In my last, we saw popular white grape varieties like Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc and here in my final on white grapes, we will look at other lesser-known in India grape varieties jostling for space and in many cases doing well too.
Grillo: An indigenous grape variety from Sicily,Italy,it is most known as a base for Marsala. Grillo meaning ‘cricket’ in Italian is a variety which can stand long ripening seasons whilst maintaining acidity. Prone to easy oxidation, it can gather very citrus and grapefruit like aromas similar to a sauvignon Blanc if kept away from oxygen. Reveilo,India has been successfully selling this variety for a couple of years now, Citrus with a herb ‘undertone’’ and a medium finish.
Known for its role in Chiantis and Super-Tuscan, Sangiovese has been the revered grape in Tuscany, Italy albeit for its round and smooth reds. Sangiovese Bianco, a white wine of a red grape, is a new take with floral sweet nose, medium body and balanced acidity, a rare species for sure! Fratelli India launched one a couple of months back and has the distinction of being the first in Asia.
Pinot Grigio/ Pinot Gris:
Pinot Grigio is the most renowned white wine from Italy and in my experience was the most trending across the globe a couple of years back. When one was undecided on a wine to drink, Pinot Grigio was the go-to wine. A grape known for its bracing acidity and refreshing experience is best known to come from North-west regions of Italy.Other regions with the Grigio style are scattered across in cooler areas and are not as known. A cool climate grape, it is called Pinot Gris in Alsace, France and they make a fuller and more aromatic style of wine. Other regions known for the Gris style are South Island of Newzealand, Oregon, cooler parts of Australia like the Mornington Peninsula and many more like Chile, Romania, and Switzerland also are doing some. Pinot Gris can survive a late harvest or Noble rot to give luscious sweet wines.
‘Gewurz’ means spicy and people often attribute the name coming from the spice in the wine,a complete misnomer I must warn you. The pink grape berries produce wines at its opulent best. Deep colour and aromas reminiscent of lychee and flowers, this wine can be made from dry to sweet styles. Alsace, France and Pfalz, Germany are the best known regions for the varietal ,adding to the list is California, Chile, Australia and Canada which also make good quality wines. A cool climate varietal which needs some monitoring as it can ripen quick and sometimes can hit rock-bottom on acidity making the wines very flabby. This wine apart from Pinot Gris and Riesling is often touted to be a no-brainer accompaniment to Indian food!
In my three posts on white wine grapes we have covered major varieties readily available in the Indian market. Please give me a shout to know more about any other grape or availability. We will in my next wine know-how posts look into red grapes.