Wines of India by Westin Pune
When we heard that Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ property in Pune – The Westin Pune Koregaon Park – was going to conduct a blind tasting of Indian wines at the hotel, we were very happy and excited. For an international hotel chain to take a step to acknowledge the presence of Indian wines is something which does not happen too often in the country.
As many as 11 wineries – Sula, Grover, Fratelli, Revielo, Zampa, Kiara, Turning Point, Vallonné, Four Seasons, York and Nine Hills – sent in their entries across 10 varietals. Each varietal was allotted a table and each wine was numbered. We were to score them on the basis of nose, palate, color and finish. Hats off to Westin for this, never before had we been to a tasting with virtually all Indian producers under one roof.
Everyone from wine critics to city’s movers and shakers were present to decide the fate of these wines, infact some people did not have any clue about wines, so it was a mixed bag of people voting which was slightly surprising.
Armed with our stock of score cards we faced what seemed like a gargantuan task. As we persevered from one table to other, many of our observations about the wine industry were proved correct. With more than 10 entries for Sauvignon Blanc, it was established that it is the most common wine varietal in India, followed closely by Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Blends. We felt that Viognier should have featured at the tasting as well; it has picked up in popularity with the wine makers and in our experience some of them are quite good.
What was also surprising was the number of unpalatable wines we tasted. Some of these brands produce some great quality wines and we have even vouched for them. As to the reasons for the rampant spoilage at the tasting the reader’s guess is as good as ours. It however brought to the fore the much needed focus on storage and shipping of wines, both on the producers end as well as retailers/restaurants.
This was a great exercise by conducted by Westin and we hope more hotels open up more to Indian wines. As we mentioned earlier, this was the first time we had the chance to taste from virtually all Indian wineries under the same roof. The final results were slightly surprising, like the Turning Point Shiraz winning over Sula Rasa, showing that a lot of people might prefer young fresh wines rather than aged and complex wines.
One important aspect came out of this tasting. As much as we love and support Indian wines, the average quality of wines still needs a decent amount of improvement. Every vintage, quality is going up but when we put all Indian wines together in a tasting like this, we were surprised by the number of wines which were not upto the mark.
|Chardonnay||Reveilo Chardonnay Reserve||Reveilo Chardonnay|
|Chenin Blanc||Nine Hills Chenin Blanc||Reveilo Chenin Blanc|
|Sauvignon Blanc||Fratelli Sauvignon Blanc||Sula Sauvignon Blanc|
|Sparkling||Zampa Soiree brut||Zampa Soiree Rose Brut|
|Dessert||Sula Late Harvest Chenin blanc||York Late Harvest Chenin Blanc|
|Merlot||Vallonné Merlot Reserve||Fratelli Merlot|
|Shiraz||Turning Point Shiraz||Sula Rasa shiraz|
|Cabernet Sauvignon||Reveilo Cabernet Sauvignon||York Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Cabernet Blend||Grovers La Reserva||Turning Point Shiraz Cabernet|
|Rosé||Nine Hills Rosé||Vallonné Rosé|