Wine expert Alok Chandra thinks that India’s best red wine is Sula’s Dindori Reserve Shiraz, produced at their winery outside Nashik (Maharashtra), which retails for Rs 710 in Delhi and for Rs 800 – 850 elsewhere.
Sula’s Dindori vineyards are located some 30 Km from Nasik, off NH 3 going to Indore and Gwalior. In these arid and stony hillocks Sula had put down 250 contiguous acres of vineyards starting in 2003 – primarily Shiraz, but also Zinfandel, Viognier, and Sauvignon Blanc.
These are low-yielding vineyards (maximum 4 MT/acre), necessarily irrigated, but hand-pruned and hand-harvested in February/ March. The grapes are sorted before crushing, and the wine is matured in new imported oak casks for 12 months before bottling and release.
The wine itself is a deep, dark red, has loads of aroma (berries, red fruit, vanilla – from the oak), and a full-bodied taste (dry, with the fruit and vanillin coming through to the palate), fine balanced tannins, and a nice long finish.
This is a versatile red that holds its own both as an aperitif or with dinner (grilled meats or kebabs, mildly spiced curries, pizza) and is a very respectable alternative to pricier imported French or Australian Shirazes.
Sula’s Dindori Reserve Shiraz should be decanted & allowed to ‘breathe’ for at least 30 minutes before drinking. Of course, like all reds in India, it should also be cooled an hour (served at 16 – 18 degrees C).
Alok Chandra has 20 years of work experience in managing sales, marketing and the supply chain
for beverages in India. He has been an independent wine consultant for 10 years.