Nestled between North Italy’s wine producing regions of Friuli and Veneto, is the Prosecco region of Valdobbiadene. It is a part of the tour 'Città del Vino' (Cities of Wine) and for the last four decades hosts the National Exposition of Sparkling wine, now called 'Forum Spumanti d'Italia'.
Foss Marai was the first to kickstart sparkling wines in this region in the early 1900s with the inception of its boutique winery on rows of steep hills in the little town of Guia. The term Foss Marai comes from the valleys called fossi (gullies) and marai, which is the name of the deepest gully of Guia. Three generations later, the family run Foss Marai is still going strong with a wide array of wines categorized under the categories DOCG, Territoriali DOCG, Territoriali, Charmat Lungo, Cuvee, Blend, Frizzanti, Trannquilli, and Grillaia.
These wines were truly the stars of the evening at the wine dinner hosted by Sandip Parsan (Importer & Director – Ace Beveragez) and Marinela Vasilica Ardelean (Brand Manager – Foss Marai). Paired with a specially prepared four course meal at Hyatt Regency’s Stax restaurant, these wines were both unique and interesting. The wines featured were:
Roos Brut : The perfect kickstart to an evening, this dry rose sparkling wine is reminiscent of strawberries. The texture is firm and the finish creamy, making it delicious both as an aperitif and when paired with ham or Indian paneer dishes, even cheese. Alcohol is at 11.5%.
Cardinal Prosecco Brut : This extra dry white sparkling wine is light and fruity with a lingering finish. With citrus flavours and a flowery aroma, a good blend of acidity and residual sugars, and alcohol at 11.5%, this bubbly would work well both as an aperitif and if paired with light Indian snacks flavoured with lime. Its pairing with grilled scallop, wild arugula, and French onion compote was perfect.
Dogajolo Toscano Bianco 2012 : An easy to drink dry white, this wine gives off scents of green apple, with a gentle finish of honey. It works well both as an aperitif as well as a complement to white meat and vegetable dishes. Somehow, it didn’t pair well with the smoked chicken tortellini, creamy saffron jest served at the wine dinner, but yet was one of the stars of the evening. Alcohol is at 11.5%.
Prosecco Treviso : This extra dry sparkling wine has flavours of peach with hints of green apple with a mineral finish. This wine is versatile, lending itself as a good companion to a variety of vegetarian and white meat dishes. Alcohol is at 11.5%.
Fumac Puglia Rosso 2010 : This red wine is elegant and full-bodied with smooth tannins and berry flavours. In India, it would pair well with both mutton and vegetable masala curries. At the dinner, it was paired with lamb chops and walnut ratafia, bringing out the wine in its full element. Alcohol is at 13%.
Moscato Reale : Dessert wines have not really caught on in India, but this one could be a game changer! It has an array of flavours that hit the palate, with vanilla being the most dominant. Apart from pairing well with desserts, this wine can also be served as an aperitif with Indian snacks! Alcohol is at 14%.
Foss Marai already has a strong presence in around 30 countries globally. The winery’s splash in the Indian market is recent, thanks to importer Sandip Parsan (Ace Beveragez) who is a fan of boutique wineries. His efforts have seen sales of 800 cases and counting, in just six months! After a great response in Delhi, Calcutta, and Bangalore, Parsan is looking at the Mumbai market. These wines are available in retail with Spencers and Parsan is in the process of tying up with other established retail brands.
With the sudden onslaught of sparkling wines, how does Parsan plan to position these wines to catch the attention of consumers? To this, he says, “I am not looking at high volumes for now. That’s a long-term process. For now, I want India to get acquainted with the Foss Marai brand, which is counted among the top five boutique wineries producing Prosecco. Over the next two years, I want to make the brand more visible and build a loyalty base.” On being asked as to whom his target consumers are, he says, “Anyone who wants to move from sparkling wine to champagne. I am looking at the customers in between.”
With a price point ranging from Rs. 1500 to Rs. 3000, Foss Marai is still higher priced than Indian still and sparkling wines and several Proseccos. But with the high quality attached to the Foss Marai brand, these wines are reasonably priced and are sure to make a mark on Indian palates. Moreover, the artisan bottles of these wines are attractive and bound to stand out on wine shelves. Above all, with Parsan’s expertise and ongoing efforts, Foss Marai could definitely be here to stay!
Rishi Vohra, CSW
Rishi Vohra is the Mumbai Correspondent of delWine and is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) from the Society of Wine Educators - USA. He has done an MBA in Sustainable Business from San Francisco State University and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law from WWF-India. His debut fiction novel, ‘Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai,’ is a bestseller and was recently awarded an honorable mention in the General Fiction category at the Hollywood Book Festival, and was the only book from India to be awarded at the festival. Vohra may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: Foss Marai, Prosecco, Valdobbiadene, Guia, Ace Beveragez, Marinela Vasilica Ardelean, Sandip Parsan