Indian wine with a French twist from Karnataka

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DSC03902.JPGStephane Derenoncourt, the maverick French winemaker who is being hailed in world winemaking circles as the New Age guru of viticulture is making his presence felt in Karnataka, India. SI Correspondent, Ruma Singh reports. Derenoncourt has been appointed winemaker of the newly-set up Alpine Winery, based near Mysore, which has now launched the first of his wines in the Bangalore market. Above: Stephane Derenoncourt with Raghavendra Gowda


Select guests and mostly senior members of the Bangalore Wine Club met Raghavendra Gowda, the pony-tailed forward-thinking young owner of the state-of-the-art winery at an exclusive dinner at Olive Beach where Bangalore was treated to its first taste of the two wines to be initially launched from its premium range.
The Vindiva Classic Shiraz 2011 spent extensive time in the decanter before being paired with Chef Manu Chandra’s offerings of Foie Gras/Soft-shelled crab/Beef carpaccio. The wine, a deep ruby with a typical Shiraz nose of blackberries and pepper, opened up well as the dinner continued.
For the main course, the Vindiva Reserve ‘Valley of Dreams’ Shiraz 2010 with an interesting all-black label was served with a selection of mains including 8 Hour Lamb and Braised Pork belly. Though somewhat over-chilled, the balance and structure of the wine came though along with the dark berry flavours and a fairly long finish. The opinion among the cognoscenti at the table was that the wine would do well after another year in the cellar.
Over dessert, including a choice of Rose parfait and Bitter chocolate paté, Gowda chatted with the guests about the new and third Karnataka appellation, Kaveri Valley, under which Alpine falls. Although Derenoncourt was not present at the launch, his voice came though strongly in his style of winemaking.
Now wine lovers are awaiting the launch of the rest of the large number of wines being produced by Alpine, including Oro, the entry level range which has a Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz, and the Vindiva Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. Soon to follow from Alpine will be a range of exciting new varietals, including Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Torrontes and Malbec.

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