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Old World, New World... Bali?

Nov 21, 2012

Wine-lovers usually distringuish themselves as either Old or New World fans, and take great pride in knowing and explaining why they prefer a certain geographical location when selecting their bottles. Needless to say, we at Veritas are the followers of the Old World Wine school, although we do love to try all kinds of different wines - you can always be surprised by a new terroir, a new grape, a new winemaker. 

We were most startled however when in May at the Hong Kong Vinexpo, we met a winemaker from Bali. Yes, Bali. This wonderful exotic haven, the 'Island of Gods', doesn't strike me as a great geographical area for growing grapes... It's constantly hot and humid - great vacation spot but hey, can you imagine fussy Pinot Noir princess settling in here?! 

We have since then been curious to find out how Bali wines are like, and finally last week on our trip to Seminyak we had a chance to try a Balinese wine. We were in the highly regarded Breeze restaurant and thought it would be a good place to select a Balinese wine from their wine menu to match our dinner - so after careful consideration we ordered a bottle of Two Islands Cabernet-Merlot NV. We don't often encounter a wine with non-vintage, but up for adventure, we paired this wine with our wagyu steak and duck curry. Based on the name, we expected a traditional Bordeaux blend, but it was something very different: this wine was not at all full-body, much closer to a New World Pinot Noir in both appearance and body, and very, very fruity with a little bit of spiciness. There is a moderate acidity in it and the 13% alcohol came through quite characteristically, but the wine remained light and playfully fresh. Definitely not what you'd expect from a Cabernet-Merlot blend, this wine was a fair pairing for our spicy Balinese duck dish - our western palate wished for something else for the steak, but that may just be what we've grown used to.

We learned later that the Two Islands winery actually imports the grapes from Australia, and the fermentation, winemaking and maturation is then done in Sanur, Bali. Interesting concept - don't miss this if your path takes you to Bali!

Last update: Mar 07, 2013
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