I'm always looking for new wines from lesser known wine regions, and what I want is one of two things. The first is something unique. This could be their own grape variety, a particular style of wine - anything as long as it stands out from the crowd. The problem is this might not be the most commercially advantageous way of making wine for a producer. The other thing I look for is value for money, producing something that offers a quality that a more established region is doing for less money. Bulgaria is a prime example of a nation doing this, producing interesting wines with their native grape Mavrud, and making wines that rival good solid Burgundian Pinot Noir for a fraction of the price.
Sadly, the wines that I tried from Fratelli from Maharashtra in India were neither of these things. This Indo-Italian company was founded by three pairs of brothers with the aim of creating "a product made in India following Italian traditions which would meet international standards". I decided to asses them against this goal.
A Chenin Blanc, this was grassy and with a bit of burnt match coming off and some burnt bark and a slightest element of spice. The palate is a stripped out, acidic mess, all sulphury and filthy. You are supposed to get lemongrass, melon and guava from this, but all you get is underripe strawberry. Not good, and doesn't even taste like 65pts
2011 Fratelli Chenin Blanc
The nose is ok, a light clean tropical fruit element with some hints of melon. The palate is ok, a little harsh still but with some bitter mineral notes. It is a bit alcoholic, with it warming your mouth throughout and the acid is still too high. 71pts
2011 Fratelli Chardonnay
A nose that smells of pretty much nothing! The palate is boring, generic, international style white wine. On the plus side, it is nicely drinkable, a touch high alcohol still, but with some hints towards Chardonnay. Nothing wrong with it but I wouldn't buy a bottle. 75pts
2011 Fratelli Classic Red
A shiraz and has aromas of confected strawberry and burnt plastic - the smell you get when you melt a Lego man! There is a little over ripe plum coming through and I think a touch of pepper. The palate is quite savoury, lots of darker fruit, a little structure from the vegetal elements and there is some pepper. The downside is that it is still too acidic and the finish is all about the combustable lego person. 74pts
2011 Fratelli Cabernet Sauvignon
Masses of fake green pepper, tons of veggies and just a tiny amount of fruit. The palate is trying to be Cabernet but is a sickly, acidic, tannic farce of a wine. This is appalling and makes me want to gag. A TERRIBLE wine. 55pts
All of these wines are massively disappointing. With rival Indian company Grover producing an Australia-competing Cabernet Shiraz for £9, Fratelli doesn't stand a chance. The best wine from Fratelli is a boring non descript Chardonnay, which means they fail in their goal of producing an Indian wine with Italian traditions, and their products certainly don't meet international standards. I'd hoped for something interesting, I got something awful.