Winebits 186: James Bond, wine retailers, Indian wine

? James Bond drinks South African wine: Yes, that's difficult for those of us who have struggled with pinotage to believe, but the most recent Bond, Carte Blanche, sees 007 seducing Felicity Willing with a bottle of Warwick's Three Cape Ladies, a red blend made with — shudder — pinotage. This is more than a bit off-putting given Bond's historical wine snobbery (see From Russia with Love), but the Bond books are now written by people who are not creator Ian Fleming, who died in 1964. And who knows what nefarious agenda the current crop of writers, editors and publishers are following?

? Making sense of wine retailing: My pal W.R. Tish has a nice piece on a wine retailing trade website about the thought process of the people who run wine stores. Writes Tish: "The challenge for merchants is how to sell wine at all price points in the new Value Age. (That ?s a good challenge to have, all things considered.) The net result is that we may finally be seeing the grip of ratings loosen in the retail marketplace as merchants come up with creative new ways to present great buys to a thirsty public."

? Are Indian wines any good? That's the question that top critic Elin McCoy asks in this interview with the man who runs Sula, one of the subcontinent's leading producers. "The main Sula style is fruit-driven, with bright acidity and little oak that seem to accompany Indian food best. I was surprised, but definitely not stunned by the level of quality." The experts have been predicting that Indian wine could be the next big thing for what seems like forever, but the wines have been difficult to find in the U.S. Maybe, as McCoy notes, all those predictions are going to come true.

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