The brand culture is so strong that we tend to think in terms of the brand even where wine is concerned. If anything, it should really be a wine’s vintage that is the differentiating factor. However, Indian wines are not so sharply divided by vintage.
Sniff, swirl, sip: Reva Singh at her New Delhi residence.
My suggestion here is to consider the varietal, the type of grape or style of wine, whether it’s red, white or sparkling. And then, as you develop an informed palate, start considering the producers. Which Sauvignon Blanc do you prefer as a white wine, for example, or which Merlot among the reds? Is it from Sula, our biggest producer of wine? Or a lesser known winery?
The key is to establish your
personal favourites, and then be adventurous. It’s a wonderful experience to chance upon a wine you’ve never heard of and be surprised by its quality. Or, taste another wine, and realize how much you’ve progressed in your discovery of wine, because the wine in your glass is not as palatable as you expected it to be. Inevitably, as you advance in your wine journey, you start to trade up.
There’s one important proviso, especially in the Indian context, and that is the wine’s provenance: Where and how has it been stored and where was it bought? An entry-level wine can be perfect in its category. There should be no snobbery about it, provided the wine hasn’t been spoilt. Some expensive wines may withstand heat and other damage better, but not all the time. So pick your wine judiciously.
I routinely deflect the frequently asked question “Which is your favourite wine?” with a neutral answer: “The wine that’s in my glass right now!” I find it hard to pin down favourites, but here are a few suggestions for good examples on the road less travelled.