The two vodkas effortlessly showcased the complexity of the rye.
Belvedere, aka the world’s most luxurious vodka brand, recently announced an exciting new direction, a foray into the concept of terroir called the Single Estate Rye Series. Lucky for us, we were recently invited to the Sydney Single Estate launch, a multisensory dinner hosted by Belvedere involving tastings and fine food matches at the brand’s newly established Single Rye Rooms in Chippendale.
Terroir is a rather-hard-to-pronounce French word (ter-waahr) that roughly translates to ‘state of place’. It’s based upon the idea that environmental factors (soil, topography and climate) can affect the flavour profiles of food and beverage. For Belvedere, it is an opportunity for consumers to understand that although the vodka in this series is made from the same rye, it can taste different depending on where said rye is sourced from.
Belvedere has seven farms in Poland that they use for cultivating what is known as Dankowskie Diamond rye. As the weather conditions throughout the country vary, it has proven to be an incredibly resilient grain. For this series, it was entirely by experimentation that they fell upon two single estate farms; one situated in Smogóry Forest in Western Poland and the other from Lake Bartężek located in the picturesque northern Mazury lake district.
The former, a lush green forest, is known for its mild winters and fertile soils that produce an intense flavour. Honey, white pepper and salted caramel notes make way for its salty-sweet finish. The latter, Lake Bartężek is grown close to the Baltic sea, so is susceptible to harsh weather conditions. Of the rye that does survive (over 80 winter days buried in the snow) comes a unique and delicate flavour profile. There are notes of black pepper, toasted nuts and cream, and although it’s fuller and more rounded in taste, it’s also somewhat fresher.
Upon tasting, the distinction is clear, the flavour profiles are quite striking. Two vodkas made entirely of the same Dankowskie Diamond Rye yet the final products so distinctly different, effortlessly showcasing the complexity of the rye and a true representation and exploration into the concept of terroir in all its glory. The opposing locations make way for alternate experiences, you are quite literally, tasting a place. Enter the Belvedere Single Estate Rooms.
Simply put, the event took us to Poland. Smogóry Forest and Lake Bartężek were projected onto the walls around us, fragrance cards were delivered before we ate that emanated with scents analogous to those you would smell if you were at the estates and flourishing forests lined each table. We spent the rest of the evening enjoying cocktails made using the Single Estate Series that were expertly paired with our dinner courses, presented in the company of Belvedere CEO Rodney Williams. This innovation from Belvedere sees them stepping in a new direction, one that aligns nicely with the company’s ongoing efforts to maintain a standard of excellence in its product and on the land on which it is produced.
The Belvedere Single Estate Range will be available for purchase in New Zealand from Mid-May at selective stockists.