Port and Sweet

Dessert wines are a great way to end a meal

Any man who eats dessert," Hemingway once quipped, "isn't drinking enough." But why choose between two terrific vices when you can order dessert wine? I Fratellini's menu includes a flight of three beauties: 2000 Saracco Moscato d'Asti, 1997 Forteto della Luja Piasa Rischei Moscato d'Asti and 1999 Colosi Malvasia. We had a ball comparing the frizzante (tingly finish) of one vino dolce with the honeyed mellowness of another. As we sipped, we got to thinking about wine lists and came up with a few principles. First, a well-rounded list should include dessert wines, sometimes called liqueurs or fortified wines. Featuring a small selection of cream sherries, ports, Sauternes or late-harvest Rieslings expands diners' options and boosts check averages for servers and owners. Second, the bottles chosen for the list should complement the restaurant's cuisine.

Manager Rich Zellich assembled I Fratellini's daring all-Italian wine list. It is a balanced, innovative collection of about 50 bottles, supplemented by a reserve list of rarer wines. The Barolos, Chiantis, Dolcettos and Barbarescos match the restaurant's food perfectly -- that's only natural, given that Italy's cuisine and viticulture evolved together over centuries. Most restaurants stick with popular varietals -- primarily Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet and white Zinfandel -- from large producers in California and France, without regard to what's coming out of the kitchen.

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I Fratellini

7624 Wydown Blvd.
Clayton, MO 63105

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Clayton

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Finally, offering descriptions of each wine encourages diners to experiment. Zellich's tasting notes are dripping with superlatives that reveal his enthusiasm. Powerful, intense and wonderful! Full-bodied and silky! Supreme structure! It's delicious to read tidbits such as these: "Strawberry notes with saddle leather, spice and cedar" and "Earth, chocolate and violets on a powerful frame." Such vivid language lets customers know exactly what to expect when the bottle is uncorked, turning wine drinkers into wine lovers.

 
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