Matthew Jukes 100 Best Australian Wines Roadshow 2013/2014
Here are the confirmed dates for my forthcoming 100 Best Roadshow. Please order your tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment 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 2013 – Tate Britain, London – DONE
Millbank, London SW1P 4RG. To book tickets please call 020 7877 8888
REPORT – As always (Tate Britain has hosted my Roadshow every year), the room was packed with delightful punters and the samples were poured at speed. Hamish Anderson, wine guru at the Tate group, always puts on a great show and the gallery surroundings add a huge amount of gravitas to proceedings. We needed a brigade of Tate Catering stars to cope with the crowds and with Olivia Barry (Jim Barry Wines), Jess Hill-Smith (Yalumba) and a few keen agents’ representatives in the room managed to keep up with the pace. Word on the street was that this was the finest line up of wines to date. I have to agree. Every bottle showed precision, flair and intrinsic value for money. There were a load of wine smart Aussie fans in the room, who didn’t need converting, but I am always up for a challenge and when a posse of blokes rocked up to me stating that they hated ‘New World Chardonnay’ and just wanted to taste the reds I unleashed a flurry of wines which left them speechless. They were agog at the brilliance of the Chardonnay line-up and they admitted that they wouldn’t overlook this category again! Lots of small wins – that’s what the Aussie wine industry needs and they were happening all over the room. Hoorah!
The glorious Tate Britain 100 Best Roadshow
29th November 2013 – SH Jones, Leamington Spa – DONE
121 Regent Street, Leamington Spa CV32 4NU. To book tickets please call 01926 315609 or email email@example.com
REPORT – The Town Hall is the only room big enough to contain the enthusiasm for Australian Wine in beautiful Leamington Spa. The SH Jones squad were out in force and every table was manned by a highly clued up staff member which meant that everyone had access to expert advice from the word go. And the word go was around 6.30pm (for an official 7.00pm kick off) when a dozen people turned up early on the off chance that the wines would be set up – and they were! We started apace and the momentum never let off, finishing half an hour later than the advertised details, too! SH Jones has hosted a 100 Best Roadshow event every year since its inception and the crowds are extremely keen on fine Aussie wine. As you will know, if you read my notes, I get terribly excited about what I call ‘conversions’. This is when someone walks up to me and says – ‘I don’t drink white wine, but I have bought a case of that delicious Riesling’ or ‘I never drink Shiraz, but there were loads here that I adored’. Last night’s tasting gave rise to more conversions than I can remember at a 100 Best Roadshow event. The positive comments flowed and many spotted that in this Tenth Anniversary year I have really pushed the boat out on the calibre of wines. It goes without saying that all styles showed beautifully. In the absence of any Sauvignon Blanc the Hunter Semillons had the chance to impress lovers of lean, mean whites. Perhaps this should be a 100 Best rule? The flights of Rieslings, Chardonnays and the lone Viognier were spellbinding. Moving into the reds, the Pinots shocked people with their purity and innocence and the sterling Tempranillo amazed everyone. TGAR blends, Grenache-based wines and then the flight of incredible Shiraz garnered the most comments – it’s that 2010 vintage thing in action! Everyone noted just how different they all were – regionality and sub-regionality is becoming more and more obvious in the glass. Finally, a decent range of sweeties and fortifieds had everyone hooked. This is the year when these categories might just take off! My thanks goes out to the dedicated and delightful SH Jones team. I bumped into some tasters on the train home, all of whom ordered wine. I hope everyone took advantage of this epic tasting of 47 of the 100 and stocked up their cellars for the coming festive season.
The Town Hall, Leamington Spa – SH Jones’ amazing 100 Best Roadshow event
22nd January 2014 – The Oxford University Blind Tasting Society – DONE
Mure Room, Merton College, Merton Street, Oxford OX14DJ. To book tickets please email Ren Lim on firstname.lastname@example.org
REPORT – I met Thomas, Ren and Swii, all members of Oxford University’s Blind Tasting Society, last year at the 60th anniversary Varsity Blind Tasting competition in London when I was part of the ‘Journalist’ team who sadly lost against the ‘Trade’! I got talking with Ren, the outgoing captain, and Thomas, the incoming captain, and suggested that they might like to host a 100 Best Roadshow event in the New Year. They agreed and managed to recruit over 70 guests to what they described as the largest event the OU Blind Tasting Society has ever hosted. The venue was the Mure Room in beautiful Merton College. With the tables manned by amateur wine buffs, whose knowledge puts many of the bona fide members of my profession to shame, we passed two hours of frenzied tasting in a blink of an eye. I conducted my own blind tasting competition of one red and one white wine which many of the guests entered. As expected, the standard of blind tasting was terrific and Frank and Jackie won the prizes. Interestingly, many of the guests were familiar with fine Australian wine but, as is often the case, had only tasted the wines and not really drunk them. France still leads the way in the Colleges and so I am hoping that this in-depth tasting of stunning Australian wines will manage to encourage these elite tasters to pour a more varied selection of wines at their gatherings. I have been invited back next year so the wines must have made a serious impression!
The Oxford University Blind Tasting Society 100 Best Roadshow event
7th February 2014 – Noel Young Wines, Trumpington, Cambridge – DONE
Trumpington Pavilion. To book tickets please call 01223 566744
REPORT – Noel and Daniel Young put on a terrific show. The Trumpington Pavilion was nudging its ‘fire regs maximum capacity’ as the great and good of Cambridge gathered (early) to take advantage of this mammoth 3 hour event. The wines looked awesome and the Friday night time slot certainly did something to the mood of the tasters – they were ravenous! It was lovely to see some old faces as well as a growing group of people new to the delights of top flight Australian artisan production. The thirst for knowledge here is what sets it apart from other events. Everyone has questions. It is a veritable Mastermind session for me as I dredge up answers to every manner of wine query. It seems that a huge number of the crowd will be holidaying in Australia soon, too, with the most mentioned destination being the Hunter Valley – so here’s a fair warning good people of Pokolbin! Wine knowledge in Cambridge is incredible – expert analysis of the many mini-flights within the greater number of 47 wines is a treat for me to listen in to. Opinion is always firm and reasoned, backed up with global reference points. I find this a fascinating gig. Noel and Daniel reported that wine purchases were good, too, which is the whole point! On a cold and blustery night some 70 people wandered off into the Cambridge night full of a peacock’s tail of Australian flavours – I couldn’t have wished for anything more. Thanks @nywines!
Noel Young’s 100 Best Roadshow event
12th February 2014 – Averys Wine Merchants, Bristol – DONE
Averys Wine Merchants, 9 Culver Street, Bristol BS15LD. To book tickets please call 0117 921 4146 or check out the website www.averys.com.
REPORT – It was blowing a gale in Bristol on the night scheduled for the 100 Best Roadshow – I saw a lady lose her umbrella as it shot into the sky vertically never to return. The train line from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads was flooded, too, outside Maidenhead – the little matter of the Thames overflowing and causing chaos and misery for miles around. Still, nothing could stop the crowds, or me for that matter, from attending this first ever 100 Best event at Averys. Even my pals from Bath drove over (there is no GWW event this year) and so the atmosphere in the stunning cellars underneath the Culver Street wine shop was incredible. This event sold-out weeks in advance and the anticipation was palpable as the tasters descended the stone steps into the vaults. The wines shone as always – they have improved steadily throughout the year as time has mellowed some of their youthful exuberance. It struck me that this was a fairly traditional crowd but there was a good degree of Aussie knowledge sprinkled around the room and there was a steely determination throughout the throng to taste every single wine on show, which was impressive. Most people expressed amazement at the balance and control in the wines. Even some of the bigger reds which carry 14.5% alcohol and more showed great freshness and momentum on the palate and this was a welcome surprise to some. Even one fairly stick-in-the-mud Italian chap confessed that he had found a few wines to his taste, so there’s a conversion that doesn’t happen every day! A load of Weekend Magazine and MoneyWeek readers were in attendance, too, and they know their stuff, doing a few circuits of the room for good measure. It was a wonderful evening and I hope to be invited back soon. The Averys staff were on top form, too – highly informed, engaging and yet not too old-style. Exactly how we like it on the 100 Best Roadshow.
Averys Wine Cellars in Culver Street, Bristol hosting the 100 Best Roadshow
6th March 2014 – HarperWells, Norwich – DONE
The Assembly House Music Room, Theatre Street, Norwich, Norfolk NR21RQ . To book tickets please call Ed Wells on 01603 451098
REPORT – I thought that the room which we used for the HarperWells Roadshow event last year was big but The Assembly House has an even larger one and we needed it with a packed house of 130 tasters. Once again, the room filled one minute after the gun went off – a common occurrence this year! It was lovely to see some familiar faces from last year’s event but there was a horde of new people to introduce to the wines, too. Ed, Dean, Derek, Sam and Brian were typically masterful while pouring the wines and entertaining the crowd. I table-hopped like a madman endeavouring to fire off bons mots to all an sundry, giving them extra information and hooks with which to remember their favourite wines. The order file on the night appeared plump which will keep the HarperWells accounts team busy so this is great news. The people of Norwich are clearly not afraid to vote with their wallets and load up with top end Australian wine. It always makes me smile when sceptical palates are converted to fine Aussie wines. Most of the HarperWells conversions surrounded the topic of oak. Everyone is vocal about their dislike of over-oaked wines and Australia undoubtedly has a history of heavy-handed oak treatment, but not any more. Every single person who voiced a warning to me loved every one of the Chardonnays and went on to embrace all of the reds (even those that I know have a large whack of new oak)! This is because they are all impeccably balanced. I am a balance freak and it seems that the great wineries in Australia are, too. This is a huge help in banishing the memory of past hangovers and the fine palates of Norwich really appreciate the green light to proceed with styles that they once avoided. Hoorah!
The crowd at HarperWells attending the 100 Best Roadshow
13th March 2014 – Lipman Karas, Adelaide / Hong Kong / London – DONE
A private event for this Adelaide-based specialist legal practice at their London HQ
REPORT – High above Chancery Lane, looking across the rooftops of the City onto all of London’s most famous landmarks, the Lipman Karas view is utterly incredible. This moving wallpaper of the greatest city on earth provided a neat backdrop to another amazing 100 Best Roadshow event. The wines were laid out by style through three huge, spacious, adjoining rooms and the great and the good of LK’s address book worked diligently ticking them off their tasting sheets. Some of the lovely wine trade came along to pour and while the mood started off on the business-like side of the fence it soon hopped over it to the ‘let’s get stuck in’ side. Questions flowed thick and fast and it was clear that this Aussie-owned company was extremely proud to show off the finest Australian wines to their largely UK-centric client base. As it turned out there was a large number of clued up wine aficionados in the room, but their knowledge, as is so often the case, was rooted in Europe. It was a huge pleasure to show them tables of wine loaded with pinpoint accurate balance and refreshing acidity. This certainly came as a shock to many. I love it when people come off the table of awesome Chardonnays and meet delicate, fragrant Pinots, a stunning, unexpected Tempranillo and then dive into Cabernets before they reach any wine that you might deem as having a good look at some sunshine! Thereafter the roller-coaster of cooler climate versus warmer climate wines keeps everyone guessing right to the end. Awesome. I would bet that a fair few boardrooms in the City will be stocking up with 100 Best wines this year.
Lipman Karas artwork – setting the scene for the Roadshow
14th March 2014 – Hennings Wine Merchants, Pulborough – DONE
The Wine Cellars, Station Approach, Pulborough, West Sussex RH20 1AQ. To book tickets please call 01798 872 485
REPORT – Matthew Hennings and his impressively well-drilled squad put on a very good show. The wine cellar in Pulborough is a brilliant tasting space and the decorations (Aussie bunting, flags and maps) looked wonderful. The sell-out crowd arrived on time (early!) and, in common with virtually every other Roadshow event this season, attacked the wines with serious intent. Some even reached the chequered flag and went ‘round for another lap! It was lovely to see a few familiar faces and also a load of new people, too. They take their wines very seriously in these parts and so detailed explanation is required for every wine. It’s great fun and I feel that a lot of people really take the opportunity not only to come out for an unrivalled event, but also to learn a little and broaden their vinous repertoires. The Cabernets took a bashing this year. 2010 Grosset Gaia (sadly sold out) was very much in demand and we even opened bottle No. 1 of the first ever vintage of Wakefield’s The Visionary Cabernet (2009) – see below. This didn’t half cause a stir – someone had offered a Hennings staff member twice the money to buy this wine on account of its taste and number-plate and I had to jump in and open it at speed to pour for tasting because the first bottle had disappeared in double time. I think I avoided a riot! Anyway, as the throng eased its way into the ‘Great Australian Reds’ and beyond business resumed as usual with oohs and aahs every step of the way. The whole event seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. Every bottle was poured out, every punter glowed with enthusiasm and the Fish ‘n’ Chip shop at the bottom of Station Road got a battering, too, so everyone in town was content.
Getting stuck in at the Hennings Wine Cellars
21st March 2014 – WoodWinters, Edinburgh – DONE
WoodWinters, 91 Newington Road, Edinburgh EH91QW. To book tickets please phone 01310 667 2760.
REPORT – My very first event with WoodWinters was a knockout. As I jumped out of the taxi in a downpour I knew that once everyone was inside no one would be leaving. Gotta thank the Gods for the perfect storm – it actually ended at 9pm on the dot. I couldn’t have asked for more. This little shop was rammed full and I made use of an upturned beer crate to shout out my mini-sermons above the level of the crowd. I managed to talk about every single wine that evening and I think that every single person tasted the whole race card, too. Talk about keen. It was great to see Gordon (and old mucker from the London wine scene) lending a helping hand with his wife Alison and they masterfully dished out the red wines while Sophie and Kat checked people in and fire off the whites with unerring accuracy. How the hell we all coordinated everything so well when there wasn’t an inch of floor space free in the whole gaff was a miracle. We even had some of the Banbury posse up on a ‘cultural exchange’. Even a random fainting didn’t deter the troops – he recovered swiftly and re-entered the fray. The Edinburgh wine scene is an amazing one – hardworking, committed and expert. WoodWinters epitomises this mantra and they certainly embraced the 100 Best Roadshow with open arms. Here’s a lovely quote from Gordon which indicates that the evening was a success and that I might just be invited back! ‘What a great evening! With your advanced crowd technique control and vinous voice of thunder you bought the whole event to life. The wines were good and they were just what the punters up here seem to love, too’.
A scrum as 60 people pile into the WoodWinters 100 Best Roadshow event in Edinburgh
25th April 2014 – Amps of Oundle – DONE
The Queen Victoria Hall, West Street, Oundle PE84EJ. To book tickets please call 01832 273502.
REPORT – Philip Amps booked the best venue in town for the 100 Best event this year and after the pre-event masterclass, which I conducted on the stage of the Queen Victoria Hall, we all moved down to the main part of the building (which looks like it has been re-decorated in Amps Fine Wines’ very own corporate colour!) and sashayed up and down a perfect runway of wines. It was a superb evening with a few familiar faces from last year’s gig and a load of newcomers, too. Philip reported good sales, which is the whole point, and I seemingly spent the whole evening helping people to fill mixed cases with wines which matched their tastes. This is a community who clearly enjoys their wines and there was no upper limit with some of the purchases. Hoorah! It was also refreshing to hear that the Amps customers are happy to lay down cases of Aussie reds, in the medium term, to allow the wines to mellow a touch. Clearly, many of the reds could do with some time in bottle and so this was great to hear. Many people had cellars and wine rooms, too – makes me want to move to the country! We wrapped up at around 9.45pm having spent nearly four straight hours tasting – bliss!
The Amps crowd gets into the swing of things at the Queen Victoria Hall
28th April 2014 – Taurus Wines of Palmers Cross, Guildford – DONE
Enquiries please call 01483 548484
REPORT – The final Roadshow event of the season was held at the most spectacular venue imaginable – Bel & the Dragon in Godalming. Taurus Wines rolled out the red carpet for their elite customers and we enjoyed three hours tasting the wines on the mezzanine level of this seventeenth century converted church before descending to the private room for a slap up dinner. It is such a luxury to grab bottles off the tables and actually enjoy great food with them. I sense this becoming a theme in the future. Once again, wine knowledge was very advanced with many of the Taurus brigade and it was a pleasure to introduce them to such an amazing array of wines. They all mentioned that it was a unique experience particularly given the calibre of the wines and the rarity of many of the cuvées. I was massively impressed with the professionalism of the whole evening (not least the production of the snazziest tasting booklets I have ever seen) and given that I missed my train I was certainly having a great time! The 100 Best Roadshow will return to see the Taureans very soon.
Bel & the Dragon Godalming – the spectacular venue for the 100 Best Roadshow event with Taurus Wines
THE AMAZING LIST OF WINES THAT WE WILL TASTE ON THE 100 BEST ROADSHOW 2013/14
NV Jansz, Tasmania NV Jacob’s Creek, Trilogy Cuvée Rosé
2012 Brokenwood, Semillon, Hunter Valley, New South Wales
2007 Mount Pleasant, Single Vineyard Lovedale Semillon, Hunter Valley, New South Wales
2007 Tyrrell’s, HVD Single Vineyard Semillon, Hunter Valley, New South Wales
2012 Jim Barry, The Lodge Hill Dry Riesling, Clare Valley, South Australia
2012 Wakefield, St Andrews Single Vineyard Riesling, Clare Valley, South Australia
2011 Jim Barry, The Florita Riesling, Clare Valley, South Australia
2007 Peter Lehmann, Reserve Wigan Riesling, Eden Valley, South Australia
2012 Yalumba, Eden Valley Viognier, South Australia
2012 Innocent Bystander, Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Victoria
2012 Penfolds, Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay, New South Wales
2009 Brown Bros, Patricia Chardonnay, Victoria
2009 Paringa Estate, Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
2011 Vasse Felix, Chardonnay, Margaret River, Western Australia
2011 Robert Oatley, Finisterre Chardonnay, Margaret River, Western Australia
2010 Leeuwin Estate, Prelude Chardonnay, Margaret River, Western Australia
2012 Wirra Wirra, The Twelfth Man Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
2012 Shaw & Smith, M3 Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
2012 Devil’s Corner, Pinot Noir, Tasmania
2012 Ad Hoc by Larry Cherubino, Cruel Mistress Pinot Noir, Frankland River, Western Australia
2011 Circe, Red Hill South Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
2010 Ocean Eight, Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria 2
2010 First Drop, Pintor Tempranillo, Barossa Valley, South Australia
2009 Brand’s Laira, One Seven One Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, South Australia
2010 Grosset, Gaia, Clare Valley, South Australia
2009 Wakefield, The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley, South Australia
2010 Yalumba, The Scribbler Cabernet Sauvignon/ Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia
2006 Jim Barry, Pb Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley, South Australia
2006 Wolf Blass, Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon / Shiraz / Malbec, South Australia
2010 d’Arenberg, d’Arry’s Original,McLaren Vale, South Australia
2010 Tyrrell’s, Vat 9 Shiraz, Hunter Valley, New South Wales
2011 Fox Gordon, Eight Uncles Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia
2012 Teusner, The Riebke Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia
2010 Wynns, Shiraz, Coonawarra, South Australia
2010 Mount Pleasant Maurice O’Shea Shiraz, Hunter Valley, New South Wales
2010 Jim Barry McRae Wood Shiraz, Clare Valley, South Australia
2010 Penfolds, Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia
2009 Torbreck, The Factor, Barossa Valley, South Australia
2007 Jim Barry, The Armagh, Clare Valley, South Australia
2012 Glaetzer, Bishop Shiraz , Barossa Valley, South Australia
2008 Grant Burge, Meshach Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia
2009 Mc William’s, Morning Light Botrytis Semillon, Riverina, New South Wales
2011 Keith Tulloch, Botrytis Semillon, Hunter Valley, New South Wales
Campbell’s of Rutherglen, Topaque, Rutherglen, Victoria
Yalumba, Museum Reserve Muscat, Rutherglen, Victoria
Grant Burge 20 Year Old Tawny, Barossa Valley, South Australia