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Delhi Wine Club
Taste of Chianti in White from Fratelli

Posted: Monday, 16 September 2013 14:15

Taste of Chianti in White from Fratelli

Sep 16: The recently launched Sangiovese Bianco by Fratelli is a well-made white wine with a great personality that would be music to the palate of many a connoisseur but apart from its unique characteristic of using a red grape, it shows the innovativeness and the versatility of the winemaker Piero Masi who has already proved himself with reds like Sette and red Sangiovese, writes Subhash Arora

Click For Large ViewDuring my recent visit to the very interesting winery of Weingut Ansalmann in the Palatinate region (Pfalz) of Germany when I had gone for the annual judging at Mundusvini in Neustadt, I rushed to the tasting shop for a quick taste of a few wines before our host Ralf Ansalmann directed us to the winery restaurant where 16 wines had been lined up for tasting specially for a select few of us.

Tasting of Blanc de Noir wine

The winery is known for Rieslings of various kinds, of course along with several other typical wines like Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Sylvaner, Sauvignon Blanc, Dornfelder, St. Laurent, Shiraz, Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), various sparkling wines and dessert wines like BA (Beerenauslese), TBA (Trockenbeeerenauslese) and icewines. But I was so excited to see the unusual blanc de noir (white wine from red grape) wines like Cabernet Sauvignon white, St. Laurent white and a Shiraz blanc de noir that I requested to taste all of them before starting the formal tasting. They were all wines of definitely good quality but different personality with bigger body, slightly bitter due to the tannins squeezed in. It is seldom that a white wine would have strawberry flavours.

When I learnt about the launch of Sangiovese Bianco by Fratelli, on my return to Delhi, I was very keen to taste the new wine from Piero Masi, their Italian winemaker. Although it was to be available soon in Delhi, I made a special request to the company to get me a sample urgently, even if it meant a special despatch (I seldom do that). When it was delivered to me a few hours before I was to leave for Hong Kong on Saturday, I decided to sample it with two different types of pizzas – smoked chicken and pepperoni.

Fratelli Blanc de Noir Sangiovese

First things first; we must know that all grapes - red, white, yellow or green - have the inside flesh (gudda) that is colourless, with only one or two exceptions. The colour of wine comes from the skins and is extracted by letting the skins remain in contact with the flesh for a few days depending upon the winemaker’s style. Obviously a red wine cannot be produced from white grapes. To make a white wine from a red grape, the contact with the skins is minimal, allowing some of the personality to seep in but without tannins or colour which invariably gets in.

Thus, the Fratelli Sangiovese Bianco has a very soft tinge of pink; it’s neither good nor bad quality-just a characteristic colour. Interestingly, it is quite aromatic with beautiful perfumes resonant of Gewürztraminer with which it has no commonalty-slightly floral and even tropical. It has a medium body; the flavour has a shade of strawberry too. It’s fresh and crisp without being overly sharp that one might expect from Sangiovese which is generally high in acidity. It has a slight tinge of bitterness at the end which is perhaps due to the tannin in the grape. The after-taste is persistent and fairly long, more than expected for such a wine.

I tried the wine first with the pizza with smoked chicken - the newly opened branch of Chicago Pizza in Defence Colony sells by the slice. It was a big hit in my mouth and was a heavenly match-perhaps the shade of tannin and smokiness of chicken went extremely well together. For me a wine is fine if it beckons you for another sip and when the glass is empty, you want another glass. I had three glasses of wine with the pizza - my complete dinner! And for those who believe food and wine match is only theoretical and theatrical - the same wine didn’t do much for me with the pepperoni pizza which was too strong for it due to the red meat in it. I reckon I would have loved the regular Sangiovese red with it.

The wine may require a bit of patience for those who are novices and are used to Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc or other fruity wines. If you don’t like the taste for the first time, give it a shot another time. By the third time, you will love it - with an appropriate food which could be fish, tandoori chicken and even vegetarian. Pastas with white sauce, chicken biryani or vegetarian pulao should also match well.
Click For Large ViewFratelli claims it is a first in Asia for this wine-which is quite believable as Sangiovese is not an easy grape to grow outside of Chianti (I took the liberty of calling it a Chianti grape-with apology to my friends in Chianti Classico, Chianti areas in Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Marche regions in Italy, where the grape is used to make different styles of red wine).

As Kapil Sekhri, one of the Fratelli brothers and Director, says, it is a new and different option for the wine lovers. If we want to improve the wine culture, we would need such interesting wines to offer to connoisseurs who love to try different style of wines constantly. Sangiovese Bianco may not make a classic white grape varietal in Maharashtra but it would certainly be a white wine with a unique character and personality-and enjoyable.

It’s available in Maharashtra for Rs. 695 but in Delhi, it’s priced slightly higher at Rs. 850. With no competition in its class, it would do well with wine connoisseurs and those looking to drink and serve something different than just the lowest priced wines from the Indian stable of mid-priced wines.

And next year, if I go to Germany for Mundusvini tasting, I will make it a point to take the Fratelli White Sangiovese to my friend Ralf Ansalmann at the Weingut Ansalmann, to taste with him and show him that we also make Blanc de Noir wines in India - and well!

Subhash Arora
from Hong Kong

Tags: Sangiovese Bianco, Fratelli, Piero Masi, Sette, Sangiovese



Subhash Arora Says:

Coupled with the fact that it is rather rare to have a white Sangiovese, even in Tuscany, should give some addition al pleasure. Arora

Posted @ January 02, 2017 11:15


Jehangir Merwaji Says:

Just tasted, a few days ago, Fratelli's Sangiovese Bianco 2014, and was pleasantly surprised at the lightness of the wine. The taste was not at all strong and very pleasing. It went down very well with grilled fish, and on another occassion with a masla fish dish. Strongly recommended.Next step is to try it with meats (white and red).

Posted @ January 02, 2017 11:10




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