Matthew Jukes 100 Best Australian Wines Roadshow 2012/2013
Here are the confirmed dates for my forthcoming 100 Best Roadshow. Please order your tickets well in advance to avoid disappointent and also spread the word to everyone your know who loves wine – this is the biggest and best Roadshow ever!
THE DATES FOR YOUR DIARIES
20th September 2012 – Tate Britain, London – DONE
Millbank, London SW1P 4RG. To book tickets please call 020 7877 8888
REPORT – Over 130 people packed the glorious Tate Gallery, surrounded by Turners and Constables, to taste through the incredible selection of fine Australian wines and also dip in and out of the spectacular Pre-Raphaelite exhibition. Hamish Anderson, Tate Wine guru, was on top form guiding Tate Wine Club members and guests around the room and with no less than seven winemakers (Dave & Diana Palmer from Skillogalee; Louisa Rose from Yalumba & Pewsey Vale; Tom Barry from Jim Barry Wines; Iain Riggs from Brokenwood; Bruce Tyrrell from his eponymous iconic estate and Virginia Willcock from Vasse Felix) on hand to pour their wines and greet their fans the atmosphere was electric. There is no finer kick-off to the Roadshow than this inaugural event at the Tate and if the enthusiasm of the crowd and their reaction to the excellence of the wines is anything to go by we are on for a legendary set of events around the UK.
8th February 2013 – SH Jones, Leamington Spa – DONE
121 Regent Street, Leamington Spa CV32 4NU. To book tickets please call 01926 315609 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
REPORT – To my shame I have never been to Leamington Spa before. I cannot remember a more beautiful city centre, with chic shops and boutiques, all immaculately tended, andthe noble Spa at their heart – I will return. I strolled past the smart SH Jones shop on Regent Street on my way to the Angel Hotel where the tables were set up, groaning under the weight of no less that 48 of this year’s 100 Best. It was great to see seven of the representatives of the various wineries/agencies arrive (including Andrew, all of the way from Brown Bros. HQ in Australia) to help the SH Jones team pour the wines. We needed the help because this event was not only sold out it seemed to have attracted a few thirsty opportunists, too. With around 100 people speeding through the wines in just two hours it was a helter skelter ride. I managed to ‘tell the story’ about every single wine which must be a record, too! Some of the Banbury SHJ squad came on the train to investigate the SHJ sibling operation in Leamington, but on the whole the audience were new to me and new to Aussie fine wine. I do hope that this event has not only ignited the passions of the Leamington SH Jones team, ably led by Tom, but also the assembled tasters. Leamington is apparently a pretty traditional place when it comes to wine habits and so it is about time that this striking town felt the thrill of great Australian wine running through its veins.
28th February 2013 – Selfridges, Birmingham – DONE
The Bullring, Upper Mall, East Birmingham B5 4BP. To book tickets please call 0800 123 400
REPORT – The incredible balcony bar at Selfridges Birmingham looks down from the fourth floor onto the inside of the Bullring shopping centre and it is the perfect venue for a wine tasting. This event was sold out and we all crammed onto the neon green and steel promontory and tasted our way through the outstanding line up of wines. The most common expression of the evening was one of ‘amazement’. Amazement at the fact that all of the incredible Rieslings were dry, thrilling and invogorating. Amazement that the Chardonnays were fine, long, complex but not overtly oaky. Amazement that the big reds were all impeccably balanced and not showing an ounce of unwanted alcohol or oak. Modern Australian wine is so professionally made, carefully assembled and deliciously balanced that you cannot fail to adore their thousands of expressions of flavour. The Birmingham crowd lapped up these wines and appreciated the fact that Australia’s old hangovers from the eighties (excesses of oak, sweetness, alcohol or tannin) will never darken our doors again. This was a great evening. Fun, fast-paced and full of enthusiastic people working their way through the wines and listening intently to their descriptions. I am hoping that they all went away at the end of the evening full of newfound passion for great wines like these.
1st March 2013 – The Wine Society – DONE
Vintners Hall, 68 Upper Thames Street, London EC4V 3BG. To book tickets please call 01438 741177
REPORT – If you have never been to the Vintners Hall before it is one of the grandest rooms in the City of London and it was a fitting location for the exceptionally smart Wine Society 100 Best Roadshow event. One hundred guests were seated at the long tables and the highly polished glasses and candleabras gleamed awaiting the wines. I talked non-stop for an hour and a half about the stunning wines to a highly educated bunch of members and they all seemed to enjoy themselves. The Wine Society routinely sells out events which focus on Bordeaux and the like, but it was a particular coup to fill this historic room to the brim with Aussie fans. I am delighted to announce that we will be invited back, too. Wine buyer Pierre Mansour is a massive fan of fine Australian wine and I have no doubt that this inaugural 100 Best Roadshow event will have done its part in reinforcing Australia’s impeccable credintials in the minds of the Societys’ esteemed members.
7th March 2013 – Great Western Wine, Bath – DONE
7pm Wells Road, Bath, Avon BA2 3AP. To book tickets please call 01225 322810
REPORT – The GWW shop is a treasure trove of delights and it has a cosy feel particularly when it is crammed full of 70 thirsty Aussie wine lovers. The tables were pushed back and the floor was full of people working their way through a half a century of stunning Australian wines. I stood behind the tables this time and poured and chatted to as many people as could hear me through every single wine. It was crazy! The vocal audience raved about the selection and they didn’t want to leave when the bell tolled 9pm. I have it on good authority that orders were very good, too! I have a feeling that the party went on into the night as I wandered back to my train. Bath’s wine community is a thirsty, highly enthusiastic one and with a write up in the local foodie mag on the way, courtesy of my wine writer pal Angela Mount, let’s hope that this beautiful city keeps experimenting, learning more about and drinking fine Aussie wine.
8th March 2013 – Hennings Wine Merchants, Pulborough – DONE
7pm The Wine Cellars, Station Approach, Pulborough, West Sussex RH20 1AQ. To book tickets please call 01798 872 485
REPORT – It was my first time at Hennings and what an impressive set up it is! The cellars were set up beautifully with six tables manned by the Hennings wine squad from across their four-emporium estate. The large, well-lit space was a luxury and it allowed the crowd to navigate their way around the 48 wines with ease. I took to the tables again with the selection split up into like-vareital flights to enable the punters to focus on smaller groups of wines. The debates then commenced – everyone expresing their thoughts about the wines, their favourites, the variety of styles and not one person said the same thing. It was fascinating. The confidence with which people talked about their exact palates and the way in which they looked deep into each wine made this one of the most illuminating events for me. A knowledgble bunch – serious collectors rubbed shoulders with happy gluggers, Weekend Magazine and MoneyWeek fans and well-travelled wine tourists and I even overheard a couple saying that they only drank red wine but that they would break their rule because they found two sensational whites that appealed to their tastes and so they bought a mixed case. The part of my job that I enjoy the most is introducing people to new and fascinating wines. I will definitely be visiting Hennings again.
14th March 2013 – Amps Fine Wines, Oundle – DONE
7.30pm – 9.30pm with a masterclass from 7pm – 8pm Whitwell Suite, Talbot Hotel, New Street, Oundle PE8 4EA. To book tickets please visit the website http://www.ampsfinewines.co.uk/ or buy them directly from the shop
REPORT – My first foray to Amps and I was struck by what a beautiful town Oundle is. The format of the evening was different to the others with a masterclass element before the main tasting which was great fun and a chance to talk for a longer period about some of the wines. After this we all walked over the road from Philip’s shop to the rather splendid Talbot Hotel for the full line up of 48 bottles. Once again, the crowd was fascinated by the depth and variety of flavours on offer. The cooler climate, precision-built Chardonnays and Pinots showed extremely well and these were greatly appreciated by the Burgundy fans who were amazed at the class on show. But it was the Rieslings, Semillons, Cabernets, Shirazes and Red Blends which provoked the most comment. Perhaps because they are unique Aussie propositions? Maybe because of the apparent complexity and restraint that these styles demonstrate. Semillon continues to attract new fans which is great news. Dry Riesling will continue to steal consumers from the Sauvignon Blanc camp! The big reds are not sweaty and porty any more, but fine, intense and honed. These traits impressed the tasters and I am certain that, bearing in mind Australian wines’ exceptional value for money, there will be a lot more Australian wine replacing European bottles in the Northants quarter! We wrapped up the evening very late and sated out palates with some finely crafted sausage butties – well deserved by the Amps Fine Wine team!
15th March 2013 – Secret Cellar, Tunbridge Wells – DONE
7pm Hotel du Vin, Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2LY. To book tickets please call 01892 537981
REPORT – Hotel du Vin has one of the most beautiful rooms on the Roadshow and The Secret Cellar team set it up stunningly just in time for the crowd to break down the doors and attack the wines. As always in Tunbridge Wells the tasters are very up to date on their Aussie wines and also nifty and well-organised when tasting such a large number of bottles. Over one hundred people circuited the room and not a drop was spilled nor was a glass broken. Three hours of tasting later the room was returned to its glamorous best and we retired to the restaurant for a late supper. But what happened during the tasting itself? I must admit that I was quizzed from start to finish about the wines! Great questions, odd questions, difficult questions, with each person wanting to find out all they could about the flavours and their origins. Insatiable enthusiasm and also insatiable palates – this is The Secret Cellar way. There were loads of people there from last year’s event but many new faces, too, which means that thr Roadshow is recruiting! Good news. I am sure that Mike and the team will have sold a few bottles, too, which is what it’s all about. Great to see Mrs Jukes, Rob from Domaine Direct and Sue from Hatch there pouring the wines, too – thanks chaps for coming along. I hope to see you all again next year.
21st March 2013 – Field & Fawcett, York – DONE
6pm – 9pm The Merchant Adventurer’s Hall, Fossgate, York YO1 9XD. To book tickets please call 01904 489073 or email email@example.com
REPORT – My ‘new best friends’ at F&F are a delightful bunch of wine experts. The set up in the Merchant Adventurer’s Hall was spectacular. This is one of the most amazing and splendid large halls I have seen and the tables loaded with wine looked incredible, giving the assemebled 100+ people masses of room to roam around in search of the great wines. Once again, the range of wine knowledge was vast. Lots of confirmed Aussie wine nuts, who travel out there regularly and tour wine regions, rubbed shoulders with complete novices who used the three hours to ramp up their wine credentials to hitherto unknown levels. The wines showed amazingly. Each doing its job to explain the intricacies of the regions, sub-regions and climates. The evening was a massive success and we certainly ‘knocked over a few bottles’. Once again there was amazement on every table – with most people marvelling at the finesse and refinement of the whites and the restraint and complexity of the reds. I trained it back to London knowing that I would visit York again very soon – what a stunning city, steeped in history. The crème de la crème of Australian wine certainly felt at home in the illustrious surroundings.
22nd March 2013 – Noel Young Wines, Trumpington, Cambridge – DONE
6.30pm – 9pm Trumpington Pavilion. To book tickets please call 01223 566744
REPORT – Noel and Daniel set up the Pavilion with one long table down the middle of the room and this provided the ultimate catwalk for the 48 incredible Roadshow wines. The Cambridge folk are a well-organised and well-drilled tasting crowd and they turned up on time and worked solidly through every wine making reams of notes. Whether they were detailed ‘nose, palate, finish etc.’ or ‘best of three ticks or smiley faces’ didn’t matter. The aim was the same – to find the wines that exactly suited each and every tasters’ palate. This, I hope, was achieved. Once again, the main themes of the Roadshow wines shone through and the punters picked up on them immediately and adored the results. The sensitive oak on the Chardonnays, the acid line and length on the Rieslings and the restraint throughout all of the reds were all remarked upon. My much beloved Cabernet / Shiraz blends are certainly gathering momentum in the UK, too, and when everybody got to the superb flights of GSMs and Shirazes the crowds went wild. It is always a joy to taste with the Noel Young brigade.
1st May 2013 – HarperWells, Norwich – DONE
6pm – 9pm The Music Room at The Assembly House, Theatre Street, Norwich, Norfolk NR2 1RQ. To book tickets please call Ed Wells on 01603 451098
REPORT – The stunning Spring sunshine flooding through the high windows of The Music Room at The Assembly House in Norwich provided yet another incredible backdrop to a 100 Best Aussie Roadshow event. I made a mental note to come back to this venue and Ed Wells assured me that he has a massive address book of Australian wine nuts, so this dream will surely be realised! The entire HarperWells team was present to pour the wines for a wonderfully vocal audience. This dynamic, young company has some serious wine knowledge under its collective belt and they are committed Aussie wine fans, too, so I was guaranteed a great evening. However, I had no idea that the tasters would be so receptive to the wines. In common with other Roadshow events this year there were a fair few amateur Australian wine experts in the crowd as well as a few beginners awaiting conversion. The collection of wines did not fail in its task to entrance their palates. It is a privilege to taste these wines and having done the same line up eleven times over the year it is also fascinating to see how they are all evolving. For some odd reason I felt that the aromatic whites and Cabernets were on particular song on Wednesday – but in fairness every time I picked up a bottle to pour for a new pal, the liquid inside shone. With only one event to go next month it is nearly time to wrap up the 100 Best List for 2012 and the new members of the 100 Best Roadshow family, like HarperWells, have done a stunning job in bringing the message to a new and untapped throng. I raise my glass to Ed, Dean, Daniel and Brian!
22nd June 2013 – The General Wine Company, Liphook – DONE
11am – 4pm Festival Hall, Heath Road, Petersfield, Hampshire GU31 4EA. To book tickets please phone 01428 722201 or visit http://www.thegeneralwine.co.uk/ or buy them in store
REPORT – The final leg of the 2012/13 tour took place at the Festival Hall in Petersfield where The General Wine Company has one of their two shops (the other is in Liphook). I have known this outfit for over twenty years and they are a very professional and well organised bunch, but I didn’t for the life of me think that some six hundred people would come to this event (and I am sure that Alan Snudden, MD of TGWC, didn’t either!). I had two helpers on my massive table of wines and we started at 11.00am and didn’t pause for breath until the final glass was poured at 4.00pm. It was mayhem, albeit very polite mayhem and I managed to see a load of old wine friends and even some old school pals, too, which gave it a very lovely atmosphere. Once again, the audience ranged from highly knowledgeable to brand-new-to-Aussie-wine. On more than one occasion people stated that this was the finest line-up of Australian wines that they had ever tasted. There were lots of local wine club members there who will be sure to spread the word about the wines, which is great, and Alan reported that order numbers were in the hundreds – which is incredible! Everyone was blown away by the number of wines on tasting and also the sheer calibre of the wines, too. Having got used to showing such a splendid range perhaps I have forgotten how rare it is for people to see this quality of wine poured for such large numbers of people. Throughout the whole of the year wine lovers have been really excited to see what serious Aussie wine tastes like and they definitely want more.
THE AMAZING LIST OF WINES THAT WE WILL TASTE ON THE 100 BEST ROADSHOW 2012/3
2006 Jansz, Tas
2005 McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon, Hunter Valley, NSW
2005 McWilliam’s, Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon, Hunter Valley, NSW
2006 Tyrrell’s, Winemaker’s Selection Vat 1 Semillon, Hunter Valley, NSW
2011 Cherubino, Sauvignon Blanc, Pemberton, WA
2011 Innocent Bystander, Pinot Gris, Yarra Valley, Vic
2011 Redbank, Sunday Morning Pinot Gris, King Valley, Vic
2011 Jacob’s Creek, Classic Riesling, SEA
2011 Pewsey Vale, Riesling, Eden Valley, SA
2011 Plantagenet, Great Southern Riesling, WA
2010 Skillogalee, Trevarrick Riesling, Clare Valley, SA
2006 Peter Lehmann, Reserve Wigan Riesling, Eden Valley, SA
2011 Skillogalee Gewurztraminer, Clare Valley, SA
2010 Yalumba, Eden Valley Viognier, Eden Valley, SA
2011 Fox Gordon, Princess Fiano, Adelaide Hills, SA
2010 Peter Lehmann, EV Hill & Valley Chardonnay, Eden Valley, SA
2011 Logan, Chardonnay, Orange, NSW
2010 Vasse Felix, Chardonnay, Margaret River, WA
2009 Yalumba, FDW7c, Adelaide Hills, SA
2009 Leeuwin, Prelude Chardonnay, Margaret River, WA
2011 Cherubino, Chardonnay, Margaret River, WA
2008 Brown Brothers, Patricia Chardonnay, VIC
2011 Devil’s Corner, Pinot Noir, Tas
2010 Stonier, Pinot Noir, Mornington, Vic
2010 Paringa, Peninsula Pinot Noir, Mornington, Vic
2010 Tapanappa, Foggy Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir, Fleurieu Peninsula, SA
2010 Yabby Lake, Single Vineyard Pinot Noir, Mornington, Vic
2010 Willunga 100, Cabernet / Shiraz, McLaren Vale, SA
2010 Wirra Wirra, Church Block, McLaren Vale, SA
2009 Wolf Blass, Grey Label, Shiraz / Cabernet, Robe / Mount Benson, SA
2006 McWilliam’s, 1877, Australia
2009 Yalumba, FDR1A, Barossa Valley, SA
2006 Yalumba, The Signature, Barossa Valley, SA
2010 Glaetzer, Anaperenna, Barossa Valley, SA
2009 Grosset, Gaia, Clare Valley, SA
2009 Lindemans, St George, Coonawarra, SA
2005 Yalumba, Menzies, Coonawarra, SA
2005 Jim Barry, The Benbournie Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley, SA
2009 d’Arenberg, The Derelict Vineyard Grenache, McLaren Vale, SA
2009 Grant Burge, Abednego, SGM, Barossa Valley, SA
2008 Torbreck, Steading, Barossa Valley, SA
2009 Shaw & Smith, Shiraz, Adelaide Hills, SA
2009 Mitolo, GAM Shiraz, McLaren Vale, SA
2006 Wakefield, St Andrew’s Shiraz, Clare Valley, SA
2008 Penfolds, St Henri, Barossa Valley, SA
2008 Peter Lehmann, Stonewell Shiraz, Barossa Valley, SA
2009 First Drop, Greenock Shiraz, Barossa Valley, SA
2008 De Bortoli, Noble One, Riverina, NSW