Australian Wine Pairings, Tips and Trends with James Atkinson of Drinks Adventures

Apr13th

Introduction

Are you curious about the Australian wine scene and the latest trends and changes? How about tips on buying terrific Australian wines? What are some iconic Australian food and wine pairings you should try?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with James Atkinson, drinks journalist and host of the Drinks Adventures podcast.

You can find the wines we discussed here.

 

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Highlights

  • Are there any parallel trends in the beer and wine industries?
  • Is natural wine gaining popularity in Australia?
  • What is James’ controversial take on natural wine?
  • What changes and trends have emerged recently in the Australian wine scene?
  • How has Australian Chardonnay evolved and improved over the years?
  • Which wine regions should you try for Australian cool-climate Chardonnay?
  • What are some iconic Australian food and wine pairings?
  • What are the biggest challenges facing the Australian wine industry?
  • Which must-see site should you visit on a trip to Champagne?
  • What did James love about his trip to Alsace?
  • Which foods should you try on a visit to Alsace?
  • Which wines does James like to pair with pizza?
  • What barbecue and wine pairing surprised James?
  • What’s James’ favourite wine book?
  • Why is winesave James’ favourite wine gadget?
  • Which vintage wine would James want to be served at his funeral?
  • Which common red wine mistake can we easily avoid?

 

Key Takeaways

  • His descriptions of Australian wines made me not only want to revisit the wine styles but also go back to Australia itself. It’s such a magical place.
  • James makes some important points about cool-climate Australian wines and how elegant and balanced they are, to the point where they can easily be confused with Burgundian wines, especially when it comes to Chardonnay.
  • I loved his iconic Australian food and wine pairing suggestions and can’t wait to try them.

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About James Atkinson

James Atkinson is the creator of the Drinks Adventures podcast and winner of Best Podcast at the Australian Wine Communicator Awards 2021. A lover of all fine drinks, James was previously editor of Australian Brews News and drinks industry publication TheShout. A Certified Cicerone® (beer sommelier) and two-time winner of the Australian International Beer Awards prize for Best Media, James has judged at several prestigious beer competitions. As a journalist, he has contributed to publications including The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Halliday, Gourmet Traveller Wine, Good Food, Selector and more.

 

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  • You’ll find my books here, including Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines and Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass.
  • The new audio edition of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass is now available on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com and other country-specific Amazon sites; iTunes.ca, iTunes.com and other country-specific iTunes sites; Audible.ca and Audible.com.

 

Transcript

James Atkinson 0:00
You’d be pretty hard pressed to tell the difference between Australian cool climate Chardonnay and Chablis.

Natalie MacLean 0:06
From Burgundy, wow. Are there particular regions that you love for the Chardonnay in Australia?

James Atkinson 0:11
There’s good Chardonnay and I made all over Australia. You would be looking at the Adelaide Hills, Margaret River, Tasmania, Victoria Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley.

Natalie MacLean 0:25
I’ve been to Australia twice. It’s one of my favourite experiences just everything. The wine, the food, the sun, the beaches.

James Atkinson 0:33
Yeah. What’s old is new again. And in Australia, we have this great tradition of blending Cabernet and Shiraz. And they’ve really come back into vogue. Grenache as well is really having a moment. So there’s lots happening here, really.

Natalie MacLean 0:55
Do you have a thirst to learn about wine, the love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places, and amusingly awkward social situations. Oh, that’s the blend here on the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast. I’m your host, Natalie Maclean. And each week, I share with you unfiltered conversations with celebrities in the wine world, as well as confessions from my own tipsy journey as I write my third book on this subject. I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle please. And let’s get started. Welcome to Episode 176. Are you curious about the Australian wine scene and the latest trends and changes? How about some tips on buying terrific Australian wines? And what are some iconic Australian food and wine pairings you should try? You’ll hear those stories and tips and more during Part Two of our chat with James Atkinson, host of the Drinks Adventures podcast. You don’t need to have listened to Part One from last week first, but I hope you’ll go back if you missed it after you finish this one. Now on a personal note before we dive into the show with the continuing story of publishing my new memoir Wine Witch on Fire, Rising from the Ashes of Divorce, Depression, and Drinking Too Much. So in previous episodes, I talked about the importance of a book’s title and cover. Well next up is the back cover blurb. This is usually a few paragraphs that gives just enough info to make a prospective reader want more, includes a bit of the story, the stakes involved for the protagonist, hero or antihero and some of the more universal themes explored. I think of it as the extended elevator pitch. Sounds easy, right? It was actually one of the hardest things to write even after drafting my book, and I’m still working on it. Here’s the current version and please excuse the immodesty to follow because this is meant to be salesy.

Natalie MacLean is a best selling wine writer married to a high powered CEO when everything goes wrong. Da da da. There’s no music. Her husband of 20 years suddenly and mysteriously leaves. Just when she’s feeling vulnerable, she faces an onslaught of sexist attacks from an online mob. These two events force her to choose whether to retreat into bitterness, despair, and over drinking, or rally to reclaim her son, career and self worth. Natalie chronicles the worst vintage of her life with vulnerability, honesty and humour, laying bare that toxic masculinity at the heart of the wine industry. The darker moments of the book are balanced with her escapades dating zero effort men “ZEMS”, and wine soaked get togethers with girlfriends. This memoir reveals larger truths about the cyber misogyny women face, the slick marketing encouraging them to drink too much, and the societal pressure to conform when they blaze their own trail. This is the true story of one woman’s quest to find the magic inside herself to transform her life and love. Roll that into music. So that’s it. So an earlier version of this blurb didn’t say it was memoir or a true story, which it is both. So when I asked for feedback from a private writers Facebook group, one of the first comments was, why are you naming the lead character after yourself? You thought it was fiction. And sometimes I think my life during that one year was something of a mystery novel, or maybe even a horror story. But as they say, truth is stranger than fiction. I also worried that that blurb would alienate every man who picks up the book. However, there have been a number of men who have read the book as beta readers, and they haven’t been put off. I’ve posted a link to a blog post called Diary of a book launch in the show notes at NatalieMacLean.com/176. This is where I share more behind the scenes stories about the journey of taking this memoir from idea to publication. If you want a more intimate insider seat beside me on this journey, please let me know that you’d like to become a beta reader and get a sneak peek at the manuscript. Email me at natalie@NatalieMacLean.com. In the shownotes, you’ll also find my email contact the full transcript of my conversation with James, links to his website and podcast. How you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class. And where you can find the live stream video version of these conversations on Facebook and YouTube Live every Wednesday at 7pm. That’s all in the show notes at NatalieMacLean.com/176. Okay, on with the show.

So let’s shift now back to wine. Actually, let’s make the transition. Do you see any parallel trends happening in the world of wine and the world of beer? Is anything in common trend wise that you’re noticing anywhere? It doesn’t have to be Australia?

James Atkinson 7:18
Yeah, I mean, I guess the change that’s kind of happened in the year, in the last few decades, you know, the craft beer movement that kind of began in the US and really swept the globe, driven by a younger generation of people who were sort of sick of realize that beer had become this flavourless kind of product. I’m talking about the Bud Lights of this world and those sorts of things that just don’t really have much flavour. And you know, they sort of were motivated by flavour and making beer, something new. Making be their own. I suppose there’s a parallel there with the natural wine that we see now. Alright, sort of a younger generation of people, seeing what was already out there in the way of wine and finding it a bit too staid and uninteresting for them and kind of creating a new sub genre of wine for themselves. That’s good analogy. Cans have really taken off in craft beer as well. And canned wine is kind of having a bit of a moment now as well. So yes.

Natalie MacLean 8:17
Yeah, it is. Canned wine surprised me. It’s not only so much better for the environment over bottles. But the way they make it today, it does not affect the taste of wine. Like it’s got the special linings and all kinds of things and much lighter to transport. And I think it’s a good trend. And so are natural wines a big trend in Australia?

James Atkinson 8:36
Yeah, they are. I mean, I think, you know, if you were to look at it as a percentage of volume, it would be small. But they make a lot of noise, the natural wine movement. And where I am in Sydney, there’s a few bars that sort of specialize in it. A few bottle shops that specialize in it.

Natalie MacLean 8:54
And what’s your take on natural wines? What’s your personal opinion?

James Atkinson 8:59
Personally, I’m not a massive fan of the wine just because it’s natural. Like, for me, it’s just about whether it’s good or not. And I think some of the producers that make the best natural wine probably aren’t even calling themselves natural wine. They are just wine and they just do what they can to minimize inputs and all that kind of stuff. So I’ve been pretty disappointed too many times with a lot of natural wines that I’ve paid over the odds for and to be poorly made. And it’s almost like I think calling it natural can be an excuse to put something on the market that just isn’t up to scratch. There have been exceptions. I have had some good ones as well. So you need to be in the hands of maybe a good sommelier who really knows their stuff and really understands quality. And there are some good examples out there and they can be very food friendly wise as well.

Natalie MacLean 9:54
Well put. So tell us a bit about the Australian wine industry as it stands today. Do you have any sort of key stats that would help us understand the size of it in terms of how much wine is being produced these days.

James Atkinson 10:06
Yeah, I think last year, I had to do this research for you, Natalie. And it was 165,000,009 litre case equivalents. So 12 bottle cases. So I think maybe you talk about bottles over there, we tend to talk about cases. So whatever 12 times 165 million is. That’s how. It’s a lot. Yeah, that’s, well, that sounds like a big number. You might know better than I do. How that sits in a global context.

Natalie MacLean 10:31
Yeah, I’m not sure of all the stats off the top of my head. It’s definitely more than we produce here in Canada. But yeah, is most of it exported? Or do you consume most of it domestically?

James Atkinson 10:41
I think maybe it’s kind of about 50/50. I think last I checked, export was almost half of the production.

Unknown Speaker 10:50
I would imagine.

James Atkinson 10:52
Yeah I mean the industry is kind of been rocked here by the China trade tariffs that were introduced a year, or maybe it was, probably it was in the last 12 months that they were actually introduced. A bit of a diplomatic spat between China and Australia. And they just overnight introduced these tariffs that have made Australian wines so expensive in China that the markets just disappeared overnight. And that was our biggest market, well over $1 billion worth of annual trade with China. And that sort of disappeared overnight. So pretty tough times for Australian wine.

Natalie MacLean 11:29
Holy smokes. And any other trends you’re seeing in Australia wine today, aside from the natural wines? Anything else emerging grape styles, regions, anything like that?

James Atkinson 11:40
Yeah, there’s probably a few. I think it’s been talked about a lot the resurgence of Australian Chardonnay. And in a more modern contemporary style. Australian Chardonnay probably had a bit of a bad name, you know, maybe in the 80s and 90s. And was just kind of known for those really sort of rich, buttery over baked 100% malolactic type Chardonnays.

Natalie MacLean 12:03
Malolactic fermentation for those aren’t as geeky as we are. No, that’s okay. But it makes the wine even more buttery, it takes out the harsher lactic acids and turns them into Malo acids. It makes it all very buttery, but it can become too buttery and goopy as well.

James Atkinson 12:18
You know, the ones were really deep yellow in colour, I think as well. And you know, I think maybe you’d probably say 15 years ago, roughly, I would say is when the movement kind of started to, hang on: Should we be picking as late as this? Should we be spending that much time in new oak with these Chardonnays? Are we really showcasing the site that these wines are from? So there’s just been a whole revolution style wise with Australian Chardonnay. I think people sort of talked about a few years ago went too far. It went kind of too far to really bonesy styles lacked fruit a bit and we’re kind of really driven by that sort of sulphide struck match kind of note that you get. And now, I think things have come back, you know, the pendulum has sort of swung back a bit. I think of Australian Chardonnay is just a brilliant place right now, where you’ve got the sort of balance between winemaking technique and fruit expression, terroir expression. And some of these wines, people sort of talk about how you these days, you’d be pretty hard pressed to tell the difference between Australian cool climate Chardonnay and Chablis in some ways.

Natalie MacLean 13:28
Well from Burgundy wow. Are there particular regions that you love for the Chardonnay in Australia?

James Atkinson 13:34
There’s good Chardonnay made all over Australia, really in a lot of our top wine regions. But I think the sort of cool climate examples that I’m talking about you would be looking at the Adelaide Hills. You’d be looking at Margaret River. You’d be looking at Tasmania and also Victoria, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, places like that, right?

Natalie MacLean 14:01
Yeah, no, I have to return to those areas as well. I just love cool climate wines. Yeah, I’ve been to Australia twice. Actually. It’s one of my favourite experiences. Just everything. The wine, the food, the sun, the beaches. Both times were great experiences.

James Atkinson 14:16
Yeah. And if I was going to call out just a couple of others, just quickly, I think what’s old is new again. And you know, in Australia, we have this great tradition of blending Cabernet and Shiraz. And we don’t really have too much Merlot in Australia, so it sort of makes a lot of sense that that’s kind of our unique style, our unique wine style and it kind of went out of fashion for a while. And over the last 17 years I think it is, two wine writers, Matthew Jukes from Britain and Tyson Stelzer from Australia, they sort of made a big push behind what they call the Great Australian Red so these Shiraz Cabernet blends or carbonation Red blends. And they’ve really they come back into vogue. Grenache as well as really having a moment. And then there’s some producers that are sort of really getting well known for their, what we call, alternative varieties or appropriate varieties for the climate here. And there’s some really great examples of Australian Sangiovese and many other grape varieties as well. So there’s lots there’s lots happening here. Really.

Natalie MacLean 15:24
Oh, wow. Lots to explore. Because I remember on my trips, I just love the GSM the Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre, or Mataro blends that are reminiscent also of the Rhone, but of course, have definitely an Australian signature and taste. But they were just gorgeous blends. Yeah, absolutely. And do you have any iconic pairings I know this is broad, but Australian food and wine paring that you’ve had.

James Atkinson 15:50
I think it’s probably hard to just go past you know, like a Hunter Semillon you know.  That’s one of our uniquely Australian styles that no one can do around the world quite like we do. And just so beautiful with some seafood, you know, just not some seafood that is just fresh. And obviously we all live around the coast in Australia and where I am in Sydney, we’re on the coast. And so the glass of Hunter Semillon with maybe some oysters and prawns. It’s pretty hard to beat that really.

Natalie MacLean 16:21
Oh, it is that you’re bringing back memories because the first trip I was on assignment for Air Canada En Route magazine, which was a nice gig to get because they flew me first class. But I landed in Sydney had to go around to all the restaurants to write this article and then go down to the Hunter Valley and I just remember falling in love with Semillon, especially mature Semillon. I was told it goes through sort of maybe a mute or dumb stage and then comes out the other end as it’s aged. These beautiful, hard to describe but sort of lanolin and wool and wax. And it was just so beautiful that taste and that the mouthfeel so voluptuous. Yeah, absolutely. I’ll never forget that. So what do you think the greatest challenges are that the Australian wine industry faces right now, aside from of course, you’ve got the big tariffs from China. That’s hard. But are there other trends, challenges that the industry faces?

James Atkinson 17:15
I think the number one thing is just kind of overcoming this perception that Australian wine means the big, high alcohol rich, heavily oaked styles of wine that most people would have been had been likely to come across from the Barossa. I mean, I think that even sort of the signature Barossan style has evolved over time. And people are buying larger, picking a little bit earlier. And so the wines are a little bit more elegant and medium bodied. So that’s sort of a stereotype that people have in their minds about the style of wine Australia is best known for.  Other than that, it’s just kind of educating people around the world about, you know, the breadth and depth of Australian wine. You know, there’s so many wine regions. It’s such a big country. So anyone who kind of says, I don’t like Australian wine. Well, I challenge them to say that they don’t really like wine. If they say that because the stars are wine that everyone would enjoy and it all quality levels and a tremendous amount of wine that is great value for the standard that it is. When you like I said before, you know comparing Australian Chardonnay versus what you pay for a Chablis they’re just not even the same ballpark. So our Pinot Noir as well as is great. So I think it’s just about understanding what Australian wine really has to offer.

Natalie MacLean 18:35
Absolutely. And you know, one of my rookie mistakes when I just started out writing about wine was assuming Australia was all warm climate. But we just talked about all the cool pockets. And there’s many regions that provide as you’re saying such diverse microclimates and soils and influences of bodies of water or rivers. I mean, it’s just not all one mammoth rock, if you will.

James Atkinson 18:56
Exactly. Yeah.

Natalie MacLean 18:58
So what do you think the Australian wine industry needs to do differently? It’s got a marketing challenge. But is there anything else that needs to change?

James Atkinson 19:06
I don’t know. I think it’s just sort of about getting out. It has been hard in the last two years for them to continue to do the work they’ve been doing from a marketing perspective, because obviously, people haven’t been able to travel. And I know that’s really damaged Australia a bit in the UK. Obviously you’ve got France and Spain and countries like that, the UK is now our biggest market. But in the last two years, I think it probably would have grown more if our winemakers been able to travel all over there and show their wares to the trade and to media and so forth. So we’re at a pretty big disadvantage with how far away we are. But I think it’s. Yeah, look, it’s just about getting the wines into people’s hands and getting people to try them because when they do they understand. Oh, hang on. This is not what I thought Australian wine was and you just gradually will sure expand your fan base.

Natalie MacLean 19:57
So in your sphere of work, like me a bit fortunate to travel to some pretty glorious places. Tell me about your visit to Champagne. What were the highlights there?

James Atkinson 20:09
Oh, God. It’s now thinking about doing things like that when I’ve been sort of stuck in Sydney, and you know, there’s worse places that you could be stuck. And all of that. But yeah, I just sort of realized how much of that travel for granted. Me too. Yeah. Look, I did a few days in Champaigne as a guest of the CIBC a few years ago. You know, they organized my itinerary and sent me around to sort of a really interesting contrasting selection of houses, growers, co-ops. I mean, probably the one experience that I would highlight would probably have been going to Ruinart. And you know, the caves at Ruinart. Underground caves. Yeah, the underground short cave is just so beautiful. Like, it’s really something that if you’re a Champagne lover to actually go there, and to see what those caves are like, it’s, it’s incredible. And then I sort of interviewed the president of Ruinart, and kind of enjoyed a Ruinart Blanc de Blanc with him at the winery. And that was pretty hard to beat that whole experiment. Sorry, that whole experience.

Natalie MacLean 21:15
Yeah. Yeah, I remember visiting Champagne, and Pommery also has an underground network of caves. And people don’t realise if you haven’t been there, some of the caves the main arteries can be as big as the Champs-Elysées. Like the big main roads and they are road signs. And you know, they have branching tunnels that go off of these main arteries and all of these bottles like millions literally under Reims, one of the main cities are just lying, sleeping cobwebs, waiting to be dispatched eventually.  But it’s a magical place to visit. And it smells so fresh. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the air was down there. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Now you’ve also been to Alsace. I’ve never been there yet. So tell us what was the highlight of Alsace, the border of Germany and France.

James Atkinson 22:03
Some of the most beautiful countryside that I’ve seen. It’s just such so picture perfect some of the scenes of these vineyards on a hill with a little church that’s probably been there for hundreds of years. And some really beautiful Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer that I’ve sort of never really experienced quite like that in Australia. And same with Pinot Gris as well. Amazing, amazing. Few days there. Really, you know what some of these media trips like you’re up at almost dawn, and you go and visit 10 wineries in a day, and it’s exhausting. It is, but no one’s gonna kind of give us any sympathy.

Natalie MacLean 22:41
No, there’s no sympathy. They just stare at you. And they say when you say that, it’s like, really, that’s so hard.

James Atkinson 22:47
Of course you remember the best parts of the experience are what stay with you the most. And I really love my time in Alsace, amazing food. You know.

Natalie MacLean 22:55
I’ve heard so much about the food. What are the big dishes? They’re like, why is the food so good there?

James Atkinson 23:01
Well, they do this thing called Tarte Flambée, which is a little bit like a pizza, but the base is like much lighter. And yeah, I love pizza. And I love Tarte Flambée. It’s delicious. Like it might have some of them have snails on them or whatever. And I’m not much into that. But yeah, Tarte Flambée is really good.

Natalie MacLean 23:19
Is it fired? Like, is there a flambé part? Or is it like a fire oven or something?

James Atkinson 23:23
A fire oven, I think. Yeah. And then I mean, look, beautiful terrains. Beautiful, sort of. I think there’s a bit of a German influence there as well with sort of some of the sausages and stuff and yeah, great, great food really unique.

Natalie MacLean 23:38

Great. All right, let’s turn to a lightning round of quicker questions. What’s something that you believe about wine that maybe others would disagree with you about that?

James Atkinson 23:48
We kind of touched on this before and it was the… the Australian wines? No, it was most natural wine is crap.

Natalie MacLean 23:56
On the natural wines. Gotcha. Yes. Yes. It’s good to have different opinions and bring a fresh perspective. Yes, we did cover that. You’re right. Do you have a favourite childhood food that you pair with wine today as an adult?

James Atkinson 24:07
Well, I’ve been a pizza lover all my life and I’d probably go with a nice Sangiovese or Chianti. With what type of pizza? Probably just a pepperoni pizza.

Natalie MacLean 24:17
Sounds good. Sounds good. What’s the weirdest food and wine pairing you’ve ever had?

James Atkinson 24:22
Well, this brought to mind an event that I went to for Taittinger Champagne, which was an American barbecue restaurant. And you know American barbecue, you kind of think of big burly guys with beards, craft beer. It doesn’t really bring to mind Champagne. But look, you know what’s not to love about drinking Taittinger Champagne that went fine with the American barbecue I thought.

Natalie MacLean 24:46
That’s great. Have to try that one. What is your favourite wine book are one of them.

James Atkinson 24:52
This is an interesting one. I mean, Nosedive by Harold McGee. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it. It’s so it’s a field guide to the world smells.

Natalie MacLean 25:05
Oh, right. Oh, he’s the scientist. He does all sorts of food and science.

James Atkinson 25:10
The book is just incredible. He went around smelling every possible thing that you could think of, from, you know, the worst smells to the best smells, and kind of unpacks why it is that, for example, wines remind us of other things like, you know. You might say Cabernet,  a Cabernet has notes of bay leaf, for example. And obviously, most of the time, that stuff is underpinned by the same flavour molecules are in both things. And so if you’ve ever kind of thought, oh, that smell reminds me of this. Nose Dive is great to be able to dig into understanding some of that stuff. So it’s not strictly a wine book.

Natalie MacLean 25:52
But still so tied closely about the essential of wine which is its smell.

James Atkinson 25:57
For anyone who’s interested in sensory who. I had had Harold on the podcast and it was one of my favourite interviews, too.

Natalie MacLean 26:04
I bet he would be amazing. Oh my gosh, wow. That’s great. Do you have a favourite wine gadget?

James Atkinson 26:10
Yeah, I chose for this one wine save pro

Natalie MacLean 26:13
The preserve spray sort of.

James Atkinson 26:16
So it’s just, if I’ve got a nice bottle open, I always hate to waste it and I do find wine stays pretty good for dosing it with a bit of gas to sort of reduce the exposure to oxygen, and it’ll last a little bit longer and hold up a little bit better overnight, or over a couple of days, depending on how full the bottle is.

Natalie MacLean 26:35
That’s true. I’ve got preserved spray. And it just as you say, it flushes out the oxygen that’s in the empty part of the bottle and replaces it with a blanket of whatever it is nitrogen or something. Argon. Right. Right. Right. Yes, absolutely. If you could put up a billboard in downtown Sydney. What would it say?

James Atkinson 26:55
Well, shameless self promotion, but probably subscribe to the Drinks Adventures podcast.

Natalie MacLean 27:01
Good one. Why not. Free advertising? That’s great. That’s great. You’re very practical, James. Which wine would you like serve at your own funeral? Not to get too morbid, but yeah.

James Atkinson 27:14
Well, you know, I wouldn’t want people to dwell on it and get too sad. So maybe a beautiful vintage champagne like say, Pol Roger Winston Churchill, for example.

Natalie MacLean 27:25
Lovely. I’m coming to your funeral. As we wrap up our conversation, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to mention?

James Atkinson 27:34
Yeah, well, I think maybe just you know, what is the worst advice people get about wine? Sure. I think the one that I kind of see the most is to serve red wine at room temperature. Now in Australia, room temperature could be upwards of 22 degrees Celsius, and maybe a lot warmer than that. And so the amount of times I’m in a restaurant, sadly and get brought a glass of red wine that’s just been served room temperature and it really doesn’t look the best. Enjoys like soup. Yeah, so as sometimes if I buying a whole bottle, and I taste it, and then I realise it’s too warm. I’ll ask for an ice bucket for it.

Natalie MacLean 28:18
Yeah, even if you’ll get strange looks. It’s to do that’s right. Yeah. It’s more refreshing. So now how can people get in touch with you online, find your podcast and so on. Here’s your billboard moment. Go for it.

James Atkinson 28:31
The simplest ways probably you know the website DrinksAdventures.com.au. Or you can find me on all social media at BY James Atkinson.  “B” “Y”  James Atkinson. Drinks Adventures is on Instagram too @Drinks Adventures_ AU.

Natalie MacLean 28:49
Great. Well, we’ve got podcast listeners listening to us right now, obviously. And so they’ll find your podcast as well, wherever they get this podcast. So James, I loved our conversation. I’m looking forward to chatting with you again because I’m going to chat with you on your podcast. But this has been wonderful. Thank you so much.

James Atkinson 29:06
Thanks so much for having me.

Natalie MacLean 29:08
Okay, James. Cheers for now.

Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed our chat with James. Here are my takeaways. Number one, his descriptions of Australian wines made me not only want to revisit with the wine styles, but also to go back to Australia itself. It was such a magical place. Two, James makes some important points about cool climate Australian wines and how elegant and balanced they are to the point where they can be confused with Burgundian wines, especially when it comes to Chardonnay. And three, I loved his iconic Australian wine and food pairing suggestions and cannot wait to try them. In the show notes, you’ll find links to James’ website and podcast, my free online pairing class the video versions of these chats. That’s all in the shownotes at NatalieMacLean.com/176. Email me if you have a sip, tip, question or want to be a beta reader of my new memoir at natallie@NatalieMacLean.com You won’t want to miss next week when we chat with Andrea Smalling, Chief Marketing Officer at Wine Direct and Cathy Huyghe, Forbes wine columnist and CEO at Enolytics. They’ve recently co authored a groundbreaking report on the wine industry that will be of interest to those who make, sell and buy wine from wineries to consumers. In the meantime, if you missed Episode 59, go back and take a listen. I chat about bargain wines, pairing wine with artichokes and wine region vacation tips. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.

Mark & Francis 30:49
Artichokes are one of the most difficult foods to pair up with wine and it’s notoriously true. There was a reality show, I think it was Hell’s Kitchen. No no it was Top Chef first season. One of the final challenges which was to put together a food and wine extravaganza you know a whole dinner. One of the finalists chose artichokes prominently in our dinner and every wine person in the world smacked their head and said no not artichoke

Unknown Speaker 31:14
If you remember Tiffany in the finals. She blew it on the artichokes. She put artichokes on everything. It was  one of those things when as you were watching her doing it if you’re a wine person…

Mark & Francis 31:24
When she conceptualized the menu, She said that word artichokes and everybody went No? Why? Why are artichokes so difficult Natalie?

Natalie MacLean 31:32
Well, they have an organic acid Sindarin that stimulates our tastebud’s sugar receptors and fools us into thinking that everything we eat or drink afterwards is sweeter than it actually is. Even water. To imagine how that plays havoc with wine.

If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who be interested in the wines and stories we discussed. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Perhaps a cool climate Australian Chardonnay

You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full body bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media. So subscribe for free now at NatalieMacLean.com/subscribe. Maybe here next week. Cheers.

 

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