Dec 2014:The SI Tasting Panel reconvened last month to taste a selection of India’s finest wines. Indian wines have improved noticeably and are garnering awards around the world. Given below are the new releases, arranged by producer & wine style. Experiment freely. These wines are among the best examples of Indian wine.
2011 ZAMPA SOIRÉE BRUT
Pale straw and youthful appearance. Fruit-forward nose with abundance of ripe white fruits and a touch of florals, green gooseberries, with mineral back. Fine mousse, round mouthful and crisp structure. Dry palate, crisp acidity, green tinge with a cleanbiting lime zestiness. Ready to drink.
16/20. MRP Rs1,100
2011 ZAMPA SOIREE BRUT ROSÉ
Pale watermelon and onion skin colour. Fine mousse. Fresh red, under-ripe berries, tad green, minerally, strawberry skin. Round, crisp palate with a creamy mouthfeel. Candied under-ripe berries and dark spices. Tad warm from high alcohol than required for balance.
15/20. MRP Rs1,200
2013 SULA BRUT
Deep lemon hue but slightly flat in appearance. Aromas of ripe fruit, sappy touches, yellow fruit skin, tad chemically, hint of marmalade and traces of oxidation. Off-dry, oxidative palate. Chemical, coppery, granular, sharp palate.
15.5/20. MRP Rs 1,050
2013 SULA ROSÉ
Deep salmon touches. Crushed floral, over-ripe peach. Sour cream, strawberry mousse, animally, warm alcohol. Bruised yellow and red fruits. Seems past its prime. Tastes fruity with sweet red cherries and candied blood orange in its youth. 1
4.5/20. MRP Rs1,200
2014 PLEASURES SAUVIGNON BLANC
Pale straw, green tinge flavour. Like a water cracker with aloe- vera gel. Pale body, slightly sharp and crunchy front palate, white pepper, tad flabby. Grainy and high on minerality. Gooseberries, under-ripe white fruits, good aftertaste but lacks structure.
14/20. MRP Rs 500
2013 VITAE TRE
Youthful, medium straw hue. Mid-aromatic nose, stoney fruits, rosewater hints. Spicy and ripe white fruit touches, final notes of sweet tropical fruits. Dry, aromatic fruity palate, flavoursome sweet white fruit, marzipan, honeydew aftertaste. Balanced body. Ready to drink.
16.5/20. MRP Rs1,600
2013 VITAE CHARDONNAY
Pale lemon colour. Youthful. Low fruity nose, oak chips. Rustic Nashik nose. Closed fruit. Warm spices. Tad woody. Should be decanted and rested. Dry. High on spices. Chalky, minerality, with green hints and sappy touches. Good juicy aftertaste but too short.
15.5/20. MRP Rs1,600
2013 VIJAY AMRITRAJ COLLECTION
Medium straw colour. Aromatic essences of sweet white fruits and fragrant white florals. Dry white, despite Viogner’s tendency towards sweetness. High alcohol and a throat drying mid-palate, highly spicy front, chalky, mineral; green touches, good aftertaste but short.
16/20. MRP Rs1,200
2013 LA RESERVE BLANC BARRIQUE RESERVE
Surprising pink touch over medium lemon hue. Aromatic nose. Rose petals, peach marmalade, jasmine and white florals, candied mint, elderflower. Bone dry, warm from high alcohol, flabby as it lacks acidity, grainy structure and mouthfeel. Floral front, sweet fruit, dry back, gentle soapy finish with varietal character. Ready to drink. Should decant.
15/20. MRP Rs 950
2013 SULA RIESLING
Deep straw. Youthful. Curious nose of milk-cake. High on florals. Sweet, white fruit aroma. Touch of rubber and candied mint. Medium dry. Flabby palate as it lacks acidity. Off-balance. Grainy palate. Round mouthfeel with varietal characteristics.
15/20. MRP Rs890
2014 CABERNET SHIRAZ
Medium ruby. Youthful and bright. Clean, dark skin fruit, sweet and juicy. Slightly fragrant. Gentle and crunchy. Soft round and gentle mouthfeel. Crisp, fine grain tannins. Earthy and woody with high fruitiness, chewy, and well balanced. Overall, very supple. 15/20. MRP Rs550
Deep ruby colour with fading rims. Oaky front palate, high on marzipan. Bitter almond nose. Touch under-ripe. Sweet and jammy, ripening fruit. Dusty, husky, gripping oak. Bitter aftertaste. Chemical-like, not amicable yet. Needs couple of years to mature. Maybe five to six years.
15.5/20. MRP Rs1,800
2010 CHÊNE TEMPRANILLO/SYRAH
Dense, deep ruby, fading rims. Youthful but developing. Sweet subtle nose. Oak plus juicy fruit. Earthy, caramel and Maplewood lifts. Dark red florals. Sweet fruity palate. Dusty, French oak front. Sweet and warm spices. Marzipan touch, round, medium grain tannins. Balanced with a bitter almond aftertaste. Can be aged for up to five years, needs decanting. 17/20. MRP Rs1,800
2013 VIJAY AMRITRAJ COLLECTION SHIRAZ/ CABERNET SAUVIGNON/ VIOGNIER
Deep ruby, fading rims but developing well. Jammy front palate with smoky dark fruits, black spices, a little burnt wood but warm, earthy lift. Round, dense, warm, smoky oak. Tannic palate, highly grainy mouthful. Balanced, warm dark fruit, lifted sweet aromatics, good refreshing acidity, clean aftertaste. Oak heavy.
16/20. MRP Rs1,200
2013 ART COLLECTION MERLOT
Medium to deep ruby, fading rims. Jammy, red fruit forward, sweet red plums and cherries. Touch of under-ripe fruit, with granular tannins. Chewy mouthfeel. Rugged palate with a lift of rich concentrated fruit.
14.5/20. MRP Rs 720
2013 RASA SHIRAZ
Scented aromas of raspberries, dark plums and cherries, followed by sweet, warm spices and freshly crushed peppercorns.Good mouthfeel from fine- grained tannins and oak. Well structured and age- worthy.
15.5/20. MRP Rs1,290
Youthful, vibrant, medium ruby with fading rims. Oaky nose. Juicy fruit penetrates through with raspberries, blackberries and bitter cherries. Palate, juicy and soft, balanced, French oak aftertaste, chewy palate. Very drinkable.
16/20. MRP Rs1,045
Pale watermelon colour. Slightly grassy nose, hint of spices, a little under-ripe red fruits, low on flavour. Out of balance as the chemicals haven’t integrated yet. Gooseberries, grassy, high on spice, jammy and chalky. Finishes on a fruity back palate.
14/20. MRP Rs550
2013 LATE HARVEST CHENIN BLANC
Appearance medium lemon with hint of green. Low fruitiness. White and yellow fruit. White florals, hint of green skin aromas. Chewy front and high on acidity. Slightly earthy back palate. If not served chilled, it can cloy. Tasted at warmer than recommended temperature.
14/20. MRP Rs315 for half bottle
Tasting notes by SITP coordinator, Gagan Sharma
We must remind our readers that there are no absolutes where wine is concerned. Our recommendations are based on a particular bottle of wine tasted by us at a single sitting. Another bottle of the same wine in a different setting may well taste different. Combining many cumulative years of tasting wine, the SI Tasting Panel commends these wines to you. But, in the final analysis, you must learn to trust your palate and make your own choices.
— Reva K. Singh
(From SI Issue 6, December 2014/January 2015)