Italians have made a presence in India through their exports, winemakers, equipment and even through some equity but the credit for trying to popularize the Italian indigenous grape varieties in India goes to Reveilo Wines which had launch the Sicilian varieties Grillo and Nero d’Avola last year, and has now completed the Italian trilogy by launching the Tuscan Sangiovese on Sunday at Escobar in Bandra, Mumbai.
Since the beginning in 2006 when the family owned Vintage Wines managed by Kiran and her husband Yatin Patil (whose father is the local, rich son-of-the-soil and owns big tract of agricultural land being used for grape cultivation) was started by the duo, they have had an Italian consultant winemaker Andrea Valentinuzzi work with them- even for the international variety like Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon etc.
Last year saw the launch of the first two varietals-both from Sicily. The white Grillo is an interesting varietal while Nero d’Avola is an interesting red varietal. Following the success of the varietals, they launched Sangiovese on Sunday at the Escobar, a modern Mediterranean Restaurant in the Mumbai suburb of Bandra. The event was attended by several wine lovers and followers of Vintage Wines which has established a name in the niche market of quality wines, especially the Reserve range.
Sangiovese is the most widely planted single red grape varietal in Italy and is the backbone of Chianti and Chianti Classico where the regulations insist on 85% minimum for this grape and many producers have a label with 100% which was earlier in the Super Tuscan category as 15% other defined grapes had to be blended, the theory being that the grape is too acidic and one needs a slight addition of other varietals to give it structure, colour and/or tame its acidity.
It has done miracles in Montalcino where Brunello di Montalcino docg and the Riserva docg has attained the status not only in Tuscany but throughout the world as one of the top Italian wines. Even in Montepulciano where it is known as Prugnolo Gentile, it makes a great Noble wine-Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
In Emilia Romagna, Marche, Umbria, Lombardia, Lazio and even in Sicily and Puglia the grape has a presence. Argentina, California and Australia also boast of having success in growing the grape which is at its best in Tuscany. It should be interesting to see how it behaves in India and whether it may be incorporated as one of the countries where it is grown.
The wine has been introduced in Mumbai retail market where it will cost Rs. 695 a bottle- slightly expensive, even considering that the Grillo is priced at Rs.605 and the Nero d’Avola at Rs. 645. It is the best match for the pizzas and pastas that Escobar where it was launched, serves as the key items in the Menu.