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Grover Zampa Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Makes History at Decanter Asia Wine Awards

Posted: October 22, 2014 at 2:06 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

IT’S TIME for Grover Zampa to raise a toast to the good times (sorry, Dr Mallya!).

A day after Vijay Amritraj flew down from Los Angeles to join the company’s founder, Kapil Grover, and CEO Sumedh Singh Mandla at The Leela Palace New Delhi to officially launch the ‘collection’ named after him, the Grover Zampa Sauvignon Blanc 2014 made history by becoming the first Indian wine to bag an international trophy and gold medal at the third, and much-anticipated, Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA).

Mandla, sounding delighted on the phone, said the recognition would go a long way in opening up more international markets for Grover Zampa wines, which are already been exported to 20 countries. The United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are some of the new markets penetrated by Grover Zampa, which has also re-entered the U.K. in the recent past.

More than 2,500 wines from across the world entered the competition (the largest number being from Australia) and 2,227 of them picked up medals, but the honours that really count are the 15 international and 30 regional trophies, 106 golds and 509 silvers. The wines were tasted in Hong Kong in September by 42 judges, drawn predominantly from the continent and led by co-chairs Steven Spurrier (the British wine expert who made history by organising the 1976 Judgment of Paris, the blind tasting that saw Napa Valley wines pip the venerable oldies of Bordeaux and Burgundy) and Hong Kong’s Jeannie Cho Lee, the first Asian to become a Master of Wine.

Interestingly, on the second day of the competition, Typhoon Kalmaegi lashed Hong Kong with wind speeds touching 134kmph, but the judges continued with the tastings, undeterred by nature’s fury. Also of interest to Indian readers was the presence of Kavita Faiella on the panel of judges. Kavita, a warm presence with a ready smile, was a part of the opening team of the Aman New Delhi, where she made wine evenings sparkle with her hospitality and depth of knowledge.

Of the 22 Indian wines entered into the competition, 14 got honoured, but Grover Zampa led the way again in the silver medals (none of the wines was able to pick up a gold), winning three of the four that went to India. Sula and Fratelli were conspicuously missing from the list of winners, as were some of the more competent wineries such as York, Revello and dazzling newcomer Charosa.

Grover Zampa’s silver medal-winning wines are the La Reserve 2013 (White; 100 per cent Viognier), Chene 2013 (Red; 50 per cent each of Tempranillo and Shiraz) and Vijay Amritraj Reserve Collection 2013 (White; 100 per cent Viognier). The fourth silver went to newcomer winery Krsma’s Sauvignon Blanc 2013 from Hampi, the old seat of the Vijayanagara Empire.

In the other big surprise, Indonesia’s first winery won the Regional Trophy for Asia Sweet Fortified for its dessert wine, Hatten’s Pino de Bali NV, “which is made by Australian winemaker James Kalleske and produced in limited quantities of 5,000 bottles a year,” says a DAWA media release. Co-chair Lee called the successes of the Grover Zampa Sauvignon Blanc 2014 and the Indonesian newbie the “surprise of the competition”.

Asia was well-represented by 28 Chinese wines, which didn’t quite impress co-chair Lee, 22 each from India and Israel (all of whose entries won medals) and 21 from Thailand. “Ten years ago, such countries would have barely featured at the Decanter World Wine Awards, so to find them here in Hong Kong was very satisfying,” Spurrier noted in his co-chair’s report.

What, according to Lee, are the wines to look out for? “I was especially impressed with the large number of excellent wines from Spain, with Rioja offering delicious wines in both the traditional and modern renditions,” she writes in her co-chair’s report. “The 16 gold medals handed to Spanish wines were well deserved. Another region to look out for this year is southern France. Languedoc-Roussillon wines are often over-looked but this region has some delicious, balanced wines that did very well with one wine receiving a trophy, one receiving gold. The wines from Rhone were of a high standard and all 37 received medals.” The wonderful world of wines seems to be getting delicious by the minute!

Check out… to find out more about the Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2014