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.
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.
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 question, the most fun part of the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show calendar is the famous Long Lunch where the trophies are announced. The five-course menu is designed by none-other than Mildura institution Stefano Di Pieri, with a selection of wines from the previous years show, many of them trophy winners. The festivities are emceed by the Chair of the AAVWS, which this year was former guest on The Vincast wine podcast and all around lovely guy, Ashley Ratcliff. Have a watch, then head to the show website to find out all of the trophy winners. Don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments below, like share and subscribe, and be sure to visit my website and follow me on social media. Many thanks to the AAVWS for the opportunity to attend as the 2016 Fellow, and also for the use of some pictures from the Facebook page.
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