The concept of ‘Mulled Wines’ still remains foreign to Indian palates. Sadly, Mulled wine is a drink that is mainly formulated for cold/ice-laden countries where either the quality of wines made is low or appreciating a chilled wine is quite a task. It is an easy to drink-and-like beverage and is served hot and is aromatic and sweet, generally.The recipe is simple. Start with a red table wine, not too tannic, and leave it overnight in a pot with some quartered sweet fruits (zesty ones as opposed to fleshy ones), some herbs, and condiments. Feel free to use your imagination and let your taste buds guide you through an array of condiments, herbs and spices. Classic ingredients include cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, violet, aniseed, ginger, ginseng (!!), liquorice, cumin, and the likes. Come morning, heat the wine gently and let the herbs and condiments swirl for about 20 minutes. Should you wish, add some white rum in the end to the heated wine to endow it the punch you need. Filter the wine through layers of a muslin cloth and put to heat again, maintaining a drinkable temperature.
If all of this seems like a mammoth task to you, then wait for another couple of months for a new wine to hit the wine stores, named ‘Sachai’. Mr. Balraj Singh Sivia, MD of Aleovino, which is a Germany-based wine importing company, introduced his home-blended Indian mulled wine at the TASTE 2010 in Mumbai. ‘Sachai’ – The Indian Hot Wine Punch – is an Italian VdT Merlot-based wine to which Mr. Sivia has added his own secret blend of Indian herbs and spices. The herbs were added before the fermentation process giving them an opportunity to marry the wine for a good time and survive it quite well. Later, he plans to substitute the wine component with an Indian wine, sourcing it from Nasik, or the Himachal area.
So here is what we could gather from the wine. It is an unclear red wine with faded rims and a deep ruby colour. The nose contains a plethora of herbs and spices and could be well identified with liquid ‘Chyawanprash’. Sweet bouquet of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, aniseed, dry ginger, ginseng, watermelon seeds, dark coloured spices, currant, quince paste, violet. A submission will be ‘Indian bouquet garni’. When hot, the nose intensity drops tremendously but the flavours on the palate increase. More sweet to taste than the nosing indicated. A great drink, especially with low alcoholic content. Very truly Indian.We at Wi-Not are waiting to see this product launch and then to see how the people react to it. Generally, mulled wine is considered “too much fun” for wine-folk to allow themselves to enjoy it, lest they be seen as any lesser vinos.