Nordaq wants to revolutionize water and they believe they have with FRESH Water. In their words: “The water that we serve together with wine determines how we have the possibiity to process and experience different tastes.”
Below Owner/CEO of LA WineFest Dr. Joel M. Fisher speaks about tasting FRESH Water from Nordaq:
For those of you who have stopped in at this column periodically, you cannot fail to be aware that I get invited to countless wine tastings and wine events. But, for a first, I was invited to a WATER tasting!
The scene of this novel idea was Bouchon Beverly Hills. We were going to compare our host’s product with other bottled water, with red and white wine, and with food. For the latter, I was prepared. It wasn’t that long ago when I had been there for the unveiling of Charles Heidsieck champagne, headed now by the former first lady of Vieuve Cleuquot the dynamic Cecille Bonnefond.
This visit, I was introduced to the owners of this product, Robert and Paulina Hahmann. Paulina’s family had moved into the waters business in the 1970’s. They and my two hosts were convinced that water had a major impact on wine. FRESH, had after testing, caused a wine’s tannins to moderate back. Robert observed that the wine was heavier. I didn’t think the fruit had changed, but it treats the tannins into a stronger quality. The third time around in the process of tasting the FRESH, then the wine, wait a bit and taste the other water, the wine clearly was softer. The red wine we tasted first was the 2008 Obsidian Ridge from Napa.
The expansion of this Nordic water process in the US began three years ago when Chef Thomas Keller, of the French Laundry in Napa, Bouchon, Ad Hoc and Per Se, visited Stockholm and tasted the water at a leading restaurant. We followed, theoretically, in his footsteps, and tasted the white wine selection (a chablis). With sharp tannins, the taste changes, blunted by the water. Then I tried the wine with Vox Water. It smoothed out, then it thinned out and then a bite appeared. So, I observed, the Fresh Water influenced my enjoyment of the wine, and was better than the other selection.
Next we went through the testing process with food. All the vegetables were made in FRESH Water.
The Swedish entrepreneurs have moved into hotels and restaurants in Europe and the US, and into all Keller’s restaurants.
Asparagus is a tough item with which to pair. They started us with that, a top and the stem. The taste changes. After bottled water, there was no taste left. Asparagus did ok with the product and Chablis did not lose flavor or strength.
The Europeans feel that champagne and FRESH do well together, and systems are in place in hotels throughout Europe. Robert took me into the kitchen to see the spigots pouring his water.
We went on to test the menu, which included a Petoncle Poele, Boeuf Bourgignon and for dessert a Marquise au Chocolat. In the new style these days, the portions were smaller. Let me note I was full after working our way through the wines, the water, and some really great bread. The first entry, pan seared scallops with spring peas, pea shoots and ginger carrot butter, ranked with the top scallops I’ve enjoyed in the past five years.
Just as with the asparagus, the water did in fact smooth out the tastes of the wine with the fish. The effect was notable. With the beef short ribs, made with pearl onions, forest mushrooms, French breakfast radish, new crop potatoes and red wine jus, FRESH water paired with red wine intensified the flavors and durability of the Cab, and the food tasted even fresher after the water taste. A successful experiment, I would say.
There was no question that I liked the dark chocolate mousse with macerated strawberries with whipped creme fraiche which was served for dessert. Tasted with the FRESH, I liked it even more.
All in all, I enjoyed the water. It was different, and better than the other bottled waters at table. I admired the machinery operating in the kitchen, which produces and purifies FRESH wherever it is on site. Water is circulated through a cooler, carbonated according to preferences, and then pulled or drawn into a special glass bottle (very attractive) and with just a flic of a couple of fingers you are tasting natural or carbonated drinking water free from added chemicals and of the highest quality.
As the evening moved on and having enjoyed chatting to Paulina when she was sitting, and trying to enjoy her dinner, I went to see Robert before leaving. I told him I had in truth enjoyed the water, and invited him to be the water sponsor for the 2013 LAWineFest next June.