One extremely rainy day, I traversed a very small section of a heavily traffic-logged part of Bangalore in order to make my date with some delicious wine and brandy offerings by Sula Vineyards.
When I was younger, brandy was very much seen as a drink of the older generation – something to be had with hot water when you are down with a cold or flu, but over the last ten years or so I think there is a shift in perception. Noting this, Sula Vineyards smartly decided to experiment with a new variety of brandy – Janus Brandy.
Deriving its name from the ancient Roman deity with two faces, Janus embodies the exceptional French cognac making heritage and the expertise of Sula in selecting the best Indian grapes. Janus is made from carefully selected grapes from the best Indian vineyards which are then double distilled in small batches using traditional French alembic pot stills, to produce a liquor of exceptional smoothness and character.
We listened to the very knowledgeable presenters from Sula who went through their product line-up.
Made from a combination of the best Indian grapes – Thomson, Bangalore purple, and Bangalore blue varieties, this brandy mixed in with a little Schweppes tonic was the perfect recipe to combat my stressed-out system.
It was a very interesting taste – notes of grapes and a hint of apricot, there was a bit of vanilla, cinnamon and pepper, and a long finish of cloves.
I am not a huge fan of brandy generally, but this one was really very nice – very tasty, and very upscale.
A bottle of brandy (about 750 ml) would set you back about Rs. 1500 in Goa and Pondicherry, Rs. 2000 in Karnataka, and Rs.2300 in Andhra and Telengana states. Currently, Janus brandy is only available in these states although they plan to expand to the other states shortly.
I came away from the presentation with a renewed appreciation for the process of wine and brandy making. Yogesh Mathur – one of the presenters was extremely candid about the challenges inherent in wine making, working with the farmers, getting a good grape harvest. I was stunned by all the intricacies in the process, and what a detailed process-oriented, highly quality-conscious industry this is.
Sula Vineyards is definitely doing quite well though with their Janus Brandy offering, which won the bronze medal in the Taste category in the International Spirits Challenge competition.
Kudos to Sula Vineyards for coming up with such a great product and redefining what we Indians mean when we think of brandy.