A Blue Day with Harald Wiesmann

Wine Tales | Written By, NOW! BALI | June 28th, 2013

Good wine and good friends are a pair made in heaven. On one sunny afternoon at Kayuputi restaurant we were blessed with the company of both, a bottle of white wine and our resident wine expert, Harald Wiesmann,Restaurant Manager of Kayuputi and Chief Sommelier at The St. Regis Resort Bali. During the ensuing conversation we couldn’t resist putting his knowledge of wine to the test. We asked Herr Wiesmann to tie the July edition’s theme: “Into the Blue,” with the subject of wine. This is what he came up with. Blue is the color that’s associated with the sea, which according to Harald Wiesmann, produces significant environmental impact to coastal wine regions. Some of the best wine producing areas, like Sicily in Italy, Bordeaux and Provence in France,

 

Good wine and good friends are a pair made in heaven. On one sunny afternoon at Kayuputi restaurant we were blessed with the company of both, a bottle of white wine and our resident wine expert, Harald Wiesmann, Restaurant Manager of Kayuputi and Chief Sommelier at The St. Regis Resort Bali. During the ensuing conversation we couldn’t resist putting his knowledge of wine to the test. We asked Herr Wiesmann to tie the July edition’s theme: “Into the Blue,” with the subject of wine. This is what he came up with.

 

Blue is the color that’s associated with the sea, which according to Harald Wiesmann, produces significant environmental impact to coastal wine regions. Some of the best wine producing areas, like Sicily in Italy, Bordeaux and Provence in France, Priorat in Spain, and many more, are located by the sea. Even Italy’s Piemonte wine region is, in fact, situated not far from the Ligurian Basin. 

Vineyards in close proximity to the sea benefit from the maritime climate. The winters are mild and warm and the dry summers help to ripen the grapes and prevent rotting. Salinity also has a little bit of impact on the mineral content of the soil which, in turn, affects the grapes’ characteristics. Priorat and Bordeaux, for instance, produce some of the best red wines in the world.

Lakes and rivers have a similar effect on nearby wine regions as well. The waters reflect the sun and project heat on to the vineyards around them. Vineyards on the shore of Lake Geneva in Switzerland and Mosel, by the river Mosel in Germany, are influenced by this natural phenomenon. 

Our conversation got more interesting with the next blue-related subject to crop up in our wine induced chat. This time, Wiesmann talked about what “being blue” means in his native land, Germany. To the Germans being blue (Sein Blau) is an expression about the state of being merrily drunk. Contrary to what the expression means in other cultures, to him and most of his fellow Germans, being blue serves to evoke a deep-lying creative force. Wiesmann has had many first-hand accounts of this as an experienced Sommelier.

In his profession, this surge of creativity helps the Sommelier to be more in tune with the characters of the wine he serves. Wiesmann, a lover of poetry himself, is quick to point out the benefits of being blue to many world class writers and artists. It is a known fact that these writers and artists produced some of their masterpieces while being blue. It’s suffice to say, Hemingway’s classic, “The Sun Also Rises” would’ve turned out differently without the great author’s love of Rioja Alta, which comes from the famous wine region of Rioja in Spain.

From Spain also comes the term “blue blood” (Sangre Azul), which became the next topic in our discussion of the association between the term blue and wine. Blue blood refers to an imagined quality of people of high rank and birth, aristocrats, noblemen. There were times in the history of wine when the upper crust of ancient society held sole privilege to enjoy wine. 

In Middle Age France, supplies for noblemen (wine included) were transported to the countryside by animaux de somme or beasts of burden. The man in charge of completing the task was called a saumalier. During this period, the term became Sommelier, a title for an official in King Phillipe V’s court, whose job was to taste the wines served for the king and make sure they were not poisoned.

The French Revolution transformed the job description of the Sommelier. With the blue bloods gone, centuries of experience in serving wines evolved into a fine art. By then Sommeliers were employed by restaurants in France to attend to a new ruling class, the bourgeoisie. 

Today, the Sommelier is a profession that is viewed in high regard. We sure felt that way as we ended the day’s discussion with Harald Wiesmann, who sat there contently, having passed our little test with flying colours. 

Interpretation of Blue Eyes

Written by Harald Wiesmann

 

Blue eyes they glitter like diamantes

Blue eyes they mystify with hypnosis in mind

Blue eyes they smile and move souls

Blue eyes they get old with wisdom

Blue eyes admire the soils they come from

Blue eyes love the mirror they see themselves in

These all and more are the blue eyes 

which do also feel love for other eyes 

 

and their colors of the world.

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NOW! BALI

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