Tag Archives: Grover Zampa Vineyards

Indian Wines Showcased at Winemakers Dinner at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity

Tristan Beau de Lomenie, the handsome and suave General Manager of Pullman New Delhi Aerocity made a telling statement while addressing the guests at “Taste of India”, a Winemakers Dinner at Pluck & Pling, the all-day fine dining restaurant at his hotel. He said, “This is not a competition but a collaboration among India’s top wine producers”.

He was referring to the winemakers from Sula, Grover Zampa, York and Charosa, who had flown down to Delhi, to present their wines at a well curated dinner at Pullman, the purpose of which was to highlight the tremendous progress made by the Indian wine industry, both in terms of quality and styles.

Tristan also made a little confession and admitted that four years ago, when he and his wife Isabel came to India, they were not very fond of Indian wine. However, over the years, he has been amazed by the improvement in the quality of Indian wines and now, not only has he become a fan, but is actively promoting them in his hotel.

This dinner was notable for several reasons. Four of India’s well known winemakers, Ajoy Shaw of Sula Vineyards, Karishma Grover of Grover Zampa, Ravi Gurnani from York and Ashok Patil from Charosa Vineyards had gathered together, taking time out from their busy schedules since it is harvest time at the wineries, to showcase their premium wines at the Pullman dinner.

While most wine lovers in Delhi are already familiar with established names like Sula, Grover Zampa and York, this was the first time that wines from Charosa (a winery located 55kms from Nashik in Maharashtra) were being presented in the capital. There has been a buzz around their Sauvignon Blanc and Reserve Tempranillo (India’s first 100% Tempranillo), and guests at the “Taste of India” dinner got a chance to try out both, along with Charosa Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The presence of Ashok Patil, chief winemaker of Charosa, who spoke a little about his winery, made it special.

The four wines from Sula Vineyards, India’s biggest and most well known wine producer commanding the largest market share, were Brut Tropicale (my current favorite among Indian sparkling wines), Sula Riesling 2016, Rasa Shiraz 2014 and a lovely Late Harvest Chenin Blanc 2016 which had a good balance between sweetness and acidity and a touch of Muscat. Ajoy Shaw, chief winemaker of Sula Vineyards revealed that Rasa got its name after the initials (Ra Sa) of the founder of Sula, Rajeev Samat. I was not aware of this and it is always good to learn something new.

Karishma Grover, chief winemaker at Grover Vineyards Ltd, presented Zampa Brut Soirée 2014 and Grover Zampa Chêne Grande Reserve 2010 along with two house labels that she has collaborated with Pullman. “Blanc by Pullman” is a Sauvignon Blanc while “Rouge by Pullman” is a blend of oak aged Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, both easy drinking styles.

Ravi Gurnani from York winery was the only person among the four, who is technically not a winemaker but takes care of sales & marketing. It is his brother Kailash, who is incharge of winemaking operations at York Winery, also situated in Nashik very close to Sula. The wines that he showcased at the dinner were York Sparkling Blanc de Blancs (100% Chenin), York Chenin Blanc 2016 and, York Arros, one of the best value for money premium Indian red wines in my opinion.

It goes to the credit of Tristan and his team of sommeliers and chefs, in particular Director Food & Beverage Vishrut Gupta and Assistant Director F&B Deepak Shettigar, that the event was a huge success.

The efforts of the sommelier of Pullman & Novotel New Delhi Aerocity, Kriti Malhotra, were recognised and praised by everyone present. Kriti is certified sommelier from Court of Master Sommeliers and it was she who had coordinated with the winemakers and persuaded them to participate. She is a passionate and dedicated sommelier who is making a mark on the wine scene and setting a great example which should encourage more and more Indian women to enter this field.

Taste of India Winemakers Dinner at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity
Taste of India Winemakers Dinner at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity

Taste of India wine dinner was also a fabulous opportunity for the chefs of Pullman to showcase “Farm-to-Table”, a concept that they so zealously advocate. In fact, quite a few ingredients used in the dishes were plucked from their in-house organic garden. No surprise that the Cafe is called “Pluck”. The miniature Chef’s Garden created for the dinner, complete with root vegetables which guests had to dig out from faux soil and the different types of fruit and vegetable caviar, came in for a lot of appreciation. There were some hits and misses in terms of wine and food pairing, but there is always an inherent risk while attempting something unconventional.

Tristan Beau de Lomenie and his team need to be applauded for promoting both the “Farm-to-Table” concept and Indian Wines at Pullman & Novotel New Delhi Aerocity.

The Wines from Sula, Grover Zampa, York and Charosa ; Chef's Garden at Pluck; Caviar and Dessert
The Wines from Sula, Grover Zampa, York and Charosa ; Chef’s Garden at Pluck; Caviar and Dessert

Tristan’s concluding words at the “Taste of India” wine dinner were that Indian wines are becoming a force to reckon with and can now complete with the best in the New World. Coming from a Frenchman whose wife Isabel, owns a vineyard in Barsac Bordauex, this is quite an endorsement.

By : Lavina Kharkwal

 

 

Wine Tourism in India : Grover Zampa Vineyards, Nandi Hills, Bangalore

My journey to the wine regions of India began very recently. It was only after I decided to speak on the “Potential for Wine Tourism in India” at the International Wine Tourism Conference, La Champagne 2015, that I set forth to explore our own wine country. Prior to this I had been to vineyards in Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Italy & France, but never to one in India. While there been a tremendous growth in the Indian wine industry and an improvement in the quality of Indian wines, I was keen to see for myself if there was an exponential growth in wine tourism and to check out the facilities on offer.

Grover Zampa Vineyards, Nandi Hills Karnataka
Grover Zampa Vineyards, Nandi Hills Karnataka

I began my explorations with a wine tour to Grover Zampa Vineyards situated in Nandi Hills Karnataka, an hour and a half drive from Bangalore and just 40 minutes from the airport. The reason why I chose this vineyard is because it is the oldest surviving winery in India and their iconic red wine La Réserve, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz, has been an old favorite and the most consistent Indian wine in terms of quality. It was awarded the best New World red wine by Decanter magazine in 2005. The recent launch of VA Reserve Collection White, a barrel fermented & barrique aged Viognier and VA Reserve Red, introduced the concept of celebrity wine labels in India, with tennis star Vijay Amritraj lending his name to the label.

The Vineyards
The Vineyards

Grover Zampa has also been in news recently for winning a spate of awards (36 awards for 12 wines in the last 18 months) at various International wine competitions and making inroads into international markets, exporting to over 20 countries. The merger of Grover Vineyards Ltd (GVL) with Nashik based Vallée de Vin (VDV) resulting in the creation of Grover Zampa Vineyards in 2012 has infused new life into the company helping it to catch up with the market leader Sula, though it still has a long way to go.

Art Collection Sauvignon Blanc, the 2014 vintage won the Decanter Asia Wine Awards held in Hong kong
Art Collection Sauvignon Blanc, the 2014 vintage won the International Trophy for Sauvignon Blanc at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards held in Hong Kong

Bangalore is blessed with a salubrious climate and Grover Zampa Vineyards, located at the foothills of Nandi Hills, around 40 kms from the city, is a perfect destination for wine tourism if one wants to learn about grape growing, wine making and tasting from the barrels. However it is only possible to make day trips as there are no facilities for staying at the vineyard itself. Being in close proximity to a city like Bangalore, there are plenty of options to choose from. I stayed at the Angsana Oasis Spa & Resort, a beautiful property situated on the main Doddaballapur Road, and only 15 minutes away from the winery.

Angsana Oasis Spa & Resort , Bengaluru, Karnataka
Angsana Oasis Spa & Resort , Bengaluru, Karnataka

At the winery I met Karishma Grover, a dynamic young woman who wears many hats, that of the Assistant Winemaker of Grover-Zampa Vineyards, part owner of the company being the daughter of Kapil Grover, and someone whose passion for wine begins showing the moment she starts talking. Over a glass of Art Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2014, which has won the prestigious International Trophy for Sauvignon Blanc at the 3rd Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA) held recently in Hong Kong, she told me how her grandfather Kanwal Grover, was a pioneer of Indian viticulture as he was the first to plant French varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon on Indian terroir and who enrolled the services of wine makers like George Vessels, Michel Rolland and Bruno Yvon, to come out with quality Indian wines as far back as 1992.

At the Bangalore winery of Grover Zampa with Karishma Grover
At the Bangalore winery of Grover Zampa with Karishma Grover

Like her grandfather Karishma Grover is a pioneer in many areas related to wine especially in the field of wine tourism. Armed with a degree in Viticulture & Oenology from University of California, Davis and an internship at the cellars in Napa valley, she is now focusing her attention on stabilizing quality control, introducing wines in the premium segment and doing her bit towards wine education by organizing guided wine tours. These include a visit to the vineyards which are at a little distance from the winery and where the nuances of viticulture are explained in lay man’s terms. This is followed by a tour of the winery where the entire process of wine making is explained, often by Karishma herself.

JayaKumar, Training & Trade Marketing Manager at Grover Zampa talking about Viticulture to visitors
JayaKumar, Training & Trade Marketing Manager at Grover Zampa talking about Viticulture to visitors

Wine tasting is done in a Barrel Room where premium wines are aged. This is a lovely experience as one can soak in the unique atmosphere of the winery with the smell of oak permeating the air as well as taste 5 wines and learn about food & wine pairing. The entire wine tour which lasts approximately 3 hours ends with a delicious lunch buffet comprising only of Veg & Non-Veg Biryani right now, but plans are afoot for opening a fully functional multi-cuisine restaurant. One can also buy wines at discounted prices from the winery.

Wine tasting in the Barrel Room
Wine tasting in the Barrel Room

Karishma Grover is also responsible for introducing the Art Collection, which includes Merlot, Cabernet Shiraz, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc & Rose and features designer labels painted by famous Indian contemporary artists. Under the direction of French wine consultant Mathais Pellisard who has been associated with Grover Zampa since the last four years, and a dynamic CEO Sumedh Singh Mandla at the helm, huge inroads have been made into the Premium wine segment with the launch of new labels like La Réserve Blanc, VA Reserve Collection both white & red, Chêne, Grover Zampa Soirée Brut & Rose and others.

Various labels from Grover Zampa Vineyards
Various labels from Grover Zampa Vineyards

It is heartening to see how far the Indian wine industry has progressed, though in terms of wine tourism as we know of it in the West, we still have a lot of ground to cover. The availability of good quality Indian wines will help the cause of wine tourism because at the end of the day, this is what will prompt visitors into planning a wine trip despite the lack of infrastructure to support a thriving wine tourism industry.

Grover Zampa Vineyards Ltd

63 Raghunathpura, Devanahalli Road Doddaballapur, Bangalore  561203

By: Lavina Kharkwal

To read more on Grover Zampa click on this link

https://highonwines.com/2014/10/28/grover-zampa-launches-vijay-amritraj-reserve-collection-wines/

 

All the pictures used in this review are clicked by the author.

Grover Zampa Launches Vijay Amritraj Reserve Collection Wines

 

 

Team Grover Zampa Vineyards
Team Grover Zampa Vineyards

You know that Indian wines have come of age when India’s most well-known and internationally recognized tennis player, Vijay Amritraj, launches his own premium wine collection, with one of India’s top most wine producers, Grover Zampa Vineyards, and not with some wine producer in Napa Valley.  It was not just his long standing friendship with Kapil Grover, the founder owner of Grover Zampa, which prompted him in making this decision, but the fact Grover Zampa are making quality wines, which are winning awards the world over and gaining recognition in international markets. The latest award won by Grover Zampa was at the recent DAWA (Decanter Asia Wine Awards) where its Art Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2014 won the International Trophy for the best Sauvignon Blanc.

Vijay Amritraj flew down from his home in Los Angeles California for the Delhi   launch of V/A Reserve Collection White and Red at The Leela Palace New Delhi where he along the founder owner Kapil Grover, the company’s CEO Sumedh Singh Mandala and others from the team Grover Zampa pulled out all the stops into making this one of the most talked about launches in a long time.

 

VA Reserve Collection
VA Reserve Collection

However the proof of the pudding is in the eating or in this case shall we say drinking. Let’s come to the white first. The VA Reserve Collection White is a barrel fermented and barrique aged Viognier with a 30% oaked component giving it a fuller body. Interestingly the choice of the varietal was made by Vijay Amritraj himself, who is passionate about wine and professes to not having touched any hard liquor since many years now.  Viognier, which has an extraordinary combination of perfume and body, is often described as a vintner’s headache, as it is a varietal which requires great technique and is a difficult grape to grow. If picked too early, the grape fails to develop the full extent of its aromas and tastes, and when picked late it produces wine that is oily and lacks perfume.

The tasting notes on the bottle of VA Collection White say “Straw colour aromas of white flowers & stone fruit. Fruity with pleasing acidity and mild spiciness. A versatile wine that could be enjoyed as an aperitif or with food”.

While I found the nose to be delicately perfumed, the wine lacked a little in acidity, but then Viognier traditionally has low acidity. It is a little high in alcohol at 13.5%abv so my advice would be to pair it with food and I can see it doing well with delicately spiced chicken dishes, mushrooms, and mildly spiced Asian dishes. It is a cleverly made wine with an elegant finish and should do well in the international markets too.

Coming to the VA Reserve Collection Red now, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Viognier and the tasting notes describe it as “an elegant nose with lingering aroma of dark fruits, spice, pepper, blackberry jam and violets. The palate is rich in fruit and supple in texture juxtaposed with a fine grain French oak and the powerful flavours of blackberry and blackcurrant. Pairs well with medium spicy Asian cuisine, good cuts of red meat, game and strong cheese”.

I found the red to be reminiscent of a Northern Rhône style red. The touch of international wine consultant Michel Rolland is quite discernible. The co-fermenting of the white grape Viognier (though only 5%) with the red blend adds bouquet to the wine besides stabilizing the colour and also softens its character keeping in mind the Indian palate.  The red is very expressive of the warm and sunny Indian terroir.

 

Though the concept of celebrity wine labels is popular internationally, this is the first time that it has been launched in India and it is quite apparent that Vijay Amritraj is deeply committed to the label. Team Grover Zampa has worked hard on this label and one wishes them success both in the Indian and international markets.

With the legend himself

To read more on Grover Zampa click on this link

https://highonwines.com/2015/05/15/wine-tourism-in-india-grover-zampa-vineyards-nandi-hills-bangalore/

 

 Both the VA Collection Red and the White are available in Delhi, Gurgaon, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa and are priced at Rs 1200 in the Indian market while in UK it is selling for £14.99.