Every year designer winemaker Tommaso Cavalli makes a fleeting visit to India. This year too has been no different. Even though the visit is short, Cavalli makes sure he checks out how he’s placed in the Indian market, writes Ruchira Hoon who met him in Delhi at the Taj Mahal Hotel. Left: Tommaso Cavalli and Carlo Ferrini taste different lots of wine before the final blend
“I walk into bars in hotels and see my wines standing tall. It’s nice to see that India’s been responding well to a wine that is quite limited,” says Cavalli, who only produces about 30,000 bottles a year. “But it’s the pricing that always takes me by surprise.”
His Tenuta Degli Dei costs Rs 5,700 in Delhi and that, he says, is very pricey for a wine that isn’t ‘that’ expensive. “But I understand that the taxes and the duties are exorbitant.”
This year, Cavalli is here to promote is his Merlot, which he feels “is a unique and different wine”. “This is a wine that gets ready very quickly. It’s aged in the barrel for six to eight months. But it has the ambition to be more aged,” he adds. “It is more elegant and full-bodied.”
Unlike some of his other wines, which he was told once “were too perfect”, he’s striving to break away from the textbook formula. “I want to bring out a wine that can be talked about and can arouse curiosity. What is the point of bringing a wine that makes no noise at all?
The new wine is a 13° alcohol, 2008 vintage, and like all his other wines, this too is low in alcohol and fresh. Tommaso’s father, designer Roberto Cavalli has designed most of his previous labels, and this bottle’s label, too, will be designed by him. This time, however, the labels carry a geometric pattern and the ‘Cavalli’ brand will not be as prominent as before.
One of the reasons he feels it’s time for a change is because things are changing in his vineyard as well. When his winemaking assistant left him last year, Cavalli had to do a lot of the blending on his own. Although Carlo Ferrini, one of Tuscany’s top wine consultants, oversees the winemaking, Tommaso feels his personal touch is making all the difference.
“Of course, there’s a lot of effort and time that I am putting in, but I am pleased with the result. Very pleased indeed.”
Cavalli wines are imported into the country by Aspri Wines and Spirits and are available in most leading restaurants and five star hotels.