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Delhi Wine Club
White Portuguese Gazela from Sogrape

Posted: Saturday, 24 December 2011 12:12

White Portuguese Gazela from Sogrape

Dec 24: It would be conventional to recommend a red wine for Christmas due to the winter season but the cheap yet quaffable white Gazela from Vinho Verde region in Portugal is a nice, low alcohol, refreshing afternoon wine that makes an affordable gift for Christmas or any other occasion and is enjoyable at a party, with light textured foods or by itself.

Photo By:: Adil Arora

Vinho Verde is known as the ‘green wine’ of Portugal known for excellent white wines from Alvarinho grapes. However, interesting quaffable wines are also made from lesser known indigenous grapes. Gazela is one such wine from the biggest family- owned wine company in Portugal- Sogrape Vinhos  (pronounced Veen-yos) known globally for its ubiquitous off- dry Mateus Rosé . You do not need to worry about knowing the grapes-it’s a blend of four unknown varieties-Loureiro blended with Trajadura, Azal and Pedernã.

It’s a very light straw color, transparent and very pale wine with shades of green in a transparent bottle. While pouring you may notice a bit of froth which is due to some carbon dioxide intentionally left behind by the producer to give a zingy effect on the palate- making it a petillant. It is a simple and delicate wine with hints of melon and white fruits on the nose. There is enough acidity for balance. A positive factor is that it is light in alcohol at just 9 %, making it very refreshing. At a Terroir One (Mumbai Chapter of the Delhi Wine Club) wine dinner at JW Marriott last month, members were seen guzzling the Gazela till it finished despite the presence of more serious red wines from Douro and Dão.

Quite clean, fresh and fruity wine which is slightly sweet, making it quite pleasant for the youth and new drinkers and good for a couple of glasses at any party, it can be enjoyed with salads, light fish dishes, vegetarian snacks especially if they are slightly spicy.

Though it comes from the biggest natural cork producing nation on the planet, Gazela now comes tightly sealed with a metal screw cap to maintain its freshness and avoiding the possibility of cork taint that used to be a problem earlier, due to the lower quality of the cork since more expensive corks are not feasible for use in such a low-priced wine..

Low price point makes it a good value for money daily drinking wine in India where taxes are exhorbitant. If you are looking for an imported, pleasant wine without burning a hole in your pocket, you may not get a better bargain price. Although it is priced Rs.1220 in Delhi, it is available in Gurgaon for Rs.800 (think excise). The subscribers to delWine may call up Sachin Abrol at 09971792313 and get a case or more at Rs.725 a bottle- tell him delWine recommended it. In Delhi you may get it forRs.1037 by calling him but in Mumbai,  it is surprisingly priced higher at Rs.1260. Although available at Rs.1071 by calling Rakesh Jalan at 09819843660, it falls short of the value that would make me recommend it as a great buy. But if you can bargain for under Rs.1000, it would be a good value because of higher excise on low-value wines. Gazela is imported by the Mumbai based Aspri Spirits and Wines.

Delhi residents should remember that it is illegal to carry more than 2 bottles into Delhi from Gurgaon- just like it is illegal to drink alcohol if you are under 25. (This wine is otherwise ideal for the age group of 21-30)

Vinho Verde (pronounced as Veen-yo Vehr-they) wines are best enjoyed within a year after bottling and Gazela is no exception. An interesting feature of the wine is that it does not mention the vintage but the back label suggests the time of bottling which was sometime in 2010- making it a perfect time to drink it now as it is a young wine not meant for storing.

The Vinho Verde wine region (Denominação Origem Controlada in Portugal) is situated along Portugal's Costa Verde (green coast), northwest of the Douro Valley Port region and bordering Galicia in Spain on the coast of the Atlantic.

Serve Gazela very chilled at 6-8° C- the recommended temperature for Champagne and sparkling wines-or Coke in summers.

Cheers and Merry Christmas.

Subhash Arora


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