It was a nice sunny day. Our van almost got stuck on a narrow lanes of Mollet de Peralada when an elderly man came out and told our driver to back up and take another road. After that we arrived at the Celler La Vinyeta soon. I have visited a vineyard in Khao Yai, Thailand too and I quite like the experience.
Josep, who along with his wife Marta, owns the place greeted us upon arrival. There are no prizes for guessing that the welcome drink was wine from their own cellers! Their store is right next to the car park. We went in to take a look and to use the bathroom.
Then we donned our hats and went for a walk around the vineyard. The vineyard is an old one but all the crops were destroyed hundreds of years ago. The current vineyard was planted in 2002 and the wine production started in 2006 after they built the celler. At the start the village elders tried to warn Josep that it was a tough trade but they decided to go ahead anyway.
Josep was 23 years old when they invested in the vineyard. He and his wife were studying wine making at college and from there things took off. I asked him if he would do it all again, to which he said “I don’t think so, I was not thinking of he risks then!”
Th vineyard has a patch of old olive trees, the oldest being 500 years old! Josep mentioned they had to plant newer trees as well, as the patch had too few tress. When he started the process for planting, the people from the village thought he was going to cut them down. They came again and asked him not to do so. They as kids used to play under the trees. Joesp assured them he was planting more, not cutting anything. He added with twinkling eyes “I think they used to do something else under the trees when they became adults! That is why they are so fond of them.”
If you visit Catalonia you will hear about Tramuntana or the northern wind! Everyone dreads it except the winemakers. It does good to the grape crop and there is a ceremony to invite it to the region. But this year the Tramuntana has not obliged.
Josep showed us the hens of his farm as well. Later at lunch we ate fresh boiled eggs which tasted great. After the tour of the fields we still had sometime left to explore on our own. My colleague Taahira and I ventured to a field where I could see hay rolls, something I had seen in pictures only. Taahira took a lovely picture of mine in that field.
We leisurely walked back to our lunch on the vineyard. It was a perfect day to sit outdoors and enjoy food. Food is something that takes a lot of time in Spain. It was common to sit for 2 to 3 hours for lunch and dinner. Marta with her four month old daughter joined us for a brief while at lunch!
There was wine, boiled eggs, there was salad and vegetables for me. Then there was Pan Con Tomate. For dessert there was cheese and honey. It was a lovely lunch, in a beautiful setting. There were plenty of non vegetarian options too but I was not paying much attention to it.
After the lunch we went to the store to buy products. I brought back a bottle of white wine that I now enjoy at home. And I kick myself for not buying olive oil.
Whenever I think of Celler La Vinyeta, I smile. It reminds me of the lovely outdoors, the stories of the village with all the good food in the lap of the nature. I so hope to go back to Spain again someday.
PS. I was invited to Visit Catalonia by the Catalonia Tourism Board.
My cell phone rang on Saturday evening. In winters even 7.00 pm feels like late night. The call went something like this- “Ma’am we are calling from Four Seasons Wine. We have to deliver a bottle of wine to your home.” I vaguely remembered receiving a mail from the Four Seasons PR asking if I would like to review a bottle of their wine. I did not reply to it as they usually ask for a review within 7 days. I was not sure I could do that. So I told the caller that “I won’t be able to review it. Anyway I am not a food blogger.” The person at the other end said, “Ma’am we are standing outside your house.” I apologized and ran out. They said “if you can not review it keep it as a gift!” It was a Four Seasons Shiraz, which is a red wine.
I thanked the two men who delivered the wine and walked back to the house. I felt a bit silly the way I talked to them. I can be quite straight forward but I do not like being rude. I thought I sounded rude on the phone. But how could I have known that they calling right from my gate?
When my husband saw me walking back with a bottle of wine he asked if we should open it? I generally do not drink at home, not even on weekends. But here I was with an unexpected bottle of wine after a working Saturday so I decided why not.
If you read the description of this Shiraz red wine on their website it goes like this-
“Type : Still Red Wine
Origin : Baramati, Maharashtra, India
Colour : Dark ruby red with black cherry hues.
Aroma : Crushed raspberries abound, combining with spicy and smoky notes and a subtle hints of violet.
Palate : This rich, full-bodied wine has a nice amount of complexity offering fruit and spice on the palate and a pleasant finish with smooth velvety tannins.
Serving suggestion: Enjoyed best at 16 – 18° C with barbequed red meats and game. Its spicy character makes it an ideal accompaniment to Indian cuisine.”
Now if you would ask me it simply tasted good. I liked it but I can’t say why. Did I taste black cherries in it? I would be honest, no. My taste buds cannot perform complicated tasks. Same goes for subtle hints of violet. We had it with popcorn. I guess real wine lovers are suitably disgusted by my description if they have read it so far. But this is who I am even after attending a wine tasting session before.
But if you ask me did I enjoy the Four Seasons Shiraz red wine I would say undoubtedly yes, I am looking forward to having another glass on Christmas.
Before I went to a wine tasting session with Four Seasons I knew a few things about wines. Like it is my favorite alcoholic drink and yet apart from Sula I knew of no other brand (please note no other brand and not no other Indian brand). It is not that I do not drink other brands it is just that to remember those French names is just plain impossible for me! I also knew that wines could be red or white. I think that sums up about what I knew of wines pretty well.
Then came Jyothi from Four Seasons. The venue was Ardor at CP, Delhi.
Jyothi from Four Seasons
Now I know a bit more about wines. First I realized that Four Seasons is a UB brand and it has been launched in 2008. Their vineyard is in Baramati, Maharashtra. Then I discovered that there is a red wine, a white wine and a rose (pronounced with the e and written with a dot over the e) wine. I tasted all three and I liked the rose wine (Four Seasons Blush) the most.
I now know that red wine tastes dry, white wine watery and rose a bit more sweet. They can be combined with different food but as the food discussed was meat I started chatting with Nikhil who sat next to me. But I did so for a fleeting moment only.
Then I discovered that you sniff a wine before you drink it, it tells you about the aroma. Have to admit I never did that before. Then they said you shake it so that more aroma is released. I did all that and I realized that the wine behaved exactly the way Jyothi wanted it to!
And then I also discovered that Champagne is simply white wine, but not all white wines are Champagne. That is because only the white wine that comes from the Champagne region in France can be called Champagne.
And not only wines can be red, white and rose they can be still, fortified, sparkling or aromated. Four Season as of now only produces still wines in India but they do import some other type of wines from France.
Now whenever I take wine I am happy with one glass. So I enjoyed the rose wine and when I realized that I would be tasting Four Seasons Chenin Blanc and Four Seasons Barrique Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon I started telling the server to give me a very small fills. And I did fine, I enjoyed my wines and I enjoyed the veg starters and I enjoyed my evening.
Wines are also divided into old world and new world. Old world wines come from the traditional wine producing region- Europe. The new world wines come from places other than Europe like Chile, New Zealand, India etc. I can still rattle of some more wine facts like you should look for the color in light and that the texture of a wine can be heavy, medium and light I guess this would do for today.
I have to say that I am certainly going to look for Four Seasons wines when we go buying next, which will be probably the coming December. Apart from the December festival season the other time I drink wines is during international flights and there I have no control over what they serve me other than the red and the white.