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    Wine sommelier Najeshda Deshpande on the pairings she’s planning for La Plancha’s wine and cheese master class this weekend

    Wine sommelier Najeshda Deshpande is excited about her second visit to the French quarter this weekend. Not only is she coming to ride the waves at Pondy, she is also going to be holding  a wine and cheese master class at La Plancha on Sunday. The evening curated by Sula Wines and Mango Hill Cheese, will take the guests through five courses of wine (75 ml pours) paired with 10 gms of cheese. Deshpande, wine sommelier and senior manager Imports at Sula gets talking in depth about the science that goes into the pairing, where you either match tastes, strike contrasts or complement flavours.“Take the Sula Brut Rose, which has a flavor of fresh strawberry to it that can be paired best with the rich creamy “cow’s milk” sweetness in the Camambret, where we are matching sweetness,” she says. “On the other hand  Sula Sauvignon Blanc has the sharpness of amla and gooseberry flavor to it, that can be matched with the acidity of Borsalino which is rich, creamy but has a flavor of garlic, that cuts across the taste of the wine — this is enhancement,”  she adds. Her “crowd pleaser” for the evening hopes to be the Chenin Blanc — Blue Cheese which matches the sweet and fruity notes of the wine with the saltiness and fatty elements of the cheese
    Odd pair
    Going beyond the regular coupling, Deshpande’s favourite unusual pairing is the wine and tea she did with tea sommelier Shweta Manchandi at a wine bar project in Mumbai. “It was the first ever pairing of wine and tea in India. We had to cool the tea so the flavours stood out distinctly and matched them with light wines,” she says adding that the Sula Orvieto, with its citrus aftertaste and notes of meadow flowers with green apples paired with Tea Trunk’s light Moon White tea that had notes of jasmine was an exquisite combination. “The task is in achieving a delicate balance of aromas between the wine and the tea,” she says, adding that her favourite pairing are the ones that break the conventional rules of wine pairings — Pinot Noir with smoked salmon(seafood is not conventionally paired with reds) and Tuscan Sangiovese with Parmesan cheese. Deshpande hopes that with tasting sessions like this, wine will experience a shift from being exclusive to society’s elite  to becoming more approachable.
    Priced at Rs 500 from 8 pm onwards.  Details: 0413 4300333

    Niranjana Hariharanandanan

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