Posted by Parul Shirazi on Monday, August 12, 2013
Imagine a wet day, a very wet day. Now add friends, food and wine to it, that was our Fratelli afternoon the other day. I've always enjoyed Set'z, there were a few nuances they ought to have retained from Zest but it's a lovely place to spend the afternoon, especially if you're mall crawling on a week day. My usual order at a place like this centers around variety, I like the sushi for starters with the Mezze platter to support it, for the main course my standard favourite is always the Seared Yellow Fin Tuna mainly because very few places get it this moist. So when Fratelli invited us for a tasting session, I was more than thrilled! Fratelli is a product that's close to my heart, for one they bust the myth surrounding Indian wines and secondly, they're practically pioneers, you have to enjoy the Chardonnay (780) and the Sangiovese (880) to know what I mean. They produce consistently good wine and I am yet to cross a varietal/bottle I didn't like. In fact their Cabernet Franc Shiraz (670) is pure joy because it has the addition of 'Franc' as a varietal, probably adding a note that makes this wine the finest Shiraz I have had in a while. Off late we're loving the Chenin Blanc (580) because there's been a lot of fish and seafood coming out of the kitchen!
This particular afternoon we were greeted with a platter of Chicken Mortadella, Parma Ham, Black Forest Ham and a pretty impressive cheese platter. There are plenty of establishments that serve cold cuts and cheese platters but there are very few who have their vendors right, Set'z seems to have them 'right'! I always choose Chenin Blanc with cheese, apart from being an internationally acclaimed wine and an award winner, it's the fruitiness that really makes you taste the cheese, I tried the Classic Chenin (470) as well, but the Chenin Blanc is best paired with cheese like soft brie, havarti, smoked gouda and camembert, for the Chenin Classic I would prefer brined cheese like feta, haloumi and even a slightly aged mozzarella. Thankfully our menu was beautifully paired with the help of Sommelier Simon Kujur, I loved the energy he brought to the table and he was a treasure trove of wine trivia, which for me is always fun. Our meal started with fresh, crunchy salads, as always I loved the one with the Caesar dressing and it paired perfectly with my second glass of wine, this time the Chardonnay, beatific! I skipped the Penne Arrabiata, I'm not big on pasta or vegetarian sushi for that matter, but then the sushi here was pretty good. What really brought out the heavier notes of Chardonnay and its gorgeous tartness were the Crystal Prawn Dim Sum and the Poached prawns with raw mango and mint, such flattering flavours for a wine like this, Fratelli Chardonnay is a must if you're serving or enjoying seafood. Our next lobster meal shall be graced by a bottle or two.
I was eager to move on to the reds, I've always been a red wine person, in fact it was Fratelli who converted me to whites. I can't say if its the varietal, the terroir, the production or the handling but white wines in India always seemed too acidic for me to be able to taste my food. Among the reds it was the smooth Sangiovese that I had the most fun with, paired with Shiitake Fennel Yakitori, it was a delight. The Chorizo Black Olive tasted livelier and spicier with a glass of Fratelli Sangiovese, but then this is a combo I have served at home quite often and it's fool proof. For the Rosemary Tenderloin I was happy to see the Cabernet Franc Shiraz make an appearance, the Fratelli variant is deep, rich and intense, the perfect kick for red meat. The Franc varietal seems to add a fruitiness that's so pleasant in red wine, despite being dry it's fruity and fulfilling. For me however, the show stopper was the Sette (1720), a wine I have waited for, the new Sette 2010 is apparently limited edition and I can't to get my hands on a bottle. This is a classic, matured wine, aged in the right conditions, carefully nurtured and bottled, wherein you can almost feel the love it was made with. The flavour of the oak barrels is all there, limber and not overpowering, gentle yet forceful, it's hard to explain and when a food or beverage is so good that it's hard to explain, then you know you have to try it. I enjoyed my sixth and final glass and I made sure it was the Sette, with Lamb Seekh, Black Pepper Lamb and Bara Gosht Kali Mirch. I felt that the peppery notes were perfect with Sette, so on my menu the bottle of Fratelli Sette will be served with Pepper crusted beef steaks and honey Dijon spiked mushrooms and roast potatoes, lovely! Thank you Fratelli for a fantastic afternoon of wine, wine knowledge and the chance to experience a bevy of wines we wouldn't always stock, but then again, we should!