As a wine maker, what is your favorite grape variety Which grape variety do you think is the most representative of the Australian wine?
My favorite grape variety as a winemaker is Shiraz. This is because McLaren Vale is world renowned for Shiraz. The micro-climate and soils can produce very rich, opulent and vibrant wines with concentrated fruit characters.
We understand that winemakers give personality and self-concept to their wines, what is your wine making concept and how would you express your concept in Grandeur Wellington wines?
For the last decade or so, the Australian wine makers have strived to make ever bigger and bigger wines. I believe this is mainly due to the United States consumer demanding bigger, darker and bolder wines. Whist some of these wines can be world class, I believe far too many are over the top and while they may be big, I believe they can often lack class, elegance and sophistication. Many wineries release single vineyard wines but my concept is to source out the best growers who’s vineyards express subtle differences in character and flavors reflecting the vineyard’s soil and micro-climate.
These premium batches are fermented and matured separately and then blended together in varying proportions to express not only my own fingerprint in the wine but to produce the most complete wine possible. I do not endeavor to make the biggest wine possible if it means sacrificing complexity, fruit vibrancy, elegance, structure and the overall class of the wine, this is always my aim when producing the Grandeur Wellington Reserve Shiraz.
We noticed that you got involved in wine industry in 1991 and started producing your own wine since 1992. In such a long period of wine making experience, what is your most profound feeling for wines?
There is always great relief when I have finally get a wine to bottle. It is only at this stage that you can really judge the rewards of your labour as it is now on show for all to see and to judge. I would say that my most profound feeling for wine is in the knowledge that someone around the world will at some stage open that bottle and hopefully enjoy its contents.
As an Australian winemaker, what do you think of ‘Robert Parker’ world’s most renowned wine writer and his wine scoring system?
Having met Robert Parker personally in 2002 in Adelaide I found him to be very un-assuming and approachable for such an important and famous person, I was made to feel very comfortable when he was tasting my wines. I do not believe that one should buy wines solely on his scores, it must be remembered that he, just like any other wine critic or writer, have their own likes and dislikes which may or may not agree with your own taste, but he was single handed in introducing wines to the everyday consumer around the world and helping them understands what makes a great wine from an average wine. I always say that the best judge to what you like is yourself. It does not matter whether you are a novice without the fancy words or a wine judge, you invariably know what you like or dislike.
The critic’s role is to guide and to put into words what he or she sees in the wine so the consumer can then try to match the qualities and expectations he or she is seeking. As they say, it is never a great wine, just a great bottle. This is the wonderful thing about wine, it is forever changing depending on its age, our mood at the time, who we are drinking it with, the food we are enjoying it with and so on, the variables are endless, just remember, ultimately you are the judge and critic.