Indian Rosé Wines to the Test
The wines were tasted non-blind with a group 4 wine professionals and 2 wine enthusiasts. Scores were given on the basis of their nose, palate and in some cases color because they were inconsistent with what the tasting notes on the bottle mentioned.
Palate: The palate follows suit to the nose with the balance of fruit and floral. It is a medium body wine with discernible cherries, strawberries and capsicum notes. It has great acidity with medium finish.
Price: Rs 630
This is the only rosé in India which is made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and the strength of the grapes comes through in the wine as well. This wine is the only one which has ticked off all the boxes in the making of a good rosé. And even though this particular vintage has suffered a little compared to the previous ones, it still remains to be the best Indian rosé wine according to us.
Palate: A progressive nose which matures with time starts off with strawberries leading to hints of bell peppers and minerality. This wine has great acidity and long finish which starts off sweet and ends on savory notes.
Price: Rs 606
This is an intelligent and serious rosé which gets the harmony between floral, fruity notes and acidity and is structured beautifully. We are quite impressed with the way this wine turned out, making it one of our favorites.
Palate: Easy drinking and light wine with strawberries and melons on the palate as well. The wine has a good acidity and decent finish.
Price: Rs 530
For those who worry that Sula is suffering from mass market production dilemmas, this wine will debunk that myth. This is an uncomplicated wine which will work great as an aperitif on a sunny afternoon.
Palate: The palate was a much better experience where the fruit notes become more expressive. The wine has a nice balance between acidity and dryness and has a reasonable finish.
Price: Rs 500
It is the only wine which is priced at Rs 500 and we are glad that they stuck to a very realistic pricing.
Palate: After the initial strawberries there are spices and chalk, there is citrus in the aftertaste. The wine has good acidity with good fruits on the palate but with a dry finish.
Price: Rs 675
The label didn’t mention the grape or the blend used in the wine. Transparency in what goes into the bottle invariably helps us put more faith in the wine. The wine itself could’ve done better with integrating more fruit notes.
Palate: Floral and red fruits were the primary notes on the palate. While the wine had good acidity and a good structure on the mid palate, it was still too sweet for our liking.
Price: Rs 575
This wine is a good way to introduce novices into wines. Another wine which has potential to improve if more attention is paid to it.
Palate: The palate is better than the nose and the raspberry notes become more prominent which is followed by a tinge of unpleasant bitterness.
Price: Rs 550
This wine is a classic case of being in the bottle too long. It should ideally have been consumed by within the year of its introduction in 2013 and should not even be stocked with retailers. We won’t suggest picking this up.
Palate: There are some strawberry notes which die abruptly giving way to an inexplicable bitterness. The wine has quite a disappointing finish and acidity as well. It just dies a bitter death on the palate.
Price: Rs 530
What should have been a promising wine turned out to be quite disastrous. The official notes on the bottle mentions complex notes, we didn’t get any.
Palate: The palate is congruous to the nose; full of strawberries, tutti frutti and cherries. There was hardly anything else that you could get from the wine. There was no acidity and no structure, just cloying sweetness.
Price: Rs 495
Four Seasons’ rosé is how you don’t make a rosé wine. All the sweet and syrupy-ness did not make the wine palatable. The official notes describes the color of the wine as salmon. We’d love to know how the brand defines the color salmon because we thought it to be more on the lines of Campari. An analogy to Roohafza was also thrown at us while describing this wine and that in no case is a compliment. Stay away from it.
Our experiment proved one thing; majority of rosé wines are not near international quality standards. The silver lining is that few of them have taken a step in the right direction. Sulfites have time and again posed challenges to Indian wines and we are sympathetic to the situation. Rotten eggs and herbaceous decomposition are typical smells of sulfites and will put off most consumers immediately. (To know more about sulfites check out our post on wine faults.)
Vallonné and Zampa were our favorites in terms of quality, integration of fruit and structure. We were pleasantly surprised with Sula’s rosé; it maybe simple and easy drinking but in terms of sheer winemaking it was spot on. There is scope for improvement for everyone but we really wish the teams at Four Seasons and Fratelli consider where they are going wrong in their processes. As major players with global reach and marketing muscle, they need to improve standards and quality dramatically.
All prices mentioned are applicable in Mumbai only.
All wines were purchased from retail outlets.