This sunny Shiraz comes from Nashik, located to the north of Mumbai in the Western Ghats Mountains of India. The bold, peppery and spicy nose leads to notes of cinnamon, star anise, black plums, black cherries, blackcurrants, blueberries, chocolate, campfires, subtle oak and smoky bacon. But don’t worry, it’s vegan friendly. Sula Shiraz responds well to a little air, so consider decanting, aerating or al fresco dining. Bouncy and fun, we recommend serving this with a barbeque, kottu roti, baingan bharta (coal-smoked aubergine curry), vindaloo (a dish with a history that leads back to the wines of Portugal) or comfort food.
Sula Vineyards – described by Jancis Robinson as India’s “leading wine producer” – was established by Rajeev Samant, who began planting vines in 1996. It became the first winery in the ancient city of Nashik, and that area of Maharashtra has since emerged as the country’s largest grape-growing region. Inspired by his time spent in Napa Valley, Rajeev Samant not only pioneered the cultivation of French grapes, like Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, but has also experimented with Zinfandel, for which he took a pruning from California and stuffed it into a duffel bag, then five days and four fridges later, planted it in Nashik. This is not an obvious place to launch a winery. The tropical climate, monsoon rains, high investment required, complex taxes and inability to advertise alcohol locally, all create significant challenges. However, Sula Vineyards have made such a success of it, they no doubt inspired the multinational luxury goods brand LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) to create Chandon India about an hour’s drive away.
The wine industry has a diversity issue. So, it’s great to see wineries like Sula vineyards opening up new frontiers and breaking down old barriers. The company follows sustainable practices and in 2021 became part of the International Wineries for Climate Action, a group working to decarbonise the global wine industry. Not only is it an eco-friendly winery covered in solar panels, but it’s also committed to providing fair livelihoods for the local farmers in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Although Sula has become an international powerhouse, their focus has always been on the local market. So, the fruit-forward wines are an affordable luxury always bottled under screw cap so there’s no need for a corkscrew. This has the added bonus of making them a fine choice for hot weather, spicy food, barbeques and picnics.
SKU No.: 3494549
Style No.: 893967
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