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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7 Feb 2012

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 110): Kim Longbottom, Henry’s Drive

Debra catches up with Kim Longbottom of Henry’s Drive, a winery located in Padthaway, South Australia. With burglars, masks and a range of very unusual label imagery and wine names, Kim explains how the history of the region’s postal service and bushrangers (historic Australian outlaws) helped name the winery and its wines. Kim tells Debra what to expect from the cool-climate wine region of Padthaway, as well as Henry’s Drive’s specialty varietal, Shiraz.

Debra asks about the shocks and challenges of setting up the winery in 1998, as well as what it takes to succeed in the wine industry. They discuss the origins of the Padthaway name and the region’s unique water supply, as well as what the Henry’s Drive winery looks like and the soil profile of their vineyards.

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31 Jan 2012

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 109): Warwick Hawker, Pisa Range Estate

Debra meets Warwick Hawker of Pisa Range Estate, located in the Central Otago Hills of New Zealand’s South Island. Warwick tells Debra why both the mountain range and the winery are named after Pisa, and how the Pisa Range creates a unique micro-climate for New Zealand, with cold winters, warm summers and a dry climate perfect for the production of Pinot Noir.

They discuss how Pisa Range Estate’s “hands-off” winemaking philosophy is reaping such success and why it was “serendipitous” that they began growing the ever-difficult Pinot Noir grape in the first place. Debra also uncovers Warwick’s previous life as a New Zealand diplomat, and asks how life is both the same and different as before, as well as what the biggest challenges of this tree-change have been.

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24 Jan 2012

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 108): Paul Brajkovich, Kumeu River Wines

Debra meets Paul Brajkovich of Kumeu River Wines, located in Kumeu, 26kms north-west of Auckland in New Zealand. A family owned and run winery, Paul explains to Debra how his brother Michael (chief winemaker and New Zealand’s first Master of Wine), his other brother Milan (a chemical engineer, who is Vineyard Director), his sister Marijana (Marketing Director who also looks after the finances) and himself (Director of Sales and Marketing) all answer to his mother Melba, who is the boss. Paul outlines the key export markets for Kumeu River Wines, as well as the winery’s history in Hong Kong.

Primarily a Chardonnay producer, Paul describes the key characteristics of Kumeu River Wines’ Chardonnays, and how they achieve balance, as well as giving Debra a comparison of the wines and climate in Kumeu with other more prominent wine regions in New Zealand.

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17 Jan 2012

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 107): Mark & Peter Saturno, Longview Winery

Debra meets the charming Saturno brothers, Peter and Mark from Longview in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Unique producers of Shiraz and Nebbiolo in the cool-climate region, the self-described wine industry “mavericks” tell Debra how and why they are doing things differently and how it is paying off. Debra probes about family feuds and brotherly bickering, along with what the brothers like to do in their spare time.

Supreme multi-takers (they also run long lunches on Sundays on the winery’s verandah, serving their own sausages, pasta, produce and more), Peter and Mark tell Debra why they think the Aussie wine industry is “faceless”, how they are involved in the wine from production to distribution, and where Longview’s focus is right now.

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