Kalari 2008 Late-Picked Verdelho

Kalari 2008 Late-Picked VerdelhoOne thing about wine culture in Australia that is unusual compared to many places in the world, and that I was reminded of by a reader, is that here it’s very common to buy your wine at a liquor shop, then take the bottle with you to a restaurant to have it with a meal. Restaurants that allow this advertise as “BYO”, standing for “Bring Your Own”, and most restaurants here support it. It will only be a very fancy and expensive restaurant that won’t let you bring your own wine, expecting you to buy something off their wine list instead.

This custom arose because of our liquor licensing laws, which constitute a significant cost for a restaurant wanting to sell alcohol. But there’s no law against allowing diners to bring their own pre-purchased alcohol to a restaurant, so many restaurants began to allow it as a way of letting customers drink with their meal without having to bother getting a liquor licence. Nowadays many restaurants offer both BYO and a wine list, for wider options.

Anyway, today’s wine we bought at a wine shop in Katoomba last weekend, on our day driving trip. I spotted the “late-picked” label and picked it up to have a look. It’s from Kalari, a winery based near Cowra, in the Central West of New South Wales – a town still better known for the breakout of over 500 Japanese POWs during World War II than for wine. The back label described it as semi-sweet, and a good match for spicy Asian food. Having had success with the delicious Gew├╝rztraminer last week which was described in similar terms, I decided to buy it. Tonight we took it up to Khacha Thai, a short walk up the hill from our place. I had a spicy stir-fried duck finished with a red curry sauce, while M. chose a grilled salmon with apple salsa.

M.’s first reaction on sniffing the wine was “apples!” I agreed, definitely fresh green apples, with a hint of lime. The first taste was similar, green apple and lime, very fruity and a bit sweeter than last week’s Gew├╝rztraminer. It developed into an orange marmalade flavour and aftertaste, almost candied orange peel. I also thought I could detect a touch of peach. It was nice, though slightly less interesting and with no real notes of spice like the traminer.

After deciding on these flavours, we checked the back label of the wine, which described it as having apricot and pineapple, followed by mandarin peel. Well, apricot isn’t too far from peach, but I’m pretty adamant the dominant notes were green apple and lime, not pineapple. The mandarin peel matches the orange marmalade pretty well though. So a decent hit on the label notes there.

The food was excellent, as usual for Khacha, and the wine matched it nicely, the sweetness and acidity balancing the Thai spices. All up, a positive experience with this wine.


One Response to “Kalari 2008 Late-Picked Verdelho”

  1. anaraug says:

    BYOB is more common than rare here in New Orleans. I’d say it applies to maybe 1/10 of the restaurants max though. The reason is probably different — there are tons of family-run “neighborhood” restauarants. They’re all also usually cash only.

    The wine sounds really good too, kind of an abundance of flavor.

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