a particular favourite of mine.

The sit-down dinner was held in the splendid Mysore Hall, lit by spectacular ‘green’ chandeliers, thousands of glass facets illuminated by tiny led lights set into the ceiling.

We were greeted by Mr. Vijay Rekhi, the President & Managing Director of United Spirits, and the General Manager of the ITC Royal Gardenia, Mr. Anand Rao, who welcomed most of us for the first time to the beautiful hotel.

Abhay took great pride in introducing us to his masterpieces – two cuvees of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, 2008 vintage, both subtle blends with 10% of Shiraz and 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon respectively, and a small proportion of Viognier in the Shiraz, both aged for 10 months in French oak barrels.

The waiters began by serving us the Four Seasons Viognier – the Gold Medal winner at the SIWC 2009, to accompany a platter on which was served a miniature glass preserve jar, containing an Amuse Bouche of Tallegio and asparagus cremacotta teamed with young aragula and plump currants. Rather a ‘mouthful’ for even the most widely-dined foodies – nevertheless a fine, delicate preparation. Asparagus is usually served with Sauvignon Blanc, but the Viognier harmonised very well with the wide array of flavours.

Finally, the long-awaited moment arrived and we were served the Four Seasons Barrique Reserve Shiraz – with a richly intense, violet hue. With much suspense everyone was totally concentrated on their glass. At the first sniff still very little fruit was coming through, very smoky and unusual at the first approach, but as the minutes went by the wine really did awaken, the wisp of smoke seemed to curl back into the glass and harmonise with the rich, dark fruit to give the wine great complexity and balance.

Then, returning our thoughts back to the dinner, the first reflex was to look back at the menu to see which first course could possibly be served with such a powerful red wine – the general consensus was that the poached bassa cradled on orzo was to be some kind of fish dish – fish with Shiraz? Yes, indeed – orza’ is in fact a type of pasta, shaped like rice, sometimes called ‘Turkish rice’. It was flavoured with fennel and very subtle red chilli – just enough to bring out the spiciness in the slightly chilled Shiraz.

The main course, described as the main ‘event’, was a pair of delicious, hazelnut-crusted lamb chops, with turnip and potato gratin. Chef Madhu Krishnan had shown immense talent in orchestrating a series of highly imaginative, delicately flavoured dishes in amazing contrast to such powerful wines, yet which paired so beautifully.

We had meanwhile been served the Four Seasons Barrique Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and were all interested to compare the two, though we were fighting off the over-zealous waiters from removing the glasses containing the remaining Shiraz. It was essential to be able to compare the wines, which were equally intense in colour. With very good eyesight one could just discern the violet tint of the Shiraz and the garnet-red of the Cabernet Sauvignon against the snowy white tablecloth.

The lamb-hazelnut combination paired very well with the nice acidity and full-body of the Cabernet Sauvignon, and as we all went back and forth from Shiraz to Cabernet there was no doubt that the wines were in fact very different.

The dessert, a light, airy combination of lavender-perfumed raspberry jelly, citrus cocoa pyramids with mascarpone and balsamic berries was a little challenging for the Bouvet-Ladubay sparkling rosé – very nicely paired – but I couldn’t resist sneaking back to my remaining Shiraz with the cocoa which was a divine combination. A delightful end to a superb dinner, thanks to the inventive, delicate cuisine of Chef Madhu Krishnan and the master-hand of Abhay Kewadkar.

Abhay informed me that the Four Seasons Barrique Reserve Collection is available in Bangalore at Rs 900  for a 750ml bottle. but are cheaper in Mumbai and Pune (Rs 800) and in Goa (Rs 750) and will soon be available in Kolkata and Delhi in the coming months. 

Details are available on  or       

Maureen Kerleau 


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