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Published on: Nov. 21, 2023, 2:18 p.m.
Chandon and the art of making still wine
  • Aurva is the first still wine from Chandon

By Suman Tarafdar

The gently rolling hills of Nashik are some of the most unique in the land – a rich terroir dominated by the rich black soil. Grapes are particularly well-suited – leading winemakers to set up shop … well vineyards, with increasing frequency, and coming up with wines that are increasingly competing at the global level. The latest is Aurva, a red wine that becomes only the third offering from Chandon India.

“We are excited about launching Aurva in India,” says Arnaud de Saignes, president, Chandon (LVMH). “Our expertise in Shiraz is the genesis from which the idea of Aurva began to form. For Aurva, we had a clear idea of what we wanted from the grape. We wanted finesse and elegance as well as power, drawing drama from the tension between these two. It had to be fruit-forward and easy to drink, a showcase of the black- and red-fruit lusciousness of Shiraz, but with an element of sophistication from judicious use of oak. A great, poetic Shiraz with a local inflection. A still wine that would push the boundaries of Shiraz, which would stand up proudly and even challenge more traditional expressions around the globe.”

Chandon was founded 10 years ago in India and our 100 per cent Shiraz Chandon sparkling Rosé has already demonstrated our mastery of this unique red grape variety garnering international recognition at the most respected wine challenges.  Chandon India's journey has been a rewarding experience, marked by several remarkable highlights that have defined our presence in the Indian wine market, says de Saignes. “Our Chandon India rosé sparkling was voted Best Indian sparkling wine in 2020 at CSWWC, the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships, the ‘Oscars’ when it comes to sparkling wines and champagne wines,” he points out. “This achievement not only celebrated the quality of our wine but also showcased India's potential in the world of winemaking. Today, we are the leaders in the premium sparkling wine category.”

“As we look back at our journey, we are immensely proud of the market we could create for premium sparkling wines,” adds Ipsita Das, managing director, Moët Hennessy India. “Our sparkling wines have gained popularity in metro cities and select Tier 1 and 2 cities, with consumers embracing them for various occasions, from brunches to sundowners on the beach.”

The Indian wine story

India's overall consumption of spirits and wines is on the rise, with wines experiencing faster growth compared to more mature spirit categories. This upward trajectory indicates the growing potential of wines in the Indian market. Despite the progress, the wine market is still relatively nascent compared to spirits, emphasising the importance of exploring strategies to expand the market and consumer base in the coming years.

  • de Saignes: Our expertise in Shiraz is the genesis for Aurva

    de Saignes: Our expertise in Shiraz is the genesis for Aurva

The Indian wine market expanded to reach a substantial size of $444 million In 2022. It grew by more than 20 per cent in volume compared to the previous year. The growth is reflected across most price segments, with the premium+ category experiencing exceptional growth at a rate of 23 per cent year on year. There is also a growing appetite for domestically produced wines.

There's a discernible change in consumer preferences towards drier and more complex wines, signifying an evolving appreciation for still wine as a versatile beverage suitable for various occasions. Aurva will be hoping to cash in on these trends as wine consumption rises in the country. For now, Aurva will also be available in Australia at the winery.

“Given the exceptional product quality, we would like to evaluate the global landscape for Aurva and explore select international markets," adds de Saignes. Whether Aurva is able to take the reputation of Indian wines global is the next test that Chandon seems to be confident of acing.

  • Das: We are immensely proud of the market we could create

    Das: We are immensely proud of the market we could create

Aurva, deconstructed

Chandon Aurva, a medium to full-bodied wine, is distinguished by its deep ruby and purple hue and an ABV (alcohol by volume) value of 14 per cent. “When you experience Aurva, you'll find it to be a harmonious blend of fruity and elegant notes. Its flavours unfold with a delightful interplay of black and red fruits, underpinned by supple tannins and a subtle hint of vanilla imparted by new French oak,” asserts de Saignes. “As you savour this exquisite wine, you will also notice nuances of spice, coffee bean, and chocolate that add depth and complexity to its character. The bouquet is equally captivating, featuring aromas of blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, and black cherry, complemented by delicate floral notes of jasmine and violet. Through this new expression, we are bringing our mastery in the Shiraz grape variety to the world of still wines with a vision to put India in the world map of exceptional Shiraz wines producers.”

The distinct part of curating Chandon Aurva is the harmonious duet between Kaushal Khairnar, our India’s head winemaker who is also the youngest of Chandon's chefs de caves, and our Australian winemaking director, Dan Buckle, a master in the art of Shiraz winemaking, says de Saignes. “Together, they curated a wine that reflects the best of both worlds. A poetic expression of Shiraz that captures the essence of India's unique climate and terroir while benefiting from the shared wisdom, skill, and experience of a talented master winemaker.”

Chandon Aurva is positioned as a premium wine offering and is priced at Rs4250. This wine is produced in limited quantities, ensuring exclusivity and select availability. Currently, it can be found in Mumbai and will soon be introduced to other key markets in north and south India, making its way to prominent retail outlets, standalone restaurants, and five-star properties. With Aurva, the intention is not only to shine a spotlight on Nashik’s craftsmanship but also invite people to elevate their palates and embrace another homegrown premium wine offering from the Moët Hennessy India portfolio, adds Das.

Aurva is poised to stand out in the increasingly crowded Indian wine market through a blend of exceptional attributes and a distinct market positioning, points out Das. “Firstly, it is an exceptional red wine meticulously crafted from 100 per cent Shiraz grapes handpicked in Nashik, Maharashtra. This unwavering commitment to using top-quality, locally sourced grapes underscores our dedication to producing wines of the highest calibre.”

  • Dindori Winery showcases Chandon’s versatility

Chandon’s India portfolio

Chandon’s India portfolio till the launch of Aurva, consisted of Chandon Brut sparkling wine & Chandon Rose sparkling wine.

CHANDON Brut, created with a combination of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, is rich, refined and classy, with the decadent aromatics of acacia, honey and pineapple. The feel is rewarding, annexed to tropical notes of nectarine and mango.

CHANDON Rosé is sparkling and recognised for its vibrant pink hue and fruity flavours. It has gained popularity as a choice for those seeking a delightful and elegant sparkling wine. It is an elegant, fresh salmon pink colour with fine persistent bubbles. Made with Shiraz, it has intense whiffs of ripe cherries with flavours of red fruit undertones that leads to an intense and creamy finish.

CHANDON Aurva, the latest addition to the portfolio is a premium still red wine crafted from Shiraz grapes grown in Nashik. It represents Chandon India's foray into the still wine category.

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