Almost six decades ago, one of the most admired food writers of the 20th century gave us good reason to explore the world of wine beyond set or occasion menus and elaborate dishes, when she wrote with
simplicity and directness: “…As a wine drinker not a wine expert, one’s tastes are constantly changing. But one of the main points about the enjoyment of food and wine seems to me to lie in having what you want when you want it and in the particular combination you fancy.
It is possible, even at a white tablecloth restaurant, for a meal of a single dish and a perfectly matched glass of wine to become an immensely pleasurable experience. Moreover, if you happen to be relatively new to wine drinking it is one of the easiest – and possibly least expensive – ways to understand your own responses to wines and their varied characters.
Le Jardin restaurant at the Oberoi Bengaluru is a grand, old-world style space which offers on its extensive menu a series of small plates, appetizers, and salads which are ideal if you have just an hour to two for a meal and a glass of wine. New on the menu is a Molten Artisanal Brie, the cheese sourced from the Spotted Cow Fromagerie in Mumbai. The immensely talented executive chef, Ajit Raman, who works hard at sourcing local produce to ensure consistency in the menus he presents, explains that “The cheeses were introduced to us in different states of cure. There were Brie, Camembert, and Robiola, all handmade, artisanal cheeses crafted in small batches and the quality was excellent. So, we put the Brie on the menu.”
With deep red, macerated grapes buried into the surface of the molten Brie, a lush, green tea and apricot coulis hiding just the right degree of sharpness, and fingers of butter-enriched brioche with which to scoop them together, I drank a glass of Henri Bourgeois Pouilly Fume En Travertin 2015. The floral aromatics and elegant minerality were in perfect harmony with the Brie, the fruitiness and light citrus complementing the coulis. The lingering minerality with a touch of smokiness was a subtle reminder of the deep limestone sediments from which this refined Sauvignon Blanc draws its name. The tropical gardens of the Oberoi are filled with Heliconias, cascades of Bougainvillea and palms. In these tranquil surroundings, an hour to think about a dish and a glass of wine is a special kind of luxury.
This write-up is extracted from the print version of SommelierIndia – The Wine Magazine