We had a quick catch up with wine expert Nick Ryan to find out where his interest in wine started and his favourite varietal.
Nick will be at all four Good Food & Wine Show’s this year talking all things wine in the Riedel Drinks Lab masterclasses.
Was the wine industry always part of your plan?
You’re either born into wine or you fall into it and can’t get up again…..I’m one of the latter.
Where did your interest in wine start?
My Yr 8 class at school went on an excursion to the Jesuit winery at Sevenhill in the Clare Valley. A tour of the winery and a tutorial on how it was made, but obviously no tasting to go with it. Many years later I was judging the Adelaide Hills Wine Show and 4 of the 6 judges were all guys I’d gone to school with, that excursion must have really had an impact.
What was the best wine you raided from your ‘old man’s Cellar?
There was a particular stash of bottles I’d raid often because I thought the labels looked a bit old-fashioned and cheap. Turns out they were from Wendouree, a place I now consider to be Australia’s single greatest estate. I buy those wines for my own cellar now, but I no longer sneak out to drink them with my mates in a park.
You were thrown out of university in Adelaide – what happened?
I just didn’t go that much. The distractions on the trip from home to University were just too great – I got a degree in wasting afternoons in pubs.
You’re the wine columnist for The Australian and a regular contributor to GQ and Gourmet Traveller Wine– where has this role led you?
Right to the edge of the deadline precipice.
What’s your favourite thing about presenting wines to people?
I reckon wine is an endlessly fascinating subject. Everyday I learn something new and I love being able to share that with those who are good enough to sit there and listen while I rabbit on. Wine makes people happy and who doesn’t like making people happy?
Do you have a favourite varietal?
When I die I want to be preserved in Nebbiolo.
What’s your favourite Australian wine?
Wendouree Cabernet Malbec, obviously my cellar raiding days served me well!
What’s the most expensive bottle of wine you’ve ever consumed?
1999 Domaine de la Romanée Conti ‘ Romanée Conti’, about 10k a bottle – thankfully I wasn’t paying.
A wine that most surprised/shocked you?
A sparkling wine from India that tasted like a thousand dead ferrets tossed onto a tire fire.
What beer does a wine expert drink?
Something wet, brown and almost flavourless.
Is there a wine that takes you back to a favourite place or moment?
Seppeltsfield ‘100 Year Old’ Tawny. It’s an incredibly evocative thing tasting a wine made a century earlier than the moment you encounter it – it’s a portal through time.
Where would you predict as an up-and-coming wine region?
I think it’s time we started to celebrate the wines of the Great Southern in WA – amazing wines that speak eloquently of a beautiful, remote and very special place.
What wine region is your favourite and why?
Piedmont in northern Italy, Nebbiolo and white truffles, what else could you want?
What wines are the most underrated?
Riesling…but don’t tell everyone how good it is, they’ll all want it.
Best perks of the job?
The hordes of groupies and the validated parking
What’s your favourite thing about the Good Food & Wine Show!?
Working with Elinor…and trying to be heard over the aural assault of Miguel arriving on stage.
Find out more about Nick here