If you’re the kind that thinks all Indian wine is rubbish, then think again says Karina Aggarwal.
There’s a host of wineries making quality wines at very affordable prices in the country. We’ve scouted the market to find ten of the best – some you may know, a few you may not, but all that you should definitely consider for your next wine night.
This is what you get when the world’s most popular Champagne house – Moet & Chandon - decides to make a foray into a new wine-making region and launches Chandon India. Although they only launched last year the project had been simmering for a while. The two sparkling wines are made using the same method as is used to make Champagne and have become the new benchmark for all others to come.
Price: Chandon Brut (Rs 1,200) and Chandon Brut Rosé (Rs 1,400) in Maharashtra and Delhi.
Grover Zampa Rosé Soirée
Surprisingly the most luscious sparkling rosé to be found on the market, this wine shows great aromas and a lovely texture, one that balances prickly acidity and creamy red fruit jam flavours. As the name suggests, a great wine for all kinds of fun get-together’s.
Price: Rs 1,125 in Maharashtra. Also available in Karnataka, Goa, Rajasthan and Chandigarh.
One of the newer wineries to make a mark – and boy have they made a strong one at that – is Charosa Vineyards. Based in Nashik, they have launched some of the most qualitative range of wines to have come from a single winery. The Viognier is fast-becoming a popular white grape in India and theirs is the best to be had right now.
Price: Rs 750 in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.
Fratelli Sangiovese Bianco
India’s most promising house currently, Fratelli, made heads turn when they made a white wine out of red grapes! A first for India, it is a rare feat (even in Italy where the grape comes from), and the final product was one that smells light and tastes crisp like a white wine but then also shows some richness in the after-taste like a red wine. Try it, if for nothing, then to at least put a tick in a very unusual box.
Price: Rs 695 in Mumbai and most major cities across the country.
York Zinfandel Rosé
Few houses take their rosé wines extremely seriously and even fewer consumers think of them as anything more than picnic wine. Well, whatever is your reason to reach out for one, the version from York is a very friendly wine that can be enjoyed as a daytime aperitif and also with some light summer meals. It has everything you’d expect from a good rosé – fruit, freshness and the ability to make you reach out for one glass after another.
Price: Rs 500 in Maharashtra.
Tempranillo is the main grape of Spain and now Charosa has adapted it to Indian climate. Currently it is the only pure Tempranillo wine by an Indian winery that is available in the market, and the Charosa version is a reserve wine, which means it was aged in oak as well. A very classy, easy-drinking wine with fruity, toasty notes at a very affordable price.
Price: Rs 1,500 in Maharashtra
Krsma Cabernet Sauvignon
Krsma has been a dream in the making for many decades and when it launched in January 2014, the Hampi Hills-based winery made quite the impact with wine critics and seasoned consumers alike. The Cabernet Sauvignon from the house of Krsma is one of the most concentrated full-bodied wines to come from India.
Price: The wine is currently available only in Bangalore at Rs 1,600.
Sette is the reserve red from Fratelli vineyards. Every year the winemaker Piero Masi chooses the best grapes from their 250-acre vineyards and blends them together in barrels until he reckons they are ready. The current Sette, the 2010 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc. It is one of the few Indian red wines that has managed to hold its own against a number of international wines.
Price: Rs 1,650 in Maharashtra.
Another Indian red wine to be proud of, the Chêne is currently the most expensive wine in the market. But not just the price, even in taste, the wine shows a certain superlative quality. More about smoky-toasty notes with some ripe fruit to follow, this is the kind of wine that can pair with any form of a rich meal you might throw its way.
Price: Rs 1,700 in Maharashtra.
Vallonné Vin de Passerillage
Passerillage is the process of drying fresh grapes in the shade to shrivel them up a bit in order to concentrate the sugars. The resulting wine is a thick sweet liquid gold. Never made in large quantities and never to be drunk in large measures either, enjoy Vallonné’s Vin de Passerlliage absolutely chilled with a dessert, or just by itself and call it dessert!
Price: Rs 810 per 375 ml bottle in Mumbai, Goa and Pune.
From the sparkling to the sweet, Indian wines have come a long way, and there’s even further to go. Until then, here’s a quick tip – when buying an Indian wine, pick wines from the last two to three years as opposed to older vintages. Salut!