Would you believe that there’s a winery on the Indonesian island of Bali, with its own vineyards and winemaking facility, that has been making it’s own wines for over 20 years? Prior to coming across a mention of Hatten Wines, I wouldn’t have believe that such a winery existed. In Australia, the most northerly vineyards are located in the highlands behind Brisbane. No grape growing is done in the tropical north. Who every heard of grapes growing in the tropics, and even more so yielding a decent drop of wine?
Note: It’s probably best to leave your dog behind for this adventure.
An Introduction to Hatten Wines
Hatten Wines is far from a typical winery operation. Firstly, the grapes are not the typical varieties grown elsewhere for wine making. Instead two French table grape varieties, Alphonse-Lavallée and Belgia, are utilised. Plus the local Propolinggo Biru grapes for one of the sparkling wines. The vines are grown on the north coast of Bali on a pergola system, surrounded by palm and banana trees rather than the typical rose bushes. And most surprisingly, the vines can be harvested every 120 days, due to the tropical climate. Typically the grapes are continuously harvested. This means rather than yearly vintages, each wine is labelled non-vintage style, with no year listed.
The initial wine produced by Hatten Wines was a rosé from the Alphonse-Lavallée grapes, designed to meet the needs of the local restaurant and tourism industry. During the last 15 years more varietals have been added, including white, red, sparkling and fortified wines. Additionally, in 2006, Hatten started importing frozen grapes from Australia to produce a second range of wines. The Two Islands label has wine varietals more familiar to Western tourists, with a premium charged.
Sampling the Wines
It’s easy to try the wines, with them found on many drinks list around Bali and Lombok, listed either as Hatten Wines or Aga Wines. To try the full range of wines, head to the main Cellar Door in Sanur, where the state of the art winemaking facility is also located. Alternatively, head to Sanggalangit in northern Bali, not far from the popular tourist town of Lovina, where there’s a Welcome Centre. It’s surrounded by some of the winery’s fascinating vineyards, a regular sight along the road between Sinirit and Pemuteran. The centre is open daily, 10am to 4:30pm, except Sundays and Balinese holidays.
Here’s my opinion on each of the local wines that I tried:
Alexandria White: Hatten’s sweet white wine made from Belgia grapes, this is a very easy drinking style. While sweeter than I prefer, it’s well suited to hot tropical afternoons while lazing around a pool.
Aga White: Named after the word for “authentic” in Balinese, this is Hatten’s dry style white wine. It’s also made from the Belgia grapes. It’s quite fine drinking, well suited to the plentiful seafood around Bali.
Rosé: Made from the Alphonse-Lavallée grapes, this was more savoury and less sweet than most rosés I’ve recently drunk in Australia. I didn’t enjoy this a much as I expected (I’m a big fans of rosés for summer drinking), probably because it’s more suited for drinking with food, than as an aperitif.
Aga Red: I received my biggest surprise when trying this red wine, also made from the Alphonse-Lavallée grapes. I enjoyed it more than I expected, as I don’t often drink red wines in hot conditions. Although naturally the wine was refrigerated when I tried it at the Welcome Centre – red wines are meant to be drunk at European room temperature, not in Bali conditions! Unfortunately, I couldn’t take away a bottle for later, as it was temporarily out of stock.
Each of these wines are available at the Welcome Centre and Cellar Door for around $18 AUD per 750mL bottle, typically all year round.
Find Out More: Click here to check out Hatten’s official website
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