jamie goode's wine blog

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Serious Languedoc lunch, and tasting wines from India, Kosova and Georgia

On yet another beautiful spring day, I headed into town for a lunch with Christian Seely and his winemaker Cedric Loiseau focusing on the wines of Mas Belles Eaux, AXA's Languedoc property.

It was held at South Kensington restaurant Le Colombier, and was really good, with the exception of the glasses, which were crap. I hate to sound like a moaning ninny, but why bother showing high end wines to the press out of really, really bad wine glasses? And Le Colombier can't hope to be taken seriously as a wine restaurant if they can't be bothered to buy decent stemware. [I guess the worrying alternative is that they think their glasses are good.]

The Mas Belles Eaux wines were really good. Since 2005, they've taken a step up in quality, and are now among the Languedoc's best. Sadly, they aren't cheap (the reds range from 18-25 in price), but they should age really well.

Then it was off to Queensgate, next to the Natural History Museum, for a rather weird tasting. First, I tried the wines of Kosovan estate Stonecastle. Nice Riesling, delicious Vranac (which has just been listed at Waitrose and will be promoted at 5.99 from mid-April) and solid, fruity Merlot and Cab.

Then it was time for some Indian wines. These were from the India Food Company in Vinchur, Maharashtra in the Nashik wine region. In India they are labelled V&V; in the UK they will be either Godavari Estate or The Maharaj. A Chenin was green and nasty, while the rose, Shiraz and Zinfandel were solid but a tiny bit rustic. The Zin was the best of the bunch.

Finally, I tried several Georgian wines that are being imported into the UK by Guamarjos. These were really good, including a couple of lovely whites (Tbilvino Rkatsiteli and Marani Mtsvane) and a delicious Saperavi made in amphorae (Marani Satrapezo).

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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.