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York Winery introduces Red Arros and Brut Cuvee

Posted: Tuesday, 04 November 2014 11:25

York Winery introduces Red Arros and Brut Cuvee

Nov 04: The number of domestic premium wine labels is going up with Nashik-based York winery introducing a new premium label Arros, a blend of Shiraz and Cabernet and a sparkling wine made with Chenin Blanc soon to be released, according to their winemaker partner Kailash Gurnani who tasted the two new wines yesterday with Subhash Arora who found the red blend quite impressive with the Brut showing good potential

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Click For Large ViewThe 2012 vintage Arros debuts with Shiraz dominating with two-third and the balance being Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. The wine has spent a year in the French and American Oak barrels, the majority of which was new and the rest with a second pass. It has also been kept in the bottle for a year to round it off, says Kailash who feels it will mature for one more year and probably drink beautifully for another year after that. It has been already shipped to the distributors in Mumbai where it is being marketed at Rs. 1045.

The introduction will also mark the demise of two of their existing labels Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and the Shiraz Reserve which sell for around Rs. 850 in Mumbai, says Kailash. ‘We found that the quality and flavours of the two, especially Cabernet, were difficult to make consistently due to climatic variations. We also were wary of using ‘Reserve’ on the a label and so decided to bring out a new label in the form of ‘Arros’ with modern packaging, making it a flagship wine,’ says the young Adelaide University- trained winemaker.

The wine is already available in Mumbai. The registration process is on in Delhi and it should be available soon in Delhi, affirms Kailash.

Tasting Notes: The dark colour-rather inky, is the hallmark of this wine with clean, complex, highly perfumed aromas of red berry fruits with spicy notes. It is full bodied with good extraction and concentration on the palate-full of red berry flavours, dark chocolate, mocha and coffee. Full on the palate and a persistent clean and juicy finish are the dominant features in the balanced wine with good structure. Tannins are ripe and have already mellowed down. The sweet front attack is perhaps due to a bit of high alcohol (14.5%) which felt excessive when tasted at around 22°C. As the wine was cooled to the recommended 18°C, the wine tasted more balanced. Decanting for a recommended 30 minutes made the wine open up to its best. Rating 90/100

Here is an example of the importance of the food and wine match, especially the Indian food and how it is a matter of individual taste. I tried it with mutton curry on a full blast of enticing flavours at the dinner table. One would bet it makes a delightful match with the red meat. Well, it didn’t! The flavours of the complex, full-flavoured dish were too powerful for the wine tannins even though they seemed to be ripe otherwise. Surprising, it went better with the soon-to-be-introduced sparkling wine- York Brut Cuvee!  Nothing to do with wine-it’s just that the wine didn’t bring out the synergy with food. Wine and Food Match Rating - 83/100

York Brut Cuvee

Click For Large ViewAfter gaining 2-3 years’ experience since 2011 with processing Chandon  at their winery even though Moet Hennessey India brought in their own grapes and winemaker, York had already announced the launch of their sparkling wine a couple of years ago. After a tirage of one year, the wine has been disgorged and bottled recently and is awaiting packaging and general dressing up and will be released in Mumbai market on December 1 as York Cuvee Brut. Delhi would need to wait for the Rs 975 bubbly till the next fiscal year when it will be registered there as well, says Kailash.

Made from 100% Chenin Blanc and double fermented in the bottle (Methode Traditionelle), this sparkling wine with a residual sugar of around 8-10 gms of sugar is very fresh, clean and fruity sparkling wine but lacks the punch even with its medium length. The effervescence was not impressive initially when it was not chilled enough and the bubbles seemed to die in the glass and on your palate fast. One thing is clear-It’s even more critical for this sparkler to be served at around 6°C (think Coke in the intense summer heat!). Chilling it to the extreme improved the effervescence to some extent but the zingy texture buckled in as one sipped along. It left me with the impression that York would perhaps need to do some more work to bring it at par with the Chandon, Sula Brut, Grover Zampa Brut or Fratelli even though it is commendable for a first vintage.  Rating 84/100

Interestingly but unexpectedly, the bubbly went very well with the mutton curry. It helped clean the palate and every morsel brought the fresh flavour of the spices in the curry that was also quite compatible with the citrus fruitiness of the wine. Wine and Food Match Rating-89/100

Not sparkling price

It also brought home the fact that even as every sparkling wine producer in India  is now using the more expensive wine grapes like Chenin and a similar classical method of double fermentation in the bottle, the prices have been taking a quantum leap. Gone are the days of Sula Brut at Rs. 650. Priced around the Rs. 1000 mark, all the producers like Sula, Grover Zampa and Fratelli are trying to match Chandon at its Rs. 1200 price even though they are trying to improve their quality. This might work in favour of Chandon increasing its market share because of branding rather than the market expanding its share of sparkling wines at those levels. Kailash insists that the higher end of the market almost demands a higher price for the wine.

Click For Large ViewYork Winery

York Winery is located within 5 minute drive from Sula on way to their wine resort Beyond. As such it enjoys several advantages including the ever-increasing number of wine tourists which now include not only visitors from Nashik, Mumbai and Pune but also from as far as Hyderabad, says Kailash. With our presence in Delhi since last year, we have visits from Delhi on the increase too, he adds. In fact, plans are to improve the tasting area and make it more modern and bigger in size.

With the sale of around 15,000 cases last year which saw an increase of over 10% from the previous year, York is steadily establishing itself as a winery that is committed to improved quality and not in a hurry to increase volumes. Arros label will go a long way to add that image. The experience from the Chandon bringing them on the scene for sparkling wines would help the hard working team of Ravi and Kailash Gurnani -the original Indian fratelli (brothers) to the fore with a complete range of wines.

Subhash Arora

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