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Wine (Translated)

Wine (Translated)

Despite being amongst one of the most qualified sommeliers in the world, there is nothing wine-wankery about Master Sommelier Sebastian Crowther. 

That’s because, as Seb well knows, there’s nothing wanky about making wine - it’s the critic’s vocabulary that creates what can often be an insurmountable veil of superiority.  Seb made his first ever champagne vintage in Domaine de la Baume and knows better than most that, fundamentally, wine is about getting your hands dirty. 

This week we meet the makers behind the wines that Master Sommelier Sebastian Crowther has identified as some of the most unique in the world - and you’ll notice he avoids using the words ‘nose’, ‘exuberance’ and ‘blackberries'.

Dan Standish 

Sixth generation Barossa Valley wine maker Dan Standish is an old-school, hands-off (and feet-on) wine maker.  Using concrete, egg-shaped fermenters that create a natural current to keep the wine fresh, basket presses, and French oak barrels with an extra tight grain for slow oxidation, Dan makes wine the way it was made about 400 years ago – including stomping on his grapes with his own two pieds.

Despite The Standish Wine Company only ever producing wine in very small batches, when Dan produced his first vintage under his own label in 1999 the people lucky enough to taste it suddenly leapt to attention. 

“This wine is deep and dark in colour as you would expect from great Barrosa Shiraz, but what it has is balance,” explains Seb.  “This wine is not over ripe as many examples of the region are, but rather has before concentration and intensity.”

Or as Jamie Goode, the author of Wine Anorak put it, “One of the best examples of Barossa Shiraz I’ve ever tried."

Stéphane Moreau

This young French vigneron has only been discovered outside of Chablis in the last few years – and his anonymity won’t last long.

In a region whose signature wine was catapulted into the mainstream via machine harvesting, inoculation and stainless steel tanks in the 1960’s, Stephane’s low yield, old vine, ripe, organic chablis kind of sticks out.  Critics bemoan that acidity and a depressing banality have started to become the trademarks associated with the chablis we know today, so Stephane’s example, primarily thanks to its incredibly long aging, has been painted as a shining beacon of hope.

“Moreau has sustainable farming, organics and biodynamic at the front of his mind,” explains Seb, in real terms. This is a man who harvests by hand (a bit later than his neighbours), refuses to use insecticides, and will not chapitalize (add sugar to the wine to assist fermentation) – even in a difficult vintage. 

Among the many accolades Stéphane's chablis has received is Seb’s: "Fresh as a daisy, crisp as iced tea and dangerously drinkable."

Andrew Hoadley 

Of all the young wine guns in the world, Seb has singled out La Violetta's Andrew Hoadley as a winemaker to watch.  Described by Wine Anorak as an emerging star, Seb says that Andrew has been able to create a stir despite coming from one of the “less trendy” wine making regions in Western Australia: Denmark.  

Andrew arrived in Denmark via Beaujoulais (as a backpacking grape-picker), the Yarra, Canberra, Tasmania, the Strathbogie Ranges, Piedmont and, finally, Abruzzo. After Alex McKay of Collector Wines introduced him to Italian wines, a love affair raged – and in his Almirante y Obispo he nails it. 

Seb says he was drawn in and had to keep guessing at descriptors when he first tried Andrew's Almirante Y Obispo - a blend of spicy Spanish grapes (Grenache, Tempranillo and Mataro) - and recommends using a decanter to really let the wine do its thing.

La Violetta keep their production at a very small scale so that they can hand craft each batch – though this means the wine is never entered into competitions.  We think that’s just as well. 


Dan Standish's Andelmonde shiraz, Stéphane Moreau's chablis, and Andrew Hoadley's Almirante Y Obispo are all available now.


With help from The Grape Collective, Bibendum and Wine Anorak