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.
The new episode of The Vincast wine podcast is with winemaker Ben Ranken, who has been at the helm of Galli Estate for over ten years. One of the more intriguing projects he has been working on is the Adelé range at a more premium price point. On this edition I looked at two wines that come from the Sunbury vineyard, and on another edition I will look at a few wines from the Heathcote vineyard. let me know what you think in the comments below!
Greg Lambrecht discovered an interest in wine while growing up in California, but his passion for discovery began when he studied in Boston and met the woman who would become his wife. Through family and friends he was able to taste and learn while he developed an incredible career in medical technology. During his wife’s pregnancy he wanted to enjoy a glass of wine but it seemed a waste to open a bottle as she wasn’t drinking. Thus he conceived of a device that could allow someone to drink from a bottle without opening it, and the Coravin is now changing the wine industry around the world.
I’ve followed Jo Marsh and her Billy Button Wines for some time, mostly as they are focused on my beloved Italian grape varieties. After finally meeting Jo at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show late last year, I was thrilled to finally be able to open some bottles here on the IntrepidWino YouTube channel. I looked at three white wines made from varieties that originate from different parts of Italy. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Growing up in Sydney Ned Goodwin was really into skateboarding, surfing and listening to the band Kiss. Little did he know that an exchange year in Japan at the age of 15 would combine with a global journey in hospitality to him working for a large restaurant group and becoming the first Master of Wine in Japan. On this episode he joined me to talk about his journey, his influences, his love of authentic Australian wine and his recent role as Brand Ambassador for Champagne Charles Heidsieck.
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.
Emma Bentley is an English-born, Paris-based International Winery Consultant. During her varied career in the wine industry – mostly based in either France or the UK – she gradually began to find an affinity with natural wine producers, particularly those from Italy. She made the bold decision to offer her services to these wineries in helping them grow their business and educate trade and consumers in the intricacies of their terroir and traditions. She joined me on this episode of The Vincast to share her story.
I joined some sommelier friends recently for a blind tasting session. Each of them have been trained using the Certified Sommelier Method, using a grid to break down a wine into its components for the purpose of analysis, then make an assesment about what the wine is. It was quite fascinating to watch them dissect wines blind, but still showed the subjectivity of wine.
After many years of experience in the hospitality industry and thousands of wines tasted, Steve Kimonides – sommelier at Il Bacaro restaurant in Melbourne – and his colleague Raph started their own catering business. Burn City Smokers is dedicated to slow roasted smoked meats, and is already turning heads and tastebuds. On this episode Steve tells me all about how he went from front of house to back, and how he prepares and cooks the meat.
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