After a pretty crazy 2016 that saw some of the most incredibly creative individuals in the world taken from us, it seems pertinent to reflect on my own somewhat auspicious year. I released 36 episodes of The Vincast wine podcast with incredible guests like Max Allen, Viv Thomson, Jane Faulkner, Guill de Pury and Iain Riggs. On my YouTube channel I chronicled the making of my first wine – a Heathcote Sangiovese – which I will be releasing early next year under the brand Vino Intrepido. I was named the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show Fellow and got a behind the scenes look at Australia’s most exciting wine show. In addition I was as a finalist for Digital Wine Communicator of the Year with Wine Communicators of Australia (the award was won by The Vincast guest Jane Thomson). Most importantly of all, I have a son arriving next year around the same time that I will hopefully be making my next wine(s)!
In 2016 I also tasted some incredible wines, and released almost 70 video tasting reviews under the Let’s Taste series on the IntrepidWino YouTube channel. Some of the wines were from my cellar, some were submitted by wineries, and some were gifts. The wines below are the ones that had the biggest impact on me this year!
The Intrepid Wino with his tasting partner Milly
For those who listened to Episode 73 of The Vincast you would have heard about John Wurdeman, an American-born artist that fell in love with (and in) Georgia, and moved there many years ago. Since then he started being more involved with Georgian culture and history, helping preserve their traditional polyphonic singing, and making authentic wine under Pheasant’s Tears.
Last week John and his wife Ketevan tragically lost their family home, countless possessions (including some of John’s art), and priceless memories, to fire. Thankfully none of the family nor anyone else was in the blaze. They are however in serious need of assistance to rebuild their home, and as supporters of my blog and podcast, you would be doing myself, John and his entire family a great thing if you could make a small donation to their rebuilding fund.
You can find the link here, there has already been a huge outpouring of support and donations from the wine loving community around the world. If you haven’t listened to my chat with John on The Vincast I highly recommend it.
John Wurdeman from Pheasant’s Tears
If you are a wine lover with a sense of humour, and you haven’t heard of the digital series Plonk, then I have to ask, have you been living under a rock? You have even less excuses to make considering that the series creator and one of the stars, Nathan Earl, was a guest on my podcast The Vincast! Go on, have a listen to the episode here. Nathan has an incredible background in television and was one of the most important people behind the scenes on the iconic ABC Chaser shows. He was so thrilled to be able to incorporate his Hunter Valley roots and love of wine onto this irreverent look at wine and lifestyle shows.
The exciting news is that the second season of this hilarious program, after a successful first-run on Stan, is now available on the Plonk YouTube channel. They’ve broken up the six episodes into ten minute chunks, making them easier to digest. One of the biggest highlights for me was seeing so many awesome wine industry people make some cameos, and in some cases really show off their acting chops! So many moments take a good-natured piss-take on some of the ridiculous things that we do in the business which have the potential of putting people off as being a bit pretentious. So give it a watch now!
In an effort to incorporate more visual stuff to my communications, I’ve started posting some videos on my Youtube Channel, IntrepidWino. So far I’ve only posted a few random videos I’ve recorded in some of my travels, and one I recorded of myself opening a bottle of sparkling wine the way I was taught at Domaine Chandon.
The idea is to start creating more video content, some videos explaining the way I taste wine and some of my philosophies around wine. More importantly I’m going to start streaming live tastings with guests (winemakers, importers, sommeliers), which will then be available on this channel. Let me know if this is something you’d like to see and/or be involved with.
Just as a taster, here’s the link to a video I recorded in June 2014 when I was visiting Damijan Podversic in the hills of Collio. Please like and favourite, and subscribe to the channel so you don’t miss any of the content I’m planning on uploading soon.
James Scarcebrook (otherwise known as The Intrepid Wino)
Last year was a particularly good year for drinking for me, I have to admit it. Thanks to all the fantastic people I met and venues I discovered, who all work with some beautiful products, I got to both taste and drink (sometimes a bit too much) some amazing stuff. Some of these wines were tasted at events or trade tastings, some at my favourite bars & restaurants, and a few were tasted at wineries I visited (which was too rare in 2014). You’ll notice that many of these wines are Italian which very much reflects where I was at this year working for an importer of Italian wines, and also visiting Italy in June.
Let me know what you think, and tell me in the comments what were your highlight wines for 2014.
2014 was a momentous year as it was the first time I tasted Claret!
It’s a long time between entries as far as writing on this blog (I’ve been focusing much more on The Vincast), but I thought it was about time to start putting pen to paper (metaphorically) again. I’ve decided to start something a bit different; rather than a simple tasting note on a wine, or a description of a producer and their methods, I would make the point that a bottle of wine is the property and perspective of the drinker when they open it. Every so often I open a bottle from my own collection or I taste a wine that has a personal story and a connection for me. In addition I will talk about the context in which I have enjoyed said wine; who I drink it with, where and what with. I hope you enjoy, and of course you are welcome to share some of your own experiences, whether with the wine in question or a different one entirely.
Roberto Voerzio Cerequio Barolo 2006
Currently I’m sitting at my gate at Melbourne airport waiting to board my flight to Singapore. After a few nights in Singapore soaking up the atmosphere and catching up with some friends, it’s on to Milan, from which I’ll make a 17 day round-trip visiting producers in the northern regions of Italy.
It’s been 15 months since my last international flight, 16 months since visiting my first overseas vineyard, and over two years since my first visit to wineries in Italy. If you know anything about me or have read any of my writing from my big tour, you’ll know how much I adore Italy, its people, its food and most of all, its wine.
In fact I love Italian wine so much that since September 2013 I have been working for an importer of some of the most interesting wines from all around Italy. Naturally (pun-intended, the company imports quite a number of low-intervention sustainably farmed ‘natural’ wines) one of the main priorities is to visit and learn all about the producers and products I’m selling to the thirsty trade.
Therefore I’m just putting it out there for reasons of journalistic integrity (cringe!) I will be writing about wineries and vineyards that relate to my job. I am however going in with almost a blank slate and an open mind, considering I have had little experience with the kinds of producers my company imports, and also with some of the regions I’ll be visiting for the first time.
Singapore beckons for some awesome street food (fingers crossed), and perhaps even a wine bar or two (toes crossed). Not really sure when and where I’ll be able to upload entries, so please be patient with me. Hopefully my writing hasn’t totally abandoned me…
It’s an odd feeling looking back on a sixteen-month trip and trying to remember the places and experiences. Of course the further back I go the blurrier it tends to be, but there are still very clear and strong memories right from the beginning. I also have the benefit of a chronicle to refer to, which I am now in the process of doing. With roughly 200 entries to read through that’s likely to take me a while, and so I’m going to ask you to be patient as I’m also trying to organise my life and try and find sources of income.
|Petaluma Riesling 1998
A few days ago I stepped onto Australian soil for the first time in 500 days. It is a pretty surreal experience returning home after having been on the move for so long, and seeing so many amazing and different countries. Firstly there is the fact that I have returned from sub-zero and icy temperatures in South Korea to warm and dry 30+ temperatures in Melbourne, and I can actually walk around in shorts and T-shirts like a proper Australian. I am also experiencing a kind of reverse culture-shock, as I had got so used to being in foreign and fascinating cultures and being somewhat out of my element. It probably doesn’t make sense to feel so out of place in my own home town.
|I stopped in Seoul on the way home to visit a friend