I long for a week that concludes with a Friday lunch date. It allows me the luxury of believing that I have earned it after a week of hard work and persistence. A recent Friday was marked by a gathering of several ladies at The Table restaurant in Colaba, Mumbai, says Sonal Holland who enjoy a relaxed afternoon with them, unwinding over glasses of Fratelli wines served with a four-course meal. Pictured: Sonal Holland and Kadambari Lakhani at the Fratelli Wine lunch
Conversation flowed as favourite wine stories made the rounds of the table. My focus, however, was the wines themselves. It had been a while since I had tasted the more recent vintages of Fratelli. I remember first meeting Kapil Sekhri and Alessio Secci, co-promoters of Fratelli wines, nearly two years ago when they shared with me their passion to create an Indian wine brand that spelt honesty, good quality and value for money. A visit to their state-of-the-art winery further testified their commitment to making world-class wines. Piero Masi, their Italian winemaker and the master-mind behind the creation of Fratelli wines, was very open when questioned about the challenges of growing vitis vinifera grapes on Indian soil, the composition of the various blends, must additions and adjustments if any.
Among the wines, Fratelli Chenin Blanc is brilliant. It is attractively perfumed on the nose and has a talc-like silky texture on the palate. I cannot emphasise enough how difficult it can be to achieve anything of much value in an over-cropped and high yielding Chenin Blanc; most times the end-result being a wine that is excessively sweet. Fratelli Chenin Blanc overcomes this tendency with lower yielding grapes and careful elevage techniques at the winery. Chardonnay has an attractive, full-flavoured and refreshing mouth-feel, somewhat reminiscent of unoaked Chardonnay from Adelaide, Australia. The sweetness of the ripe yellow fruit on the palate is hard to resist.
Pictured above, left to right: Raell Padamsee, Sheetal Mehta, Pooja Singhal, Sharmistha Ray and Shahnaz Mahimtura
Next, we were served a glass of ‘Sette’, Fratelli’s interpretation of India’s first iconic wine. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese, this red wine has spent 14 months in French oak barrels and seen a further six months of bottle-age prior to release. Personally, due to the distinctly pungent and burnt rubber-like aromas that they produce, I am not a huge fan of the Cabernet Sauvignon wines made in India. The ‘Sette’, however, shows promise. Over the next few years with careful craftsmanship, this blend is likely to give Grover’s La Reserve competition as the most popular red among my highly social acquaintances.
It was a long, lazy afternoon, but not lazier than the service at The Table. The food was of consistently good quality, although a bit more re-invention on the menu would not hurt. The spicy grilled shrimps were neither spicy nor grilled, with overpowering fresh basil leaves and coriander dominating the flavours. However, the lively ladies’ banter made for good company, while the affable host, Pooja Sekhri, ensured everyone was well looked after and their glasses were always filled with wine.
Pictured, left to right: Anjori Alagh Puja Sekhri and Deepika Gehani