Pinot noir or wine from black grapes is one of the most cherished wine varieties. Although pinot noir is considered a second name for red wine, white wine sometimes also constitutes the pinot noir. Whatever the colour may be, the black grapes are important. When we say pinot noir, the best wineries which come to our mind are the Domaine Henri Delarange, Vincent Girardin, Domaine Au Pied du Mont Chauve, Jean Luc and Paul Aegerter and so on. All of them are specialty of a town called Burgundy in France. In fact, the town of Burgundy is the home to the best examples of pinot noir and it is from these parts, this variety of wine became popular in Germany (Weingut Ziereisen, Enderle and Moll, Dr Wehrheim etc), Chile (Montesecano, Cono Sur etc), Australia (Tractor and Paringa 10 Minutes, Yering Station etc) and so on. Usually understood as a western treat, India too has its own niche variety of pinot noir.
We have often heard about the Sula Vineyards in Nashik and the most popular product from this place is the Sula Rasa / Rasa Shiraz. Costing only about Rs 1500 to 2000, the 750 ml drink is made out of the shiraz variety of grape. Another popular pinot noir variety is the Grover La Reserve which costs Rs 2150. Although the words La Reserve sounds French, they are made in Nandi Hills of Bangalore. The La Reserve tastes great with a good old recipe of Rajasthani Laal Maans or any other mutton dish. This has been the author’s most preferred and recommended brand although there are others as well. Another specialty from Grover is Zampa Chene which has a slightly mellow taste compared to the La Reserve. Available for around Rs 1900, this is best for an easy, lonely Sunday with some soul stirring music.
A newer and more popular brand KRSMA has been making its presence felt in the Indian winery with its special, Sangiovese. This Made in Andhra wine is the most delicate of all Indian wines. However, its acidic content is its downside. Given its price range at the lower end of 1000s, the Sangiovese is a good bargain which would taste great with sweeter varieties of cuisines. Another Indian wine to look out for is the York Arros which is York’s and Maharashtra’s flagship wine. The York Arros has a far greater edge over Sangiovese when it comes to taste and its compatibility with a wide array of foods. The York Arros also has a has the highest alcohol content of 14.3% and is available for more or less the same price.
With limited brands and more varieties foraying into the global market of pinot noir, India faces a problem which the other nations do not. The temperature. Pinot noir needs a preferably cool weather. It is only during the late monsoon and the winter onset months; red wine can be created. Along with that, there is no existing culture of trying wine along with food, or any alcohol for that matter. While pinot noir is a multifaceted all-rounder, Indians love being specialists. People either drink for three reasons in India: (1) to get high (2) social occasions amongst office members (3) show off their status and in all the three categories: rum, whiskey and champagne beats pinot noir by a huge margin. In such an environment, a growing market for a drink which oozes class is also a sign of hope.