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'Cha Cha Ben' on the verge of Kumina kingship

Published:Thursday | September 17, 2015 | 9:00 AMJason Clarke

MOST WINE drinkers will find it easy to reel off the tip of our tongues the top global wine producers - France, Spain, Italy as the more popular 'old world' countries and the United States, (California and Washington state), Chile, Argentina, or Australia as some of the 'new world' wine producers.

India as a wine producer seems almost unheard of. When we think of India's industries, what typically comes to mind is textile, steel, technology, and, of course, pharmaceuticals. Wine can now officially be added to the list.

Wine consumption in India has consistently been seeing a double-digit growth since 2012. Recognising the increased domestic demand as well as the international growth, Indian producer Sula Wines has taken up the challenge and has become the leading producer of premier wines made in India. With just more than 1,800 acres under plantation, they have focused on a few key varietals - cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, zinfandel, merlot, chenin Blanc, sauvingon blanc, viognier, and reisling.

Landing on our shores is their shiraz and sauvignon blanc. In speaking with trade development manager at Select Brands (the local importer) Debra Taylor, she indicated that these would be available for the restaurant market and a few select retail stores. I can see these two options being great food-pairing wines in many restaurants.

Sula Vineyards' sauvignon blanc is a very approachable, food-friendly wine that pairs well with spicy food. I suppose the wine maker kept true to creating a wine that balances well with Indian cuisine, which tends to be on the spicy side. This sauvignon blanc is crisp, and dry, and grassy, or as experts might say - herbaceous. Not just great with Indian food, but this Bronze Medal Winner for the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2014 is friendly with Asian foods in general, so keep an eye out for it when next you dine at your favourite restaurant.

Sula Dindori Reserve Shiraz 2013 is by no means your typical shiraz. Rated #25 by Wine Enthusiast with a 93-point rating, which by any standard is impeccable, this shiraz is fragrant and has a degree of elegance to it with any amazing berry-like nose. This full-bodied wine pairs great with meats in general but loves lamb. I can see this as a great addition to many of the Indian restaurants across the island. I have a soft spot for this wine with lamb vindaloo. I suppose the marriage of flavours makes for the perfect honeymoon in your mouth.

Both these options are a great addition to wine landscape and definitely worth a try. Cheers to fabulous eats and great wine pairings.

• I am not an expert, merely a wine enthusiast sharing my thoughts and experiences. Feel free to share your own experiences at wineenthusiastja@

gmail.com