Think wine, and you’re thinking of grape vineyards. While people mostly associate wine with grapes, wine can be made from a wide array of fruits, so long as there’s enough sugar content in the fruit to convert into alcohol during the fermentation process. Fruits that can be made into wine range from the familiar (blackberries and pineapples) to the exotic (durians and mangosteens). The latest Indian fruit to be bottled is chikoo.
The world’s first chikoo wine, Fruzzante has hit the Mumbai market. This cider-style wine from the chikoo-growing region of Dahanu-Gholvad, is the brainchild of chikoo orchard owners Priyanka Save and Nagesh Pai. The couple wants to glamourize the humble mud-apple and garner the recognition it deserves.
The high pH of the fruit coupled with its low shelf-life proved to be a challenge early in the game. The duo then roped in Dominic Rivard – an award winning winemaker in Nova Scotia, Canada. He specializes in cider, fruit wine, ice wine and dessert wines and it was he who finally cracked the science to brewing wine from the chikoo fruit. Interestingly Dominic had never seen (leave alone tasted the chikoo) when Nagesh carried the fruit all the way to Canada.
Fruzzante is sweeter than the grape wine. The carbonation and low alcohol content (eight percent) makes it a fun, easy-drinking, summery wine. If sweet wines are not your thing, try diluting it with some tonic water for a nice C&T (chikoo and tonic). The other combination can be ginger ale.
Fruit wines are fun, so enjoy their playfulness; they can be treated differently and more freely than standard grape wine.
Fruzzante is available at leading retail stores in Mumbai and is priced at Rs 255 for a 330 ml bottle