The Indian wine industry has evolved considerably over the past few years. “The quality of Indian wine is getting better; the whole ‘vocal for local‘ phenomenon is sweeping the younger audience mindset and there is a lot of growth in tier two and three cities”, says sommelier Nikhil Agarwal, CEO of All Things Nice. While 2020 was a rough year for the wine industry with lagging sales in the restaurant and hospitality sector, retail sales skyrocketed and a few vineyards also launched new offerings. “Novice and first-time consumers seek value-for-money options. To capitalise on this trend, both Fratelli Vineyards and Sula Vineyards launched wine in cans and Grover Zampa came out with a ready-to-drink mulled wine in a bottle”, says Sonal Holland, master of wine.
2021 will likely see more interesting moves. “I’m excited with the potential of Tempranillo and Grenache grape varieties in India. We have already seen quality examples from Charosa, Grover Zampa, and Sula and I am looking forward to more”, says Agarwal. Holland recommends Vallonné Anokhee Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, a limited edition release that will be available exclusively at Vine2Wine Cellars. “A Syrah Merlot blend, this red wine is aged for five years in barrel and bottle prior to being released, which helps it develop a rich, velvety texture with delicious flavours of dark chocolate, black cherries, and sweet spice”, she says.
Ahead, we list out the best Indian wines you can pick up for your next dinner.
1. Chandon Brut Rosé NV
When it’s Moët & Chandon you know you’re going to drink well. Chandon India has been producing world-class sparkling wines from its Nashik winery–while the Brut is a great party starter, our pick is the pretty, rose-gold Brut Rosé for its intense aroma and a rich, creamy finish.
2. Zampa Soirée Brut by Grover Zampa
Made with the time-honoured méthode traditionelle, Grover Zampa’s golden-straw hued Zampa Soirée Brut is an elegant sparkling wine. A complex nose of citrus and floral aromas along with dried apricots and warm brioche makes it a rather glamorous aperitif. Pair it with Indian and pan-Asian dishes or pour over peach schnapps to make a brunch bellini.
3. The Source Grenache Rosé by Sula Vineyards
If overtly sweet rosé wines have put you off the category, try The Source Grenache Rosé. Launched in 2017, this dry rosé is made from Grenache grapes and can hold its own against some of the sophisticated Provence ones. With light coral hues and aromas of white peach, citrus, and tropical fruits, its bright acidity provides an elegant finish.
4. Vallonné Vineyards Rosé
The first-ever rosé to be made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in India, Vallonné Vineyards Rosé is a vibrant wine with crisp acidity, reflecting the Provençal Rosé style. With notes of cherry, plum, and melon, it’s a perfect accompaniment for your cheeseboard and pasta, or even with light curries and pulao.
5. Charosa Selection Sauvignon Blanc
Since its launch in 2013, the boutique Charosa Vineyards’ Selection Sauvignon Blanc has been a firm favourite in this category. This dry white wine with intense notes of gooseberry and orange is well balanced and accompanied by a grassy mineral freshness. Pair with salads or light seafood dishes to bring out its rich tropical fruits.
6. H Block Chardonnay by York Winery
One of the finest Indian Chardonnays, this delicious wine has notes of lemon and citrus. If you like bold, full-bodied wines, you will appreciate its crisp acidity and complexity. A six-month fermentation and ageing in French oak barrels gives the H Block Chardonnay a buttery creaminess that pairs well with shellfish, salads, and risotto.
7. J’NOON White by Fratelli Vineyards
Created in collaboration with The Boisset Collection (a collection of terroir-forward wineries around the world), J’NOON is a premium, limited edition offering of red, white, and sparkling wines. A blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, J’NOON White is a vibrant, complex wine with green apple, stone fruit, white pepper, jasmine, and more on the nose.
8. The Source Sauvignon Blanc Reserve by Sula Vineyards
Sula Vineyards’ The Source collection is a premium expression and their Sauvignon Blanc Reserve lives up to expectations. Partially aged in French oak barrel, this is a rich and complex, medium- bodied dry wine. Fruity aromas of green tropical fruits make it a luscious pairing with Indian curries.
9. Chêne Grande Reserve by Grover Zampa
© Photographer: Rudra Sen
Named after the French word for oak, Grover Zampa’s Chêne Grande Reserve is an intense ruby coloured wine that’s aged for at least 15 months in French oak barrels. A signature blend of Tempranillo and Shiraz, this is a ‘big’ wine with ripe dark fruit aromas of blackberry, plum, and currant with nuances of vanilla, liquorice, and chocolate for an elegant finish.
10. KRSMA Estates Cabernet Sauvignon
Coming from the Hampi Hills in Karnataka, KRSMA Estates’ Cabernet Sauvignon is a fruity, indulgent wine that ranges from ruby red to deep purple depending on the vintage. Red cherry and cassis are the predominant notes with undertones of cocoa. While the first vintage (2011) was rather full-bodied, later vintages (like 2017) may be more easily approachable.
11. Reveilo Nero d’Avola
The Sicilian grape Nero d’Avola is not a common sight in the Indian wine industry, which makes the Reveilo offering an interesting one indeed. This rich, medium-bodied wine has strong fruity aromas of cherry, spicy notes like pepper and cinnamon, and a hint of smokiness, with a long, dark chocolate finish.
12. SETTE by Fratelli Vineyards
One of the finest Indian red wines, SETTE is a bold, Tuscan-style wine with a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Matured in French oak barrels for 12 months, there’s a hint of smokiness, rich flavours of plum and blackberry, and notes of spices and vanilla. With a lush mouthfeel and a long finish, this wine pairs perfectly with lamb and other red meat dishes.