Indians love wine, this is an open secret. But what exactly are Indians drinking? The most popular wine styles in India reflect our taste and the fact that we are still discovering this new-found treasure trove. There was a time when you could barely get a variety or two of wine in the Indian market. But not anymore. With a boom in domestic wine producers and a growing interest of international wine brands in the Indian liquor market, we have so many options to choose from.
But let us admit this- each one of us has our favourites. There is a specific brand or style of wine that you’ll find yourselves returning to. Maybe it’s the aromas that draw you back, or maybe it’s notes are so complex that one wine-drinking experience is not enough to figure it out. Whatever, may be the reason, there are some wine styles that are loved more by us than others.
Most popular wine styles available in India.
Riesling: This light-bodied white wine is known for its high acidity. While most Rieslings are sweet, to balance the acidity, you can get your hands on a dry Riesling to suit your palate. Riesling has fruity aromas of stone fruits like nectarine and apricot, and you’ll also get whiffs of honeycomb or lime peel, along with petroleum wax. Rieslings, especially those with a little bit of residual sugar, pair superbly with a lot of spicier Indian food.
Sauvignon Blanc: Dry and crisp, Sauvignon Blanc is known for its grassy flavours. The wine is laden with fresh flavours like lime and green apple, but it’s herbaceous flavours like bell pepper, jalapeño, gooseberry and grass that give Sauvignon Blanc its unique flavour profile. Also, if your wine smells like cat pee, don’t be alarmed, that’s a real tasting note for this wine.
Chardonnay: This white wine offers a wide range of flavours. Aged in oak, Chardonnay becomes full-bodied, buttery, and expresses creamy flavors of vanilla, coconut, and praline. Yet, an unoaked Chardonnay remains lean, crisp, and minerally, bursting with zesty lemon, apple, and pineapple.
Pinot Grigio: Refreshing in taste, Pinot Grigio is for those who are looking for a balanced white wine. Also known as Pinot Gris, this wine has flavours of lime, lemon, pear, white nectarine and apple. With a medium body and medium to high acidity, this wine isn’t bold or radical, but a palate pleaser nonetheless.
Chenin Blanc: Chenin Blanc is a great wine to beat the summer heat and its versatile too! From sparkling wines, dry summer wines to oak-aged style, there is nothing that Chenin Blanc cannot pull off. The dry style of this white wine is light and minerally like a Riesling; with aging in oak, it transforms, mirroring the creaminess of a Chardonnay. Amidst fruity aromas, this wine packs a palate punch with vibrant acidity.
Pinot Noir: This light-bodied red wine is a favourite among beginners. Esters define Pinot Noir’s flavor with cherry, raspberry, tea, and clove notes dominating. While it is highly acidic, Pinot Noir has a silky mouth feel due to lower levels of tannins. The wine pairs well with a variety of Indian food and this could be the reason why it’s so popular in our country.
Zinfandel: A bold red wine is known to have higher alcohol by volume (14-17 percent). This, along with moderate tannins and high acidity give Zinfandel its knockout taste. Tasting notes of Zinfandel lean heavily towards black fruit flavours of blackberry and black cherry, along with peppery undertones.
Merlot: A medium-bodied red wine is the perfect transition wine for those who gradually want to graduate from light-bodied reds to full-bodied ones. Due to its medium acidity and tannins, the wine has a smooth finish, with tasting notes of red plum and cherry.
Cabernet Sauvignon: This full-bodied red wine enjoys immense popularity across the world, and not just in India. High tannins and acidity shape this wine’s profile, featuring dark fruits, bell peppers, black pepper, and tobacco. We seek bold wines to match intense Indian flavors, and Cabernet Sauvignon fits the bill.
Shiraz: A full-bodied red wine with a spicy taste, Shiraz is as intense and dark as wines can get. The wine has medium acidity and high tannins. It expresses tasting notes of blueberry and black plum, along with the spicy flavours of green peppercorn.
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