August 07: Nashik-based York Winery has collaborated with Liam Steevenson MW from UK to produce a 100% Shiraz to be exported under the YAATRA label in joint collaboration though only about 75 cases have been produced in the first vintage 2016, writes Subhash Arora who feels the effort should be lauded both for the Indian wine industry and the passion to experiment for the young MW and his entrepreneurial skills and faith in the Indian terroir
Liam Steevenson MW may not be known to many people in India yet but he has been a regular visitor to the Taj Vine and Wine Experience, being organised for the past 4 years. He has been visiting most venues for the events-curated by Keith Edgar, a Canadian wine sommelier and cognoscenti whose love for India is exemplary.
He visited Nashik with a group of foreign wine experts last year, along with Jancis Robinson MW. One of the wineries they visited was that of York run by the two local brothers Ravi and Kailash Gurnani. The youngest to have conquered Mount MW, Liam says, ‘Although I have been working with Indian wines for almost five years now, it was only 18 months ago when I first visited York Vineyards, with Jancis Robinson MW and met the team at the Winery in Nashik, that I was really impressed. Struck by a stunning vineyard, state of the art winery and some incredible passion, I jumped at the chance to work with them on a winemaking project.’
Shiraz has always been the bright spark in their line-up at York whose ‘Arros’ is an excellent blend of Shiraz and Cabernet. The Gurnani Bros (Ravi and Kailash-the Aussie trained winemaker) teamed up with Liam for the joint project named Yaatra.
In the words of Liam, “YAATRA represents a journey for all of us involved,
taking the very best Syrah and carefully working it, through ferment and
barrel ageing to emphasise the delicate and elegant nature of the varietal.
I think we have created something truly special here, that has a true
place amongst the great wines of India.”
‘The Syrah (same as Shiraz) used for Yaatra has been destemmed & fermented as whole berries. The Fermentation was in stainless steel tanks at temperatures kept deliberately low to preserve the red fruit elements in the wine. The total maceration time on skins is 22 days to extract colour, flavour & tannins. Post malolactic fermentation, the wine has been allowed to mature in medium toasted French barrels for a period of 13 months. Three barrels worth of 100% Shiraz has been selected to be sold in the UK market. The 3 French barriques (225 L capacity) used were of different passes-one was brand new and the other 2 were older used barriques, to keep the oak a bit mellow. A total of 675 liters of wine was produced for the 2016 vintage, ‘ says Kailash Gurnani, the winemaker.
The wine would not be sold in India but only through the companies owned by Liam and will be retailed at £14.99 a bottle. It may not be available in the Indian market for a while but it does show that the yaatra ( journey) undertaken by the passionate wine producers with eye on the quality is in the right direction.
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