Growing up in the Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand it is not surprising that Michael John Corbett ended up working in the wine industry, even though he doesn’t come from a wine family. After studying winemaking he had the opportunity to work vintages in Europe, which was where he discovered a great love of the grenache variety. After originally meeting in Hawkes Bay, he joined forces with Burgundian Edouard Maurisset-Latour and his Australian wife Ali to launch Vanguardist Wines, producing incredible wines from the Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley and McLaren Vale.
Though Jonathan Ross always had competitive tendencies, it wasn’t until he discovered hospitality and wine that he truly applied himself and found his passion. From growing up in New Jersey to working at one of the top restaurants in the world, his career has always had an upward trajectory. Soon after relocating to Australia with his fiancée Jane Lopes (who is also a top sommelier), he became a Master Sommelier of which there are currently only 249 in the world. He joins me on this episode of The Vincast to talk about his journey, and his new-found love of Australian wine.
Though her parents are Australian, Nina Caplan was born and has been based in the United Kingdom her whole life. It was her father that first introduced her to wine, though writing was her first passion. She began writing about wine after tackling the arts for many years, but found a great affinity with the vinous particularly as it related to travel. Recently she has had her first book published, a personal perspective on the vines journey through Europe during the Roman Empire, mirrored by her own experiences several thousand years later. ‘The Wandering Vine: The Romans and Me’ is now available via the Bloomsbury website, where you can get a 30% discount on a copy until the end of May 2018, simply by entering the code ‘intrepidwino’ at checkout.
Loic Avril was destined to work with wine, considering he grew up in one of France’s most historic wine regions, and sharing of great wine and food was always important to his family. His love of hospitality and restaurants came very early, from the age of ten in fact, and he was determined to follow a path in fine dining. After gaining experience in restaurants in the Loire Valley and northern England, he joined the team at The Fat Duck – at one point considered the best restaurant in the world – and soon received significant attention when he was named the global best young sommelier. When the restaurant relocated to Melbourne for six months he relocated, and decided to stay and run the wine program when it transitioned to Dinner by Heston.
Late in 2017, in conjunction with Ear Buds, I held the first edition of The Vincast Live at Noisy Ritual in Brunswick East and on Facebook Live. Two former guests of The Vincast – Ben Ranken from Galli Estate (Episode 127) and Dan Buckle (Episode 67) from Chandon Australia – joined myself and co-host Nevena Spirovska (Quickie Podcast) to talk about grape varieties in Australia: what are they, why are they, where are they and what are the best ones? I hope you enjoy this chat, as much as the live audience did. Please provide us with some feedback and interest in a future edition.
There aren’t many people who call Steve Lubiana Stefano, and you merely need to spend a few minutes with him to understand why. He is one of the most affable and soft-spoken Australian vignerons you’ll find, very much a product of having grown up in the Riverland, the product of Italian migrants. In spite of his very generous and gregarious nature, he is a philosophical wine grower with a deep passion for not only biodynamic farming but the history of these practices. His imprint on the island state of Tasmania is immeasurable, and has been producing outstanding wines from the Derwent Valley for several decades.
When Jean-Jacques Morel made the decision to move his family from Paris to Burgundy, it in fact wasn’t for wine, his entry into the wine industry was merely to earn a living once he moved to the region. It was his previous influences and experience that not doubt led to him finding a true passion for viticulture, and the decision was made to follow a path of wine farming. His incredible journey in life has not only influenced his approach to his wines, but also his approach to life, as his enthusiasm and affability his hard to deny. The fact that he limits interference with his wines is but a small part in his mystique and acclaim, and spending a short amount of time it’s hard not to find his love of life infectious.
The Pannell family is one of the most iconic in Australian wine, having not once but twice pioneered the vigneron model in Western Australia. After being one of the first commercial wine producers in the now legendary and substantial Margaret River region (Moss Wood), they had a complete shift East to the still somewhat unexplored Pemberton region, where they established Picardy Wines. Here they focused on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and invited their son Dan to be an important part of the future. With such an incredible wine pedigree and a passion for Burgundy, it’s easy to understand why Dan is regarded as one of the most incredible and honest winemakers in the state.
Despite having grown up in Rome and working in hospitality for a number of years, it wasn’t until Mattia Cianca was working in Perth that he became interested in wine. The added irony was that he was working in an Italian restaurant, learning about Italian wines, in Australia! Since arriving Down Under he has been on a fast track for sommelier stardom, working at Australia’s number one restaurant (Attica), and now with access to one of the most enviable lists in the country (Dinner by Heston). His talent and hard work was recently recognised by Sommeliers Australia, who named him 2017 Sommelier of the Year, and he is on a path to become a Master Sommelier in the next few years.
Without knowing it Rory Lane was about ten years ahead of the modern era of the Garage Winemaker in Australia with The Story Wines. In 2004, with only a few vintages experience mostly working in wineries in the United States, he took a punt on starting his own wine project, working out of a rented warehouse in suburban Melbourne. Fortunately he was able to purchase some outstanding Grampians fruit, and capture it in a bottle in an elegant expression that almost immediately began to turn heads. He is now considered to be one of the most exciting winemakers in Australia, and is an important representative for small ‘virtual’ wineries both here and overseas.
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