Sunday, March 9, 2014

My Visit to the Four Seasons Winery at Baramati


I remember waking up on the 5th of February to my cell phone blaring out Train's Mermaid. A sleepy me somehow manged to say a "hello" when Shayoni excitedly asked me if I would be game for a trip to Baramati. I for the love of god couldn't figure what she was talking about and I just said a yes, disconnected and went back to sleep. Some more minutes later I got another call from her explaining to me that Baramati was 100 kms from Pune and I was supposed to reply to a mail from team Gingerclaps if I wanted to be a part of the trip to their winery and resort. I jumped up and immediately replied with a big "YES". A week later we received the confirmation that a team of six of us Kolkata bloggers were actually going for a two day trip to Baramati, Maharashtra.



It was pretty late when we arrived at Pune airport on the 16th at about 9:30-10 pm. Two cars were waiting to take us to Baramati, a 1.5-2 hrs drive from the airport. The driver accompanying us was a merry fellow (I forgot to ask his name) who told us that there were several sugar mills and a pharma factory in the area the winery  is located. A distinct smell of freshly crushed sugarcane stayed with us the whole time.

It was around 12 midnight when we reached the spot. All four of us in our car were hungry like wolves and we have stopped on our way to buy a few bites, packets of chips and Maggi noodles (they are life saviors, I tell you). The moment we got out, we were astounded by the enormity of the place we were supposed to lodge in for the next two days. We stood in complete silence, absorbing the beauty that stood in front of us as Mr. Adtnu Tiwari, Brand Manager-Wines came down to welcome us and help us in finding our respective rooms.

I was given a room called Bordeaux, a wine making region in southeastern France. Inside I found my bed neatly made, a tray of coffee cups, a water heater and sachets of milks, coffee, sugar and tea bags, and a chocolate waiting for us. I quickly ran over to Shayoni's room to find her's identical to mind except a few minor differences. Her room was called Napa Valley perhaps and a pretty picture hung in each of our rooms giving us tit-bits about the regions that our rooms were named after.

My Room- Bordeaux

The three of us girls, Deepa, Shayoni and I left Animesh to himself as we gathered in Deepa's room for coffee and Maggi noodels which Deepa made for all of us in the coffee cups in her room. We then decided to inspect around despite being awfully tired an sleepy. We were delighted to see so many stars so clearly (stars are hardly visible from the area we live thanks to all the pollution). We sat by the pool side sipping our warm coffee and chatting away till late.

I was determined to see the sunrise the next morning and woke up early around 6 am and woke the other three girls to join me. We came down dressed to find Shikha and Dolon already up and dressed clicking pictures. We were walking up watching the sun slowly come up in its scarlet hues when we found Mr.K.Balakrishna waking towards us and introducing himself as the General Manager and Unit Head. He joined us for a trek around the beautiful hilly region as he asked us to look out and spot deer which run free in the valleys. Shikha spotted a few deer paw prints and soon after we saw a couple of deer galloping down in the valleys.

Before sunrise :D
We returned to find breakfast ready for us which consisted of fresh fruits, cereal, tea, freshly made orange juice, multigrain and white bread toast, blueberry muffins, custard filled danish (as Poorna di explained to me), Cheese and mushroom omlette, idli-vada sambar and much more (I can't recollect the rest  ).

Breakfast!!
The super-yumm food was prepared by chef Hitesh Gautam from Hyatt Regency, Bangalore who was the sweetest of people as he happily agreed to show me around the kitchen and immediately posed for a picture with Deepa when I asked. 


 Shayoni had a splitting headache and felt unwell because of the turbulence we faced during out flight to Pune. It was raining crazy when we left Kolkata and we had to pass through many air pockets. So she took a nap while the rest of us changed and gathered up in the conference room as Bala sir explained to us the nitty grities of grape harvesting and wine production - the sugar content detection process, adding the yeast, the temperature etc etc.

That is Bala sir explaining to us the technicalities of wine making
After the theory , we went down to see the wine extraction area, the cellar, the barrel room, and the bottling and labeling areas.

We tasted different grapes, the ones used for making the wines are distinctly smaller and sweeter than the normal table grapes that we usually eat. Something new that I learnt here was that the red grapes Pinot Noir is also used to make white Champagne apart from making red wine. We were also taken to the storage tanks where we tasted grape juices and wines in their different stages of production.
The grape juice extraction process
 These oak barrels that you see in the picture below are used for three-four times and then are either sold away to bourbon companies (the oaks with the wine absorbed in them add a new note of flavor to the bourbon) or are used for decoration purposes or as planters. A device called a "wine thief" which looks like a pipette is used to get the wine out from these barrels.
Storage and labeling 
After spending about 3 hours underground in the cellars, we started feeling hungry again. We returned to the restaurant to find Chef Hitesh ready with our lunch spread. This is what we had -
Hors d'œuvre and First course
 Hors d'œuvre - A contemporary twist on the traditional Methi Matti served with Four Seasons Sauvignon Blanc.
First Course- Basil Chicken Tikka with Pineapple Panna (a twist to the traditional Aam-panna) served with Ritu Viognier.
Main Course - Buttered Salmon on top of Cashew Upma, Fiery Prawns with saffron sauce served with Four Seasons Barrique Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
Dessert- Baked Doi (a twist to the traditional Bengali dessert "bhapa doi") with basil seeds and Gulab Jamun on top of Dudhi Halwa (a traditional Marathi dessert made out of bottle guard) served with a special late harvest Chenin Blanc (this was my personal favorite coz I prefer the sweeter of the wines).

Main course and Dessert
 After a scrumplicious lunch, everybody headed over for a power nap while Shayoni, Shikha and I decided to go sit on the open terrace by pool. Shikha was pretty reluctant to dip her legs into the pool, so Shayoni and I decided to sit by the side with my legs dipped in the water, splashing water at each other.  Later when everybody was away drinking tea and munching on quiches and cookies, the two of us decided to go check out the different rooms - the would be library, the conference room and the topmost floor which was still under construction. The chateau isn't open for public for the next 1 or 2 years for they are still expanding the number of rooms and working on improving the hospitality section.

Before Sunset
The dinner was a barbeque party besides the pool. We had an assortment of fresh fruits like ripe strawberries, figs, kiwis; different kinds of cheese ; breads ; and barebqued chicken, lamb, fish and veggies accompanied by different types of reserve wines which went perfectly well with the food. The highlight of the evening was the live music played by Jake and Mynah, who came down from Mumbai.

Barbeque Party by the poolside
The next morning saw us getting up early as we had to catch our flight in the morning and had a drive of 2 hours in front of us till we reached the airport. We hurriedly grabbed our breakfast which consisted of muffins, croissants, omelettes, cereal, fruit juice, fresh fruits and upma and bid goodbye to the place and the others who stayed behind.

It has been almost a month now and I'm still not over it. That was one of the most memorable holidays for a really long time. A big thanks to team Gingerclaps, UB group, Bala Sir, Mr. Adtnu and Malavika for making it so enjoyable.

Till next,
Love


5 comments:

  1. It is nice to finally read about the trip...i wish i hadn't missed you call :-P but i a so glad you had such a lovely time... :-D this is a wonderful post. I felt like I was there in Baramati with you :-) :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Aniesha!! I wish you were there too...lets hope we can go on one soon ^_^

      Delete
  2. DAMN!! That looks like fun....appetizing fun!!

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete

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