Oenophile’s Notebook

News, views and clippings for the wine buff

Yes, you can

Dia Sparkler, India’s first wine in a can

Ever mindful of engaging all sections of society to bring them within the fold of wine enthusiasts, Sula breaks away from the traditional to launch India’s first wine in a can – Dia Sparkler. The popular, sweet bubbly that was released a decade ago makes a re-entry in the market, breaking all taboos. Costing Rs 180 for a 330ml can with only 8% alcohol, this is by no means fine wine but it is a step towards demystifying wine and making it fun to drink. And it’s a trend that’s catching on worldwide. No more fuss and bother with corkscrews and corks or having to sniff and swirl with the right glass. Just crack open the can and drink it any way you like. Straight from the can or over ice in a tall glass with a slice of lime. Light, bubbling, and refreshing, it’s an anytime drink.

La Réserve Royale Brut

Grover Vineyards’ La Réserve Cabernet-Shiraz red was the first Indian wine to capture widespread international interest when Steven Spurrier, Decanter’s consultant editor, and renowned wine expert declared it the best New World red wine in a blind tasting in 2005. Fast forward to 2020 and we have La Réserve Royale Brut, a sparkling wine that maintains the good name of the original release and extends Grover’s La Réserve line from red, through La Réserve Viognier white to the latest sparkler. Grover Vineyards’ new bubbly with its elegant label is a lovely pale shade of gold with a complex bouquet of flowers, lemon zest, hazelnuts and brioche with refined mineral notes on the palate and a long finish. Produced from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes, La Réserve Royale Brut is fermented in barrels and aged on lees for 24 months. Enjoy it as an apèritif or paired with seafood, cold cuts, fried chicken, goat cheese, and sushi.

The Chianti Classico Collection 2019

Around 2,500 professionals attended the 27th edition of the Chianti Classico Collection, and about 400 accredited wine journalists. Chairman of the Consortium, Giovanni Manetti (pictured at right) observed that 2019 ended on a very positive note for Gallo Nero. “All the statistics are on the increase,” he said.

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There was a 10% increase in grapes as well as sales of bottled wines with two premium wines, Chianti Classico Riserva and Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, together accounting for 42% of the market sales and 55% of the overall turnover for 2019. Gran Selezione alone earned 15% of sales. In just one year the number of producers joining the Gran Selezione project has grown from 95 to 144.

Established in 1984, the legal wine appellation, Chianti Classico DOCG area is in central Tuscany. The vineyards are planted to a variety of soil types covered by shallow stony earth, in the hills between Siena and Florence. All Chianti Classico wines are at least 80% or 100% Sangiovese. Some are blended with native grapes like Canaiolo Nero and Colorino, others with grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.

Hot days and cool nights in summer and cold winters, produce a Chianti Classico characterised by light-bodied structure and concentrated, wild strawberry, floral, and woodsy aromas. The black rooster or Gallo Nero seal on the neck of every bottle identifies it as a member of the Chianti Classico Consortium.

Visiting Château Kirwan

Cellar doors with a giant grapevine etched on the glass. The “leaves” are hundreds of words about winemaking 


A visit to Château Kirwan is a must. Kirwan is a family-owned estate, surrounded by 39 hectares of vines, 45 minutes away from Bordeaux city. Located in the Margaux commune on the Left Bank of the Gironde river, the estate has been owned by the Schÿler family since 1925.



There are several options for visits to Château Kirwan. Start your tour in the park and rose garden with an interactive audio guide and hear how the estate was built and the progress made in the vineyard, before stepping into the hushed calm of the recently renovated cellar and vat room, where the tour continues. The cellar doors between two, centuries-old, olive trees are stunning. A giant grapevine is etched on glass with the “leaves” formed by hundreds of French and English words about winemaking in Bordeaux. Inside, the old tanks are replaced by tulip-shaped concrete tanks that provide better control over temperature and maceration. Château Kirwan has been welcoming visitors since 1995. The tour ends with a tasting of its exquisite – well structured and elegant – wines.

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