With an aim to make premium-quality wines available in the Indian market, winemakers are bringing in foreign brands that will be best suited to the Indian palate

Published: 05th December 2019 06:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th December 2019 06:43 AM   |  A+A A-

BENGALURU: Back home, I don’t even eat breakfast. But here at my hotel, they served dosa and I loved it,” said a visibly excited Nick Pasudovas, chief winemaker from the Clovely Estate in Australia, who was in town recently to introduce four variants of wine from the South Burnett region to India.  

“Many years ago, we tried to enter the Indian market with our wines. India has always been on my mind and we just needed the right connections to expand here. For the Australian and French people, wine is a staple diet, but not for Indians. So it was all about finding a way to look for something that is best suited for the Indian culture and cuisine,” said Pasudovas, whose favourite wines are Semillon and Nebbiolo.

Three months ago, when Tetrad Global Beverages put the Australian wines through the tasting panel and assessed the preferences among 20 Bengalureans, including Abhay Kewadkar – a passionate winemaker in India and director of Tetrad – they chose four wines according to the Indian palate – NV Brut, Verdelho 2018, Petit Verdot 2016 and Nebbiolo 2016.

“We tend to be leaning towards something a little sweeter and also think of the spice quantity in the food that we have. Indians don’t like wines with a tannic aftertaste, so we chose them in terms of the aroma, acidity, and overall experience,” said Kewadkar, who also collaborated with French brand Early Dark and customised six wine variants that have been brought to India.

According to Pasudovas, the sparkling wine variant, NV Brut, is light and will go best with anything soothing on the palate, while Verdelho white wine can be a paired with seafood because of its tropical texture. Nebbiolo is a dry wine with zero sugar and can be paired with heavy meats like lamb, beef and mutton.

With over two decades of association with Anne Arbeau and her brother Giraud – wine producers from the Southwest region of France -- Kewadkar launched the French labels early this year. “The Early Dark label has six wines – a Negrette Syrah, a brilliant dark red wine; a Reserve red from Boudreaux, which is a combination of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon; a crispy white wine, which is the Sauvignon Blanc; a 2017 Cabernet Merlot; a 2017 Chardonnay; and a beautiful 2017 Rose,” he said, adding that Early Dark was handcrafted in small batches just for the Indian market to make fine French wine available for the Indian audience.

Speaking of future collaborations, Kewadkar said, “We are looking to bring home boutique and super-quality wines from across the globe and shall seek both traditional wine-producing countries like France, Italy, Spain, and countries like New Zealand and Croatia, that didn’t have a long history of producing wines but have been making award-winning wines with sustainably-grown grapes.”

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