04 September 2015
Babich Wines at Por Que No, Jakarta
A selection of wines from Babich Wines of New Zealand presented by James Cutfield, their Export Manager for South East Asia. The wines were served as a wine tasting with tapas generously hosted by Por Que No, a new chic Spanish Tapas restaurant in Jakarta. In Indonesia, the Babich wines are exclusively imported and distributed by PT Dwimitra Sukses Perkasa.
A short introduction to Babich. Still a family-owned winery whose production volume places them in the top 10 in New Zealand. Given the domination of massive wine estates owned by huge drinks conglomerates, this makes it a particularly laudable accomplishment. In 2016 they are to be a century old, and long may it continue too. A peek through their website reveals the enormous range of wines they produce (and across various regions), based on two wineries in Auckland and Marlborough. Most of their grapes are sourced from their own vineyards, with some bought in on long term (mostly handshake) contracts. The wines are written in the order they were presented.
Straight out of the glass, gooseberry on the nose with bags of lemon peel coming through, hints of greenness too with lime and green bell pepper notes, followed by some under-ripe guava: a classic if not expected nose. Lemony and juicy on the palate with lip-smacking fruity acidity, the flavors just cleanly races through; light, refreshing and very drinkable, makes you reach for another glass. Well executed and shows typicity of origin.
2014 Babich Marlborough Pinot Gris
Higher notes on the nose; high citrus notes, spritz and almost air-freshener like (in a good way); bit of green apple peel hidden behind the citrus. Lemon on the palate again with soft acidity; tastes dry, with pithy hints of ripe stone fruits (without the sweetness) and a mid palate that tries to be bigger and more rounded, perhaps at the expense of definition. Definitely Alsace Pinot Gris and not new world Pinot Grigio in style; easy-drinking and well made but maybe a bit unsure for my liking.
Citrus on the nose with some tropical notes, feels generous. Palate is lemony and rounded; simple, clean stone fruit flavours showing with no oak influence. There some width in the mouthfeel and the acidity doesn’t just race through, it lingers slightly. An approachable, food friendly wine. Textbook New World unoaked Chardonnay.
2013 Babich Marlborough Pinot Noir
Sweet red currants and cranberry on the nose, some violets and damsons too, with red plums; a whiff of volatiles and initially feels a bit hot. Light extraction, shimmeringly pale and see through in the glass; flavours are of slightly unripe red cherry and currants laced with fresh, fruity acidity. Light and nimble, a cheerful (can I say gluggable?) Pinot; stylistically reminds me of a young Chorey les Beaune.
Top tip: enjoy this wine slightly chilled (which we did), the volatiles are dampened and the bright fruit really shines through.
Overall, all of the wines felt correct and well executed if perhaps unexciting. All of them show typicity of origin, lightness of touch and a desire to let the fruit speak unhindered . Honestly, you dont get that enough these days. However, fact remains that these are entry-level wines and understandably so. Babich are new to the Indonesian market and these entry-level wines are the forerunners, I’m sure in due course they will ship their mid-level and premium labels here too. And from what I have seen, one can wait with anticipation and excitement.