Last July was the Australian wine industry’s technical gabfest. People who grow grapes or make wine descend on Australia (this time Adelaide because this side of the industry is very South Australian-centric) to hear about the latest technologies.

I bumped into an old friend Don Buchanan, who made wine at Tisdall (now under French ownership) and before then at Arrowfield in the Upper Hunter Valley.

Don told me he was now working in Bali as technical adviser and enologist; so I asked him to send me some wines from Hatten. It was no surprise that Don’s wines were very drinkable and cuisine-wise quite fitting.

After all, good sound, careful Aussie-style winemaking will convert sound grapes into a decent drop anywhere in the world.

Don took over in 2008 from founding French winemaker Vincent Desplat who joined the project inauguration in 1994.

Belgia grapes on pergolas

And these Balinese grapes, belgia (a variant of muscat of alexandria and alphonse-lavalee-which I know as ribier) are grown increasingly in the north of the island in a rain shadow between two volcanoes.

The varieties are essentially big, round, juicy eating (table) grapes which supply the domestic fruit market needs, now converted across to wine production because of a need.

This has been and is still occurring in Thailand and India where the start-up grape supply is solely table grape, now driven by a wine thirsty middle class, but wine grape varieties need introducing and propagation.

Often there are complications with these introductions as the climate and varietal needs may not coincide. Some varieties cannot handle the tropical conditions. In Bali the vines are grown on a high pergola trellis, and hang down, so lack of sun and high humidity must be a problem to overcome.

The up side is that the vines keep growing year round, so they are pruned after harvest, then another crop results.

Hatten’s vineyards are at 8o latitude. Don reports: “We have 3 existing vineyards of our own; Sanggalang is the oldest, Ume Anyar 1 and 2. In total 11.5 ha are producing.

“I am now planting a new 5 ha vineyard with an Ozi style trellis and management system to use as a training ground for our Bali farmers. We will use rootstocks and a range of vinifera varieties from Oz.

“We also have 7 contracted growers with another 12 ha producing and more coming on line. In addition we have purchase agreements with 3 other major growers”.

The magnet to make wine in Bali of course is for all those Caucasian tourists whose natural diet is table wine; coupled with a diverse, spicy, highly-flavoured range of plates naturally demanding off-dry, fruity, lowish alcohol wine as the standard pairing drink.

Hatten makes this range of desirable styles very comprehensively. I tasted five wines.

Hatten Aga White NV Anggur Putih 88 (11%); USD 14, pale straw/gold, made from belgia and muscat grapes, fresh but strong nose, crunchy palate and acid kept high, 7.5 g/L sweetness; drink with medium and high heat chilli levels.

Hatten Alexandria NV Anggur Putih 87 (10.5%); USD 14, lovely musk aromas, remarkably light body which means easily sold and drunk very chilled, again muscat based, 25 g/L sweetness; drink with very hot foods.

Hatten Anggur Rose NV 88 (11%); USD 14, salmon-pink, sea-salt and oyster shell aromas which caused interest, fruity and fresh, bone dry, clean and tingly acid which is high, no sweetness, drink with fish and oily dishes for paired balance. Made from the alphonse lavalee red grape which creates this seaside aromas.

Hatten Sparkling White and Rose

Hatten Tunjung Sparkling White NV 89 (11.5%); USD 14, pale but lots of greens, belgia grapes showing good fruitiness and less flowers, some yeast, quite dry though 25 g/L sweetness, has a long tail of acidity for food enjoyment, even hot and spicy is suitable despite the bubbles.

Hatten Jepun Sparkling Rose NV 90 (11.5%); USD 14; salmon, tons of salty/oyster shell aromas, lots of red grape character, less yeast, great palate, powerful, dry from tannin yet sweetness is 35 g/L; easy to assimilate with local fare, and serve icy cold for best effects. Both sparklings are made by the traditional method-in bottle, not externally fizzed.

Through social media I met a man in the telco industry based in Jakarta who first pointed me to the taste quality of the Jepun Rose thus:

“They do two sparkling wines, Jepun (frangipani flower) rose and Tunjung (means waterlily) white. It’s important to set the expectations beforehand, the wines are from grapes grown in Bali after all.

Sparkling the wine-Balinese style

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