20 Mar 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 116: Maria Lurighi, Domaine A

Debra meets Maria Lurighi from Domaine A, a 20ha property in the Coal River Valley of southern Tasmania, owned and operated by Swiss couple Peter and Ruth Althaus. They discuss the origins of the winery’s name and the unique microclimate of Domaine A’s site, including the fact that it receives some of the longest sunshine hours in the whole of Australia. Maria offers Debra insight into the relatively “young” Tasmanian wine industry, which is famed for its sparkling wine produced in the traditional method, beautiful aromatics and is now impressing the wider international wine industry with their “fresh young man out of the blocks”, Pinot Noir.

Maria tells Debra of Domaine A’s Langtons classification. They discuss the incredibly small yield (5000 cases) but high quality of Domaine A’s wines, and how this is achieved through strict viticultural regimes and the truly handmade nature of their wines. Finally they discuss how Peter searched the southern hemisphere far and wide for a site to make wine, and fell in love with Tasmania.

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14 Mar 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 115: Jon Phillips, Inspiration Vineyards

Debra gets back to her roots with an interview with Jon Phillips of Inspiration Vineyards, located in Russian River Valley, Sonoma County California. Jon tells Debra which grape varieties thrive in the region, and why this beautiful part of California, with its charming towns, great restaurants and natural beauty, is on par with, if not better than Napa Valley – their neighbours (and rivals!).

Jon tells Debra about the style of their award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon, the challenges of growing wine in the flat terrain of the region, and the unique attributes of the Pinot Noir grape from Russian River Valley. He tells Debra the difficulties of launching a new label in Sonoma, a region filled with big brands with great recognition and market share. Finally, Jon reveals his ultimate food pairing for Inspiration Vineyards Pinot Noir.

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7 Mar 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 114: Leonardo Bellaccini, San Felice

Debra Meiburg MW chats with Leonardo Bellaccini of San Felice vineyards about what it is like to grow wine in one of the most gorgeous sites in Tuscany, Italy. Originally an “accidental winemaker,” Bellaccini now makes wine from properties in Montalcino, Chianti Classico and Maremma. Chatting with Debra, he reminisces about 1990, the first great vintage during which he made wine; and expresses his hope that the wines he has made since then are recognizable, faithful renditions of the territories where they are grown.

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28 Feb 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 113: Jock Harvey, Chalk Hill Wines

Jock Harvey of Chalk Hill Wines, McLaren Vale, South Australia catches up with Debra for an early morning “pick-me-up”– his very own Moscato, served in a unique way (the perfect way to start the day, he says). Jock tells Debra about the flagship grape varieties of McLaren Vale, as well as the more unusual varieties and clones Chalk Hill is working with. Led by a French winemaker, Jock describes their wines as fruit-friendly, refined and feminine.

Jock tells Debra how he ended up in McLaren Vale and just how long his family has been on their McLaren Vale land for. He lets Debra in on the many activities and sights on offer in McLaren Vale, as well as the friendly rivalry they have with the very famous next door neighbours in the Barossa Valley, including which region’s wines have more finesse.

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21 Feb 2012

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 112): Jean-Guillaume Prats, Cos d’Estournel

Debra catches up with Jean-Guillaume Prats from one of the Médoc’s most well-respected properties, Château Cos d’Estournel. He begins by giving the final word on how exactly to pronounce the name of the château, as well as a background on its “eccentric” founder, who was well ahead of his times forging trading routes with India in the 1800s, rather than working with the traditional European wine trading partners.

Jean-Guillaume tells Debra about the typical style of Saint-Estèphe, and how Cos d’Estournel differs from its famous neighbours. He also tells Debra about the so-called “second labels” of the Médoc, (Les Pagodes de Cos belongs to Cos d’Estournel) and what the idea behind this tradition is. Finally, Debra probes Jean-Guillaume’s about his kingly pastime – playing “real tennis”, the traditional form of modern tennis, common Bordeaux but rare in other parts of the world.

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15 Feb 2012

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 111): Brett Snelson, Sutherlands Creek Winery

Debra catches up with Brett Snelson, winemaker at Sutherlands Creek winery, located in Geelong, 45 minutes west of Melbourne, Australia. Brett tells Debra why blending is his favourite part of the job (and oh my, there is a lot involved — barrel choice plays a huge role, even before the grapes comes into play!) and which type of music he likes blending to. With Sutherlands Creek’s vineyards comprising 100 acres, Brett tells Debra of the 18 grapes varieties they have growing, although Pinot Noir is the focus (with 11 clones!).

They discuss Viognier, including the flavour profile and the most dominant fruit character, and Brett tells Debra the very special story behind their signature Viognier (hint: it has something to do with the “father” of the Australian wine industry).

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