Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kingfisher Lager & Kingfisher Strong

Just kidding. I'm not really doing tasting notes of the two lagers that contributed to the bulk of my drinking in India. They provided much needed refreshment in the muggy monsoon heat, often at the end of a long and exhausting day. Beware the Kingfisher Strong - it's tasty (possibly double malted - the label didn't say, but the flavour suggested as much), rich and will knock you flat on your arse if you don't treat it with a modicum of respect.

I did, however try some Indian wine during the trip, and found it not unpleasant.

Sula Sauvignon Blanc
I was on holiday and didn't bother to check the vintage. I would assume that it was 07. The colour's quite a rich lemon gold; none of the antipodean pale straw notes that you get used to with this varietal... whatever - it was pleasant and drinkable. Sitting on a balmy evening with a glass of this with a variety of Indian dishes I don't think you could really complain. Is it great wine? No. But I'm not sure there was a point on the trip where I desperately needed a Puligny Montrachet. Or, sticking with the grape, a fine Sancerre or Pouilly Fumé. I wanted to drink the local stuff and see what it was like. It was like tasting wine made in a place that isn't quite used to making wine, but is learning. There was a touch of soupiness, a touch of flab, but some nice grassy notes and it was refreshing. Importantly, it complimented the food - some manner of mutton dhansak I believe.
I would drink it again, were I in India. In fact, I would drink it in preference to paying the outrageous prices charged for European (and Australian, South African, American, Chilean etc etc) wine in India.
I wouldn't buy it over here. It's not ready yet. I'm not saying it never will be, but they need time to hit their stride. Will it be world-beating fine wine? I doubt it. But not every wine has to be. The lower end of the wine market is filling with bland, sweet, mass-produced rubbish - there's space for something new and idiosyncratic.
One word of advice though, drink it cold. Not chilled.

Sula Cabernet Sauvignon
Not quite as developed as the Sauv Blanc. Stewed, hyperactive fruit on the nose and palate. Room temperature doesn't help it as the room is very warm (well... the room is a patio, and it's hot out). It is, however, wine and I'd say there are a few cheap Aussie cab/shiraz blends that may pale to it. Drinkable, but pass me some more of the white please...

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