New Indian sparkling wine aims to alter the way you down the bubbly

Stephane de Meurville
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By Vishnu Makhijani

New Delhi–It’s the third Indian sparkling wine to come out of Maharashtra’s Nashik region and it aims to alter the way you down the bubbly by moving away from flutes and drinking it in tumblers straight up, on the rocks or with a slice of fruit, preferably orange.

“We are definitely suggesting new ways for people to consume sparkling wine. There are three ways you can have this bubby — one as chilled or neat, second on the rocks and third with a slice of fruit; we recommend trying it with orange,” Stephane de Meurville, Managing Director, Moet Hennessy India, told IANS in an email interview from Mumbai, where Chandon Delice, the third offering under the brand, was launched earlier this week.

It also pairs perfectly with desi food.

“You can enjoy Delice at any and every occasion, pair it with any food. This sweet blend of grapes goes extremely well with everything and especially with Indian food as it balances the spice,” he added of the bubbly, that is made with locally-sourced Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay grapes.

So, how did the new product come about?

“It’s a mix of three really interesting ingredients: One — the varietals of grapes to be able to play — like the nose in perfume, like for the music and songwriter you need different instruments,” de Meurville explained, adding that toward this, Gustavo Agositini, Senior Winemaker and Operations Manager of Chandon India, and his team explored what Dhindori in Nashik region has best to offer in terms of type of grapes.

“Two — you have to have a really creative wine-making team who propose new innovations.

Stephane de Meurville

“And lastly, the marketing team — a good marketing team that is always researching and listening to the market and trying to figure out the needs of the consumers. No one needs sparkling wine before tasting it — but after that it changes. And amazingly enough, when you put all these elements together you know you get a product like Delice,” de Meurville explained of the product that joins Chandon Brut and Chandon Brut Rose.

Elaborating on the second aspect, Agositini said the company had a “good relationship” with viticulturists around the winery.

“I myself am a viticulturist and a winemaker; but in order to have a good wine, the largest contribution is of the grapes itself. When you have a good relationship with the viticulturist it means that you get to source the best grapes in making your wine,” he said.

“Delice is the result of two years of extensive research and development by our team of winemakers.”

India, in fact, is only the sixth country where Moet, arguably the world’s leading champagne house since 1743, is producing sparkling wine under the Chandon brand outside of France’s Champagne region.

The first Chandon Estate was created in Argentina (1959), followed by California (1973), Brazil (1973), Australia (1986) and China (2013).

“When we came into the country four years ago, the sparkling wine industry did not exist. What we have built is a Chandon culture and are aiming to go beyond just the sparkling wine. What’s really encouraging is that there are many other players who’ve come into the market and are helping expand this industry,” Sophia Sinha, Chandon’s Senior Marketing Manager, told IANS.

In 2013, she said, “the sparkling wine category was almost negligent and from then, it has now grown over 100 per cent in volume in 2017. And if you look at it year on year; how we are also growing is tremendous — from 20,000 cases to a 40,000-case market”.

“We have a lot of interesting plans and you will see that as we move forward in the year. One of things that we will definitely build on is the versatility of the product and to reach out to the consumer who is not a typical champagne-style sparkling wine drinker or a Brut/Ross wine drinker,” Sinha concluded. (IANS)


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