Ralph Craven ?
Never heard of that wine maker from India.
It is always intriguing when some Indian winemaker uses a “phoren” (foreign) sounding name in his product. I looked at the bottle and there was nothing unusual, except that the winery (Associates Wines) was totally unknown.
I have always first tried the white wine from Indian wineries to start with (unless they don’t make one) as white wines demonstrate their ability to make a good wine of complexity and the whites go well with Indian food so pairing can be tried out. And, it is always very difficult to make a good Sauvignon Blanc (easier to make the Chenin Blanc or a Riesling).
I saw Ralph Craven at a good wine shop which I probably visit once a month in a reputed mall. It was displayed along with the Sula and Grover and other known Indian wines. I am not averse to trying something new when it comes to wines (of course this practice has resulted in some disasters in the past). I studied the wine for sometime, looked it up on the web using the mobile phone, and then decided to give it a try.
Price-wise it was little high for a totally unknown wine (I have not seen this wine earlier at all, being a regular visitor at two other wine shops). Usually unknown wines in India are in the USD 6 to 8 range, This wine was priced at USD 10 marking a limit which is usually reserved for good Whites such as the Sula Chenin Blanc onwards, which has a positive reputation. So, I guessed incorrectly that the wine should indeed be competing with Sula winery, and its wines ought to be good.
The Sauvignon Blanc from Ralph Craven was not a bad wine. I would definitely pay USD 6 for it, but not USD 10. What I missed while reading about this wine was the statement “delicately crafted grapes from imported clones of low yield” – so after all the wine is made from clones of better grapes from somewhere outside India, but clones can never match the original, can they ?
The wine did have a green yellow colour but it was not sweet as I expected – it had the guava aroma which I could decipher, but I am not that intimately familiar with gooseberry so I could not detect that aroma. The tasting notes did not exist in full on the winery’s website, but I agree with their claim that the wine had some lingering taste with some good finish.
But in no way it could match with better quality wines from the Sula Winery and other wineries of repute. The Sauvignon Blanc variety is expected to display some good complexity and a complex taste with an aroma distinctly different from that of the Chenin Blanc or a Chardonnay – typically a Sauvignon Blanc should be dry, crisp, refreshing in a fresh way, and should exhibit some acidity. I did not get this feel with the Ralph Craven.
And, as a regular wine taster for many years, I think I can come good on this assessment and decide not to again make the mistake of buying the Ralph Craven Sauvignon Blanc. Unfortunately, once I make this decision, I would usually avoid any wine from that source, so there goes the opportunity to try the reds from Ralph Craven !
Enjoy the rest of what is left of the Sunday evening !!
18th December 2011