California is a relatively small area on the U.S.A. map but a major identity in the wine world. This source of highly reliable and consistent wines has been having the wine-aficionados dwelling in its produces for long now. Not only a great den of simple and amicable wines like Robert Mondavi and E. & J. Gallo but also the elegant, discerning, and complex ones like that of Screaming Eagle. The region has a lot more to offer than what Indian vinos have seen. A boutique wine agency trying to do just that is Crushed Brands.
Crushed Brands is a small company carrying the brands displaying a perfect picture of what the region is capable offering of through their wines. This collaboration of two finance-major spearheads, Shalin Shah and Amit Shah, always had an inclination towards being a part of the Indian wine scene. Having an impressive management background, the gentlemen do understand the Indian business environment well enough. The company carried four brands: Redtree at the entry-level, Mandolin and Tudor at the mid-range, a funky rock-indicative Red Zeppelin, and a surprise offering of Twin Pomegranates making wines with you know what!!During their recent India visit, they shared some of these wines with Wi-Not for a taste. These are what our reviews are:2008 Redtree Cabernet Sauvignon – CaliforniaYoung wine with a pleasing colour. Intense fruity nose with notes of blueberries, plums, tomatoes, tobacco, cherries, and touch of spinach. A well-formed dry fruity palate with dusty powdery tannins and light body. The notes very juicy and fresh. A great wine to enjoy on a summer day; amicable, simple, and approachable.2008 Mandolin Merlot – Central CoastA good expression of a Merlot, the wine has a soft creamy nose with fruity dominance. Notes of cranberry juice, red apples, milk chocolate, candied fruits, and fresh spices are appealing. Round tannins with the right balanced makes the wine even more enjoyable. The wine somehow seems tad tired and lacks structure.2006 Tudor Pinot Noir– Santa Lucia HighlandsLight ruby colour, a true expression of a cool-climate Pinot. Nose was interesting and mostly fruity-laden. Aromas of quince paste, coconut husk notes from the oak, berries, and beetroot coulis. Light on the palate with a touch of cloves, blueberries, and plums. Tannins were mild yet tad gripping. Easy drinking wine not made to be in the ‘collection’ column of the cellar.2009 Black Zepplin Petite Syrah – Monterey + Brady VineyardsOpaque appearance showing deep extraction. Intense nose with fruits and sweet spices’ aromas along with dark cherries, cloves, bubblegum, oak, and Christmas cake. Palate is impressive with tough yet-to-mature tannins, high acidity and body, and a good oak grip. The alcohol seemed high thus making the palate appear smooth. Juicy flavours with notes of plums, cherries, spices, blackberries, and roasted Cummins. Long after taste but not the cleanest. Can age for 2-3 years easily. Try well roasted red meat preparations to do justice to the wine.Twin Pomegranates Wine – CaliforniaAttractive pale copper appearance. Perfumed notes of orange marmalade, gooseberries, salted peanuts, boiled chickpeas, and pomegranates (voila!!). Tangy off-dry palate with tad sticky mouthfeel that smoothens off easily. A clean, crisp, great fun wine. A must have for a summer party.2009 Redtree Moscato – CaliforniaYoung wine with a bright straw colour. Perfumed nose with fruity and floral aromas along with lychees, orange jam, mango, passion fruit, and a tad grassy finish. Off-dry light bodied palate with low alcohol, with the aftertaste of apricot and pineapple pulp. Can be enjoyed occasionally as an after-dinner drink.Shalin and Amit are eying to enter the Indian market and are seeking a right partner. The elaborate portfolio offers almost every winestyle California has to offer. The two also have other ideas to capture the Indian wine-lovers. Wi-Not wishes them success in their endeavours. Cheers!!