Indian Wine: Grover Chenin Blanc

So, we’ve just got back from a couple of weeks in India on a work research visit and of course I was keen to check out the wine while I was out there. I had a chat with a few of my illustrious wine guru on Twitter and received the unanimous response that they knew very little about Indian wine and what they did know was that it wasn’t really worth bothering with.

Yep. They let me paint an elephant.

Therefore, in the true spirit of Extreme Housewifery I was determined to ignore conventional wisdom and try as much Indian wine as I could find – no mean feat when half of my trip was due to take place in Gujarat, a dry state. But I managed to find representations from three wineries, so here is the first of three posts I will be putting up about Indian wine.

Weirdly, this is my reflection on the final wine I tried in India – at Mumbai airport on the way home. This was in the final third of a nightmare 36 hour journey which involved endless hours of sitting in airports watching the clock and finished in copious vomiting. But that’s another story.

The wine in question was from Grover vineyards, who have yards just outside of Bangalore, which was where we visited last time we went to India back in 2009 (before I was properly into wine) and also in Nashik, Maharastra, which I’m guessing is where the wine we tasted came from – the same state as Mumbai.

Sadly the restaurant menu only mentioned ‘Grover Chenin Blanc’ and it was like getting blood from a stone trying to extricate further information, or a glimpse of the bottle, from the waiter, so we’ll all just have to guess which of their offerings it was. 

But it was a very light straw colour, with an aromatic but slightly sour nose. I found it to be fresh on the palatte – slightly sweet, which I have found to be a characteristic of Indian wine, presumably because of the seemingly endless sunshine providing sugar rich grapes, but was still well balanced in the mouth with a fresh taste that had the perfumed elements of fruits like pear and melon.

It was beautifully quaffable and very enjoyable – I would happily give it a solid 7 out of 10. For me, it has a lot in common with what you would expect from a chenin blanc from Australia – fruity and refreshing. Certainly the quality was there overall – not so much as to blow me away, but certainly for a deeply enjoyable drink on what was an otherwise bleak day.

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