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Attain Sweet Nirvana with Lychee Wine

Posted: Thursday, 29 September 2011 11:16

Attain Sweet Nirvana with Lychee Wine

Sep 29 : Haryana based Nirvana Biosys started manufacturing lychee wine in the beginning of the current year, thus entering what was mostly the sole preserve of China and the South East Asia, Australia and a few other pockets like Miami earlier, writes Subhash Arora who had an opportunity to taste the off-dry fruit wine last week and found it quite clean and palatable, despite the rather high price tag of Rs.760

The Chilean National Day celebrated at the Claridges Hotel on 22nd September has never been so sweet and fruity before. The Chilean born celebratory drink Fresita Frizzante with infused strawberry flavour and an Indian fruit wine- Luca Lychee Wine from Nirvana Biosys welcomed the guests as they entered the Maharani banquet room. I had been hearing about the launch of Lychee wine since January this year but did not have a chance to taste it so this was a good opportunity to add it to my portfolio of tasted wines.

Let me correct myself- I had been to the wine manufacturing facility in Haryana a year earlier and had tasted the lychee wine under production. Dr. J P Gupta, CMD who is a fellow alumnus from IIT, Delhi from my era and took me around, felt it tasted delicious. But I felt uneasy and found it slightly unpleasant with bitter after-taste as if the kernels had been partially crushed along with the fruit. He did concede there might be a problem with some chemicals they were using for filtration (I think) and that the problem could be manifesting itself on the palate as a result.

There was yet another reason for the curiosity. A food website imagesfood.com that keeps on dumping seemingly daily, news into my Inbox, announced the ‘Lychee marries Wine’ wedding on in its Product Watch section on January 4 with the message, ‘Nirvana Biosys, one of the leading wine manufacturers in India, has recently launched its much awaited lychee wine under its flagship brand Luca’. This would make it the first wine manufacturing facility in Haryana to make fruit wine too.

Lychee wine is difficult to produce on consistent basis even in countries like China which have been making it as a full bodied golden colour, rich, dessert wine since long. Luca Lychee wine did not disappoint. It was clean, fresh, tasted of ripe lychees and the gentle sweetness would make it a fine match with spicy Indian vegetarian cuisine. It wasn’t very crisp but wasn’t fat either. It did not bother me that one of the visiting Chilean producers who keenly waited for it, kept the glass aside after a sip, finding it too sweet.  Tandoori fish and chicken in the shape of tikkas or tandoori with spices in the marinate, would have made a perfect match for him.

I love lychees. I love lychee juice. But at the price of Rs.760 a bottle, I am not sure I would want to regularly drink lychee wine which should be drunk fresh and would have a limited shelf life like most fruit wines. Himachal Pradesh has already established itself as the leading State producing fruit wines from apples, peaches, plums, apricots, strawberries, kiwis and several other fruits and even flowers like rhododendron (considered good for heart). They retail for sell for around Rs.150 a bottle of 750 mL! Granted that the excise duty is a mere Rs. 4 and the sales tax is half of the heavy 20+% in other states.

It was encouraging to know from Mr. J. M. Bhardwaj, Marketing Manager that the product has elicited positive enquiries from countries like Japan and Canada, besides selling well in their home turf. Pricing might be an issue but the product should have a good niche market for the lychee lovers of the world-if they are wine lovers too, that is. Who knows, this might even encourage a backward thinking state like the lychee growing state of Uttaranchal (they are known to be averse to issuing wine making licenses) to issue new licenses to encourage people to make the ‘Doon Valley’ be known globally as the Napa Valley of Lychee wine in India, like Nashik wine industry considers itself to be the Napa valley of (grape) wine.

For an earlier article visit on Nirvana: Haryana joins Wine making States

For a related article, visit Shimla to Shillong seeking Fruit Wines

Subhash Arora

As I write the Blog on September 28, I receive the latest news dump from imagesfood.com. By now I should see the 9-month marriage of ‘Lychee with wine’ produce a wine child but the Product Watch section still says ‘Lychee marries wine’; and proudly announces for the nth time that ‘ Nirvana Biosys, one of the leading wine manufacturers in India, has recently launched its much awaited lychee wine under its flagship brand Luca.’.

       

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