A classical symphony

Updated: Jan 26 2014, 08:23am hrs
I LOVE launches. There is such excitement about putting a new product out there. There are also a whole bunch of frazzled nerves about trying to get every last-minute detail right in a manner thats iron-clad-foolproof and leaves no room for incorrect interpretation by the media and consumers alike. But in spite of all the we could have better done it this way after-conversations, I am still always charged up when something new hits the shelves and you can exponentially increase that sense of euphoria when the product happens to be a wine and, even more so, if I happen to be helping in bringing it out, no matter how infinitesimally small my presence or inputs.

Even as you read this, I am prepping up for the launch of a very premium Indian winehouse, KRSMA Estates from Hampi Hills (Karnataka), Indias most recent appellation, so new that it is yet to receive reognition. I wrote about them a few years ago when I managed to get my hands on a few bottles, but this time, they are finally ready to unveil their range to the public. Come February 1, it will be available in Bangalore, for now.

Spoiler alert: the wines are brilliant. I couldnt find anything wrong with them. In fact, Ive always been rather full of praise for them. However, the one person who somehow still finds faults and takes notes on how to improve each subsequent vintage is the man behind the wines: Krishna Prasad. Since the very first vintage, he is openly critical of his own efforts and rather silent when appreciation of just how far he and his wife have come is due. Not a winemaker by education, he is one by passion. Having combed every possible authoritative tome on the subject, even as he combs the world conducting his core business activities, he has emerged as a very astute man of taste. His wife matches him in spirit and knowledge.

Since my first meeting with the Prasads, I have likened their story (and the creation of their eponymous wine: Krishna + Uma = KRSMA) to that of a classical symphony. A good piece of music must first be attributed to the composer. Then, its the conductor who interprets it, brings it to life and ensures that its played to perfection. In this case, these two would be them. As for the restthings that many a winery boast aboutthe tanks, barrel rooms, foreign winemaker, etc, are all mere instruments which, if not played in the right time and tempo, would yield a wine that is not representative of anything, least of all the vision of the composer-winemaker. This is where KRSMA has always impressed me. Like (and with) the people behind it, it evolves. As the Prasads travel the world, trying wines and meeting fellow oenophiles, they come back and rethink their own approach. They started with two grapes, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, and while these remain their flagship labels, they have added the equally formidable Chardonnay and Sangiovese variants (the latter I find very versatile and malleable to enjoy). Without getting into tasting notes, the wines are international in style, meticulous in their presentation (the bottles are specially designed and imported, and even the labels come from Australia) and precise in their delivery: the Cabernet shows a very distinct personality; not one to slouch behind a dish, the Sauvignon is crisp without being aggressive; and the Chardonnay is surprisingly rich without ever having seen any oak. All in all, since they began and since their first vintage, the wines have shaped up brilliantly and all is on track for accolades and medals to follow.

And yet, I know the saga has just begun. Even as they prep to launch, theyre already planning future vintages, not just the one in the barrels, but the one that is yet to even blossom on the vines!

So if anything takes you to Bangalore, you should definitely procure a bottle or two. Not that all Nashik is all bad, but this superbly-written symphony might just be the one to convert some of us to drinking more Indian wines.

Magandeep Singh

The writer is a sommelier