India’s ancient soils and Europe’s modern winemakers

Despite the long tradition of winemaking in India, which dates back to the 4th Century BC, modern wines have only been produced there in the last couple of decades.  The release of two new joint ventures between Fratelli Vineyards and three international producers marks a big step forward for Indian wine.  Both ventures are imported by Liberty Wines, which is making its first move into Indian wine.

Steven Spurrier of Bride Valley English Sparkling wines and Piero Masi (formerly of Isole e Olena) are collaborating with Fratelli owners Kapil and Gaurav Sekhri to launch M/S wines.  From high-altitude vineyards in Maharashtra, their Akluj Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc, Akluj Sangiovese Rosé and Akluj Sangiovese/Cabernet Franc/Shiraz all fulfill Steven Spurrier’s aim of producing a trio that are ‘fresh, vibrant, unoaked and balanced’.

At the same time, Burgundian producer Jean-Charles Boisset was captivated by the Fratelli vineyards, and J’NOON was born.  The name is a French take on the Urdu word “Junoon”, which means “passion”.  The wines are made in tiny quantities from fruit grown in rocky vineyards at altitudes of 650 metres above sea level on the right bank of the Nira River, south of Pune.  Jean-Charles Boisset’s Burgundian influence can be seen in the barrel-fermented, Mâconnais style of J’NOON’s Akluj White (60% Chardonnay/40% Sauvignon Blanc), while the oak-aged Akluj Red (58% Cabernet Sauvignon/19% Petit Verdot/19% Marselan/4% Sangiovese) has a structure and ripeness of fruit rarely seen in Indian wines.  

Managing director David Gleave, MW is excited by these new Indian additions to the Liberty Wines portfolio: ‘We are always hungry for new adventures in the wine world, especially when they have such quality focused people behind them as Piero Masi, Steven Spurrier and Jean-Charles Boisset. The small, highly specialist ranges from J’NOON and M/S are perfect for bolder, more adventurous restaurateurs and retailers with a genuine interest in what India’s ancient soils and Europe’s modern winemakers can produce’.