Marsala after being declared the Pantone colour of the year is already in vogue for the upcoming spring collection. What’s more to Marsala than its allure?? Did you know you know the colour got its name from Marsala a fortified wine made in the city of Marsala in Sicily, Italy? It is used in a lot of Italian cooking and it’s famous for its use in the popular Zabaglione. However Marsala is not the first colour inspired by an alcoholic beverage, with Holi, the festival of colors coming up let us look at some more colours that are just not warm to the eyes but can also get you the happy high.
Mimosa: It was the 2009 colour of the year from Pantone, was inspired from the flowers of the Mimosa and the sparkle of the cocktail Mimosa. The cocktail is as fresh as the colour, with Triple Sec and orange Juice topped with Champagne.
Sauterne: The region on the southern end of Bordeaux, it’s known for its sweet luscious wines which command a fortune and age for decades. And this enchanting colour gets its name from the elixir made from the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grape. Chateau D’Yquem has led the pack here for more than a century.
Champagne/Pink Champagne: When I-Phone came in its gold variant, people and the press called it the Champagne colour, haven’t researched enough but perhaps for convenience Apple still mentions it as gold. Champagne the epitome of sparkling or fizzy wines can only be made in Champagne a region in France using the methode Champenoise way of production which outside the regions is called the methode traditionelle or the traditional method. And the pink variant of it find place in the Pantone’s list.
Burgundy: Not very far from Champagne is the region of Burgundy in the north-east of France. The colour Burgundy gets its name from the perfumed red wines the region produces from the Pinot Noir grapes. These wines can fetch astronomical prices and very often goes in to lakhs for a bottle.
Chartreuse : After all the grape ferments above this one is a liqueur made by steeping more than 130 plants and flowers and is the world’s only naturally green coloured liqueur. Made by monks, this French product still uses the recipe from the 17th century and only two monks at the distillery know of it. At 55% alcohol, this ‘elixir of long life’ as the original manuscript read is best enjoyed cold; people have it on ice or in long drinks these days too.
‘What do you think of Nero D’Avola, Sangiovese, Sangiovese Bianco and Grillo being grown in India and doing some brisk business??’ I asked Alessandro Guerini the export manager for Zonin , a 194 year old brand and the biggest producer of Prosecco in the world. Alessandro was taken aback as this was news to him but he regained composure and said ‘I am very happy to see Italian varietals gaining prominence and their presence will only help build a better wine culture in a high potential market that is India if not for the taxes’.
Alessandro was visiting to showcase the diversity of Zonin which is a clear reflection of Italy, the country has one of the highest diversity when it comes to indigenous grape varietals used for wine production, they have over 400 varieties and Zonin has something to contribute to from all corners of the country. Prosecco which shot the brand to popularity is certainly the closest to their heart and they can only rejoice at a point when Prosecco crossed Champagne sales globally for the first time in history last year. Prosecco is a region in North-East Italy and it is a sparkling wine made from the grape Glera. Made by the Charmat method it is a fruit forward style meant for youthful drinking, it has taken the world by a storm and so is India getting hooked on to it.
To give you a perspective of Zonin’s scale, India’s wine consumption per year, Indian and Imported wines put together stands at approximately 2 million cases and Zonin alone produces around 4 million (9 ltr) cases per year in total. With scale comes the challenge to maintain quality thus prompting the co to put their eggs in multiple baskets and come up with quality wines from regions across Italy. We tasted the Pinot Grigio from Fruili, Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo from Abruzzo, Refosco an age-worthy red from Fruili and Sicilian Nero D’Avola from Principi di Butera . The Refosco from 2008 was still young and fresh on the nose great on the palate, but I thought it had peaked. The highlight of the evening was the 2006 Nero D’Avola which was intense on Turmeric and sweet Liquorice character.
Zonin has a few more wines in India like the ubiquitous Chianti, an easy drinking Valpolicella and the big and bold Amarone della Valpolicella but one thing that Indians with the big sweet tooth cannot miss is Asti, a sweet sparkling wine made from Moscato. Try your luck it doesn't wait for you on the shelves for too long.
For now our heart sings... Give Me Deliella ..........