Fratelli Vineyards debuts two new blends
The Piero MASI and Steven SPURRIER Project by Fratelli Vineyards recently launched the M/S White and M/S Red at the Leela Palace. This interesting project, saw Fratelli’s chief wine maker and oenologist, Piero Masi and Decanter Magazine’s consultant editor Steven Spurrier come together to conceptualise and create new blends of wines in the country. The M/S White is a blend of 80 per cent Chardonnay and 20 per cent Sauvignon Blanc and the M/S Red, 60 per cent Sangiovese, 20 per cent Cabernet Franc and 20 per cent Shiraz.
Spurrier describes Masi as a very “salt of the earth kind of man” and himself as a “very social Londoner” – both very different characters. Their approach to the wine they have created comes in from two very different aspects– one a wine maker and another a wine critic, both of whom found common ground.
Excerpts from an interview:
For the Indian wine lover, what will we experience with the M/S Red and White that stands uniquely apart from others in the market?
Piero Masi: The main idea that Steven and I bring forward with our two wines is that they are made in India, but with a European style. Steven, though British, brings his extensive international experience to the table. I have spent a good part of my career in Tuscany and have been in India now for the past nine years. Our aim was to synthesise our experiences into each of these wines and ensure that they were an expression of the vineyards they come from.
Steven Spurrier: It is the most European wine made in India. It is 100 per cent vineyard fruit, where the vineyards have been planted with a European approach. The vineyard concept here is very special and this makes me happy because I don’t think I would have been able to work on blending “new world wines”.
Based on your choice of grapes/wines for these two blends, would you say the Indian market is more fruit-forward wine loving or one that loves its tannins?
PM: When we first started making wines in India, we found that sweet wines were predominant. But, at Fratelli, we believe that wines need to be dry, especially when paired with Indian food that is complex. Wines that are fruit-forward and not too dry are what work here and that is how our wine is expressed. This makes it very approachable too.
SS: We kept in mind the Indian palate. The Indian consumer is getting more sophisticated with each passing minute, because the wines they are being presented with are getting sophisticated as well. Tastes are turning more to European styled wines, which can be had not only with meals, as is common in India.
How educated about wine should you be in order to appreciate it?
PM: People should not be worried about approaching wine. The first step to appreciating it, is spending time drinking it. In the end, it is your palate that will tell you whether you like the wine or not and that is what matters.
SS: Comparing it to reading, the more you read, the more you appreciate it. It is the same with wines. You do not have to be educated about wine to appreciate it, but you do need to pay attention and absorb information the wine is giving you. The amount of education you need is small – such as being told the grape varietal you are drinking.
What do you think is the next big thing for wine in India?
PM: India is a young nation and a health conscious one. I see the consumption of wine increasing over the years, considering it is a healthier option when compared to indulgence with other spirits.
SS: Sparkling wine will become popular because it is quite the festive wine and it will be part of the fabric of society.
— Ruth Dsouza Prabhu