SI Tasting Panel tastes 8 Indian Sangiovese wines. Learn what to drink

Indian Sangiovese wines reviewed by the SI Tasting Panel. From left to right: Gagan Sharma, Sahil Misra, Reva K Singh, Devati Mallick and Arjun Sachar

The SI Tasting Panel met in person for the first time after Covid to taste Indian Sangiovese wines and it was a most rewarding experience. The eight wines we tasted (thanks to the producers who provided us with the opportunity) included a rosé and a white wine, three single varietals and three blends from Akluj, Nashik and the Nandi Hills. They were very different in style, but impressive in their own way. Sangiovese is the dominant and most prestigious grape in Tuscany grown throughout the region which stretches down the western coast of central Italy. As our tasting of this intriguing grape showed Indian Sangiovese can hold its own with the best. It’s a varietal that is grown successfully around the world and is on par with international red varieties in popularity.  — RKS

Tasting Notes by Gagan Sharma

2021 Fratelli Vineyards MS – Sangiovese Rosé, Akluj
Bright straw colour, youthful. Pleasing nose brimming with green apple and lime citrus notes with hints of white pepper, ample smoke, patisserie, crustiness which shows on the palate as well. Grainy mouthfeel, woody, earthy, and crusty. Layers of citrus, underripe white fruit and green fruit skins over chalky minerality, smokiness, and bakery savouriness make it an intelligent wine for fine palates. Decanted for 30 mins and serve chilled, it can compete with a commendable Burgundy. Drink young, can definitely age for 3-4 years. `900 in Delhi

2021 Fratelli Vineyards MS – Sangiovese Rosé, Akluj
Alluring hue of pale watermelon. Aromatic nose of fresh strawberries, raspberries, sweet cherries, bubble gum and some white fruits. The palate is bright with refreshing acidity and supple tannins backed by a plethora of fruit, spices, fresh roses and violets, touch of tart cherries and currants. It’s a charming, brilliant, balanced wine that makes very little effort to please but is absolutely un-put-downable. Drink it young and chilled. `1250 in Delhi

2020 Reveilo Wines – Sangiovese, Nashik
Bright, pale ruby youthful appearance. Aromatic nose with sweet juicey red fruits dominated by cherries, plums and cranberries, and crushed roses and violets. The palate is bright with refreshing acidity, ripe sweet fruit, florals, earthiness, dried herbs like rosemary or oregano, tomato leaf, complementing furry, black tea tannins. A very amicable and charming wine, easy drinking, and a good introduction to the varietal for the uninitiated. Best to drink young. `855 in Maharashtra

2021 Fratelli Vineyards – Sangiovese, Akluj
Bright medium ruby, no signs of ageing. Confident nose with concentrated varietal aromas of dark cherries, black currants, savouriness, smoke, black tea, and hint of floral plushness. The palate is tightly held by high, juicy acidity, firm young tannins, chewiness and balanced alcohol. Good layering of ripe dark fruits, jamminess, tea, earth, and hints of cader, tobacco, and warm spices. Will benefit for 20 mins of decanting before drinking. A good varietal expression that shows confidence and strength. `950 in Delhi

2017 KRSMA Vineyards – Sangiovese, Hampi Hills
Bright, medium ruby, youthful. The nose is dominated by the old French oak it has rested in, barely showing any fruit. The palate is fresh, ample primary notes with tertiary mushrooms, tobacco, and forest floor. The wine seemed off balance with the body of the wine not corroborating with its tannin and overtly oaky demeanour. Probably past its prime and a bit overdone. Otherwise it’s an easy charmer that can be dynamic as it ages. `1800 in Karnataka

2020 Fratelli Vineyards – MS Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz, Akluj
Bright, deep ruby colour, no signs of ageing. A bold nose with dark fruits, tobacco, dried warm spices, and woody, smoky pleasing aromas. The palate is very well integrated between its chemicals and flavours that interestingly go back and forth between ripe dark fruits, savouriness, earthiness, crushed floral hues, and tertiary characters of forest floor, tobacco and animal. A fine, delicately balanced, intelligently put together wine. It has a lot of promise in its youth and ample potential to be aged. `1250 in Delhi

2019 Fratelli Vineyards – Sette Sangiovese Cabernet Sauvignon, Akluj
Decanted for 35 mins. Bright, deep-ruby colour. No signs of ageing. A tad muted on the nose at first, then opens up to a spectrum of aromas. There’s fruit but the quality of oak and the way it has integrated into various layers of the wine captures attention. Delicious palate, bright and vibrant. The balance of ripe concentrated flavours and dusty tannins is commendable as it is in sync with dark fruits, savoury, musty, spicy, and dried bayleaf flavours. A well regarded reserve wine, that definitely requires ageing and decanting before drinking. `2000 in Delhi

2019 Grover Zampa Vineyards – Signet Spectrum, Nashik
Decanted for 60 mins. Deep, opaque colour, with purple rims. Highly perfumed wine with all sorts of floral notes, sweet dark fruits, jamun syrup, berry compote, ribena, and jammy notes. Tricky
to decode as the wine is an infant right now, uncorking it this early is a shame. However, the palate is refreshing and uber smooth, with juicy acidity, and pleasing round tannins. The fruit is yet to open up, segregate, and spread itself in layers. It holds intense promise to please at a later stage. Technically, a very sound and smartly together wine. This is the one to look out for! `4000 in Maharashtra and Karnataka