BY NOW, EVERY KID in this country has probably heard of Melbourne. Thanks to Salaam Namaste. Sensuality suitably awakened, our Bollywood crazed babas and babes now believe that everyone in that faraway Aussie city speaks Hindi, hops on and off trams singing songs, lives in seaside apartments and patches up misunderstandings over a bottle of wine. Poor hallucinating creatures hath our Bollywood badshahs begat. Thank heavens at least one thing is correct. The part about wine.
Gold was discovered in Victoria, the southern state which is home to Melbourne, in 1851, just two years after California’s gold rush. As the economy and population of the state grew, winemakers’ ambitions witnessed a parallel rise. Years went by, as the supply of gold saw a decline and out-of-work miners started to get depressed. As do most gold diggers on growing old! But guess what! Winemakers hired these gold diggers to dig underground wine cellars.
Then the winemakers luck ran out. Phylloxera struck. That dreaded pest which attacks and kills vine roots destroyed almost all vineyards of Victoria in the late 1800s. It took awhile for the industry to re-establish, and now it is among the most prosperous in the world. You know the reason why if you taste the Mount Avoca Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2003. It’s one of my favourite blends in white wines and I can’t drink enough of it. Semillon berries are usually thin-skinned, small and greenish coloured. Known as the versatile grape, Semillon is made into a range of wine styles. It is one of the major grape varieties of Bordeaux, France, where it is produced in both sweet and dry styles. In Australia 100% Semillon wines can be quiet to begin with and develop honey flavours as they age. When blended with Sauvi-gnon Blanc, the wine can show a youthful, energetic personality.
Mount Avoca is youthful too, being in existence just thirty-five years. Enough time to earn a reputation for producing some fine wines indeed. In 2004, they snagged four awards including a Gold at the Australia heritage Wine show. No mean feat that. Alongside in the box, are the tasting notes. Take my word for it. These are value for money wines. Chill and drink up. Sante.
The fastest way to chill wine is to put it in an ice bucket filled half with ice and half with cold water. Chilling wine this way takes about half the time of chilling it in a bucket full of ice alone. To chill the wine quickly , the bucket must be deep enough so that the bottle can be submerged up to its neck in the ice water bath. Do this , if you have forgotten to chill the bottle in the fridge for at least two hours prior to guests arriving. Remember , both red and white need their stor-age temps lowered before serving. Chill Champagne and sparkling wines two hours before serving.
TASTING NOTES: A stylish example of what wines can become in the hands of a master blender. Steely, limey Sauvignon Blanc notes play the tango with Semil-lon’s citrusy notes. Chill it to around 9 degrees and you will be rewarded by a refreshing taste. Finish the bottle , don’t keep overnight.
SERVING TEMP: 8° C to I 0° C
FOOD SUGGESTIONS: Just drink it as an aperitif . Or pair it with grilled seafood, prawns, or lightly spiced ghar ka khana. I ordered take away masala dosas and overdosed on the sambar tanginess with this white. Simply delicious !
TASTING NOTES: This wine has been aged in French Oaks and it reflects in the taste . On your palate, you will notice flavours of blueberries and the finish is that of dark chocolate . This is a wine you can cellar for at least three years.
SERVING TEMP: I 4° C to I 6° C
FOOD SUGGESTIONS: Mutton in any spice, medium spiced Indian food is good too. I paired it with Bade Miya’s kebabs.
TASTING NOTES: By nature, mer-lots are richly flavoured grapes. Depending on the soil , expect blackcurrant and plum flavours. This wine benfits from extended barrel maturation in French and American Oak. Catch that pep-pery finish.
SERVING TEMP: 14° C TO 16° C
FOOD SUGGESTIONS: Any spicy food , cooked without tamarind or whole black peppers.