There are two reasons to attend a wine tasting hosted by Wine Park’s Vishal Kadakia. One, he has a fascinating portfolio of wines. And second, he’s a great story teller. The wine importer’s passion for his trade is clearly visible by the interest he takes in every wine in his portfolio, and the depth of knowledge he has about wine producers’ histories and personal stories.
Olive Beach, Bangalore on June 17th was the venue of one such story-telling-cum-wine tasting event. The city’s top hoteliers, restaurateurs and hospitality specialists gathered to taste a selection of 10 wines from Vishal’s portfolio of offerings. As the Falesco Est! Est! Est! di Montefiascone circulated, Vishal recounted a fascinating story of how its name came about.
As those present jotted tasting notes, the Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand was introduced, an 89-pointer on the Wine Spectator scale and a typical New Zealand sauvignon blanc, big and fruity.
Quick to follow was the Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, Josephshofer Riesling Spatlese, a Mosel Riesling, full-bodied with a typical petrol foretaste yet aromatic with an impressive nose. Vishal spoke of the 650-year family owned wine house it came from, and that the most important fact of a Riesling was its balance of acidity and minerality, the latter coming from the slate soil of Mosel.
The Falesco Vitiano, Umbria 2005, a fruit forward blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that followed was noteable for its value for money.
As the evening wore on, the wines kept getting better. The Rolf Binder Shiraz Grenache from Barossa, a robust 90-pointer was good for ageing for 5-10 years, said Vishal. The Casanova di Neri, Rosso di Montalcino, from the vineyard of Giacomo Neri, ‘rock star’ of Montalcino (his single vineyard Brunello Cerretalto 2001 received an unbelievable 100 points!) was one wine that many present looked forward to tasting, while Vishal confessed that the next, the 91-pointer Querciebella Chianti Classico, a 100% biodynamic wine, was one of his personal favourites. The Australian Cabernet Sauvignon, Tapestry from McLaren Vale with its good structure and dry finish also found much approval.
Finally came the ‘biggies’. The Brancaia Ilatraia, a 92-pointer, Super Tuscan, was keenly anticipated by those who had earlier tasted the classic IL BLU from the same winemaker, also known for his stylish, minimalist labelling. The history of the wine was long and fascinating, said Vishal, as the vineyards in Maremma, very close to the ocean, remained untouched by the war thanks to Mussolini’s diktat. The Ilatraia, both balanced and complex, was pronounced a wine worth keeping. Brancaia was a special brand for him, confessed Vishal, as its owner, Martin Kroenenberg was a personal friend and Indophile. A nugget of info; the petit verdot, one of the Ilatraia’s components, ripens annually in Italy, unlike Bordeaux, where it ripens once every four years.
The final wine and a winner for many diners present, was the Casanova di Neri, Brunello di Montalcino, Wine Spectator Wine of the Year in 2006. The 92-pointer had intensely fruity aromas and great structure, “exactly the way a Brunello should be,” said Vishal. His mantra for selecting wines for his portfolio was to pick only those which could be opened and enjoyed right through, “not fat wines,” he told the gathering.
The guests present were in complete agreement!