Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Indian Wine?

While I was in Bangalore earlier this month, I tried to seek out drinkable wine.  The Taj had an extensive wine list, but $100 or $200 for a bottle of mass produced, negotiant French or Italian wines that I could buy in most US grocery stores for $10 or $15 dollars, was an unacceptably high price - business travel or personal travel, I have to draw a line.  So I turned to local Indian wines.  My first attempt, was not so successful (link here), but I did find a drinkable Grover Vineyards, Nandi Hills, La Reserve 2008 bottle for under $50 a bottle ($10 a glass, if purchased by the glass).  It was drinkable. Not bad.  I've had Much worse wine in my life.  The La Reserve went well with kababs, lamb boti, somewhat spicy vegetarian dishes, beef wellington, and other dishes. 

I also tried a Four Seasons Shiraz, grown in collaboration with Bouvet-Ladubay, a young 2010 (December 2010).  I cannot say I liked this wine.  It gave me a head ache by the end of the first glass, and the 2nd glass intensified the pain above and behind my eyes. I tried to finish this bottle the 2nd night, but it was really not enjoyable.  I cannot recommend the Four Seasons, and I told the restaurant managers at the Taj the same thing.  The La Reserve I found at other hotels and downtown restaurants where my colleagues and I took several meals. It was equally drinkable and enjoyable at other venues as well, so that goes to quality of the producer. 

I also like to try to sample the local vintages, as I did in Germany in March - sometimes with better success than others.  I encourage anyone who is interested in wine and has a sense of adventure and exploration, to also try the local vintages, cautiously.  Try a glass, before committing to a whole bottle.  If it is unpalatable, don't finish it - you'll regret it.  If it IS enjoyable, then you can revel in the discovery of local flavor and avoid the higher prices of imported wines.  Cheers.

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