By Subhash Arora
For years, Grover Wines, having excelled in reds and rose, produced the rather insipid blanc de blanc made from French Clairette grapes. My feeling is they wanted people to be loyal to their red wines. With the advent of Sula, though, Grover realised that there was no escaping from a decent white wine. So they came up with a new blend using a majority of Viognier blended with good ol' Clairette.
The wine was informally launched at a Delhi Wine Club dinner at Olive in 2005 and it was received rather well by members. People who are bored with the sweetish Chenin or are looking for something other than the popular Sauvignon Blanc will find this wine interesting. Viognier's original home is the Rhone Valley and South of France, and it makes for a rather spicy wine. It grows well in warmer climes and allows for a lot of experimentation.
It will be very appealing if you like your wine to be aromatic. Produced near Bangalore, it has tropical aromas of peaches, apricot and honey. The flavour is not as intense as the aroma and you will certainly find it getting better and better as the vines grow older. But at Rs 360, it is well worth the try, especially if you are fond of sea food or chicken. It is available at most wine shops, but you have to insist that you want the Viognier (pronounced vee-oh-nee-air ).
It is light golden in colour, clean and light-to-medium bodied, off-dry (slightly sweet) wine with spicy notes of green pepper. Rolls nicely into your mouth and has rounded acidity. But you'll need to go through a couple of bottles before you start enjoying it. With more producers planning to come out with this varietal, it may not be a bad idea to add this wine to your list of favourites.
Grover's Viognier comes in a green Bordeaux type bottle. Drink it chilled at 10 deg °C.