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Delhi Wine Club
Jacobs Creek Rosé Brut at Delhi Duty Free

Posted: Thursday, 11 April 2013 10:43

We Recommend: Jacobs Creek Rosé Brut at Delhi Duty Free

April 11: The Duty Free Shop had a highly depleted stock at the Delhi airport Departure last Friday making one wonder if they were planning to reduce space for imported wine but the sales person said the almost-empty shelves were due to excellent sales during the week and were awaiting replacement. Out of a very limited choice, Jacobs Creek Rosé Brut offered a very good value-for-money choice, writes Subhash Arora

Click For Large ViewFor one thing, the price on this wine is truly of international levels ( lists the average price at $12 plus taxes, globally). At Rs. 660 a bottle it is only slightly more expensive than the Sula Brut whereas it is much cheaper than the Indian Rose Brut, both from Sula as well as Grover Zampa. Every time I have had an opportunity to drink this bubbly, I have been quite pleased with it not only as an aperitif but also with food at times. The light pink colour is very soothing to the eye and it does have berry flavours, thanks to the Champagne grapes used.

The winemaker tasting notes describe it as ‘soft pink color with a fine and persistent mousse. The Pinot Noir characters are showcased in this wine, with fresh strawberry and red currant notes followed by some delicate citrus from the Chardonnay. Generous red berry and citrus fruit flavors enrich the palate with creamy yeast autolysis providing depth and flavor. The wine finishes soft and round, with lingering berry flavors.’

Sette pe chhakka - Though I won’t issue a negative advisory on any wine - there is hardly any variety available - but I have been amused by the ridiculously high price of Sette, the red blend from Fratelli since I have been seeing it on the shelves for 6 months now. I have so far failed to understand who would buy the most expensive Indian wine for $52 (Rs. 2850!). It is understandable that many expat passengers would like to pick up the most expensive Indian wine but  surely they should know that it is available in Retail for Rs. 1650 in the city with all taxes included.  

Click For Large ViewUnless the foreign passenger insists on buying only this wine for the above reasons, there are several other choices available as much better value-for-money buy. Consider the Guidalberto, the ‘second wine’ of Tenuta San Guido which sells for $56, even though slightly higher than the average international tax-paid price of $44. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and 10% Sangiovese, it is quite suitable for the Indian palate though it is unfair to call it the ‘second wine’ of Sassicaia because the percentage of grapes in the blend is totally different - Sassicaia has Cabernet Sauvignon (85%) and Cabernet Franc (15%). How about Promis from Gaja’s Ca’Marcanda winery in Tuscany for $47-even $5 cheaper than Sette? Both the Italian wines are made by iconic producers and make for an excellent buy if you love high quality wines but refuse to pay higher prices only because of the label being from a famous producer.

 Brand Duty Free

As I have cautioned delWine readers several times before, ‘Duty Free’ does not mean ‘Profit Free’. Decades ago, one could find special and attractive prices on liquor, perfumes and cigarettes at the Duty Free shops globally. However, over the years, they have become very modern, keeping in touch with the modern retail and now represent a special Retail segment of captive customers.

With the space at a massive premium, the prices are often unattractive and are even marked up compared to the international stores which generally also have a much wider choice - Sette being a good example. I discovered an interesting example of the specialty Retail in Rome this week where the same airport is used for intra-Italy flights, intra-EU flights and Inter-continental flights though naturally from different terminals. Until a few years ago, the special attractive prices were available only to those passengers who travelled outside the EU. At some airports in EU, one could pick up the duty-free items and if travelling outside Europe, one could get duty refunds at the airport itself.

I arrived at the domestic terminal in Rome and had to catch an inter-continental flight from another terminal. I identified a cosmetics item and noted the price at the Duty Free Shop at the domestic terminal where I had arrived from Verona. As I crossed the immigration and entered the ‘international’ arena for the inter-continental flight I went to the DFS and asked for the same product. I was surprised that it was priced exactly the same as in the domestic terminal despite the fact that all products in the domestic terminal are subject to IVA (equivalent of VAT in India) of around 20% or more!

The sales lady conceded that it was the corporate policy of the concessionaire to keep prices the same at all the Duty Free Stores at the airport and that they absorbed the taxes paid by them in the ‘domestic’ area. While it allows a benefit for the domestic travellers, it shows the mark up on the product that allows them to absorb 20% expense!

When in Rome

Click For Large ViewWhile on the subject of Rome, check out a special offer of Mormoreto at € 26 a half-bottle at the Frescobaldi wine bar. It has been reduced from over €35 as a spring offer. (Otherwise this excellent Bordeaux-style wine from Castello di Nipozzano, owned by Marchesi Frescobaldi is imported by Brindco). Obviously, the price includes the VAT of around 20%. As a similar example, I was surprised to find Testamatta, the wine with a cult status from Bibi Graetz (importer in India-Wine Park) in Fiesole, a suburb of Florence, selling for €99 at the duty free shop when it is available for under €85 in the city wine shops (enotecas).

So the next time you shop at the Duty Free Shop in India, as you pick up two bottles of Jacobs Creek Rose Brut at a very good price of $12 each ( highly recommended by delWine), give a fleeting thought to whether you are looking for a value-for-money wine for yourself or as a gift for someone.

Subhash Arora

Tags: Sula, Grover Zampa, Fratelli, Marchesi Frescobaldi, Bibi Graetz, Testamatta


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