29 Nov 2011

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 100): David Bicknell, Oakridge Vineyards

Debra meets David Bicknell of Oakridge Wines based in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, Australia who specialise in Pinot Noir. With Oakridge a multi-award winner, David tells Debra that the key to success is to stay relaxed about their winemaking, not to try too hard, and treat it as a craft. He explains the challenge for new world Pinot growers is vinage, and how their Pinot vines are “precocious”.

David discusses how Oakridge’s Over the Shoulder wine – crafted using the Beaujolais model – is a bright food friendly wine and how the current trend for Australian wines is highly “un-Australian”. He tells Debra how the Oz wine industry has come a long way since the “ugly” Chardonnays of 20 years ago and talks about the honor and pressure that high scores from James Halliday bring, and why he’s still not happy with where the winery is currently at.

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22 Nov 2011

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 99): Andrew Hardy, Petaluma Wines

Debra catches up with Andrew Hardy from Petaluma, a South Australian based winery with vineyards in the Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley and Coonawarra. Petaluma’s 2008 Riesling won the 2009 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition “Best Riesling” trophy.

Andrew explains that Riesling grows so well in the Clare Valley (a relatively hot climate especially for the cool-climate loving Riesling) because of the valley’s elevation and position on the edge of desert which means the vineyards get cool air at night and also sea breeze every afternoon. They talk soil and how the Clare’s “red lime over slate” is great for minerality, what it’s like working with Brian Croser, and discuss why there can be a petrol/kerosene character in Riesling. Finally Andrew explains the ideal vintage in Clare.

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15 Nov 2011

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 98): Nik Weis, St Urbans-Hof

Debra holds court with the “Riesling King” Nik Wies of St Urbans-hof Winery in Mosel Valley, Germany, and gets nosey about the nose on Nik’s wines. Nik offers his take on the essence of his job as a wine maker: the ultimate flavor and aroma collector, which he explains is a multi-layered process that begins with the basic vegetation process and adds “layers” right through the processes in the winery and beyond.

They discuss the indispensible balancing function that slate plays in making Riesling in Germany’s Mosel Valley, and Nik tells Debra about their Ockfener Bockstein site, located in the Saar Valley, and why it is a super special spot for growing grapes for wine. Nik concludes with some comments on Riesling and globalisation, as well as his prediction for the future of Mosel.

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8 Nov 2011

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 97): Sue Hodder, Wynns

Debra catches up with Sue Hodder of Wynns, Coonawarra South Australia, a winery specialising in Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Shiraz, Riesling and Chardonnay. They discuss the trademark “minty” character of Cabernet from the region, with Sue emphasising its complementary characteristics when paired with certain foods (including some Chinese faves!).

Debra digs a little deeper on women in the winery, and they discuss exactly how many hours a day winemakers spend tasting wine (you may be surprised!) and how vital it is that they care for their palates. They discuss the challenges of Sue’s 18 year career, as well as one reason that Wynns has gained interest from Asian consumers.

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1 Nov 2011

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 96): Miri Nachmias,Rimon Winery

Debra meets Miri Nachmias of Rimon winery, a family business in Galileo, Israel – the world’s first pomegranate wine producers (who’ve patented their own special pomegranates!). Miri details the step by step process for making pomegranate wine, involving separating and squeezing machines, along with the addition of yeast and process of fermentation. She also tells exactly how many pomegranates it takes to make one bottle of wine.

Miri explains the five types of pomegranate wine produced by Rimon and some great food parings. To end the interview, Debra has her very first taste of pomegranate wine – see what she thinks!

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25 Oct 2011

Meet the Winemaker (Episode 95): Charles Philipponnat, Champagne Philipponnat

Debra meets Champagne producer Charles Philipponnat of Champagne Philipponnat located near Mareuil sur Aÿ, who talks of the producer’s hundreds of years of tradition and terrior, in particular explaining the significance of chalky soil for the region and how it has such a positive impact on the taste of the wines produced in Champagne. Debra poses the question of whether the appearance of bubbles is really an indicator of quality, and Charles offers further insight into the purpose of bubbles in Champagne.

They go on to discuss the three families of aromas in Champagne, and Charles gives Debra a little pronunciation tutorial to conclude (a must see for those whose French vino vocabulary could do with a polish).

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