Tag Archives: Sauvignon Blanc

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand:

kim crawfordLight straw with yellow and green hues. Aromas of citrus and tropical fruits backed by characteristic herbaceous notes for which Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is renowned. An exuberant wine brimming with juicy acidity and fruit sweetness, providing a balanced flavour profile. The finish is fresh, zesty, and lingering.

Outlook Business

As a family we have always had a very healthy appetite for good food and good drink since the time that I can remember so I am not surprised that life has led me down this path. Getting into the wine business was pure chance. I was sitting next to someone who got a call from Sula asking her if she would like to join the sales team. All I heard was “wine company” from the person at my side when I grabbed the phone and said “I don’t know who you are but I would like to join”. I got the job the next day and what followed was a spate of vineyards visits, international trade shows and countless tastings, all of which got me so wrapped up in the world of wine that I could not think of doing anything else. The world of wine is enormous and fascinating;especially in India because if you pay attention you can see the industry and the culture for wine develop right in front of you. I wanted to be a conduit for change in the wine and spirits world.

To say that the quality of Indian wines have improved dramatically over the last few years would be a gross understatement. It’s not just one or two wineries that have raised the game, instead it’s the leading wineries of India that have somehow through a collective conscious decided that pushing levels of quality is the way forward. I am probably one of the biggest fans of the Indian wine industry. I have been lucky enough to be a part of it since the time I joined Sula Vineyards almost 15 years ago at the age of 22.

The Indian wine industry has had many reasons to go through this metamorphosis. For one they far are more wineries than before which has created a competitive market scenario forcing wineries to raise their game in order to succeed. The second and the most important in my opinion is that consumers in India have evolved. Not only are they more consumers of wine but also they are also more discerning consumers. You cannot put plonk in a bottle and expect it to sell. Wineries constantly need to innovate to keep consumers engaged.

Three, the wine industry in India is very young, we’re learning every year. We’re figuring out which parcels of land have better soils and climates for wine production and understanding which grape can succeed. We have also brought in or developed the right talent and infrastructure to produce world class wines. The use of oak barrels to add complexity to red wine and to some whites is now commonplace. I’m not saying the industry has got it together just yet; there are many improvements to be made at every stage of the business whether its grape growing, wine making, selling and marketing.

In a span of roughly three decades the Indian wine industry has achieved a lot. It isn’t easy to change the habits of a drinking population that can’t see beyond spirit. Every wine producer knows that it is not only about creating a brand but it’s also about creating a culture for wine in India.

It is common for people, even some of the savviest wine consumers to dismiss Indian wines for their imported counter parts. This generalization needs to stop. Indian wine is on par or certainly better than some of the wine produced out there.Sometimes people pay Rs 2000 or more for a bottle of imported wine thinking that the price or country of origin denotes quality. While the country of origin may, not everything produced in any part of the world is good or even comparable to Indian wine. The price in India for the imported stuff is made up largely of taxes, India applying the highest duties in the world on wine, so price cannot be a measure of quality. Consumers need to be more aware.

There are number of specific wines that deserve a mention, these are the finest examples of quality that India is producing as of now that are being appreciated not only in India but gaining recognition at Wine Competitions in India and across the globe. Yes, Indian wines are winning awards in competitions held in London, the US and in Asia and now the number of wines winning awards is increasing and it is becoming more frequent. Indian wines are also exported all over the world even to countries that produce large and high quality wines themselves.

Indian wine is dominated in terms of volume by two to three wineries with the rest of the wineries combined taking the rest of the pie. But in terms of quality the scenario is not so polarized. There are smaller brands that are producing exceptional quality wine but they have not been around long enough or don’t have the marketing muscle or marketing brilliance that the more established wine brands have. What’s also interesting is that exceptional quality is being achieved in all wine styles as well, it’s not just the use of barrel for example that are giving our reds finesse, there is more depth to wine making now than ever before.

For example Charossa owned by HCC has created an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Reserve Tempranillo. The Tempranillo is a break through and this wine demonstrates just what experimentation with grape varieties can achieve.Grover’s and Zampa have joined forces and have launched a wine called Chene, which means oak in French. A blend of Tempranillo and Shiraz, which is phenomenal. Grover’s La Reserve has been a long-standingquality Indian wine that one can bet on safely. Myra Vineyards, a winery that I am closely associated with makes outstanding Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Shiraz. Myra’s new wine called Misfit that’s about to be launched is even better.

The launch of Chandon from Moet Hennessy has created a market place for sparkling wine in India like never before. A true game changer that has done wonders for getting people interested in drinking sparkling wine. Also with Chandon’s success I’m hoping that it will pave the way for more international brands to set up wineries in India bringing in with them their expertise. Another sparkling called Casablanca is one to watch out for, well priced, very crisp and delicious. York winery in Nasik produces a barrel fermented Chenin Blanc that gives this grape variety more weight, their newly launched sparkling wine with its low alcohol strength is a delight and their flagship red Arros is pure indulgence.

Fratelli’s Vitae, Sangiovese Bianco, Chardonnay and Sette are outstanding wines. Remember before Fratelli, no one made wine at Akluj, which again is a representation of the fruits of experimentation not only with grape varietals but regions for producing grapes for wine making as well. Vallonné Vineyards produces a world class Rose, a dessert wine that you cannot believe and a selection of super Reserve reds from grape varieties such as Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.

A winery that has understood the Indian palate completely in Reveilo, their Sangiovese and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Shiraz have a steady following and their Late Harvest Chenin Blanc is sweet decadence. Oakwood a winery whose wines are yet to be made available produces an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc.

Sula constantly innovates and if I had to choose two from their massive portfolio it would be their Riesling and their solid Dindori Shiraz. Krsma a relatively new winery with an emphasis on small quantities and high quality is very exciting as well. Nine Hills from Pernod Ricard has changed things around to produce better quality wine in the last few years.

My apologies for what may seem like a barrage of wines and brands but I am truly excited, this Sommelier is watching wine become more important everyday. I’m happy that we can open bottles produced in India at prices that are within reach and that they are good and getting better. Remember we’ve only just begun, we’re babies on a global scale and we’ve reached this far in such a short period of time. And if India’s short vinous history has given us what we have today then the future looks very promising.

Sommelier and Founder, All Things Nice

Our Iconic Cloudy Bay Wine Dinner

Cloudy Bay dinner at Four Seasons (13)

Cloudy Bay dinner at Four Seasons (43)

Cloudy Bay dinner at Four Seasons (34)All Things Nice and Chandon India hosted an iconic dinner with Cloudy Bay, New Zealand’s most famous winery, at the Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai. Over 35 guests enjoyed an evening of fabulous wine paired with an outstanding menu by Chef Chaitanya Sharma at The Kitchen, a quaint little space that allowed everyone to be in close quarters to the live action in the kitchen.

The wines served were stars from the Cloudy Bay portfolio – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and finally Te Koko, a unique style of Sauvignon Blanc. Some of Chef Sharma’s creations included the Sous Vide Tiger Prawns, Truffled Potato Gnocchi and the Roast Lamb Loin in Butternut Squash Puree. In our opinion Cloudy Bay offers super high quality wines that arefull of freshness and finesse and you cannot but help fall in love with them. We weren’t surprised that this evening turned out to be such a great success!

Here is a look at the outstanding menu we enjoyed

Pass Around Canapés

Asparagus Fricassee In Mini Bouchees (V)
or
Goat Cheese And Walnut With California Grape (V)
or
Home Cured Salmon In Rye Baguette
or
Smoked Chicken And Green Apple On Whole Wheat Crisp

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Marlborough, New Zealand

First Course

Roasted Baby Beets With Arugula, Shaved Fennel, Pommery Honey Dressing (V)
or
Sous Vide Tiger Prawns With Cauliflower Puree And Pickled Root Vegetables
or

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2012, Marlborough, New Zealand

Second Course

Truffled Potato Gnocchi, Toasted Pinenuts, BeurreNoisette (V)
or
Roast Lamb Loin, Butternut Squash Puree, Glazed Confit Carrots, Thyme Jus
or
Cloroudy Bay Pinot Noir 2012, Marlborough, New Zealand

Third Course

Platter of Brie, gruyere and chevre with wheat crisps

Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2011, Marlborough, New Zealand

Petit Fours

Charosa Wineries

Charosa wineries

 

 

I had visited Charosa winery a couple of years ago in July 2011 (when the winery wasn’t completely ready) on an invitation from Milind Pandit, their National Sales & Marketing Head.  I was blown away with the size of their operation and knew immediately that when they launched they would create a stir.

I remember the weekend I was there they were rolling in brand new barrels that had just arrived the same day.  You could feel their excitement and passion for what they were doing.

Situated in the Dindori Taluka of Nasik, Charosa has its own vineyards and also sources fruit from contracted farmers that they supervise closely. The winery is state of the art and its location is absolutely stunning; you can climb to the top of that hill in the picture and take in a 360-degree view of the surroundings. Not open to visitors just yet but it is going to be a great place to spend the weekend once they have their hospitality infrastructure in place.

The current portfolio launched in late 2013 includes a New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc that is absolutely stunning and one of India’s best.  A classy crisp Viognier made in an oxidative style, which I really enjoyed, a Shiraz that has spent some time in oak and a Reserve Tempranillo, which is brilliant. The Tempranillo grape variety has proven itself to thrive in Indian climatic conditions and we will see a lot more wineries launching their versions using this variety soon. They also have a Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon that didn’t impress as much as the others but I think the next vintage will be much better. What I really like about Charosa is that they are making efforts to be different. For example they haven’t included a Chenin Blanc in their portfolio, a gutsy move that I respect. All wines are bottled in screw cap, which in India makes complete sense.

My only grouse is that they too have become part of this new trend for wineries in India to price one or two of their wines at around the Rs 1500 and above mark, a trend I don’t support.

Charosa is a great example of the level of wine quality India can produce when we put in the right effort and investment. Milind and the team have set high standards right from the get-go and we look forward to seeing what else this winery will offer in the future.

Tasting Notes: (Provided by Charosa Wineries)

Charosa Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: Dark ruby red with complex aromas of ripe fruits, black olive, vanilla, eucalyptus, chocolate, with hint of sweet spice.    On palate wine is rich and soft, expressing ripe fruits like plum, raspberry.     Full bodied this wine finishes with well balanced tannins. MRP Rs.1500/-

Charosa Vineyards Reserve Tempranillo: Dark Ruby-red in color, the nose is filled with rich coconut, vanilla, chocolate & raspberry aromas.   Medium-bodied with excellent concentration of warm red fruit flavors like raspberry, strawberry & plum are distinctly ripe and fleshy.  Round and soft finish is an endless display of well balanced wine. MRP Rs.1500/-

Charosa Vineyards Selections Shiraz: Ruby red , bright, fresh dark fruits on the nose with some vivid raspberry, strawberry, cherry, vanilla and toasty aroma notes. The mid palate expresses ripe red fruit and mature tannins. Great spicy finish with a hint of oak. MRP Rs.800/-

Charosa Vineyards Selections Sauvignon Blanc: Bright straw yellow. Lively intense flavors of tropical fruits with gooseberry and orange flavors on mid palate The palate is broad, balanced and quite rich with tropical fruit and a grassy mineral freshness. MRP Rs.750/-

Charosa Vineyards Selections Viognier: Bright straw yellow. Very rich, fruity floral nose, luscious edge displaying sweet spices like cinnamon and delicate apricot aromas. On the palate this is full, and soft silky texture imparted by short ageing in new French oak barrel. MRP Rs.750/-

Viognier  Shiraz Sauvignon Blanc Cabernet Sauvignon Tempranillo

By Nikhil Agarwal