This week, Chandon India made news by launching a still Shiraz. It is an interesting moment for the curious Indian wine drinker, because this bottle was birthed in Nashik. It’s a pivotal moment for the brand—known for sparkling wines—because it’s their first product in the still wine category.
The wine named Aurva translates to earth in Sanskrit, and is priced at ₹4,250 in Mumbai and Nashik, home to the brand's winery. They have plans to introduce it in Delhi, Gurugram and take it global to select markets. The price as well as design of the bottle flecked with gold accents, indicate that it falls in the premium wine category, and is meant to be consumed during special occasions. The launch timing—just before Diwali—couldn’t have been better. It aligns with their positioning in the celebratory drinks segment. The predecessors of the still wine are their sparkling bottles Chandon Brut and Chandon Rosé; the latter is made from Shiraz. As it happens, they decided to take their expertise with this grape a step further, and debuted a still version which could signal that the Indian wine drinker wants more.
“It is interesting to give another expression of this grape varietal that reflects the terroir of Nashik. The first time I came to India and tried the wines produced here, I was delighted by the incredible aromatics,” shares Arnaud De Saignes, President of Chandon, while explaining why they launched a made-in-India Shiraz; as opposed to debuting it in a country, like Australia, known for producing some of the top Shiraz wines in the world.
“We wanted to have a local element. The terroir of Nashik has 10 months of hot sun, interjected by monsoon, which helps to fully mature the grape, and lends it a distinct character,” notes Kaushal Khairnar, Head Winemaker of the brand in India. Although the grapes are grown in Nashik, the wine-making process does have a connect to Australia. Khairnar collaborated with his Australian contemporary Dan Buckle who brought in his expertise of crafting a still Shiraz. It is aged in new and old French oak barrels and then blended. The result is enticing aromas, smooth tannins and a silky finish. To give it a human attribute, Ipsita Das, Managing Director at Moët Hennessy India, the parent company of the brand, calls it a ‘demure extrovert.’
To enjoy it to the fullest and bring out the pleasurable aromatics, Khairnar recommends giving it some time to express itself and a good swirl.