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Winning Indian wines to suit every budget

June 9, 2008
Just a decade ago, fine wines had to be imported from countries like France and Italy, to be served only at the most exclusive restaurants and hotels. While stores selling alcohol were called 'wine shops', they invariably sold nary a bottle of the good stuff. And Indian vineyards and wineries? You can forget it.

But all of that's changed. Vastly.

Paralleling India's economic boom has been an explosion in our taste for the finer things in life, not the least of which has been wine. Now, it seems every second person is a connoisseur and aficionado of that most expensive of fermented juices.

The problem then is not a dearth of choices. Rather, it's that we've been flooded with options! Choosing a wine, especially when given this veritable mountain of reds and whites, can be an exhausting prospect. But the whole process, from picking and uncorking the bottle, to swirling your glass and taking a sip, is great fun.

And don't be embarrassed if you're unaware of the differences between a chenin and a sauvignon. Chances are, that smug guy at the corner table doesn't know either; he's just pretending.

So, to get you started on the road to bottled bliss, ponied up the cash and sampled seven of India's chic unusual or new wines. Here, our thoughts:

Sula Dia White
Rs 180* per bottle

This Italian-style spumante, or sparkling wine (it's got bubbles!) will most assuredly be a hit with the ladies, at whom it's undoubtedly marketed.

From the attractive packaging to the light, refreshing crispness, it's an attractive option at a very modest price. Be sure to pair it with pasta or salad, not something too strong, as its subtle flavours can easily be overwhelmed by a more robust meal. Dia's sweet, with floral hints, but finishes with some tartness, giving it wine some much-needed zest.

The first low ABV (alcohol by volume) wine -- 8 per cent -- in India, Dia comes with a simple twist-off cap. It is also the newest wine on the market.

Please note: Prices vary according to local taxes.

Text: Matthew Schneeberger, Archana Masih

Also see: Wine etiquette, simplified

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