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 2016 Sommeliers Australia Ball was held recently, and I thought it might be fun to take my recording gear along and chat with a few sommeliers working in Melbourne. The first sommelier I spoke to was Kara Maisano from Masani Restaurant, the second was Tom Beattie who works at Dinner by Heston, and the third was Kayleen Reynolds, who not only works at CIty Wine Shop, but was also named the co-dux of the Sommeliers Scholarship. I asked them about how they got into wine and hospitality, their influences, and the challenges and rewards of being a somm.
Gilles Lapalus was “born in a barrel”, as wine is in his family in the Burgundy region of France. After working for many years in different roles he took a trip to the furthest place he could think of, Australia. It was here that he was not only introduced to the “new world” of wine, but also his partner. Gaining experience in South and North America, he pursued further projects in France and Italy before he was lured back to Australia and became the winemaker at Sutton Grange just outside Melbourne. During his tenure he introduced many elements to the brand, and also launched a vermouth to a thirsty Melbourne bar scene.
David LeMire started his career in wine similar to how I did; working in a wine shop while studying at university. He gained experience working for Oddbins in the UK, and whilst there he was introduced to the Master of Wine via his studies of the WSET. Upon returning to Australia, he spent ten years working for Negociants in sales and exports, and during this period became a Master of Wine. Since 2010 he was worked with Australia’s first MW (Michael Hill-Smith) at Shaw + Smith in the Adelaide Hills. He also has been involved with his own wine project La Linea, and the wine bar Mothervine in Adelaide.
On part-one of this special episode of The Vincast, I’m joined by Josh Cooper. Josh’s family established Cobaw Ridge in the Macedon Ranges the same year he was born, at a time when growing grapes for wine was pretty risky in such a cool climate. They found great success with their wines, particularly after converting to biodynamics. Josh spent time studying viticulture and winemaking at Adelaide University, and in the past few years has not stopped, working vintages in Australia and Europe. Recently he has started a few local projects of his own, making some left-of-centre styles that are turning a few heads.
Have you ever considered a career in wine business & marketing? Did you know that you can study it academically, to a PhD level? Well Damien Wilson did just that, and currently shares his incredible understanding of markets, consumers and branding with students at the Dijon School of Wine & Spirits. He joined me on this episode of The Vincast to talk about how he got into the field and how important understanding about this complicated topic will be in the future.
It’s impossible not to like Bill Downie as he is such a down-to-earth person, a brilliantly talented winemaker, and is also incredibly humble. His skills are not his technical prowess, skills which he picked up for the most part learning on the job, but his ability to simply capture the essence of what nature provides in a certain place. He joined me on this episode of The Vincast to discuss his background, his approaches to wine, and how he imparts as little of himself to his pinot noir for William Downie Wines and the singular 1000 Candles from the Yarra Valley.
Peter Scudamore-Smith was Australia’s second ever Master of Wine, the most illustrious title and qualification one can receive in the wine industry. He has led a fascinating life of wine, and he joined me on the first episode of 2015 to discuss his origins in wine, working in both Australian and European wine markets, and how his love of Italy and France has led him to take tours there as part of his business Uncorked and Cultivated.
Burch Family Wines although new in name originates back in the mid 1980s, when Howard Park was first established in the Denmark area of Great Southern in Western Australia. In the last 30 years or so it has gone from strength to strength, expanding to the Margaret River and recently becoming a member of Australia’s First Families of Wine, an initiative designed to highlight the unique regions and families behind some of the countries best loved producers. Richard Burch is one of the ‘next gen’ of the group, and he joins me to talk about what this means to him as well as some of the exciting initiatives the group is engaging in to get the message out to the world.
The Bentleigh Tasting Group met again recently, and this time the theme was a particular appellation in the Cote-d’Or of Burgundy; Morey-St-Denis. Not unlike the first tasting, it was incredibly hard to source wines for this tasting, particularly as it was a single appellation, and the wine also had to be younger 2008 or younger. On a fixed income the $100 price tag was a bit tough, but at the end of the day it was worth it to be able to taste not one but 10 outstanding examples. Also like the first tasting and limited access to wine there were two bottles that were the same, and again through bottle variation looked different. Here are my notes from the tasting. Continue reading →
All content on this website, including text, images, audio and video, remains the sole property of the author unless otherwise acknowledged and appropriately credited. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of content without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Content may be used for reproduction provided that full and clear credit is given to James Scarcebrook and/or The Intrepid Wino with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.