Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Paris, studied hospitality school as well as wine school in Paris. I decided to move to London for the first time at the age of 18 to learn English, discover a new culture and learn about non-French wines. I spent two years in London getting to know more about a global wine culture and taste my first new world wine. This is when I fell in love with Australian wines and decided to move to Melbourne. The original plan was to stay a year but ended up staying five years. It was an amazing experience.
What did you aspire to be when you grew up?
Whilst studying, I was doing an apprenticeship in Paris at a restaurant called, Ambassade d’Auvergne, I was lucky enough to have an encourageing mentor who sparked my interest in wine. His philosophy on wine was clear and simple and he made this world so accessible that I became eager to learn more about wine.
How did the idea for the Wine Dinners at The Grill at The Dorchester arise?
Following the new launch of The Grill, I really wanted to create a new wine programme that was accessible to everyone. The idea is travel the world of wine in just four dates throughout the year. The aim is the for the wine dinner have a laid-back, convivial atmosphere with the added bonus of being able to meet the winemakers in thebeautiful setting of The Grill at The Dorchester
What will be the theme surrounding the various editions?
Jackson Family Wines | This wine dinner took place on March 31st and included a collection of premium wineries owned privately by Barbara Banke and the Jackson family. Over the years, the Banke-Jackson family has assembled an unparalleled portfolio of esteemed vineyards and wineries along California’s cool coastal ridges, stretching northwards from Santa Barbara up through Monterey, Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties, and continuing into Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley. Internationally, Jackson Family Wines owns estates in Saint Emilion in Bordeaux, Tuscany, McLaren Vale and Chile. Each winery has its own winemaker, vineyards, varietal focus and unique style which showcase the particular terroir of its location. During our wine dinner, we will be tasting wines from the US, South Africa, Italy and France
5May-Jean Luc Colombo |A native of Marseilles, Colombo first developed a strong admiration for the wines of the Rhône Valley in the late 1970s as a pharmacy student. A devotee of the Syrah grape, Colombo was convinced that the northern Rhône appellation of Cornas offered enormous and, at the time, unrecognised potential for producing super-quality Syrah wines. It was not long before Colombo began purchasing and cultivating his own vineyards – first in Cornas then throughout the Rhône Valley and Languedoc – leading to the establishment in 1994 of Vins Jean-Luc Colombo. The wines of Vins Jean-Luc Colombo are all sourced from Colombo’s own vineyards and from carefully selected domains under his direct consultation.
15 September –Château La Coste |Château La Coste has a beautiful story that combines wine, art and architecture. Located 20km North of Aix-en-Provence, Château la Coste is a vast domain of 200 hectares of which 123 are devoted to the production of organically cultivated vines. In 2002, Patrick Mckillen acquired the vineyard and an idea was born among the vines of Chateau la Coste. A plan developed to create a special place where land, wine and art came together. Artists and architects were invited to explore the beauty of the landscape and create something that would live there such as “Pavillon de Musique” of Frank O.Gehry, The restaurant of The Art Centre o designed by Tadao Ando, “Cat in the barrel” by Tracy Emin . Since 2006, the lengthy task of restructuring the vineyard at Château La Coste has been undertaken by Matthieu Cosse, one of the most gifted winemakers of his generation. His ambition was to convert the vineyard to a purely organic production by adhering to biodynamic principles.
10 November 2016 -Coates and Seely |Coates & Seely sparkling wines are an expression of the uniqueness of their English chalk terroir, crafted to the highest standards of French winemaking. Jointly owned by Nicholas Coates and Christian Seely (CEO of Chateaux Pichon Longueville – Baron and Suduiraut, Quinta do Noval and Domaine d’Arlot, amongst others), Coates & Seely is a family business and was set up to bring French winemaking craftsmanship to the North Hampshire Downs, with an absolute dedication to producing only wines of the very finest quality. Based on South-facing chalk slopes, Coates & Seely have planted 12 hectares of the highest quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Nicholas Coates will also show us on the night some of his favourite English table wine.
What interesting trends/themes are going on in the wine world? What’s on your radar at the moment?
Natural wine is currently a very strong trend but not actually something I favour. I would rather talk about new styles of wines being produced. We can see that the consumer taste is changing and moving towards a lighter style of wine. I think the days of a heavy Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon as well as a super ripe Shiraz are on the decline. People are now looking for lighter wines that have lower alcohol, fresher in style, generous on acidity and ultimately easier to drink. This is why we are seeing a significant change in the style of wines. We saw it in Burgundy (especially with the white wines), Australia with Victoria (a cool climate area), and most recently the US (California) with a new wave of younger winemakersbreaking the rules of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir style, heading towards a much lighter style of wine producing.
What are four wine collection favourites that you always keep handy?
In Burgundy, I like to follow two young producers: Domaine Bernard Moreau and Paul Pillot, two young winemakers making incredibly elegant and terroir driven wine.As I used to live in Australia, I became close friends with a winemaker called Julian Castana, based in Beechworth, one of the iconic regions in Victoria, Australia.He is a pioneer in the new waves of Australian wines which are lighter than a Syrah and makes a beautiful Viognier.
Find out more about the WineDinnersat The Grill at TheDorchester here…