Indian Wine with Indian Food?: What an Unsurprising Surprise.

When I was a young backpacker traveling in South Asia, I never stumbled upon Indian wine. Of course, I wasn’t looking,  and was happy to have a cold Kingfisher with my meal every now and then.

Fast-forward to yesterday and I was dining at Junnoon in Palo Alto and looking for a good wine pairing. My first thought was a dry German Riesling, which they were out of. The attentive server recommended a couple of alternatives, a California Riesling from the Central Coast that was a syrupy tropical fruit bomb and not to my taste and an Indian wine, a 2009 Chenin Blanc from Sula Vineyards in Nashik, India. I chose the Indian wine and here are my notes as typed into my IPhone:

Lychee and pineapple on the nose

Candied Meyer lemon on the palate – reminiscent of a sweet-tart candy

But not cloying b/c of good acidity and dry finish

Fruity and though not usually a fan of really fruity wines, this worked with the cuisine.

Perfect match for my lunch

So I was surprised. But why should I be? Wine is made all over the world with an eye to matching the local cuisine. I know that and yet I had not expected to enjoy the wine so much. Being my first taste of wine from India, I was skeptical. I do hope that I am not turning into a wine snob. That would be awful. No, that does not work for me. I am open to good wine whatever its origins. And though I don’t like what I consider to be bad or mediocre wine, that hardly makes me a snob. A connoisseur, perhaps? Whew, dodged that bullet.

The Indian Chenin Blanc made me think of a wonderful California version that I paired with a good Thai dinner a few months ago:  the 2008 Field Recordings Chenin Blanc from Paso Robles. Lovely lemon curd flavors that were balanced by good acidity that popped with the meal. They see to be out the 2008 vintage and so got a bottle of the 2009,which I have yet to open. Will let you know what I find out when I taste it. If you have tried Field Recordings’ latest Chenin Blanc, please give a shoot out – love to hear what you think.

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