Friday, November 13, 2009

Hatten Wines AGA Red

Regular readers of The Oregon Wine Blog may have noticed that it's been quite some time since I last posted. I assure you that I neither lost my passion for wine nor forgot my OWB login and password. Instead, I have actually spent the last couple weeks on a work-related trip to Indonesia. While I would love to be able to say I spent the majority of my time on the beach, I must admit there was actually very little time for recreation.

One thing I did do, however, was pick up a bottle of Indonesian wine. Wine? From Indonesia? Yes! I have to admit that the main reason I picked it up was because I told Josh (completely jokingly) that I'd pick up a bottle of wine while away. It turns out I had to cash in on my request as I found this bottle in the airport in Bali.

Hatten Winery & Vineyard has been producing wine in Northeastern Bali for the last 14 years. Unlike wines of the Pacific Northwest, the vines in Bali create grapes year-round in 120 day cycles. You won't find any big reds from Bali, but definitely some whites and other sweeter varieties.

I picked up their AVA Red, which is described as "a young light red wine made from the local Alphonse-Lavallée grapes. This medium bodied wine is often associated with the genre Beaujolais-Nouveau." Also recommended is to serve it chilled. I'm going to be completely honest in that any requests of red wines to be serve chilled automatically makes me think of Night Train. While I'm a bit scared, it's time to dive in.

Appearance: Immediately noticeable is that this wine pours pink. Granted it's a dark pink, but pink none the less. Think a dark Rosé. Very low viscosity with virtually no lace.

Smell: Light cherry notes with heavy sugar backing. This has also been described as "cheap" and "medicinal".

Taste: Boxed. It tastes like boxed wine. There's no other way to describe it. Find a box of wine with red on it and there you go. In more helpful terms, it's pretty close to a white zin or a blush.

In the end, I'm actually quite glad I found a bottle of Indonesian wine. It may have been completely underwhelming and against our general policy of not reviewing bad wine, but I think the educational message here is that you can actually grow and produce wine on an equatorial island. In retrospect, it would have made much more sense to stick with a white or a sparkling wine. Would I try another Balinese wine in the future? Sure! Would I choose AGA Red over any NW wine? Not by a long shot.


  1. Grapes in 120 day cycles! I thought only genetic engineering by Monsanto could ever do such a thing! :)

  2. Where is the next country to be making wine? Indonesia? OK

  3. Very interested to read your review. I am an expat who actually has to drink what's locally available in Indonesia, living as I do in Surabaya, Java - one island along from Bali.

    Imported wine is available but there is a huge tax on it, making most wines over $35-40 a bottle retail (for those that would cost $5-10 back home)

    Hatten's AGA White is perfectly palatable. It doesn't cloy and is refreshing. I do find the AGA Red rather underwhelming as your reviewer found. I just don't know that I am drinking wine with that one - it is flavorless. Hatten's Rose is a rather pleasant wine that perfectly suits a tropical life of hot weather and spicy food.

    Thank goodness for what we receive, I suppose. I drink the white and rose everyday and enjoy them. If they could crank up the fullness on the red I'd be quite happy.

  4. That's fascinating. Any recommendations of other Indonesian wines that perhaps have better offerings than Hatten? I have to admit that the only other wine I saw was from Wine of the Gods, but I didn't try it.