I'm going abroad for 2 months so there will be no Indian wine reviews until August or September 2010!
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Today I'm tasting wine from Bangalorean company Mandala Valley Vineyards, founded in 2006. As far as I know, at least in the beginning they used grape from Maharashtra, not from Karnataka where Bangalore (Bengaluru) is located.
Label is quite beautiful and that is, perhaps, the main reason I bought it. "Mandala" means "circle" in Sanskrit. "Mandala valley" doesn't mean anything, it's just a combination of words. The label also says "where the rainbows dance". Not sure what they mean but maybe the rainbows got very drunk with this wine and began to dance ;-)
What I like the most about the label is that it says "private collection". If it's a private collection - how the hell did I get it in a regular wine shop? :)
Price: heavy 690 Rs (15 USD).
Smell: actually, rather bad. Very intense, but not rich. Similar to that of cheap Indian wine (150-200 Rs category) or dirty cheap European wine (0,5-1 EUR category).
Taste: rather muddled, mixed, confused. Not too terrible, but lacks clarity, lacks transparent, distinguishable after-taste. In short, taste is slightly better than that of cheap Indian wine (150-200 Rs category).
Funny but the official website of the manufacturer says their boss is French and he got kick-ass experience in the field. But, at least according to this item we tried today, he got deported from France for screwing the reputation of their sacred profession - wine making.
Verdict: NEVER BUY IT! It's a scam, a money waste. If you are willing to spend 690 Rs per bottle, go for Tiger Hill or Sula Dindori.
PS. Dr. Pascal Chatonnet, shame on you!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Yesterday I spotted a new item at my local wine shop - "Pause Puro" from Rendez-vous Wines India Pvt Ltd (Maharashtra). This particular wine is said to be made in Baramati - a little town near Pune. So it's the first Maharashtrian wine I tried which is not made in Nasik!
I was familiar with "Pause" wines already, and to be honest - my opinion about this company wasn't that high. Still, I decided to try it - it was just 225 Rs, after all :)
"Puro" means "pure" in Spanish and Italian, so the title is a combination of English and Spanish/Italian languages. Bottle design is quite simple, similar to cheapest wines in Europe - lousy label and metallic cap instead of proper cork.
Anyway, as I said - 225 Rs is a very small money so I decided to give it a try.
So, I got SURPRISED with this wine! It's actually good! The only "weakness" I found is a lack of rich after-taste. It's slightly (I mean it - slightly) watery in the end. Smell is also a little bit "poor". Otherwise, this wine is WAY better than other products in this price category.
Verdict: The best Indian wine in this price category (less than 300 Rs). Viva la Pause Winery!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Today we are tasting one of the most popular (or at least famous) brands in India - Sula.
Cheap Sula wines smell badly and taste the same so we went for an expensive bottle - Sula Dindori Reserve 2007.
Price - heavy 810 rupees (18 USD, in a wine shop)
Let's analyze the title first. It's a very beautiful bottle, after all! "Sula" itself has many meanings - from bird genus to islands in Scandinavia. It's not clear what did the company founders mean.
Dindori is a little town in Nasik - wine district in Maharashtra.
Bottle says the harvest was made in 2007, and then the drink spent 1 year in oak. Then it reached local shops.
Smell: rich, fruity, sweet, intensive.
Taste: very fruity, interesting aftertaste.
Verdict: very good Indian wine, but costly (comparing to Europe). It appears that Sula Wines company knows how to make good wine but refuses to do so in case of cheaper products. Perhaps, they assume that only rich can distinguish good wine from garbage.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
This time I'm tasting wine from a well established Indian vineyard - Chateau Indage (oh, again monetizing on French associations). Chateau means "castle" in French and somehow I doubt that this vineyard does, in fact, have a castle somewhere in Nasik. "Indage" doesn't mean anything, perhaps only the company owner knows the meaning behind this word.
Anyway, as of today, it's one of the most popular wine companies in India, and I guess one of the most successful in economic terms - most of the liquor shops in Maharashtra (at least in this state) got some Indage products.
Back to the guinea pig!
This wine strangely has no name, it's only written "Platinum series" which is a series of expensive Indage wines, and "Chateau Indage" with beautiful butterfly image. Moreover, label admits it's Merlot-Syrah - a combination of two popular grape types. Harvest of year 2007, bottled in 2009.
MRP: 850 Rs - definitely an expensive piece of joy
Therefore, most middle class Indians or Mumbaikars won't afford this wine on a daily basis as dinner/lunch supplement.
Indage Platinum Merlot-Syrah got a very nice, smooth taste - like silk touching your skin. Smell is very pleasant, yet simple. There is no fruit aftertaste, but the wine will go perfectly with virtually any dish. This wine is easily comparable to great products from France or Italy.
Verdict: One of the best wines available in India today. But, rather expensive. You can get really premium wine in Europe for this price.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Yesterday I spotted this beautiful bottle in a local wine shop in Bandra and decided to give it a try!
It's a new vineyard (at least I've never heard about it) called the very same way as the wine itself - York Vineyards, located in (try to guess!) Nasik, Maharashtra.
Price: 595 Rs
Tall beautiful bottle, real cork. On the back of the bottle it says "proudly Indian", so I assume Indian wine industry is not only growing but is already proud of itself :)
Well, I didn't enjoy how it smelled initially but after 30 minutes of air contact this problem faded away. Wine has a rich, fruity, a little bit sweet taste and interesting smell. Those who prefer "original" wine (read - different from classic Bordeaux or Chianti) will enjoy York.
Verdict: "York" wine is a great alternative to "Tiger Hill". Price is almost the same, as well as the quality. I'm happy there is another company now making real wine in India!
Went together perfectly with grana padano cheese and wasabi peanuts.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Our first "guinea pig" will be Vallonneé wine from Nasik, Maharashtra.
"Vallonneé" means "Hilly" in French, and, perhaps, the manufacturer wants to take benefit of (to monetize) France-great-wine association in our minds.
I would like to note here that I live in Mumbai (ex-Bombay) and for some reason 90% of the wine (or maybe even a higher number) available in city shops - is from Nasik. Somehow, other states that produce wine in India (I know at least two more - Goa and Karnataka, and both make nice products) either don't have access to Maharashtrian market or don't want to join it.
Anyway, back to the wine. It's quite costly - 750 Rs, even though the brand, as well as the vineyard, are new in the market. I guess, they are exploiting the ridiculously high customs duty on foreign wine. While the cheapest-cheapest European wine costs 1000 Rs in Mumbai, 750 Rs is still a smaller number.
That's the economical part.
The wine itself is quite good, even though has a little "rough" smell. Still, it's better than 80% of Nasik wine. It's incomparable to wine of "Sula" and many other brands, quality is much better.
Still, "Tiger Hill" from Nasik costs 600 Rs - cheaper, and it's a little bit, but better. The taste is more smooth, and there is no "rough" smell.
Verdict: If you have no other choice - this wine is a good option. However, if there is "Tiger Hill" in the same outlet - I say don't waste 150 rupees :)
Will go well with: meat, solid cheese like parmesan.
PS. This wine got beautiful, proper cork :)