An evening with Bottega
All wines may not be created equal, but there’s no need for the snobbery – and Kerry Jones emphasises this with every sip she takes from her goblet.
The Bottega Jamaica representative and AU Trading Company Limited owner recently welcomed wine enthusiasts into her home and garden, to ‘wine down’ over carefully selected bottles, but instead of the usual pressure to follow a food and wine pairing guide, she, along with her guest of honour Nicole Geromel Bottega from Italy, turned their attention to palates.
“People attending a wine-tasting don’t normally get a chance to develop a preference, based on the options, but when someone gets to or can hear the explanation that the Glera vis-à-vis Chardonnay grapes are behind what makes one type of wine feel a certain way in the mouth or when it’s going down, then he or she can get more intentional about his or her selection,” Jones told Food.
She added, “It is true that pairing wine with food invites a wide spectrum of attitudes and approaches, and sometimes it can be intimidating because of the many options and wine producers on the global market, but my first rule of wine and food pairing is to drink the wine you enjoy or think you’ll enjoy with the food you have chosen because no meal has completely been ruined by an improper pairing, it’s all about personal palates.”
In addition to Jones’ garden, which was well decorated and warmly lit, the charcuterie spread of cheeses, olives, salami, ham, a variety of sauces, crackers, chips and dips, nuts, cured melon, and a wide selection of other fruits, as well as chicken and vegetable samosas, all prepared by Chef Samantha George, set the mood for an evening with Bottega. The wine selection for the night included Bottega Millesimato and Bottega Gold Prosecco, Ripassso, Chianti, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay.
Jones explained that the event was to introduce and expose the Bottega brand to a select guest list of wine enthusiasts. “The timing was only right, with Nicole taking her first trip to Jamaica as a means to experience the local wine culture; we curated an intimate setting where she would be able to speak about her passion, which is ours as well,” she said.
The evening started with the Millesimato, a charming sparkling wine, “chosen for its smoothness, knowing that we were going through five different wines – from sparkling to whites then reds – its flavour and aromas would not make whoever tasting it say if they veered to the right, it wouldn’t make them feel like they had made a great switch.”
She added that if someone is not a wine enthusiast, the Millesimato is the easiest pick to break in one’s palate. It was not served with anything specific to avoid leading palates in one direction over another.
Nicole Geromel Bottega, who is the export area manager for the Caribbean Market at Bottega S.P.A., was impressed with the feedback she received from the guests, describing most as “confident and familiar” with wines and wine culture.
“When I spoke they understood what I was saying, and I’m not referring to my accent (she laughed) but the overall culture of tasting and enjoying wines. There were many questions at the end of the night which shows interest in our product is growing,” Bottega said.
“As one of the pioneers in the wine industry, that was and still remains a family business – I represent the third generation – it was great to be amongst everyone in this type of atmosphere that embodies that,” she continued.
The Bottega portfolio in Jamaica is diverse but she expressed that the company wants to introduce more of the Rosé; it only launched the Prosecco Rosé in 2020. There is also a selection of liqueurs. However, Jamaica’s wine culture is evolving and at present, many persons are following trends or lean towards sweeter wines, explained Zachry Jones, director, and brand manager at AU Trading Company Limited, more popularly known as multidimensional artiste Zac Jone$.
The artisan bottles, especially that of the Bottega Gold Prosecco, have attracted a niche market in the entertainment sector, he said. “The gold bottle looks good and has a reasonable price point; that pulls persons in before they even taste it. My main aim is to introduce more persons to the brand because I believe Bottega can be the number one sparkling wine on the market.”
“Also, making sure people are educated on the wines because while Jamaicans locally have a palate that’s geared towards more sweet because of tradition, there are so many more, even dry wines, that could take their palates on an adventure,” Zac Jone$ continued.