“There are many of us trying to sustain the human connection in winemaking,” says Kalā Wines co-founder Santosh Alexander. “The Craft Wine Association is bringing us together.”
Kalā Wines is a Certified Craft Winery in Sonoma County, California and owners Santosh and Cynthia Alexander have a specific mission: to produce wines that pair well with diverse world cuisines. Ultimately, they want to bring more people together around the dinner table to share stories, talk philosophy, and focus on the important things in life. “We need to foster real human connections and conviviality in our increasingly virtual social environment by re-emphasizing the age-old tradition of friends and family gathering around food and drink”, says Santosh.
“What we are seeing in the U.S. is a trend over the past several decades where people are increasingly enjoying cuisines from around the world,” says Santosh, “but restaurants specializing in global and ethnic cuisines don’t focus much on great wines for pairing. At Kalā Wines, our hope is to bring more people together by making wines that go well with the diverse American palate.”
Kalā Wines is also laboring just to ensure wine lovers have a choice between mass-produced wine and small-production craft wine. With some large wineries making more than half a million cases of wine a year, it’s important that consumers have the option to drink hand-crafted, small-batch wines. Santosh points out that craft wines are personalized and incorporate essential skills that have been a part of humanity for thousands of years. “I don’t know if we’d have this choice if Alice Waters and the Slow Food Movement hadn’t done what they did 30-40 years ago,” he says.
“Through industrialization, the pendulum has swung so far to one end, that we are losing millennia-old skills of craftsmanship.”
Santosh developed his winemaking philosophy while traveling the globe working in tech. Along the way, he met winemakers who loved to sit down, discuss wines, and get to know you. He met chefs who wanted to introduce themselves to you and learn about your mood and what your favorite flavors are before cooking a meal for you. In these situations, it wasn’t all about business. It was about finding a way to connect as humans and share experiences.
As a result, Kalā Wines tries to capture the feeling and soulfulness of great winemaking for its customers. It only produces around 350 cases of wine a year, including a rosé, a malbec, a merlot, an old-vine grenache, and an old-vine zinfandel. In 2018, Santosh will also make an old-vine carignane and pinot noir. Every wine comes from a single vineyard, and Santosh says it’s all about sourcing grapes from really special, sustainably farmed, small, family-owned vineyards. Craft wines from craft vineyards.
The Napa Valley Cadden Vineyard Malbec was Kalā Wines’ first release, starting with the 2013 vintage. Inspired by malbec’s deep roots in France, the wine is made in a Bordeaux style, with a beautiful nose of purple fruit, chewy tannins, a firm mineral backbone and low alcohol. It is a well-balanced, cellar-worthy wine of finesse and nuance. Santosh and Cynthia oversee the entire winemaking process from beginning to end. After fermentation, the malbec wine matures in French oak barrels for 30-36 months. It is then bottled and aged for another year before being released for consumption. Classically structured, this Malbec goes especially well with an Indian goat curry, as well as roasted lamb, game meats and smoked eggplant with Greek or Lebanese herbs and spices.
“Craft winemaking is like other forms of craft,” says Santosh. “If you look at industrialized glassmaking, you can make billions of beads in a few days. But if you look at individual glass blowers, they make each artwork with great skill and care. There’s a sublime beauty in the art. It’s a choice. Do you want to support artisanal craft? Which do you want to have?” Kalā is the ancient Sanskrit word for art. Kalā Wines embodies the revival of winemaking as an art form and the hand-crafting of limited-production, balanced wines to complement tasty food.
Find them here! https://kalawines.com