Dear fellow tasters and wine drinkers,
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a wine tasting event held at Decanter Wine House. I’ve never been to Decanter before but I heard it offers an exceptional collection of wines and serves up great Mediterranean cuisines. I arrived around one that afternoon, meaning a bit late from the appointed 12.30 pm time but it turned out the tasting hadn’t started just yet, although I saw some fellow bloggers and foodie enthusiasts already making themselves comfortable in the cozy and homey atmospheric lounge.
The wines that we mainly previewed that day were from Chalk Hill winery, a family owned wine company which has been growing grapes since 1897 with vineyards spread across the beautiful McLaren Vale wine region in South Australia. Jock Harvey, one of the winemakers and a proud member of the Harvey family, gave us the privilege of presenting and guiding us through the tasting.
Here’s the rundown of the wines that we splendidly sampled and delightfully enjoyed. As I am not a wine connoisseur yet, I will simply mention some words from the tasting notes and add my own highlight at the end of each cellar selection.
Chalk Hill Moscato 2011; we started off with this light and delectable bright pale yellow-colored dessert wine.
- Tasting notes: Expect honey suckle, fresh cut citrus fruit, some cumquat and a hint of apricot lift in the aroma. A clean, textural wine with beautiful lime curd tart, sweet dry apricot and peaches with a lift of candied citrus peel flavor.
- My highlight: Loved this sweet, smooth, light and fruity liquid.
Brewery Hill Shiraz 2010; this wine was presented in the beginning for us to compare it with subsequent red cellar collections in terms of increasing complexity.
- Tasting notes: A wine with classic Shirazey aromas, a nice pepperyness and pleasant, slightly floral aroma with some woody notes. It’s well balanced, medium to full bodied with a soft, rounded mouth feel, mellow tannins and a hint of oak with a deep, spiced fruit flavour.
- My highlight: Quite enjoyable. What I tasted most was the nice woody oaky flavor.
Chalk Hill Sidetrack 2009; this bright crimson purplish wine is the result of blending some carefully selected parcels of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Grenache.
- Tasting notes: Ripe red berry fruit, a hint of vanilla and spice aromatics. A well-balanced wine with a silky finish and a dense fruit with a hint of chocolate and velvety texture.
- My highlight: I definitely got sidetracked by its smoothness and complexity.
Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2009; the cellar selections got more intense from here with superb tantalizing red vintages.
- Tasting notes: The aroma is loaded with fresh crushed cassis, a hint of liquorice and spice, mocha and cedar. Palate wise, it has soft, velvety texture coupled with intense mulberry fruit and some savoury earthy tones, well balanced with great depth of varietal flavour.
- My highlight: It had a delightful intense and concentrated character with a pleasant lingering aftertaste.
Chalk Hill Shiraz 2009; This vibrant crimson red wine was probably everybody’s favorite, at least at our table. If I was not mistaken, it was also the priciest. Well, money doesn’t lie *grin*.
- Tasting notes: A bouquet of red and black berry fruits with floral basket notes in the aroma. The palate is full yet restrained, with lovely crunchy red currant and wild blackberry fruit, woven together with spice and floral notes. The finish is long and intense with fine fruit tannin lingering.
- My highlight: Loved the well-rounded full-bodied texture and rich plummy flavor with just a hint of tingly spiciness.
Brewery Hill Chardonnay 2010; this was the sixth and last wine for the tasting, a refreshing easy white after a series of intense red.
- Tasting notes: It exudes tropical fruit aromas and flavours of citrus and lime. Medium to full bodied, ripe and rounded initially with a crisp acidity supplying life to the Chardonnay fruit. It makes for a good, easy-drinking wine and can hold onto the medley of flavors.
- My highlight: It was subtle, fruity and peachy, perfect for a lazing off day.
Well, apparently the chardonnay was not the very last of the tasting. We also got a sip from the rare Alpha Crucis wine range from the only two bottles which Mr. Harvey himself hand-carried on his flight. The Alpha Crucis wines, inspired by the name of the brightest star in the Southern Cross constellation, are handcrafted from the most exceptional parcels of fruit from one single vineyard.
Alpha Crucis Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
- Tasting notes: This deep red purple-hued wine has lifted dense blackcurrant and black berry fruit with cedar and soft earthy notes combined with hints of spice and mocha aromatics. It is a textured, elegant wine with highly concentrated varietal fruit and fine grained savoury tannins. Well balanced with great persistence.
- My highlight: Didn’t really get enough taste from a sip but it was surely smooth and elegant.
Alpha Crucis Shiraz 2008
- Tasting notes: Bright crimson with deep purple hues, the aroma has dark chocolate, layers of red & black berry fruit with soft earthy notes accompanied by a hint of spice and oak. It is a dense yet elegant wine with highly concentrated brooding dark fruits with liquorice. The savouriness and oak complexity is balanced by the richness of fruit and silkiness of the tannin. Long, beautiful length with excellent persistence.
- My highlight: Loved the flavor and spiciness tickling all areas of the taste buds and the luscious lingering aftertaste sensation.
In addition to the beautiful wines, we were served some bread and butter, and tasty scallop, chicken terrine and quail egg canapés. The bread and butter were also used as an edible prop for winology 101 crash course, eagerly given by Mr. Yohan Handoyo, the charming general manager and wine director of Decanter. It was one of the many pointers generously given that lovely afternoon, one regarding wine and food pairing. We were told to first remember the taste of the most tannic wine. Afterwards, we ate a slice of baguette already spread with a thick layer of butter, the way the French do (according to Mr. Yohan), and washed it down with the wine. Surprisingly, the tannin taste was subdued and almost gone.
Other winology 101 lessons that we also learned that day were as following:
- Rolling the wine glass on the floor, as demonstrated by Mr. Yohan (with some wine in it and using a rollable glass) makes the wine smoother. Instead of the rolling thing, people do the twirling of the wine glass prior to enjoying the wine.
- To properly get the full taste and enjoy a cellar selection, it should not be swallowed immediately but it needs to be given some time to linger and travel to all corners of the mouth, thus the wine gargling.
- Food and wine pairing is simply matching the taste of the food and beverage so that they complements one another or even enhances the whole eating and drinking experience.
Overall, I had a wonderful wine tasting experience, actually my first time but hopefully the first of many to come. I enjoyed the exquisite wines, the mind-opening wine lessons and the lively conversation with other fellow bloggers that I sat down with, Jeny, Imelda, Natasha and Daniel. I was even feeling a bit tipsy after all the drinking but definitely feeling merrier and perkier. Before leaving, each of us was also given a bottle of wine and I got a Chalk Hill Shiraz, how wonderful! I would like to thank Mr. Jock Harvey and the lovely Ms. Novi for introducing us to the Brewery Hill, Chalk Hill and Alpha Crucis wine range. Also many thanks to Mr. Yohan Handoyo and Miss Shirley from Decanter for the crash course, the invitation, and the lovely wine afternoon.
“A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world.” –Louis Pasteur
The taster’s notes:
Favorite wine – the Moscato, Chalk Hill Shiraz and Alpha Crucis wines
What to try next time – still haven’t tried out Decanter cuisines
Price rating unknown
Alpha Crucis Wines
Decanter Wine House
Plaza Kuningan, Menara Utara Ground Floor
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. C11-14
Jakarta 12940, Indonesia
Ph: +6221 52963888
Fax: +6221 52922215