Fratelli Wines – Of Wines and the Vineyards

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A vineyard visit has long been on the cards for me. There are plenty of them scattered across Pune and a day trip to one of these should have been an easy choice to make. But then what is it that makes one vineyard better than the other? Is it just the wines produced on those vineyards or the entire experience that it takes you through? I’d be able to comment on that only after I’ve visited a few of these enchanting locales. After all, vineyards are one of the oldest ideas in the world, where fine wine is birthed and bottled, and to be part of the creation process in any way is sure to be a thrill.

Since we weren’t picky about which vineyard to visit we were delighted to see an event on the Pune Eat Outs FB page – A Day Trip to the Fratelli Vineyards. It was a YES at first sight. I grew super excited about spending the weekend sipping wine and educating myself about the process.

Let me tell you, I am no wine connoisseur, not even close. You can call me a rookie or amateur when it comes to wines. I know I like the whites. Knowing what wine you like is how it starts for everyone, according to well held wine consultant observation. Obviously, I did not know much about the various grapes and the process they each have to be put through. Hence this trip was an enlightening one on so many levels. Instead of boring you with technical talk which I will gladly use once I get into the vineyard game and the reviews that could come of my time there, I’ll stick with simplicity.

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Fratelli

We started early in the morning for Fratelli which is in Akluj (approximately 180km from Pune). The first descriptive word we saw rising in our minds once we reached Fratelli Vineyards was ‘Stylish’. It had a very modern feel and look to it, none of that old fashioned rustic appeal Europe has going for it. What makes the property so charming is the décor. From the well manicured lawns and the suites overlooking the vineyard to the view of the mountains that frame the whole territory, it was nothing short of picture perfect.

After the long drive, we freshened up and headed to the wine making chamber. The Assistant Wine Maker helped us unveil and understand the mystery behind wine-making, including a step-by-step process of what happens when and why. He even gave us a brief account of the equipment and methods used, the type of grapes and how they play a role in naming the wines, the maturity process, how to use yeast and cultures and much more. It was exciting and beautifully complex with a foundation of simple logic and neat discipline. I found a whole new respect for the art of wine making.

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Fratelli Wines

Fratelli Wine

Sparkling Wine

Labelling machine

 

Wine Barrels

The ‘creation chamber’ had huge tanks for making most of the wines. There was also an underground chamber that had barrels to help mature the wine. Fratelli Wines follows the Italian method of wine making. Thanks to this session, I now know that wines get their names from the type of grapes used. A lot like the Chenin, Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Shiraz and many others. I also realized that it was possible to make white wine with red grapes provided the skin is removed. Wow, how cool is that. The methodologies alone are stunning, what with their source far back in the past, several hundreds of years back with a modern this-day twist to meet present standards.

We then headed to the most awaited wine tasting session. Fratelli had 5 lovely wines on offer along with cheese and tit-bits to pair with our wines so our palates get to enjoy a more complete burst of flavor and taste like never before.

Our host then explained to us how a person needs to enjoy the wine and understand the flavors each wine offers, and do it all with their taste buds, nose and eyes, essentially the senses.

The classic Chenin Blanc and the Sauvignon Blanc were the white wines on offer, each with a distinct feel and taste, flowing smoothly down the throat. Then it was time for the Shiraz Rosé which was an attractive bright pinkish gold color tagging along fruity tones reminiscent of cherries, plums and strawberries. It was then time for the two red wines on offer, namely the Classic Shiraz and the Sangiovese which is from the premium category. I preferred the delicious sting of the Sangiovese.

Wine Tasting

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Cheese

“Wine is a drink that should start and end with a smile”, said William Sokolin and that comes close to describing what I felt after this session. I was beyond the limits of smiling and was far into a realm of joy and beaming.

After a sumptuous lunch, we headed over to the other vineyard spread over 200 gorgeous acres. The path leading up to this Garwad site is in a poor state, so don’t be shocked if it takes you around half an hour to cover just 8km. The travel, however, is well worth it. Up there, a beautiful shack atop a small hill grants you a bird’s eye view of the vineyards.

Fratelli

All the root stocks at Fratelli Vineyards come from Italy. It is practically impossible to make wines from Indian grapes. Cozy in our hilly setting, the viticulturist explained to us how wine grapes were totally different from table grapes and one cannot eat them the same way. Also, vines should not be watered frequently. Their roots need to work their way through the soil to absorb moisture. This ‘hard work’ on their part improves the quality of grapes. Interesting, very curious.

So after a little tête-à-tête and some welcome refreshments we returned to the facility back on the plains and began our shopping spree. Suffice to say we returned home with a nice big box of bottled wines. I can’t wait to enjoy them with some soft music, good food and amazing family and friends.

You should definitely plan a trip to the Fratelli Vineyards, especially if you’re in Pune and looking for new places to go and gain a worthy experience.

Comments

  1. All I can say nicely written & well explained.

    All the very Best..

    Regards

    Alok

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