|Very special La Brancaia vertical tastings were held in Mumbai and Delhi recently led by owner and producer, Martin Kronenberg himself. Meticulously arranged at The Spice Route Restaurant, The Imperial, under the professional eye of resident sommelier, Stephane Soret, the Delhi tasting took place on May 21, 2008. Pictured to the right are importer Vishal Kadakia and Martin Kronenberg.|
During the course of the tasting Martin provided valuable insights into the winemaking process and the history and philosophy of his company, emphasizing that their goal was to produce wine that was meant to be drunk, not collected.
“My personal opinion is a very individual thing and you have to decide for yourselves what you like. We do not make tasting wines, only drinking wines,” Martin says. “These are wines to be enjoyed so that the bottle is emptied and then, perhaps, another one opened! This is not wine that is made to please professional wine tasters and critics.”
Brancaia has achieved critical acclaim too. Winning national and international awards every year consistently, the wines are imported and distributed in India by Vishal Kadakia of Wine Park, who said, “Our portfolio is made up of wineries where innovation and passion combine to produce wines of the highest quality, and their style truly expresses the region from where they come.”
Casa Brancaia is owned by the Swiss couple, Brigitte and Bruno Widmer who bought it in 1981. Brancaia consists of two estates, Brancaia and Poppi, located in the heart of the Chianti Classico area of Tuscany. The family also owns Brancaia in Maremma on the coast of Tuscany about seven miles from the sea, southeast of Grosseto, which has been operative since 1998. Both estates are managed jointly by Barbara and Martin Kronenberg-Widmer. Barbara is the oenologist and winemaker.
They believe in a hands-on approach and live on the estate. “With agricultural products, you have to be there,” says Martin. “There is no general rule for when you harvest, you just have to be present.” This approach has paid back many times over as the wines have received widespread acknowledgement, winning award after award.
After the 1983 vintage won first place in a major Chianti Classico tasting, there was no looking back. Their consultant, Dr. Carlo Ferrini, is a star, says Martin. They rely on his experience and expertise, but the winemaker is Barbara and she has produced some brilliant vintages.
Brancaia wines have a strong estate identity, underscored by their top wine, Brancaia Il BLU, a classic beloved of wine connoisseurs around the world. According to Martin, the vintage that really put Brancaia on the map, was 2001, their fourth vintage, proclaimed in the media as “A new star is born”!
While Brancaia wines are eminently age-worthy, Super Tuscans can also be enjoyed young, especially when paired with strong flavoured food, in Martin’s view. Young Super Tuscan’s should be decanted and cooled in the refridgerator for 30 to 45 minutes. “When decanting the wine, don’t be hesitant about it,” he syas, “just SPLASH it into the decanter!”
The 2005 which was bottled in June last year and released for shipment in the Fall, has a lot of forward fruit without losing its elegance. “The wine will close down for some months again, and then open for the next ripening. You can drink it today and the between 2011 and 2018.”
The Brancaia Estate produces three other products which were also available for tasting, but the 2005 rounded off the vertical tasting of 12 exceptional wines which had been selected from the estate’s archives.
FACT FILE: THE VINEYARDS
The Brancaia estate encompasses the vineyards Brancaia (Castellina in Chianti) and Poppi (Radda in Chianti), at between 750 and 1300 feet above sea level. All vineyards have hillside location, looking south, southwest or southeast. They are partly covered with greenery and worked according to integrated production standards.
Soil is lean and stony, with a portion of clay and lime.
Vineyards cover roughly 60 acres: 65% are Sangiovese, 30% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Each acre carries about 2400 wines. All are cultivated in the one-armed cordon system. Approximately 4800 lb. of grapes are hand-picked from an acre.