Indian Wines: Not Ready for Primetime

Almost every country is making wine today, but should they be?  I had an experience last week that would make me give a resounding no to Indian wines.  A friend of mine went on a press trip to India where she sampled several wines.  She returned with some bottles and offered to share them with a group of foodies/winos.  I thought it was curious that when I was in India several years ago, I was not offered any Indian wines even when I asked about them.  I quickly found out why. 

We tried four different wines – two from Grover Vineyards in Nandi Hills.  The first was the 09 Grover Art Collection Viognier.  I tasted a bit of peach and tropical fruit and then nothing remained on the palate.  My favorite part of this wine was the artistic label by Paresh Maity, a famous Indian painter. The second wine from Grover was the La Réserve where I think I tasted Cardamom and some stone fruit.  In the words of one of my closest pals, there was “no there” there.  We also tried the Madera red from Sula Vineyards with different flavors, but the same experience.

India Madera

Chateau Dori

Photos courtesy of Andrew Chalk

The last wine was the 08 Chateau D’Ori, a Bordeaux blend first harvested in 07, that none of us could drink.  My husband jumped from the table to obtain something suitable for a spit bucket while one friend just dumped his glass into the ice bucket that was holding the Viognier.  I have a hard time bad mouthing wines because of all the work involved by those that produce them, but these were awful.  Since they brought samples for the press to taste and you guys like to experiment, I would give these wineries a few years to develop their wines and perhaps try them again.  In the spirit of fairness, these were stored in checked baggage and my friend didn’t remember the wines tasting quite so bad.  But when you have a 06 Trimbach Gerwurtzeimer as well as two Torrontes from Argentina, for the same price or lower, there is no comparison.