In my earlier account I covered wine basics and then discussed about selecting wine at a store, now let us get into basic understanding of some commonly found grape varieties in the Indian market:
The king of whites, this is a versatile grape variety which can grow in varied climatic conditions and hence you find cool climate Chardonnay like Chablis or a hot climate one from California. A cool climate one will be very refreshing, high in acidity with citrus and grassy notes, a moderate climate one will be very peachy and melon and the hot climate chardonnays will be full of tropical fruits like pineapple and mango and might also see some oak aging. Chablis the best known example of a cool-climate chardonnay has to be served very chilled (8-10 c) for it to be refreshing and the hot climate chardonnay like the ones from India at 10-12 C for it to give out optimum flavour on the nose and the palate. A lot of moderate climate wines are available and the best know example of those would be Burgundy whites like Puligny Montrachet, Meursault etc and some other others some pockets of Chile and Australia. A lot of tropical, opulent and heavy bodied chardonnays from California and Australia are available. Indian brands Reveilo and Fratelli do produce the king of whites.
Chenin Blanc is a grape naturally high in acidity can make wines in a variety of style from bone dry to luscious sweet. They are rich on the palate and intense fruit aromas and can develop some honey and floral characteristics with age. Their best know home is the Loire valley in France and South Africa in the southern hemisphere where it is also called steen. The Indian varietals are made with a slightly sweeter tinge (off-dry style) by producers like Fratelli, Reveilo, Sula etc. Sula and Reveilo do a late harvest Chenin; a dessert wine and the former also uses the variety in its sparkling wine,a blend of 5 varieties. You can find French (Vouvray, a more expensive one) and South African varietals of the shelves.
We will explore Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Viognier, Pinot Grigio and some other international grape varieties trying to make a mark in the country in the forthcoming.