jamie goode's wine blog: Indian wine

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Indian wine

A new experience earlier this evening. I was at the home of winemaker John Worontschak, with Sam Harrop, when John pulled out a wine that he'd made earlier. From India.

It's a Indus Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2006 made in Nasik, India, from grapes grown at 620 m. John says that the climate is warm and dry, except for when it's wet, in which case it's monsoon wet. The winery was designed by John, and set into a hillside it works by gravity flow.

The wine has a distinctive methoxypyrazine chalky greenness on the nose, along with a bit of lemon pith character. In the mouth it is clean, quite crisp and fruity, with more of the typical Sauvignon greenness. I'd be lying if I said that this is the world's best Sauvignon, but it is quite drinkable, and it's the best Indian wine I've ever had. Actually, it's the only Indian wine I've had, but that aside, there's some promise here. Tasted blind, we agreed that we'd probably place this in South Africa.

I guess there's money to be made from selling good quality Indian wines to the Indian middle classes. An impressive 250 tons of grapes went through the Nindus winery last vintage.



At 11:51 PM, Blogger M said...

On my last trip to India, I decided to try an domestic wine. I can't for the life of me remember what it was, but I remember it was sweet and cloying. I didn't much care for it.

That said, with such a diverse climate there, it may very well be possible to create some really good wine. I look forward to watching the Indian wine industry take shape.

At 4:10 AM, Blogger Salil said...

I tried a couple of wines from Sula when last there - was unimpressed by their Shiraz, and found the Cabernet horribly cooked.

I think areas in the north as well as some of the more hilly areas in the south have potential to be decent growing regions with the right techniques/knowledge, but storage and proper treatment of the wines will be the biggest problem in terms of getting these accepted by most drinkers in the big cities. A/Cs and temperature controls are still not that common in a lot of stores and homes, and keeping the wines from being exposed to the climates in Delhi, Bombay and Kolkata after release will be a big challenge.

At 12:58 PM, Anonymous keith prothero said...

Interesting that you both thought,if tasted blind, it was probably south african.Must have been bloody good then,because many wine writers and enthusiasts,consider south africa now makes better SB than the kiwis.
Unsure whether your reference to the Cape was a compliment to the wine or otherwise---I suspect the latter.

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Warren Edwardes said...

Sounds like a good effort, Jamie, considering the latitude of about Lat 20N compensated by only 700m altitude and monsoon ranfall.

Thinking of Catena in Mendoza (Alt 1000m Lat 33S and with snow covered peaks not far away), I would have thought there were much more suitable places in India (colder, drier, less fertle, less rainfall) to produce wine grapes (as opposed to fat juicy watery Thompson Seedless).

I wonder how these grapes look on the vine compared with their cousins in other cooler climes.

How much (if any) acidification?

But as always the proof is on the palate.

Warren Edwardes
Wine for Spice

At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"many wine writers and enthusiasts,consider south africa now makes better SB than the kiwis"


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