While spending a few days in Mumbai this week, I had the pleasure of drinking something I hadn’t tried before: Indian wine. The subcontinent doesn’t tend to spring to mind as an obvious candidate for wine production – one reason is the tropical and varied climate – but is this trend set to change? Possibly, if the number of optimistic winemakers jumping on board is anything to go by.
Over the course of the evening, I had the chance to taste a youthful sauvignon blanc, followed by an aromatic viognier, concluding with a slightly chilled shiraz with dinner. All three wines were produced by Sula Vineyards, one of the largest wine producers in the country. Sula produces most of its wine in Nashik, an area just outside Mumbai in the state of Maharashtra. I was surprised to hear that a selection of Sula wines are available to buy in the UK – particularly the flagship sauvignon blanc.
This wine offered the customary flavours of a youthful and unoaked sauvignon blanc – grassy, herbaceous notes with a touch of green apple and citrus. This medium-bodied wine is pretty dry with sufficient acidity to make your mouth water. It can be consumed as an aperitif (as I did) or served alongside grilled prawns or white fish. If you want to make the experience even more authentic, this wine has the acidity to cut through the spices of Indian cuisine – so you can pair it with classic dishes such as fish curry, chicken tikka masala, tandoori prawns, or saag paneer.
If you are feeling adventurous or keen to try something new, look no further than wine produced in India. Be careful as the quality is likely to be variable, but if you stick to a reputed producer (such as Sula) you won’t be disappointed. Who knows – you may even love it.
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The winemaker says:
Herbaceous, crisp and dry, with aromas of bell peppers, freshly cut green grass and refreshing acidity on the palate. Goes well with fried food as well as rich, creamy dishes.
Serve chilled, 8-10°C.