Bali Booze

Martin Field 2006-07-07T01:06:49+00:000000004931200607 Food and Wine

by Bruno of Balmoral

Jest back from Bali. It was quiet out on the streets of Kuta, partly because of the soccer but mostly due to an observable lack of Aussie tourists, surfers and families. The resulting reduced number of flights meant that our planes coming and going were almost full but we noted that most fellow travellers were a bit on the grey side with only a smattering of younger surfers on board and the only child under 15 being a babe (in arms).

I used to joke a few years back that there was at least one shop for every tourist in Bali, now I’d have to adjust that to 50 to one, and naturally the competition is fierce and the desperation, very sadly, irritating. If it wasn’t for the expat business people there wouldn’t be any business.

We had dinner with a hotel owner one night and he said he had 10 guests at his large establishment, all older returnees, and that he’d been selling off bits of land he owned to maintain his (admittedly comfortable) lifestyle. Apparently the drop off in Bali tourism has also had a big impact in Java, where resort investors, furniture, clothing and handicraft manufacturers etc are being hit hard by the downturn.

Good value wine is still hard to find in Bali though we found a decent 2004 McWilliams Hanwood Shiraz at my favourite local restaurant, Warung Sobat at Kerobokan, for around A$20 and it went down rather well with a spicy Rendang Sapi (A$4).

Ann took me to a rather more upmarket establishment for my 61st. Lovely looking place called Warisan where we were seated on a broad patio overlooking the rice paddies with the usual superb sunset lending us a rosy, reflective glow. The wine list featured a 2002 Grange for around A$600 but we settled for a St Emilion Grand Cru Chateau Trimoulet ’99 for about A$90 which, while not ‘off’, served to remind me that I was past my prime and had spent far too many weeks cooking in the sun on Kuta Beach.

And I do quite like the local Hatten Rose which sells for about $10. It’s relatively low alcohol and has a crisp, dry, almost mouth puckering finish which perfectly suits a tropical setting and saves on mouthwash. Goes well with Gado Gado and Sate Ayam, cutting through the oily peanut sauce a treat. I usually knock over a bottle of this every night with dinner (in Bali) but have never yet had a hangover as a result. The same cannot be said for the Hanwood which, coincidentally, was served on both our Australian airline flights. Yellowtail used to be ubiquitous in cattle class but seems to have ‘tailed’ off a bit.

“Bali Booze”

  1. Salil Benegal :

    Sounds like quite a fun trip, except for the wine. I’m presently based in Singapore, and with the heat and humidity at this time of the year, haven’t been particularly fond of Shiraz or any other full bodied reds – unless I’ve been under air conditioning all day. Just my preference, but I find that few things beat a well chilled Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc on a sticky evening – especially when there’s a good curry or satay to go with it.