In 2018 De Bortoli Wines is celebrating 90 years of wine history in Australia, and as a member of the third generation, Leanne De Bortoli has worked tirelessly with her winemaker husband Steve Webber to take the company to new heights. Growing up in Griffith where the business was founded by her grandfather, she and Steve helped establish their Yarra Valley-based facility in the 1980s and was instrumental in evolving the brand image to a more premium one. In a number of ways and at numerous times De Bortoli have been trend-setters in the wine industry, and as a member of Australia’s First Families of Wine they are well placed to continue producing outstanding wines and having a positive influence.
I’ve been following the incredible work of Lucy Kendall and Alice L’Estrange recently, particularly their work importing some awesome and authentic wines from the South of Chile. I recently invited them each onto episodes of my wine podcast The Vincast, to chat about their backgrounds, and to talk about the launch of their own locally made wines under the George branding. Here are my pre-release impressions of 80% of the wines now available.
George ‘Lilac Wine’ Gently Sparkling Pinot Noir 2017 – RRP $30.00
George ‘Golden’ Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – RRP $30.00
George ‘Picnic Wine’ Merlot Cinsault 2017 – RRP $32.00
George Mouvedre Cinsault 2017 – RRP $32.00
Alice L’Estrange is undoubtedly a lover of culture and language, so it is unsurprising that she got into wines from Chile. While spending a year living in Mexico improving her Spanish, she gained an appreciation for the purity of farming and natural agricultural produce, but it was her friend Lucy who introduced her to wine. After a fateful evening and a fateful bottle, they decided to do something wine-related, and Cultivar Vinos was that something.
Lucy Kendall has managed to fit in quite a bit of winemaking experience in a relatively short amount of time, both in Australia and overseas. Thanks to her BFF Alice she got the opportunity to not only make wine in Chile, but also import some to Australia via Cultivar Vinos and give trade and consumers the opportunity to see authentic traditional Chilean wines. More recently she and Alice have been making wine closer to home and are about to launch them under the George brand.
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.
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 Vincast - a Wine Podcast with The Intrepid Wino
Wine - Wine People - Wine Culture
A podcast about wine, wine culture and wine people. Every week a different guest from the wine industry joins host The Intrepid Wino (aka James Scarcebrook) for a casual chat about the world of wine.
All content on this podcast 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.
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.