According to the last news of Harper’s Bazar, three glasses of champagne per day could help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s. Well, we do not promote drinking of alcohol every day, but we want people to be real gourmets and appreciate the quality of good drinks. We’ve met with Bohdan Shevchenko, the sommelier of Concord restaurant in Kiev, and asked him to share his thoughts about wine culture in the capital today.
Bohdan, do you see any changes in culture of drinking in Kiev in recent years?
Yes, of course, and these are changes for better. People travel more and they have an opportunity to try some new tastes. In addition, we have a lot of opportunities here to try some new drinks due to many importers of fine wines.
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Tell us, please, about the difference between the plastic and wooden cork? And how do they influence the quality of wine?
Of course, elite wines are sealed with a cork or with a screw. However, plastic cork of some cheaper wines does not mean anything bad. On the contrary, the plastic cork says that the wine producer is open for innovate approach, and he is not indifferent to the environment by saving trees from being cut down. And the quality of wine will not be lost in this case. Small wooden cork is not as reliable as a good plastic one.
How and where should we store wine at home if there is a no special chiller cabinet?
Wine can be stored in the refrigerator or in a dark room at a temperature of about 19C degrees with normal humidity. Opened bottle of wine should be kept in a refrigerator. It is believed that the vibration motor of a wine chiller adversely affects the quality of elite French wine, but I do not think it is so important for the average person who drinks just good wine.
What is the right wine temperature for serving?
Sparkling wine should be served with the temperature of 5-7C degrees, the white wine - from 8 to 14C degrees and the red one – with 19C degrees. It is also important to take into account the richness of wine. For example, if you serve the rich white wine too cold, you can miss a lot of interesting flavors.
What kind of wine do Ukrainians prefer and is there any difference with foreign audience?
Foreigners are more open in terms of discovering new tastes. And they know more about composition of wine. Our people drink popular wines and do prefer Italy. Ukrainian women are moving away from their love to sweet drinks, but they prefer light wines. Ukrainian men love wines with rich, powerful structure.
Should we focus on the retail price when choosing a wine? Is there minimum price for a good wine?
In my opinion you need to try a wine and understand whether it is tasty for you or not. We must focus on the taste of wine; the price is not an indicator of "delicious" wine.
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What can you tell us about Ukrainian wines?
I'm not very familiar with Ukrainian wines. But at the recent degustation I liked Grande Vallee wine produced in Odessa region. It was a very good one.
Can you please give us simple advices of wine and food combination?
Based on the classic rules, the cheese loves sweet wine or red, tannic wine. Sweet wine is good with cheeses with white mold. Pink and sparkling wine go good with fruits. In general, I can mix very different wine with different food and it will be really tasty. The wine should be enjoyable in combination with the products you choose personally. If you like this mix, so your choice is right. Nowadays sommeliers adhere to the classical rules and experiment more. We can only recommend the wine to the dish, but a fusion of flavors is a new trend.
Do you have favorite wine boutique in Kiev?
No, I can buy wine at any store. Silpo by the way brings very interesting “Own import”. They have good and not expensive wines. Goodwine is also nice store.
Is there any new taste of wine you would like to share?
Sardinia and Sicily wine were the good ones I’ve tasted recently (Costamolino Vermentino di Sardegna, Perdera Monica di Sardegna, Iselis Bianco Isola dei Nuraghi, Monte Croce Passito Bianco). Sometimes it can be proven manufacturers but with wine of another crop year.
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What are the difficulties of sommelier profession for you?
Perhaps the difficulty is that the sommelier’s recommendations sometimes don’t reach the investors or managers of restaurants when you need to change something in wine list or in the menu of the place. Some importers from time to time bring interesting wines, I would like these wines to be in the Ukrainian restaurants, but the management can be conservative in this respect. Sometimes this leads to the fact that those customers who like to try something new go to the other restaurants. There is also a question of price. When the price of wine in the restaurant and the same wine in retail seriously differ, it affects the attendance of restaurants and the development of gastro culture in our country in general.
Editor: The world of wines is mysterious and exiting for those who really appreciate good taste. I want to hope that in Ukraine there will be a lot of opportunities to try new wines of good quality and to know more about this ancient but still up-to-date drink.
Interviewed by Anna Vishtak