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Charosa ready to churn out Wines from Charosa

Posted: Wednesday, 23 October 2013 17:22

Charosa ready to churn out Wines from Charosa

Oct 23: Charosa Wineries Ltd., owned by the affluent connoisseur and the owner of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) Mr. Ajit Gulabchand, seemingly after stage fright for a few years, has finally decided to sing in public with a proposed wine launch next month after the present ongoing trade tastings, writes Subhash Arora who had the ‘Pleasure’ of tasting a ‘Selection’ of wines in ‘Reserve’ last Saturday at the Pali Village Café, Bandra during his visit to Mumbai

Click For Large ViewCharosa is a confusing name, made more so because of the famous flautist Chaurasia who is always more on the mind and is similar to the sound of Chorasa - OOPS – CHAROSA getting more and more distant. So it was a pleasant surprise to hear from Milind Pandit, national manager Sales and Marketing whom I have known from his UB days, and he invited me for a tasting when he came to know that I was on a 4-day visit to Mumbai for the Chandon launch and a couple of events organised by the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce. Ever willing to taste new wines, I agreed for the tasting at the Pali Village Café, my favourite haunt in Mumbai as it was the first wine bar in a true sense to have entered the Mumbai wine scene.

Dispelling my skepticism of the delay in fructification of the project, he said the delay was never because of fund shortage due to the inordinate delays in the mega development project at Lavasa, that might have set Mr. Gulabchand back by tens of  crores (millions of dollars). It is true he has invested Rs.110 crores in Charosa Wineries Ltd., because of his passion but about 230 acres of land was also a part of the money spent. The company has now 81 acres of vines planted and taken a further parcel of 36 acres on long term lease where Viognier is being planted.

Mr. Chand has been too pre-occupied with his business problems and priorities but he did assign the responsibility to his solitary daughter Shalaka Gulabchand who is also quite passionate about wines and has been overseeing the progress directly or indirectly.

The Charosa Wineries has been named simply after the village which is 75 kms NE of Nashik in Dindori Taluka, about 40 kms beyond Dindori where many wineries and vineyards including Nine Hills, Chateau d’Ori and Mercury are located with Sula having majority of its vineyards for the past decade in the belt, even registering one of its wines after the village. The winery operations started in 2011.

After dropping the crops and selling off the grapes for a few years, Charosa is ready to churn out a few thousand of its 30,000 ready cases in the market, sometime in November, says Milind Pandit, who is responsible for the Pan India Marketing although the company will release a few thousand cases only this year. There are three ranges planned – Pleasures (MRP Rs.550), Selection (Rs.750) and Reserve (Rs.1500). In the first phase, the winery is releasing the more premium Selection and Reserve, ostensibly to let the market taste the best of the wines.

Tasting Charosa Selection

Sauvignon Blanc Selection 2013 had mild but clean aromas and green grass notes. It had fuller than usual body (medium bodied) and was nice and crisp with decent length and after-taste. The alcohol level is slightly high at 13.5%. Charosa plans to see it both in the off-trade (retail) and on-trade (restaurants).

Viognier Selection 2013 has a medium 13% alc, is medium-bodied  but starts with a slightly bitter attack that stays throughout. It’s not the spiciness but the bitterness which is its main characteristic. I feel they need to do some more work on it.

Shiraz is an interesting wine with 9 months in French oak barrels and  4-5 months malolactic fermentation as I was told; it seems to be a long period for malolactic. To overpower the sometimes noticeable ‘green’ problems in this region, they use open tanks fermentation, which is unusual. The 2012 vintage has an overpowering presence of oak due to the new barrique used and would need to age for a few months before showing off its best.

The Rookie Award of the Year, if there were one, would be well deserved by the Tempranillo Reserve 2012. The seemingly high price of this range at Rs.1500 a bottle notwithstanding, the wine is more rounded because of the use of one-year of American and French oak mix. With a soft, sweet vanilla front attack, it is a good expression of a pure Tempranillo made from vines planted in 2008. A very rounded and well-balanced wine, it may be consumed now or one can wait for 2-3 years.

Click For Large ViewThe Cabernet Sauvignon-Reserve 2012 was very young and tannic with a shade of capsicum in the flavours. Too much oak and the wine is too young. Although 10-12,000 liters only have been produced, I feel the wine needs to be laid down in the bottle for at least one year for it to start showing its prowess.

I think Charosa would be the first winery with 100% Tempranillo grapes and if the first release is an example, the winery will be the ‘long race ka ghodha (horse)’. Pandit says that when the project started, Mr. Gulabchand’s brief was simple and short. 'I don’t want to make the best wine in the world but let’s make the best wine in India. Money is no constraint.’

With the financial backing and the passion behind the project and the quality tasted, it is not an impossible task.

Subhash Arora

Tags: Charosa Wineries, Ajit Gulabchand, Charosa, Milind Pandit

Comments:

 
 

Shankar Says:

Thanks for the up on Charosa. Wine lovers can look forward to their portfolio at our Bandra Wine Tasting Festival on Nov. 9-10, 2013

Posted @ October 24, 2011 12:10

 
       

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