3 Fine Australian Wines Take a Bow Here

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3 Fine Australian Wines Take a Bow Here

What is it asbout Australian wines that has allowed them to become so popular among connoisseurs in the last five years?

For a country that introduced Chardonnay only 30 years ago, Australia has rapidly developed an exceptional craft of winemaking, a boast previously synonymous only with European wines. Australia is now regarded as one of the world's leading producers of fine wine and has gained wide acceptance even in the competitive markets of America and Britain. Australian wine was dubbed "sunshine in a bottle" in the November issue of the "Wine Industry Journal" and its quality is apparent in the taste. Good news for local wine lovers is that one of the best of Australia's sunshine, De Bortoli wine, has been introduced to Korea and is available at wine shops and restaurants in the Grand InterContinental Hotel in Seoul.

De Bortoli was founded in 1928 and is Australia's largest family-owned wine company, which also manages the successful De Bortoli Yarra Valley Winery and Restaurant. The winery and family estate are located in Bilbul in the Riverina district of New South Wales, a place abundant in fertile soil and optimal climate conditions for producing good wine.

To formally introduce a few varieties of De Bortoli, including the 1998 Deen De Bortoli Chardonnay, 1996 Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 1993 Nobel One, Brenton Roneberg, former wine maker and present director of international sales at De Bortoli Wines, visited Seoul for a week. Mr. Roneberg is responsible for exports to more than 40 countries.

The 1998 Deen De Bortoli Chardonnay comes from the Riverina region. It is pale lemon in color with a strong smell of ripe peach and an underlying aroma of spicy oak. The soft, rich peach flavor rounds out the subtly crisp acidity, giving it a complex taste. This flavorsome wine is an excellent choice for an aperitif and goes hand in hand with strongly flavored white meat or rich seafood dishes.

The 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon from Yarra Valley comes in a dark ruby color with a slightly purple hue. The aroma of macerated fruits makes this wine particularly interesting and its supple black-berry flavor, cedar oak and fine grained tannins enhance the rich, well-rounded flavor. This full-bodied wine is the product of a dry hot season, mature vines and very low cropping levels, which also give it an intense color and flavor. The wine will mature and age extremely well over 8 to 10 years under favorable storage conditions. It is ideal with a main course of red meat with a strong sauce, venison sausages, lamb or even wild game.

De Bortoli's 1993 Noble One is a vintage port wine whose last remaining supplies are available only in Korea. Receiving acclaim from critics around the world, this port is highly regarded as a dessert wine. The "Wine Magazine" wrote in 1999, "This wine single-hand-edly changed the way Australians thought about sweet, white table wines," in an article titled "Australia's Top 20 Benchmark Wines." The wine has a distinctive color - a faint touch of olive green in an otherwise lusciously golden hue. At the first whiff, this wine gives off a pungent aroma of fresh apricots with a slight touch of camomile and orange blossom. Mr. Roneberg explained that the wine's deep, lasting taste is due to its "dried apricot and marmalade aroma, complemented by French oak." The experience of drinking Noble One is simply one of elegance. This wine goes exceptionally well with tarts, citrus cakes, nutty pastries or lemon sherbet.

Wineshop prices start at 31,000 won ($25) for the 1998 Deen De Bortoli Chardonnay, 68,000 won for the 1996 De Bortoli Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvi-gnon and 60,000 won for the 1993 Noble One.

For further inquiries, contact Vinotheque at 02-559-7614 or Jacqui Cox at 02-559-7740 or visit De Bortoli's web site (www.debortoli.com.au).

by Ines Cho

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