By Meher Castelino
The only spirit I love to drink is wine since all the others taste quite medicinal to me. So when an invitation to a wine tasting came for a new brand in India, I jumped at the opportunity. Indian wines have been creating quite a buzz in the local as well as International markets and the latest name added to the list of wines from our country for the connoisseurs is Charosa still wines from the vineyards and village of the same name in Nashik, the wine capital of India.
Charosa Wineries was set up in 2008 by Ajit Gulabchand, the Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), in the village of Charosa, in a sprawling 230-acre campus in the Dindori-Niphad-Satara area, 75 km from Nashik. The company currently cultivates Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, andTempranillo varietals. However the Sauvignon Blanc is the pick of their wines. Charosa wine making process is unique with open tank fermenters, being used for the first time in India.
The Indian Wine List has rated the Charosa Vineyards’ Selections Sauvignon Blanc as “one of the best Indian white wines”. Unlike the mostly creamy, rich and oaky Indian white wines Charosa’s Sauvignon Blanc is light, crisp, and fruity, and packs in plenty of acidity. At Rs 750 for a bottle, it’s far more affordable than imported wines that offer a similar taste for a much higher price.
The evening was a relaxed event with the line-up of seven wines that had the guests rushing to taste them. Playing hosts were Parag Kamat, COO, Charosa Wineries Ltd, Clive Castelino, Manager, Training & Corpaorate Sales and Ashok Patil, Wine Maker who introduced us to the many salient qualities of the wines.
Starting with the Charosa Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon that had a hint of black Olive, Vanilla, Eucalyptus, Chocolate and sweet spice along with Plum and Raspberry the remaining six were as invitingly refreshing.
Charosa Reserve Tempranillo, a full bodied wine had rich coconut,vanilla, chocolate and raspberry aromas and flavours of strawberry, plum and raspberry.
Charosa Selections Shiraz another red wine had a good blend ofraspberry, strawberry, cherry and vanilla with a spicy finish and a hint of oak. Charosa Selections Sauvignon Blanc was mesmerising with gooseberry and orange balanced with rich tropical fruits and mineral freshness.
Charosa Selections Viognier white wine had an invigorating fruity floral nose with cinnamon and delicate apricot in straw yellow. Charosa Pleasures Cabernet Shiraz red wine was a great blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz to give a soft fruity taste and Charosa Sauvignon Blanc white wine was a perfect mix of lychee, citrus and orange with a long lasting fruity finish.
Launched in Mumbai and Pune in 2012 the Charosa wines are available through 13 outlets in Mumbai and 14 in Pune.
Indians have reportedly consumed about 20 lakh cases of wine (nearly 48 lakh gallons), of which, five lakh cases were imported in 2012.
Menu recommended at the Pali Village Café states that Charosa wines make great accompaniment with Roasted Bell Pepper and jalapeno Hummus, Mushroom /Almond Pate on Melba, prawns in lemon coriander broth, roast garlic marinated chicken along with roasted tomato. Also with mascarpone risotto, winter vegetarian lasagne, herb grilled chicken, pan seared Cambodian Bassa, all rounded off with hazelnut mousse flan and flourless chocolate fudge.
It’s great to welcome one more brand into the Indian wine cellar which promises to offer some world class options. I cornered Parag Kamat, COO Charosa Wineries and asked a few direct questions.