Friday 2 August 2013

Raising a toast!! A taste of Fratelli Wines at Set'z

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.” 
― Paulo CoelhoBrida
Drinking wine is an acquired taste much like drinking coffee or tea - you just have to get used to it. For a novice like me who does not understand the nuances of great wine, appreciating wine comes down to the simple fact whether I enjoyed the taste of that particular wine or not. I admire the people who can distinguish the subtle flavors of the different wines and by taking a mere sip can comment whether the wine was fruity or well balanced or medium or full bodied, because try hard as I might, I remain clueless. So, when a few days back our bloggers table was invited for lunch held by Fratelli wines at Set'z, to celebrate their award winning wines, and also to announce the launch of their premium wine, Sette 2010, my first reaction was to decline. Assuming there would be a lot of wine tasting (obviously as it was a wine event) and I being no wine drinker leave alone a connoisseur to give an expert opinion on wines, I decided not to attend the event due to my lack of knowledge in this field and also in turn, being fair to the organizers. What made me change my mind were two things- one, the event was organised by a dear friends brother, who very sweetly had personally invited everyone and secondly, when I told the same thing to another blogger friend Ruchira, what she said actually made sense to me. She said that one should see such events as a wonderful opportunity to learn and that the event is not only for the wine connoisseurs but also held to initiate the beginners by helping them to develop a taste and knowledge about good wines, and thus should not be missed. Totally convinced, I was ready to learn more about this complex but wonderful world of wines.
Come Saturday and we were greeted by incessant rains which threw the whole city out of gear. It was indeed a day to remember!! Four hours of heavy downpour and  Delhi seemed to be completely submerged underwater. Waterlogged roads with knee deep water, broken down vehicles, massive traffic jams and the utter chaos almost made me want to turn around and go back to the comforts of home and the warmth of a hot cup of tea. But going a little ahead things seemed to get a little better and I actually started enjoying the beautiful scenario outside - the cool wind, beautiful grey skies, kids splashing around in the rain momentarily forgetting the struggles that everyone including myself was going through. Here are some pictures I took of the wet rainy day :
By the time I reached I was terribly late - almost by an hour and a half and everybody else had already started. While sitting at the table the first thing I noticed were the number of glasses placed on the table. I was overwhelmed just looking at them.
I was also really amused by their sense of humor - loved the intended pun on the menu which was befitting for the wet day.
Immediately on sitting, I was served two white wines, Chenin blanc and Chardonnay. Both the wines left a lovely fresh fruity taste in my mouth. As I am unable to find any expert terminology to explain the wines - here's a little something from the Fratelli website describing the wines : -

Chenin blanc  - Silky smooth and medium-bodied, the fruit is reminiscent of peach and lime with mineral accents. The crisp acidity balances the slight residual sugar to create a dry impression, coupled with a silky texture. Not overtly complex, but carefully constructed and well balanced. It is priced at Rs 495 for 750 ml.
Chardonnay - Offers bright aromas of tart apple, sugar melon and a brush of lemon- chiffon wrapped around a citrus peel core.  The delicious palate is hung on a lovely frame of firm acidity to give it structure and vibrancy with a fine edge of minerality piping in throughout the finish. Rs 695 for 750ml
Along with the wines, came the food- some non veg Sushi and a salad with prawns and raw mango. I have always been partial to sushi and here too I found it delicious. Grated green mango mixed with prawn, tossed in a spicy Thai dressing was sweet and tangy and had a nice bite to it.
We were also served some Herb roasted chicken. Tender and succulent, it was just what I needed after the hour long drive. 
Here's Jaswinder, a CAL member, who is quite an expert on wines, showing us how to open a bottle of wine
Simon, who is a sommelier with Fratelli pouring the Sette wine in a decanter. To enjoy the wine fully, it needs to be decanted as I believe the flavors gets more infused as the wine gets warmer.
Simon also spoke to us about how Indian wines were mostly tucked away at the end of restaurant menus and were looked down upon by customers who refused to accept that Indian wines could be good too. He also told u how sometimes 2 to 3 varieties of grapes needed to be mixed together to complete the taste of the wine. 
Next on the wine list was Cabernet franc-Shiraz - a deep ruby red color wine with an intense aroma of matured dark fruits. Cabernet Franc blended with Shiraz gave the wine firm acidity , smooth tannins with a natural sweet accent. It is available in the market for Rs 650 for 750 ml. 
It was sweet and I quite liked it.
Along with the red wines we were served Penne Arrabiata in a lovely garlicky tomato sauce, a vegetable yakitori - a combination of beautifully seasoned, fresh and crunchy zucchini, water chestnuts and tofu and pork belly skewers which were coated in a sweet sauce and were to die for.
Our glasses were filled again with Merlot, which again is a red wine. It was sweet in taste with hints of chocolate. Here's the technical info - 
Merlot :Full and fat with classic plum and red cherry like fruit. Good depth and concentration. Crafted in a fresh, clean style, this velvety Merlot offers enticing aromas and bright, juicy flavours of cherry, dark berry and plum backed by subtle mocha and herbal nuances and a delicate minerality. It is available for Rs 795 for 750ml.
The wine was paired with Shitake fennel yakitori which were juicy and had a nice meaty flavor.
These were followed by some more red wine, Sangiovese. Sorry, by this time I was totally lost between the sea of glasses with red wine on the table which included mine and Ruchira's and Charis's, all mixed up together in front of us and we just couldn't decipher which wine was in which glass. But here's what the Fratelli wines website has to say about their wine:
Sangiovese 2011: Aromas of perfumed red fruits, cherry and lolly musk. With more air, raspberry and vanilla bean emerge. . Supple, ripe, and intense on the palate, it has plenty of spicy cherry fruit and hints of cardamom following. The finish is long with a fine underlying structure, even tannins, and exceptional length. Chianti has come to India! Rs 795 for 750ml
  I loved the delightfully thin crusted chorizo black olive pizza.
The chicken shishtouk and the lamb seekh kebab were melt in the mouth and succulent. Though the wines were the highlight of the event but the food too was incredible.
The best was saved for the last. We ended our afternoon wine tasting session with Sette, a relatively young wine which is meant to be kept for 5-6 years in the cellar before use. This is the premium wine in their range and was unanimously voted on the table to be the best wine served that day.
Aptly named ‘Sette’ meaning ‘seven’ in Italian, it is the dream of the 7 Fratelli brothers– the six partners and the winemaker. Sette2009 is the end result of a great fusion of the concentration of Cabernet Sauvignon with the fine, elegant floral notes of Sangiovese. The pleasant and refined notes of wood are well merged with the wine, adding to SETTE a balanced vanilla flavour, which is typical of French oak barrels.” You can find it in the markets at a price of Rs1,462 for 750 ml.

We ended on a sweet note with some excellent desserts which were finger-licking good.
It was a thoroughly fascinating and educating experience for me. I went back home after successfully having learnt why we swirl the wine in my glass - swirling helps in aerating the wine which intensifies the aroma. I also learnt that Red wine is served in wide glasses and white wine in narrow glasses, a fact which had somehow escaped my attention, inspite of having attended so many events earlier and of course, while ordering wine in a restaurant, now its no longer going to be just 'white wine' or 'red wine' but now I can confidently roll out  the names of  few good wines. 
So definitely, this has been a "WINe- WINe" situation for me.
Thanks Varun and Fratelli wines for hosting us. You can see what a wonderful time we had and how happy we all were by the end of the day.

Enjoying the "Wine"derful times, with me were Charis , Ruchira and Parul. Check out their blogs too to see what they have to say.

1 comment:

  1. Most units alsxo enable you to select their ideal temperature of wine and sone units are even controlled by a
    thermostat. Thhe stemming ecision makes the whole difference between whie and red winemaking.
    The biggest oone being that you may actually get to age some rather than sampling them all.

    Also visit my weblog; les-grands Crus de Bourgogne