Hotel celebrates Year of the Rooster early with artful wine
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.
Gorgon seeds, stir-fried with peeled shrimps, also from Taihu Lake, make a fancy hot dish.
A honey-colored Venetian lion made out of sugar becomes an attraction at a recent Italian embassy event in Beijing.