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‘Utsav! Australia’

Aussie Wine ArtFor the love of wines and the craze of unsung Aussie wines, yet to explore India, Gurjit and Gagan reached the Australian High Commission to celebrate the opening of ‘Utsav! Australia’. A small, but intense, gathering of approximately 30 luminous of the hospitality and wine trade saw three wine houses showcasing their products. Harewood Estate and West Cape Howe, and well known Frankland Estate based out of the southern stretch of Great Southern Western Australia were the proud presenters for the evening.

‘Utsav! Australia’ is a seven month long Australian wine celebration where wines from hidden areas of the country will be put on tasting for the hospitality and trade section of Delhi. Organised by the Australian Trade Commission and the Wine Australia board, the evening was also a relaxing occasion for the hectic trade professionals to get under one roof and enjoy a light evening over some great wines.

To start the evening, there were 2009 Harewood Sauvignon Semillon and 2009 West Cape Howe Semillon Sauvignon blend . They were both refreshing wines and gave us the kick to keep going for the rest of our evening. Here are some of the notes compiled for the wines we tasted:

2009 Harewood Estate Riesling

Its an unaged light pale straw colour wine with green tinge. Sweet aromas with custard apple, honey + rock melon, pineapple coming through that assures refreshing characters. It is a clean young wine with low residual sugar + body balanced with good acidity. It throws peaches and white melons with citrus notes that lingers for long. Typical oily nuances with mineral and slate but no oak. Will be good with salads, poached chicken dishes and fried light flavoured starters.

2008 Rocky Gully of Frankland Estate Riesling:

Darker than the first one with pale straw and hint of gold. More matured cool climate Riesling with floral and fruity notes dominating with some spiced characters. It is a serious wine that can be enjoyed better with food. Residual sugar visible but not prominent. Fruit-driven palate, tank aged yet smoky. Passion fruit, grapes, green apple, bit rocky, mineral, peaches + pear, marzipan, citrus aftertaste but not intense. Will do great with pork belly,  grilled chicken dishes without charcoal influence and light seafood.

2009 West Cape Howe Unwooded Chardonnay:

Pale lime colour with green tinge. Fresh wine with exotic fruits, green apple and pears. Not much on the aromas. Clean fruit-forward light wine with fresh citrus, minerals and tropical fruits. A summer wine easy to enjoy, nothing prominent. Need  a few rounds of this wine before you start appreciating this style.

2008 Scalawag Late Harvest Riesling:

Attractive colour with light sunshine golden colour. A German Spatlese style Riesling full of figs, raisins and prunes. Clean palate with dried dates + cherries, figs, prunes, rock melon, raisins, “murrabba” (marinated sweet Indian pickle ressembling apricot or mango marmalade). Medium alcohol + body with short aftertaste. Can hold it for another year or so. Very well balanced.

2007 Harewood Shiraz Cabernet:

Young red wine with light ruby colour. Oak aged with pepper, earth, blueberry, eucalyptus, grounded coffee yet a bit green. Very light bodied cool climate wine with spiced, plum, blueberry earthy and oak flavours. Very high alcohol with low tannins + body with short-lived after taste. We found it off-balanced.

2006 Scalawag Mount Baker Shiraz Cabernet:

A good looking aged dark ruby red. Sweet plum, dark berry, spiced, inky notes which add complexity to it. Berry flavours found prominent but a bit sweet, chocolate, cumin, mustard seeds, pepper and earthy. Typical cool climate red. Low tannins, body + aftertaste. Food-centric wine or can be enjoyed with a nice cheese platter

2007 Isolated Ridge Vineyard Shiraz:

Star of the evening. Mystifying dark ruby inky red colour with aged rims that are yet intact throwing shades of purple. Traditional Aussie Shiraz with fennel, pepper, oak, eucalyptus, dark berries and beetroot notes. Full bodied red with fresh clean tannins, bit powdered, fruit flavoured. Beetroot, pepper, spiced, salmon, smoked mushrooms, dark berries, smokey and earthy. A great food-centric wine that can be enjoyed and experimented with.

Australia has always been an experimental country in terms of its offerings and has surprised the wine lovers over and over again for decade. With wine slowly getting its well deserved place in the Indian society, we would like to see more wines on the shelf and some surprising produce with rough in-your-face Aussie style. The wines for the evening gave us a refreshing experience but how well do they do in Indian context will be a wait and watch scenario.

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About the Author

Gagan is much like a young wine in many senses; you have to spend time with him before he opens up. A certified wine expert and mixologist, Gagan pursued his love for beverages Down under, doing his Masters in Hospitality Management (specialising in wines) from Victoria University, Melbourne. He reserves a soft corner for Australian reds, German Rieslings and Gewürztraminer. As much as he loves to experiment with new cuisines, he also has a taste for adventure – paragliding, bungee jumping, rafting, skydiving and playing squash. His interests include blogging, back to back movie spree, cooking for self and travelling. He is a music-fanatic and loves being left alone with his PSP. Beef steak and wine rate high on his agenda as also does a Bourbon and cola.

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