Sparkling wines are a tough category to get right. It is also an expensive proposition, requiring a winery to make new (and heavy) investments to get the infrastructure ready to process and produce sparkling wines. Only some Indian wineries have entered this space and surprisingly, right off the bat, our bubblies were among the most palatable stuff, perhaps even more than the reds and whites. Here is my pick of the top 10, somewhat in order of preference. Most are available in multiple states, but very few can truly claim to have a nationwide reach.
J’Noon JCB No. 47 Brut
2,400 bottles per annum, this FrenchIndian joint effort is a surprisingly smooth and sexy sparkler, one that can stand toe-totoe with the top range stuff, internationally. It’s pricey, but it has all the hallmarks of a pedigree product.
Grover Zampa Soirée
A very classic old-school style bubbly, lovely rich notes of autolysis, and can easily be mistaken for a French sparkler. It’s been consistent with its quality, and that makes it a reliable workhorse of a wine, if a sparkling wine can ever be likened to a workhorse.
Fratelli Gran Cuvée Brut
Zero-dosage style, very racy and dry, a palate dominated by minerality, this is a wine for the diehard fans of the style and can be daunting to the uninitiated.
York Sparkling Cuvée Brut
Vivacious, floral, citrusfruity, ripe, light, and fun, this is a winery that takes drinkability very seriously, and the result is this lovely wine with great mousse, and lasting flavours.
Casablanca Vino Spumante Brut
A surprise entry, but for an asset-light brand, this has been a great wine. I don’t know how the current vintage has turned out, but each time I have had a chance to try this wine, it ticked all the right boxes, including the price one.
Sula Brut Tropicale
A wine that, when introduced, felt like an afterthought has come a long way since. Fruit-forward, nicely prickly on the palate, I don’t think it felt entirely brut to me (seemed a tad sweeter for the style) but it was balanced and managed to be only gently sweet to appear ripe and fresh, but not syrupy.
Chandon Brut Rosé
A crowd-pleaser of a wine, it’s perfectly balanced on the drysweet scale, ripe but never cloying, fruity but not a salad, and a lovely hue to set the mood. When the global champagne giants put their collective effort behind it, there was no doubt that they would make an international bubbly right here in India.
To contrast with their other more serious sparkling wines, Noi is a contrast — more Prosecco in style, this one is all about floral notes and lively flavours in every sip. It’s also a lot more affordable than many others on this list.
York Sparkling Rosé Brut
York introduced this wine a few years ago, and it’s a good follow up act to their main Brut variant. It retains that fresh and friendly appeal, but adds more red fruit notes, and a bit more of a grippy mouthfeel, and a hue that could rival a seaside sunset.
Chandon in India was only their seventh outing worldwide and having tried almost all other six international variants, I can safely say that the Indian one is at par, different by no lesser in terms of quality and consistency.