It seems that new wineries are cropping up in India as quickly as Bollywood releases movies, notes SI correspondent, Harshal Shah. And quite often the Sommelier India Tasting Panel receives their offerings to taste and write about.
For our meeting in early December, two wineries, Luca (based just outside Delhi) and Fratelli (a joint-venture between the Sekhri and Mohite-Patil brothers and the renowned Italian producer from Tuscany, Alessio Secci sent us five wines to try.
Our guest panellist on this occasion was the incredible winemaker and Piedmontese personality Roberto Bava who was in town to launch his Rosato, made and bottled specifically for his Indian importer, FineWinesnMore. It was refreshing to have the insights of an ‘outsider’ when tasting Indian wines.
Craig Wedge, Sr Vice-President, FWNM, and former Wine Consultant of the JW Marriott in Mumbai was also part of the panel. Craig is the newest member of our tasting panel taking over from Kavita Faiella who is now working as a Sommelier based in Hong Kong.
The wines from Luca did not mention a vintage on the labels but stated that they were made by fermenting grape must and water, which accounts for their relative lack of complexity and depth. Beautifully packaged and labelled, the wines from Luca are a good stepping stone to more serious wine. According to Mr. Bava, they would be perfect as wine ‘coolers.’
Pictured bottles of Luca wines tasted
Luca Muscat NV
Deep straw/gold in appearance. A rather developed nose with sweet pineapple notes and other tropical fruit like banana. Quite prominent sulphides apparent. On the palate, the flavours are ripe and developed but appear diluted, and lead to a short finish.
Luca Sauvignon Blanc NV
A medium straw/gold wine in appearance. The nose has intense tropical fruit notes but also noticeable high sulphides. Rather drinkable but also with a diluted flavour and short finish.
Luca Merlot NV
Bright ruby/purple with some depth of colour. Rather a lot of sweet red fruit aromas. Syrupy and one-dimensional on the palate.
Luca Cabernet Sauvignon NV
Bright ruby/purple with rather deep purple/black hints. Rather a lot of sweet red fruit aromas. Syrupy and one-dimensional on the palate.
The wines from Fratelli we tasted were from their first vintage; although the wines still have a long way to go, they showed a lot of potential provided consistent care is taken in the wine-making process. As the young vines age, the concentration and quality of the fruit produced is bound to increase. What was exciting was that all three wines (Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon) showed varietal character and good acidity. We are very excited to see what Fratelli produces in the future. Expect wines that are intense yet subtle with a lot of depth of flavour and hopefully a layer of complexity.
Pictured bottles of Fratelli wines tastes
Fratelli Chenin Blanc, 2010
Bright lemon with hints of gold in appearance. Some grassy/floral notes of medium intensity with some minerality present too. On the palate, this wine has fresh, ‘sherbety’ acidity and loads of lemon-citrus and green apple notes. Despite the high alcohol (13%), the weight is light and finish is medium.
Fratelli Sauvignon Blanc, 2010
Pale lemon with some straw/gold flecks. A little grassy and earthy on the nose with some varietal character. Also some citrus, pineapple and gooseberry. Quite light and refreshing on the palate with medium acidity and grapefruit-citrus and herbaceous notes. Finishes very clean.
Fratelli Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Bright, vibrant ruby in appearance. Earthy notes over red and dark berries. Some hints of sweet blackcurrant too. A medium-bodied wine with some tannic grip. A little light but good acid balance. A medium finish.