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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Friday, November 27 2009. 10:27

Utsav Australia: Celebrating with South Australia Wines

After the earlier start with Western Australia, Austrade continues its journey through South Australia with three wineries in Eden Valley, Coonawarra, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vales  presented at the Australian High Commission Thursday. Subhash Arora reports

‘South Australia is one of the biggest wine producing states of Australia with 50% of production coming from here,’ said the Trade Commissioner, Michael Carter starting the evening. It has 17 of the 64 wine regions, including the best known in India- Barossa Valley. It also has Eden Valley, Coonawarra, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vales where the wines procured from D’arenberg, Shaw & Smith (Brindco is the importer) and Yalumba (imported by Sonarys) for the evening, are produced.

The tasting started late as the people were slow in showing up. Shaw & Wallace Sauvignon Blanc 2009 was the perfect starter as it can be for any occasion. Perfumed and light-bodied, the fruitiness, crisp acidity and tropical flavours would make this wine from Adelaide Hills a darling even for non-wine drinkers-difficult to stop at one glass. The Broken Fishplate 2008 from D’arenberg although from the same region had different sets of flavours-more grassy, herbaceous, and more persistent and could handle the prawns with greater ease. Not as vivacious as the earlier one though.

Viognier 2006 from Yalumba was a complex, darker golden colour, fuller bodied wine. The vanilla notes were more predominant on the nose and carried to the spicy flavour of the wine which had a persistent taste and was long on the end. This one is a serious wine which would still age a few years and needs food to go with it. It was perfect with the Salmon on toast; I found the oak too overbearing without food.

The Shaw & Smith Shiraz 2007 from Adelaide Hills was concentrated, spicy, warm and full of berries on the palate while that from D’arenberg (Rhone style with 10% Viognier in the blend) was darker, juicier and reminiscent of ripe black cherries. Both had juicy tannins and good structure.

The best was kept for the last. The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 from Yalumba was well structured, elegant and complex wine which has many years to age and will be drinking better till perhaps another 5 years. A great pairing with the meatballs, the only problem was it finished off before one could say Coo-na-wa-rra . Slight decanting might have also helped bring out the complex flavours better. ‘Unfortunately, the wine has not found too many takers in India because of the prices,’ said the Sommelier Harshal Shah who was conducting the tasting. With one 5-star hotel selling it reportedly at 4-times the duty-free cost price, that is hardly surprising.

Manré had done a good job of catering in terms of food quality and service. Perhaps, the event clashed with the 20-30000 weddings taking place (it is a good thing people in India generally marry only once!). But a majority of those who had confirmed and did not show up, must have left an unpleasant after-taste. Of course, one can understand those regretting it after having an unpleasant experience of parking on earlier occasions-there is none within miles. So if you don’t have a driver, you are in trouble. Perhaps, the organizers will think about that when they go on to the next state of Tasmania in the series of Utsav Australia- the continuing festival of wines!

Subhash Arora


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