Ho­tel cel­e­brates Year of the Rooster early with art­ful wine

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE | DINING - By MIKE PETERS

There’s an old Ital­ian su­per­sti­tion about spilling wine: If that hap­pens, you should im­me­di­ately dab a lit­tle be­hind your ears, like per­fume, for good luck.

Chi­nese artist Shao Fan was charmed by that folk wis­dom, and he thought of it when a Tus­can win­ery asked him to de­sign a la­bel for its up­com­ing vin­tage that cel­e­brates the Chi­nese NewYear.

The re­sult, a co­quet­tish rooster, was un­veiled this month by Castiglion del Bosco, a re­sort and win­ery man­aged by Rose­wood in Italy. The com­pany brought its newly re­leased Brunello diMon­tal­cino Ris­erva 2010 to the ho­tel chain’s Bei­jing sib­ling for a gala wine din­ner.

Lo­cated in Mon­tal­cino, Tus­cany, Castiglion del Bosco is a pic­turesque 800-yearold es­tate with vine­yards pro­duc­ing Brunello and Rosso diMon­tal­cino wines.

This is the third year that the Tus­can vint­ners have pro­duced a com­mem­o­ra­tive wine for Chi­nese New Year, from a spe­cial vine­yard ded­i­cated to that vin­tage.

The gala din­ner kicked off a se­ries of jus­tended white-truf­fle din­ners, cel­e­brat­ing the cui­sine and wine-mak­ing ex­per­tise of Tus­cany.

Ex­clu­sive wines from Castiglion del Bosco have also been avail­able this month. Brunello di Mon­tal­cino is a beau­ti­fully bal­anced san­giovese with a gen­er­ous and em­phatic fra­grance. The ruby-red Campo del Drago is an ex­tremely com­plex Brunello diMonta­cino Cru, andMil­le­cento is a com­plex yet el­e­gant re­serve noted for its fi­nesse.

The “rooster re­serve”, how­ever, has not been part of these meals— un­less you and a group of friends spring for one of the 688 mag­nums pro­duced for the up­com­ing Chi­nese New Year. Ten per­cent of the pro­ceeds from each bot­tle, priced at about 8,000 yuan ($1,150), are be­ing do­nated to a char­ity in China. ••• Who was the big­gest wine­maker at the re­cent ProWine 2016 fair in Shang­hai? Mea­sured in cen­time­ters, that was eas­ily YaoMing, whowas there to pro­mote hisYao Fam­ily Wines pro­duced in Cal­i­for­nia’s Napa Valley. The pop­u­lar re­tired NBA bas­ket­ball star also par­tic­i­pated in a master class with a team from the Cal­i­for­nia Wine In­sti­tute.

••• At a re­cent Sun­day brunch in Bei­jing, the wines were all Ital­ian, but the mind­set was Chi­nese: Even the first wine served was red. On­top of that, the wines fromPoder­n­uovo a Palaz­zone were paired with a de­lec­ta­ble menu by chef Marino D’An­to­nio at Opera Bom­bana. The combo made for a su­perb af­ter­noon. Fea­tured wines pre­sented by the im­porter Sar­ment in­cluded the winer­ies’ fine Ar­girio 2012, a Tus­can caber­net Franc with a touch of caber­net sauvi­gnon. The open bou­quet has hints of cas­sis, co­rian­der, all­spice white cho­co­late, co­coa but­ter and net­tles; the wine has a long fin­ish on the palate with a pleas­ant min­er­al­ity. Guests also sam­pled vin­tages of the win­ery’s Sor­tirio (100 per­cent san­giovese) and Therra (a blend of san­giovese, mon­tepul­ciano, caber­net sauvi­gnon and mer­lot). All are cur­rently avail­able at fine-din­ing es­tab­lish­ments in China.

“Great draw­ings are nice,” he says grin­ning, “butIwant­ed­toac­tu­all­y­seemore­ofmy­work.”

He de­cided that meant mak­ing stuff him­self, and team­ing up with the sim­i­larly pas­sioned Doe­pel. They de­cided that the nascent 3-D print­ing tech­nol­ogy would al­lowthemto cre­ate in three fields they both en­joyed: ar­chi­tec­ture, fash­ion and food.

Ar­chi­tec­tural mod­els and fan­tasy con­fec­tions for pas­try chefs are two ob­vi­ous ap­pli­ca­tions. Other projects were sur­prises.

“See that?” he asks, point­ing to a man­nequin wear­ing a face­mask in the De­facto de­sign work­room.

The molded hu­man form has some­thing that such fig­ures gen­er­ally don’t, he says: ears. Their client needed to show its PM2.5 masks fit­ting prop­erly on the face, so the De­facto team de­signed and molded heads with proper ears.

As they cre­ate a port­fo­lio, Rolon and Doe­pel are find­ing they can fab­ri­cate all kinds of goods — ed­i­ble or other­wise. Their de­signs have ranged from plate-sized com­pany lo­gos to an im­mense mo­du­lar struc­ture that set a Guin­ness World Record for the largest 3-Dprinted struc­ture. That com­mis­sioned piece was an at­trac­tion at a re­cent sub­ur­ban Chi­nese mall pro­mo­tion. Then there’s the lion. “The Ital­ian em­bassy wanted some­thing for a spe­cial event,” says Rolon. “We played with sev­eral ideas, and fi­nally came up with theVene­tian lion.” The­myth­i­cal beast, about the size of a suit­case be­fore they added an im­pres­sive pair of wings, was made out of sugar, and the honey-col­ored cen­ter­piece drewlots of oohs and ahs at the gala din­ner.

Sugar is a good ma­te­rial to work with, he adds. Cho­co­late, with its finicky melt­ing tem­per­a­tures, is less prac­ti­cal than the duo had ini­tially hoped.

Fast-chang­ing tech­nol­ogy, they say, will soon al­low more com­pli­cated cre­ations, such as the daily-chang­ing break­fast bar.

“Think about dis­as­ter re­lief,” says Rolon. “You could drop a 3-D printer into the area with a he­li­copter or a drone, and peo­ple could­make food with the raw­ma­te­rial they have there.” Other ideas are a bit less noble. “It would be amaz­ing to make a Fer­rari,” he says with a huge grin. “If they won’t hire us, we may just do it any­way.”

Shao Fan has de­signed a rooster pat­tern for Rose­wood’s vin­tage for the up­com­ing Chi­nese New Year.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Gor­gon seeds, stir-fried with peeled shrimps, also from Taihu Lake, make a fancy hot dish.

Chi­nese artist

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

A honey-col­ored Vene­tian lion made out of sugar be­comes an at­trac­tion at a re­cent Ital­ian em­bassy event in Bei­jing.

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