As a part of the ‘Utsav!’ project, another wine session was held at the Australian Embassy in the capital. Set-up in an open-air area, the backyard of the high commissioner’s residence was soon crowded with the essential few of the trade, and wine lovers like us. As the evening unveiled, an exciting range of wines from the region of Western Australia were introduced to the distinguished attendees. Four houses, namely, Stella Bella Wines, Clairault, and Wise Wines from the much reputed Margret River, and Olde Eastbrook from the lesser-known Pemberton, were displayed at the event.
Margaret River is one of the most influential wine regions of Australia. Situated near Perth in Western Australia, the area enjoys the benefit of similar climate to that of Bordeaux. Located near the ocean, the vines are grown on unfertile red loam soil, making sure the vines struggle enough and pay-off quality harvest year after year. Another identical character is the Bordeaux grape varieties grown in the region. Dominated by Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the region has made its mark of excellence not only locally, but also internationally. However this has been no deterrent to other important grape varieties like Chardonnay and Shiraz that flourish here alongside the others.
So here are some of the wines we tasted and appreciated:
2009 WISE WINE – SAUVIGNON BLANC + SEMILLON – WHITE WINE: A classic blend. The wine has been 100% barrel fermented but not over-done. Young produce with water pale intensity, a light attractive pale colour. The wine has profound notes of smoke, cut grass, cashew, herbaceous, vegetative and capsicum. Unripe high acidity overlaying stoney, vegetative and crunchy oak presence. Great aperitif wine even if it lacks a little on the palate.
2007 OLDE EASTBROOK – CHARDONNAY – WHITE WINE: Chardonnay in the region seldom succeeds in ripening till its optimum calibre. This one was a young wine with hint of green touch to its appearance. Citrusy notes, mainly limes and apples, with leafy and oaky touches on the nose. Very structured, stoney, and grassy on the palate with a heavy backbone of sour acidity. Sweet caramel notes on the back with mango nectar and litchis. Medium bodied with sour finish. A nice summer wine.
2007 STELLA BELLA WINE – SHIRAZ – RED WINE: A deep glass-staining purple colour with slightly fading rims. The wine depicts some fruity notes on the front, with a deep spicy and vegetative backbone. Medium bodied but with very young, immature tannins that, we suspect, may have come from the oak, hence, making the wine appear dusty and powdery on the palate. A good mineral grip to finish. The wine is still a baby with some more life to see before it is released on the dinner table. Should you drink now, it is recommended to decant it. It is an absolute food-yeller, grilled red meat in general.
2007 CLAIRAULT WINE – CABERNET SAUVIGNON + MERLOT – RED WINE: Again, a classic blend with Merlot filling up the spice and elegance to the blend again the bulk, structure, and fruit delivered by the Cabernet. A deep coloured wine with vegetative and spicy notes on the nose with hints of it been aged in French oak. It is a food wine with noticeable tannins that are soft but still developing. Hint animally, the wine holds notes of beans and an enticing black character, sweet finish and alluring aftertaste. Though it is mid-range wine, yet, very appealing.
Other wines tasted during the tasting were:
2009 CLAIRAULT WINE – SAUVIGNON BLANC + SEMILLON – WHITE WINE
2008 WINE WINE EAGLE BAY – SAUVIGNON BLANC + SEMILLON – WHITE WINE
2007 CLAIRAULT WINE – CHARDONNAY – WHITE WINE
2008 OLDE EASTBROOK – RESERVE SHIRAZ – RED WINE
2007 WISE WINE – SHIRAZ – RED WINE
2007 WINE WINE EAGLE BAY – SHIRAZ – RED WINE
2008 OLDE EASTBROOK – RESERVE MELOT – RED WINE
2007 STELLA BELLA WINES – CABERNET SAUVIGNON + MERLOT – RED WINE
2005 CLAIRAULT WINE – ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON – RED WINE
As competitive in their meats, beers, and sports, the Aussies seem to have picked up their wines in a similar fashion. The trade commission is set to flow in some more new brands in the country with similar events in the next coming months. What will be interesting is to see is the diversity of wines not only within the region, but also across the country.