‘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 ..........