Say Cheese!

Artisanal cheese is something of a novelty in India. So when Fratelli Wines decided to wade into this territory with a brand new collab with a cheesemaker from Chennai, it was literally the fabled marriage of ‘wine and cheese’ coming into being. We speak to Puja Sekhri, Director, Fratelli Wines, of her winery’s tasty new foray.

The Cheddarg Fratelli Cheese marries perfectly with Fratelli Sette wine

If you’re a fan of Fratelli wines, there’s no better time than now for the perfect pairing. We’re talking of course, about wine and cheese, as Fratelli Wines launches its first three preservative- and emulsifier-free cheeses in collaboration with artisanal cheesemaker Käse, made with ethically sourced A2 milk. To get the story, we speak to Fratelli Wines Director Puja Sekhri.

First of all, incredible concept – why did you decide to launch your own cheese, and why now?

It had been in the pipeline for some time now. After putting together many a wine and cheese pairing and events, we wanted to give our patrons a pairing that they can relish, all coming from the house of Fratelli. So we thought what better than cheese! Our cheese has a unique connect to our wines and vineyard, as we are bringing in the essence of our vineyards to your table.

It did take us some time to find the right partner who believed in the same ethos as Fratelli, and we are only glad we found Käse as a valuable partner. It took us a couple of trials, also to learn about the ageing process involved, to be sure about how it will all pan out; hence it took that much time for us to formally launch it.

Fratelli Cheese makes for the perfect pairing with your favourite Fratelli wine

Is it really the concept of the 'wine and cheese' pairing coming true?

Cheese making in many ways is like wine making. The terroir has a huge influence, and that is what makes every place unique. In the culinary world there are many food-beverage matches made in heaven. They are so called because of how they bring out the best in each other’s inherent qualities, while making it an unforgettable sensorial experience for the consumer. Wine and cheese is one such match.

So definitely yes. As soon as we thought of the collaboration with Käse, it was a natural progression for us to make the wine drinking experience that much more tasteful.

Puja Sekhri, Director, Fratelli Wines

How did you pick this particular artisanal cheesemaker Käse – and what is it about their cheeses that you love?

The idea of the collaboration was planted in October 2018 when Fratelli and Käse came together for the first time to do a wine and cheese pairing. Käse paired nine of their cheeses with a range of Fratelli wines for a discerning crowd of 200, and we were heartened by the response, as every last bite of 20 odd kilos served was relished. This planted the seed of an idea for wine and cheese pairings with a difference: local or regional wines with their equivalent local or regional cheeses, and a strong story of a winemaker and a cheesemaker coming together and creating something unique.

The trial cheese was ready in 2019 and finally in March 2020 we decided in what form we are going to take the collaboration forward.

Why is it so important to pick cheeses that use locally sourced ingredients, like Käse’s does?

When you make artisanal cheese which has no preservatives and additives, it’s almost like a blank canvas which brings out the beauty of the milk itself. Every block of cheese is quite unique because the milk is unique. The quality of milk depends on what the cow had, where the animal was grazing, how happy it was, and so on. In the case of Käse, the fact that they only use A2 milk sourced from ethical farms lends to the quality of cheese that is produced. All of this makes Käse unique with their innovative processes and ingredients used.

Hence are glad we share the same sensibility of presenting pure experiences, producing cheese that is locally made and clean.

Fratelli Cheese - made from ethical A2 milk near Chennai

What was the idea behind these three particular flavours – Gusto, Sunburst, and Cheddarg?

One of the reasons is that these particular flavours are extremely popular. Two, given that our cheese is developed in Chennai where the weather conditions are slightly challenging as it is extremely hot and humid throughout the year, it limits the window to work with the milk, and furthermore limits the kind of cheese one can produce. Hence these flavours worked best for us.

How do these three cheeses showcase the terroir of Fratelli Wines, and how are they inspired by the wines?

Every variety of cheese developed is intrinsically tied to the story of Fratelli. For example at our vineyards, there’s very little we hold more precious than our special Sangiovese clone and are proud of it. It’s the only crop of its kind in India. So the Cheddarg, is a combination of Cheddar and Cornish Yarg, which is wrapped in homegrown Sangiovese leaves and aged for up to five months. The process of ageing cheese by wrapping it in leaf is an age-old technique, ensuring a consistently moist environment for the product. The leaves lend smoky and woody notes to the cheese, creating a characteristically scrumptious flavour.

What’s exciting about the Chenin Sunburst is that it’ll surprise you with its rich taste. Through daily rinsing with a Chenin-laced brine for five to seven weeks, this cheese absorbs the delicious flavours of our very own Chenin Blanc wine. It is aged over the course of five months.

The third in our Fratelli Cheese family is the Syrah Gusto, another wine-rinsed cheese. It is steeped in a saturated brine of Fratelli’s Syrah red wine for about four to five hours before it is aged for five months in our chambers. As it ages, it develops a slightly metallic tone on the rind.

Create your own cheese platter with any or all of the three Fratelli Cheeses, and pair this with a Fratelli Merlot

Please can you tell us about which is the best Fratelli Wine to pair with each cheese?

Cheddarg: Fratelli’s Sangiovese Leaf Aged Cheddarg happens to pair beautifully with both red and white wines. Our in-house experts recommend Sette as the perfect partner for this Cheddarg.

Chenin Sunburst: For a delightful gourmet taste, pair this cheese with a crisp white wine and an array of nuts and fruits. We recommend our Chenin Blanc or our Zero Dosage Sparkling Wine - Gran Cuvée Brut.

Syrah Gusto: For a truly divine experience of the senses, pair with our M/S red or the Fratelli shiraz and merlot wines.

What are the price points please, and availability?

The Fratelli signature line of Gusto, Sunburst and Cheddarg comes at a price range of: INR 400 -450, and available to shop pan-India on

Are you planning any more gourmet ventures – not just cheese but anything else?

We do have other exciting plans in the pipeline to make our consumer tasting experiences a lot better, but it's too early to talk about them at the moment.


Priya Kumari Rana

Lifestyle Insider is a kind of junction point, connecting people with diverse interests that touch on the more luxurious aspects of lifestyle – fashion, design, travel, food and spirits, art, watches and jewellery, cars, yachts, and aviation, and technology. People today don’t fit into boxes and categories. In our individual ways, we are interested in diverse themes, products, and the challenges that face our world today. You will judge how well this effort of mine caters to your passions and proclivities.

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It’s an exciting time for brands all over the world. With change comes opportunity. With the global ‘reset’ and uncertainty on many fronts, there is a chance to write a new script. Let’s be those pioneers.

A bit about me:
A luxury and fashion journalist with 25 years of experience in publishing and magazine journalism, I have edited some of India’s top fashion and luxury magazines. I got my BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and went on to receive my Master’s in English and French from the University of Strasbourg, France. I have also studied German and Film. I live in Gurugram, India, and look forward to once again exploring our world with a new-found freedom.

Priya Kumari Rana

Founder and Editor

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