Bordeaux’s alchemist winemaker, vineyard owner and consulting oenologist, Dr Pascal Chatonnet has recently joined forces in India with Mandal Valley Winery’s Ramesh Rao. He plans to bring Californian quality to Mandala Valley’s Zinfandel, and more. IndianWine.com welcomes Dr Chatonnet to the Indian wine industry…
Now that Dr Chatonnet, the world-renowned who is also a partner of winemaker Michel Rolland is here in India, he is working on Vintage 2008 at Mandala Valley, Bangalore. This vintage of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz will be ready for the market in summer 2009.
Obviously enough, his first visit to India has him tasting and exploring the local produce. With 30 years of experience behind him and a double PhD, specializing in aroma, aging, development and quality, under his belt, this wine doc’s verdict is priceless. “India has a unique and interesting climate,” and not to forget the variations!
“There is no winter in Nashik, which is quite unlike the growing conditions in European vineyards. To add to this difference, there is a marked variation in day and night temperatures. The difference in climate provides challenge and interest to vine growing and winemaking here. This gives the wines their unique character,” says he.
Coming closer to Mandala Valley’s turf, he says, “Bangalore is still cooler and that gives a more fruity character to the wines.” Chenin Blanc, grown widely in India, is a natural choice he says, given that it responds well to a hot climate.
The next to figure on Dr Chatonnet’s star list in India is Sauvignon Blanc, for its very nice fruit characters.
After approving the already popular Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc varietals, the wine doc recommends Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz for the Indian conditions. He calls them the “Plastic Varietal,” the name justified as they adapt to a variety of climatic conditions. “Though Shiraz can adapt to any climate, Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc adapts only slightly,” he shares.
Reflecting upon his speech at the recently held Conference on Global Warming, he signals that the Indian wineries will not have trouble if vineyards can source good water. “It is imperative for vineyards to have the right amount of water at the right time,” he lays stress.
Talking of grapes and vineyards, he moves on to winemaking technology. In addition to passion for creating great wines, he believes in the scientific approach to “finalize micro and nano components of the wine.”
Even though it is his first visit to India, he seems to have settled in quite well. And finally, India also figures in his illustrious profile. This winemaker, with aces in academics and experience in oenology, has the added advantage of hailing from a family with over 200 years of history in winemaking.
He delivers complete solutions to the winery industry, including the cork, barrel and packaging subsidiaries. He also owns and manages several family wine estates in Europe, besides being consultant oenologist to many more in the wine industry.
Now that he has made his debut in the Indian wine industry, we look forward to his creations, as he puts in the best of ingredients – wine wisdom, viticulture and technology to create unique avatars for Indian wine, Zinfandel and otherwise.
Great work Mandala, for bringing Dr Chatonnet to India!
for indianwine.com Venki