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Cavalli – Roberto and Tommaso, and Style over Substance

The other night, I went to the Cavalli Club for a Wine Dinner.

Some might say this is a little incongruous. It’s a nightclub. I mean, we all know the restaurant is there, serving food every night, but if only the beautiful people go, does anybody really eat it?

In fact, I might say it myself. I remember when the Cavalli Club opened. I was way too old and uncool for it then. And I still was when I nabbed a Living Social half-price deal last year. I could only dine at the 8pm sitting, I was told. We were ushered up the black carpeted oesophagus that is the stairwell to our table near the kitchen, and given the cheap menu (we were not allowed the entire menu on the deal), and we dined fairly much alone under a faux starlit sky until the music suddenly got louder and we looked around to find ourselves in the midst of pulsating gemstone colours and gold lurex over spray-on tans.

I’m not really a clubber. I used to be, about 100 years ago, when alcohol didn’t put me to sleep, and I didn’t dread the 6am wake-up with children the next day. Now I just can’t do it.

So why was I there again? Camellia Bojtor, PR manager of the club, had convinced me that The Cavalli Club is not just a Club, but a restaurant and lounge as well, and they want to get this message across. This wine dinner was the first in a series of “Cavalli Connoisseurs” evenings. To start it off with a bang, they brought the son of Roberto Cavalli, Tommaso, and his own wine, over from Tuscany for an intimate evening of food and wine.

Branding a wine with an already successful name in a different field is a risky business. There have been some remarkable flops in Australia – Greg Norman Estates (the wine was surprisingly OK), and Olivia Newton John (not OK) were a couple I can recall. There is already a Cavalli vodka, which in my impression, works. Ferragamo own a wine estate not far from Cavalli, but choose to keep their name off the label, so as not to confuse the marketing message. After all, one associates red wine with close gatherings, cozy evenings, warm luxuries, cheese, dinner, candles, possibly tweed and pompous old men with bulbous noses. Not really leopard skin couture, swarovski by the tonne, and skinny party-hard celebrities.

Saying that, the Cavalli wines are actually very good. We started with the Le Redini 2009, a straight Merlot, made with the fruit not designated to be of style for the Tenuta Degli Dei. It’s creamy, sweet fruited, with blackberry and cherry, a little herbacious nuance and a medium body. It finishes a little fast, but is ultimately a very drinkable wine. Most of our table were surprised by the sweet fruit flavour and smooth palate, used to as they are to lighter Merlots with stalky backbones.

The Tenuta Degli Dei is a Bordeaux blend – not a typical Tuscan varietal for the flagship wine here. Some would criticise, I commend. It’s a modern wine, carefully made under the watchful eye of Carlo Ferrini (one of the foremost Wine contractors in Italy – dare I use the word guru?) Full of berries, rich and chocolatey, with a lovely smokey salt and pepper nose. It, like the Merlot, is velvetty soft, probably due to vigorous sorting after picking, and lack of stems during pressing. However, the wine is also fined for 12 months prior to bottling, which also has this effect, although it may limit the wine’s aging potential.

I have tasted wines a little like this before. I asked Tommaso if he were trying to emulate a particular style. Continue reading on The Hedonista

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