India and Burgundy – Bringing the best of both worlds together

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The village of Mercurey is situated in Côte Chalonnaise, one of Burgundy’s four wine growing regions. Photo: Natalia Makarova

In a new, path-breaking development, Burgundy looks beyond the shores of France to form a collaboration with an Indian winery, writes Julia Sherstyuk. Unlike Bordeaux which is located near the sea, landlocked Burgundy has traditionally seen very little distribution of its wines beyond the shores of France, which were mainly appreciated and consumed by a smaller, but finer, niche group.

Protheau, a local family of winemakers in Mercurey, a town in Côte Chalonnaise, the smallest of Burgundy’s four wine regions, has been making wine for 300 years, producing exquisite reds and whites. Since 1720, the domain has remained in the same family, never changing hands, with the wines distributed mainly through domestic channels – until now. With Burgundy looking outwards, this is about to change!

In March 2018, the Côte Chalonnaise domain, with its19th-century winemaker’s mansion, Château d’Etroyes and 49 hectares of vineyards, was acquired by a group of French investors who also happen to be the biggest shareholders of Grover Zampa Vineyards (GZV). The key figure behind both GZV and “Château d’Etroyes” – the name of a new French company created to run the former Protheau domain in Mercurey – is India-born and France-raised, Ravi Viswanathan.

Winery of the former Protheau domain in Burgundy, acquired by a group of French businessmen who are also the largest investors in the Grover Zampa Vineyards in India. Photo: Natalia Makarova

Speaking about the acquisition, Viswanathan told Sommelier India, “We are looking to bring together the best of both worlds: Burgundy’s millennia-old traditions of winemaking and India’s much less restricted approach to the process, which is typical of the New World in general.”This extractTHis

GZV owns wineries and vineyards in the Nandi Hills in Karnataka and in the Nashik Valley in Maharashtra and is the largest wine exporter from India to over 30 countries. The company is also the most awarded wine producer in India and has won 111 international medals since 2013.

An exchange programme is in the pipeline between Grover Zampa Vineyards and Château d’Etroyes. The aim of this cooperation is to create a special cuvée, tentatively named La Reserve de Bourgogne, to introduce Indian consumers to the elegance and sophistication of burgundies, while Château d’Etroyes, in turn, will supply its wines to Indian restaurants in the 30 countries where GZV already has a presence.

 Read more about this exciting new venture in the July issue of Sommelier India – The Wine Magazine. This is an abridged account of the full article by Julia Sherstyuk which appears in the print edition.

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