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.
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.
On a recent edition of Let’s Taste I looked at a few wines from the Vanguardist range, made by Michael John Corbett in South Australia. Sanglier is a different brand they make, slightly wilder in style, and he gave me a bottle of the 2016 Shiraz to taste. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
I recently bumped into Michael John Corbett in Melbourne as we happen to share some warehouse space. I’d seen the Vanguardist wines out and about in my travels as a wine rep, and had noticed them not far from mine tucked away in inner Melbourne ready for delivery. Michale mentioned that he would love to be involved with The Vincast, and generously offered me some wines to taste. Please let me know what you think in the comments below!
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.
At the beginning of the year I sat down with Eliza and Angela Brown, two of the three owners of All Saints Estate in Rutherglen Victoria. It was fantastic to hear about their family background, the wine dynasty of the Brown family, and the incredible work their father put into this historic brand. I was very happy to receive a sample of this gorgeous packaged rosé from them recently, and thought I would share my impressions here on Let’s Taste. Please feel free to share your comments or questions below!
All Saints Estate Rosa 2017 – RRP $32.00
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!
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