What the Tasting Panel Had to Say about Indian Wines
The Great Indian Wine Tasting was the success it was because of the quality of the tasters on the Panel. They gave it credibility along with the professional manner in which the wines were tasted. After several hours of tasting and making notes, the discussion was opened to the house, and the talk carried on over dinner. Here's what the Panel members had to say:
Gaurav Anand:"For me the tasting highlighted that there are many drinkable Indian wines that are improving in quality. White and rosé wines remain a better bet than reds, partly because they manage to avoid some of the main faults with the reds - unripe tannins, over-extraction, and poor use of oak. The top wines we selected were surprising for their quality - which can be considered internationally competitive."
Rukn Luthra: "I've been part of the wine industry since the year 2000 and have been keenly tracking the development of Indian wines over the years. I'm pleased with the improvement in quality and the positive direction the industry is taking; however, we do have miles to go and need to accelerate and innovate on many fronts so as to be seen as a global and serious player."
Harshal Shah: "I am impressed by the standard of Indian wine, particularly the whites and rosé. These styles were generally clean, fresh and varietally sound. I still have some concerns about wine storage and perhaps even hygiene in Indian cellars, as many of the reds, while showing promise were let down by heat taint, maderisation and some reductive notes. If producers choose appropriate grape varieties suited to Indian terroir and climate and focus on quality and consistency in wine production and storage, there is no doubt that Indian wine will thrive in international wine competitions in the future."
Gagan Sharma: "It is surprising to see how the wines in India are developing, especially the rosés and the whites. Mazeltov to the producers and their teams. The reds are still far from reaching the international levels but are in no way unappreiable. With the entire globe now eyeing the Indian market and its produce, the winemakers need to up their efforts just a notch to present a wine-style worthy of admiration. However, as for the variety we saw, two thumbs up!
Magandeep Singh: "Wines are always a humbling experience and this was a lesson in humility. So many wines left us surprised so much that I have to say that things are definitely getting better. From the unacceptable to the awesome, we had quite the range! Kudos to the Indian winemakers: keep doing what you guys are doing! You have my support."
Reva K. Singh: Wine enthusiasts often ask me, what do you think of Indian wines? Pretty awful aren't they? We sometimes tend to knock our own wines. However, going by the wines I tasted last week, there is absolutely no need to be apologetic about Indian wines provided they reach the consumer in the condition they left the winery. Tastings such as these have immense value by giving consumers the confidence to choose the right wine and encouraging winemakers to do the best they can.
Marketa Sitarova: "My impression of the tasting is very positive. I would say that overall, the quality of the white wines was much superior to the red wines. I can see the tendency towards more pure, not manipulated wines which is a good sign. Overall, the quality of the Sauvignon Blanc is good, with clear, racy character of the grape in most of the tasted wines. I was pleasantly surprised by the very good quality of grape varieties which are less common in India (for example, Fratelli's Chardonnay). The red wines were in general more problematic. Cabernet Sauvignon blends were clearly leading in quality but none of the tasted wines had the "wow" factor for me. To conclude, I would say that it is good to see that more and more wineries are making an effort towards making good quality wines. After all, Indian wines are the first step for future wine lovers and an introduction to the complex and fascinating world of wines for many."
Craig W Wedge: "Over the last six years, I have witnessed the metamorphosis of the Indian wine industry. From a base of questionable mediocrity to what I have seen in the bottle during this tasting, it is obvious that there is a girth of talent within the industry that is now coming to light and their hard work and diligence in the task of making consistent quality is becoming more apparent."