Do you remember the first time you fell down the rabbit hole? I do. Monday, 21st of May 2012, with Adam Castagna of Castagna Wines (Beechworth) pouring at the inaugural Real Wine Fair in London. He was enthusiastic and cheerful, particularly once he noticed my distinct lack of tweed and familiar foreign accent. This was my first experience tasting Castagna Genesis Syrah. It was a moment of wine magic and literally the genesis for where I am today; editing my first, and, coincidently, the last issue of Gourmet Traveller WINE. From December, we will be dropping the Gourmet Traveller from our name to simply be known as The WINE Magazine. And so, irrespective that this is technically the last issue of the year, here’s cheers to inadvertent firsts and happy accidents, which can transform unintended moments into memories that last a lifetime.
Oktoberfest is on again (page 17), for the first time in two years, and it’s a first time too for Christina Kaigg-Hoxley as she tries to find the flor in Yarra winemaker, Ben Haines’ 2011 Flowers Marsanne. Marcus Best recounts a history of the first time vineyards were planted in South Australia (page 32). And we reveal more finalists for Winemaker of the Year (page 47), before travelling to California to explore the wines of cowboy country, Paso Robles (page 114).
Perhaps it’s the first time you’ve read about the perpetual understudy that is aligoté? Tom Kline’s exploration of Burgundy’s other white grape (page 34) is a first-class exposition of this apparently second-class wine. Stopping in France before crossing the Pyrenees, Nicole Bilson enchants us with a lovely Loire Valley ramble (page 68), as Editor-in-Chief Judy Sarris describes the Italian promise of Prosecco (page 60), and cookery school, Our Rustica (page 76), complemented with irresistible wine matches by Peter Bourne.
Finally, our annual Best Places to Drink is back with 52 compelling reasons to pay a first time visit to one of Australia’s many brilliant small bars, intimate fine diners, and lively local haunts. Let our experts, proficient in all things potable, help you find something magic to drink someplace special (page 88). Who knows, this may be the genesis for turning a fleeting moment into a life-long memory.
ON THE COVER
Fully stocked shelves at Geelong Cellar Door. Find other regional delights in Best Places to Drink Wine+, on page 88.
Photography by Armelle Habib.