There’s A New Player In Town (And She Won’t Take Hostages)
Apart from an uncanny wariness of Indian wines, I have a strange affinity towards family owned and operated vineyards. I guess it comes from having witnessed the lengths a family goes to raise grapes in the truest sense, like a child. The vines and the grapes are treated like a member of the family and nurtured in much the same manner. More often than not, the end result is enviable. So, who cares if it is unlikely to match the production levels of a large corporate operation? Such is the case of Krsma wines.
It was by sheer happenstance that I tasted their Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, the only ones they will be producing, in limited numbers. If you don’t believe that, try this – three harvests till date, 80,000 liters capacity and the first wines will be released in 2013. Krsma is best described as a boutique winery.
A little bit of digging into their history reveals the story behind the brilliant wines from Hampi Hills in Karnataka. Krsma is the fruit of hard work by business couple from Hyderabad, C. Krishna Prasad and Uma Chigurupati. Both keen marathon runners, Krishna harbored a dream from very early on of buying a vineyard in the South of France for his retirement. Krishna runs a pharmaceutical company and Uma is qualified in plant pathology. Instead of South France, they landed up in Hampi, Karnataka, some six hours drive from Hyderabad. This is something the rest of us should be happy about because they have turned their passion for wines into an extraordinary boutique winery.
The two wines I tasted, one white and one red were exceptional – very Bordeaux-esque, quite complex and layered. Even the bottles and the labels should be an object of envy if not a lesson to other wine makers. I haven’t yet visited the winery/vineyard, but I’m told all the reds are barrel aged and the whites are as clean and crisp as they can be.
First one was the white, a 2010 Sauvignon Blanc with an unusually pink tinge. I thought there was something wrong with my glass and I had poured the white wine in a glass I’d used for a red already. I was wrong and still very much in charge of my senses. The pink can be seen clearly against a white background. No one knows how or why it came about, but it’s there and it’s not a rosé. Swirl and dip in; the nose is long and aromatic with notes of pear, mint and a hint of grapefruit. On the palate, the acidity is very juicy and alive but never aggressive. In fact, a better word to describe it would be zesty, a characteristic typical of a young Sauvignon. The finish is between medium to long and brilliant.
The other one was a Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011. Trust me, there was nothing 2011 about this one. A Cabernet Sauvignon that young with that much character and complexity – only someone who ‘raised the grapes’ could have produced this. Layered with aromas of rich, ripe, red fruits with a creamy dip and oodles of sweet oak that lingers on through the long finish, this Cabernet Sauvignon makes it hard to believe it is produced in an Indian winery. The palate of this rather full bodied wine is rich with undertones of ripe red fruits, berries and that sweet oakiness, and manages to express itself beautifully without being jammy at any point. Pair it with some blue cheese or aromatic, spiced food for an otherworldly experience. I was hankering for something spiced with rosemary or lavender to go with this. Karma, I guess.
This chance encounter with these two beauties happened on an evening that can be best described as a night of philandering around with lots of wines. But, believe it or not, I’m being honest when I say I was not drunk and there wasn’t enough of the Krsma Cabernet Sauvignon available for me to get drunk. We were just tasting.
Once upon a time, not too long ago, I was asked – “Boy, why are you still single if you know that much about wines?” I was too young to realize it then. But now I know the answer to that question. If only I spent half as much time around women that I spend around wine…