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World Wine Wonders
Lifestyle: The whole world is a swirling goblet at these panaromic vineyards and wine cellars across the globe
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Wines are the whole world contained in a goblet. With every sip, there’s mystery and wonder to be discovered, explored and enjoyed.
Here is our take on some of the world’s finest vineyards and wineries.
Shoalhaven Heads, New South Wales, Australia
The Coolangatta Estate in New South Wales, Australia, reputed for some remarkable wine varietals, was formerly a convicts’ homestead and the site of the first European settlement in the early 1800s. While the original cottages are today premium tourist accommodation, the estate itself is a top-notch wine tourism destination.
Our host Ben Wallis charmed us with more than his infectious smile and warmth. He uncorked four superlative wines, the grape stock being new to this land. The signature vintage 2001 Alexander Berry Semillon wowed us with lily and green apple bouquets, a slightly citrusy back palate and lingering finish. The 2009 Verdelho was thrilling with lemony finish and pear flavours, the pale lime bouquet adding verve to the unique white wine. Wallis’ next jewel was the voluptuous 2007 Tannat that presented black berries and smoky notes, a slight acidic thrill. The grand number — their 2007 Chambourcin with oaky and light cedar bouquet offered us a wafting black truffle palate.
Igatpuri, Nashik, Maharashtra, India
The verdant Sahyadri hills are home to India’s largest wine producing region and we headed to the Grover Zampa Vineyards for a memorable experience. The lush green countryside adds to a great wine tasting jaunt here. We tasted the much acclaimed ‘Grover Art Collection Chenin Blanc’ with its distinct green grass, guava and pineapple bouquet, the svelte dry bamboo and green apple flavours standing out. The ‘Grover Art Collection Sauvignon Blanc’ regaled us with its remarkably crisp peach and lily fragrances, impressing us with tangy lemon rind and pear back palate. We chased it with some aged and vintage Blue Vein cheese.
The ‘Grover Art Collection Shiraz’ has a light musk and peppery nose and a prominent black currant palate, light tobacco hints and a velvety finish. Our next red was a blend — the classy ‘Grover Art Collection Cabernet Shiraz’. Deep garnet tinge, intense prunes nose and hints of fresh bergamot and burnt wood palate.
The Grover Zampa sojourn continued down south to scenic Nandi Hills outside Bengaluru. Greeted by effusive CEO Sumedh Singh Mandla, a fine wine connoisseur himself, we commenced with a finely chilled, nectarine blush rose-tinged ‘Grover Art Collection Rose’. The cheery cacophony of birds seemed to add to the lingering, summery flavours. Inching up the premium wines’ ladder is their ‘One Tree Hill’ Red that boasts varietals like Zinfandel with Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz that spring surprises like fresh green pepper and deep plums. It’s a thrilling wine that pairs well with grilled tandoor delicacies. In their finely organised cellar, Mandla presented their award winning labels celebrated in India and across the globe. The unrivalled Grand Gatsby of Indian reds — the distinguished ‘Grover La Reserve’ Red in a Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon synergy was sensory symphony. Its full-bodied coffee, cigar, and licorice flavours synced with spicy, fruity aromas. The discrete and pineapple flavoured ‘Grover La Reserve Blanc’ boasts honeysuckle and kiwi fruit.
The fertile terroir of slate, chalk and limestone around Nandi Hills lends depth to the wines.
Idas Valley, Stellenbosch, Cape Winelands, South Africa
In panoramic Stellenbosch, on the world’s longest and most picturesque wine route, is the iconic Rustenberg Estate, reputed worldwide for its signature wines and quintessentially South African wine identity. At the avant-garde tasting lounge of this winery established in 1682, we started off with a wine of great distinction — the Brampton Beacon Bloomer Sauvignon Blanc 2010 named after the honourable champion Jersey bull Brampton Beacon Bloomer imported from Canada by owners Peter and Pam Barlow to add zest and vitality to their existing herd. Brampton, with its contemporary character and innovation is exhilarating with gooseberry, lychee, green asparagus and green apple flavours with springy aromas of orange and lime.
The signature Peter Barlow 2003 is an all-time winner in its own class, the deep red ruby body complimented by its Cabernet Sauvignon grape stock offers sophistication in fruity and cherry base. Fine tobacco and cigar box aromas with lighter leathery finish and cedar intensity are pronounced as carefully balanced tannins played magic on our palates.
Kitzbuehel Wine Festival, Tyrol, Austria
Kitzbuehel, Tyrol is the world’s most enchanting Alpine wonderland. Tucked away in the valleys around the Hahnenkamm Ranges, spectacular hills and fairytale Alpine timber chalets ours was a perfect tryst with some out-of-the-bottle experiences.
At the quaint Hinterstadt Square, swinging accordion tunes welcomed us ‘inside’ the highly-rated Kitzbuehel Wine Festival, a two-day celebration of the finest varietals and blends from Austria’s fabled wine regions. The most celebrated young wine from Andau- Burgenland, is from Erich Scheiblhofer’s consistently rated ‘Winery of The Year’ since 2004. His outstanding wine, ‘The Legend’ is an honour to Kitzbuehel’s upper crust status. A fine blend of 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the bouquet of spice, moist pine and leather was complemented by distinct flavours of mushrooms, mild tobacco, clove and black currant.
Berardenga, Vagliagli, Chianti Wine Region, Toscana, Italy
Among Italy’s fabled premium ‘Sangiovese’ wines that regale from the Chianti area are the world famous ‘Chianti Classico’ premium ‘Super Tuscan’ wine labels. Dievole Winery’s ‘La Vendemmia DOCG 2009 Chianti Classico’ with 90 per cent ‘Sangiovese’ grapes present superlative fruity, cherry and plum confiture, lightly spicy with black pepper, cinnamon and juniper notes and earthy, light smoked tobacco flavours. ‘Sangiovese’ adapts remarkably to different bouquets and flavours that add to its enjoyment. The scenic hilltop winery and high-end resort honours its workers by naming their wine labels after them—a noble tribute indeed.
Perched on an antique wrought iron wedding table set in their al fresco bougainvillea-decked garden, we discovered new, thrilling flavours and bouquets in fascinating blends like the most unique ‘Dievole Plenum Quintus’ harvested and crushed by hand, with Tuscan ‘Sangiovese’ and Greek ‘Aglianico’ grapes. The grilled Gamberi in white wine just added to the exceptional peppery and earthy terra cotta flavours on our palates. The ‘Aglianico’ is a Greek grape varietal cultivated in Italy, it is deep crimson and black in tone, adding flavour and character to the blend, with dominating dryness and soil fragrance. It’s a noble Greek grape rated No.1 by the ancient Romans.
The authors are wine and lifestyle writers
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.