11 - 24 October 2013 #677

Let's drink to that

Trade your whiskey on the rocks for a taste of Spain and support a good cause this festive season

Nepalis are not big wine drinkers. But with Valencian winemaker Vicente Gandía’s new line of celebrity-branded wine, they have a reason to swap their customary peg and raise a glass (or two) of vino while feeling happy about donating money for a good cause.

Gandía paired up with charity Whatever It Takes to introduce some fresh wines whose proceeds will go to various causes ranging from poverty alleviation to child empowerment and environmental sustainability. The bottles are adorned by pictures of eight well-known celebrities and their doodlings and many of the recipient organisations are of their choosing. Charlize Theron is on a Brut-Cava; Coldplay on young rosé; and George Clooney on a robust Cabernet.

The celebrities’ faces evoke amusing comparisons with the wine that shares the bottle, a unique way of remembering tasting notes. For example, David Bowie’s Shiraz might be aggressive like Suffragette City or varied and complex like Ziggy Stardust; or Pierce Brosnan’s barrel-aged Tempranillo rich with a long after-taste, like a good 007 flick.

For my own tasting, I tried the young white wine marked with the face and art of Penélope Cruz. I loved Cruz in Volver and Vanilla Sky and wanted to see how her performance panned out as the star of this wine. According to Gandía’s tasting sheet, the grapes in this wine consisted of 80 per cent Verdejo and 20 per cent Sauvignon Blanc. As this was the only wine variety paired with a celebrity from the wine’s country of origin, I thought it appropriate to give it a try. I was not disappointed.

As soon as I opened the bottle, I was hit with the smell of fresh fruits: a bouquet of raspberry, strawberry, and even lychee tantalised my olfactory glands. As I poured the first glasses, light shone through the straw-yellow colour of the drink. My mouth watered as it swirled in my glass.

The first sip was met with full body, almost thick on the tongue. The fruits remained heavy on the nose, then eased into an almost creamy mellowness, then a slight, pleasant bite of alcohol at the end. With each sip, the wine became more complex and mellow. The taste was only enhanced with a bite of mild cheddar on a water cracker. The alcohol bite at the back subsided a bit and folded into the wine’s other flavours. The tasting sheet recommends seafood and rice with it, but the chicken and vegetables did just as well.

Sometimes you just know a good wine when you taste it and in Vicente Gandía’s celebrity-branded wines, you taste it.

In Nepal the wines are distributed by Red Chilli Merchandise and are also available in select restaurants in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Lawrence Miller

Red Chilli Merchandise Buddhanagar, Kathmandu (01)2204444