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Arrivano i primi vini indiani

I primi vini indiani nei supermarket inglesi. Da Waitrose ecco Zampa rosso (syrah) a sterline 8,49 e il bianco Ritu a 6,99, due vini del Maharastra. Dal Guardian del 19.9.2011.

Indian wines fly off British supermarket shelves

Critic is not ‘overly impressed’ but consumers keen on sub-continent’s brand

The first Indian wines to be sold by a British supermarket could become a fixture on its shelves after coming close to selling out in record time.

Earlier this month, Waitrose became the first UK supermarket to stock the little-known brands from the sub-continent as part of a showcase of unusual wines from across the world.

Wine experts have questioned their quality and suggested the popularity is down to novelty value. But some of those trying to buy the wines – a red and a white – have found their local stores were already out of stock.

The two wines at Waitrose are a red, Zampa syrah 2008 and white, Ritu viognier 2010, made from grapes grown in the Maharashtra region of India, south of Mumbai on the western coast.

Both are discounted in price as part of the supermarket’s autumn promotion, with the red initially costing £8.49 and the white £6.99.

They are produced by global spirits company United Breweries, owned by the Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

Waitrose wine buyer Matt Smith said he decided to offer Indian wine to British shoppers after finding the quality had improved greatly over the past five years.

To the supermarket’s great surprise, both have been selling strongly, but the white was closer to selling out. He said: “Sales far exceeded expectations so we are looking at adding them permanently to our wine range.”

The run was in part sparked by BBC1’s Saturday Morning Kitchen, which recommended the wine to partner a curry dish.

Smith said: “I think the Indian wines are good with curry, but we chose to stock them as they stand up on their own, too. The aromatic white goes well with mildly spiced dishes, but both wines are very versatile thanks to their grape varieties.”

India has a long tradition of winemaking but its wines have only recently been able to compete with more established regions.

Most vineyards in India are in the west of the country, as it is too hot in the eastern half for vines to grow. The vineyards are at higher altitudes to avoid adverse weather and to gain as much cool air as possible.

Last year, Indian wines were showcased for the first time in 30 years at London’s International Wine Festival.

The country is also being recognised in international competitions: Sula Vineyards’ sauvignon blanc 2010, for example, produced in Nashik, also in Maharashtra, won a silver medal in the Decanter world wine awards 2011. Guy Woodward, editor of Decanter magazine, said: “We’re seeing more wines from far-flung corners of the globe – often regions without a long wine history – with some exciting results.

“Increased knowledge and technology means better wines than ever are being made all over the world – we’ve had award-winning wines from Slovenia, Santorini and China in recent weeks.

“Of course, there’s a lot of dross, too, and I wasn’t overly impressed with these Indian wines.”


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