A Perfect Pairing
Fratelli wines are getting quite a splash in Hyderabad if you go by the recent number of wine pairing evenings hosted by some hotels, showcasing the best from the Fratelli stable, umm vineyards! Fratelli, for the uninitiated, is a premium Indian wine brand which is of late offering stiff competition to market leader Sula Wines. It is a joint venture between Indian and Italian partners and the vineyards are located in the Sholapur district of Maharashtra.
Recently, there was a bloggers’ table hosted by Novotel Shamshabad with their Australian sommelier Craig playing host and regaling us with all his stories of wines, a bit of history, geography and chemistry too. Though the Novotel wine evening was hosted earlier than the one at Mercure Hyderabad (belonging to the same Accor group of hotels that Novotel belongs to) which I am now writing about, I shall blog on it later.
Recently, Mr Dinesh Rai, the young & dynamic GM of Mercure Hyderabad KCP hosted us at a Fratelli-pairing Indian dinner, for a preview of the ten-day long in-house promotion at Cayenne, their all-day dining. Cayenne is spacious, well-lit and offers a great glass side view of the busy streets of Erramanzil and beyond of Hyderabad.
Coming back to our wine and Indian ‘khaana’ pairing. Served first up was Fratelli Chardonnay and it suited my palate to the tee: light, citrusy and with the slightest hint of sweet bitterness. Paired with it were Peanut paneer tikka, Hara Gobi ki Tikki (broccoli tikki), Hariyali Macchi, (red snapper marinated in a mint-coriander green chutney) and Gilafi Reshmi, (chicken kebab with cheese & mixed peppers). While the vegetarian stuff was decent enough, what stood out on the palate were the fish which went perfectly with the Chardonnay, and at second place (as far as Im concerned) were the chicken kebabs, light and easy.
Time for main courses, and we were served a Dhuanri Murgh Tikka Masala (which I found a bit too smokey, read charcoaly for my liking) but the Nizami Shanks, slow-cooked lamb shanks in a robust, fiery red and yet creamy gravy was spectacular and was easily the superstar of the evening. The main courses were paired with a stronger Sangiovese, made out of an Italian red grape, intrinsic to the region of Tuscany. This one was a tad stronger than Chardonnay and a bit more acidic too!
Desserts time and chef Vinay had done a fabulous deconstruct job of a popular Andhra festive dessert called Poornalu, made of rice flour and filled with jaggery and mixed dal paste. Chef had cleverly taken the lentil filling as the base and the outer rice flour crust was used as a garnish, with poached orange pear providing a great prop in his version of this evergreen dessert. Paired with the dessert was Sauvignon, which was superb on the palate, fresh and bubbly.
No two ways about it, wine does enhance the dining experience by at least a few definite notches as this paired dinner evening proved!