Monday, October 21, 2013

Aussie Rules On Wine: A WINE BUYER WALKS INTO A BAR

So I had decided to set aside some of Wednesday for an off-piste visit to some of the region’s tinier wineries. My plan was to have James Eskine of Jauma pick me up at the hotel, drive me out to his winery in the Adelaide Hills, and deliver me back to the city that evening.

The only flaw in the plan was that I hadn’t yet met James …and he wasn’t aware of my plan.

James, along with Anton van Klopper (of Lucy Margaux/Domaine Lucci) and Tom Shobbrook (of Shobbrook Wines), is part of a group called the Natural Selection Theory. All three are committed to making wine as minimally as possible – a revolutionary idea in Australia (and a topic for another post). James’s USA importer, Ronnie at Vine Street, was trying to get us in touch, but by 10 PM on Tuesday evening, we hadn’t managed to make contact, so I was about to give up.

But there was magic in the Adelaide air that night and I happened to wander into the right bar at the right time.

OK, I didn’t actually “wander” into the bar. I was meeting a US wine writer who was meeting an Australian wine writer who was involved in judging the Adelaide Review Hot 100 South Australian Wines. This particular panel involved the region’s younger, cooler, smaller-scale winemakers - and while I’m sure the actual judging sessions were very serious, at this point in the evening, it had turned into a big party.

A few introductions in, I met the very James I had been looking for. He was the coordinator for the show, which was wrapping up on Wednesday….which meant no winery visit for me.

This is Anton van Klopper.
Not to be confused with Anton von Klapper
(who may exist on the internet,
but not in real life.)



Until…

A few more introductions in, I meet Anton …

....who was not officially involved in the next day’s session…

....and happened to be driving back to his home and winery in the Adelaide Hills that next morning…

....and would be happy to pick me up…

...and bring me back later that day.

As Hannibal (Smith, not Lecter.... and yes, I'm dating myself here) would say …. I love it when a plan comes together!

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