At The Bar with Chef and Ciel Wines Founder Joshua Mason

Chef Joshua Mason owns the boutique restaurant Quoi Dining in Baulkam Hills; and is about to open Ciel Restaurant later this year; the name inspired by his wine label Ciel Wines.

 

The ambitious chef purchased a 10-acre block in Angaston, South Australia a year ago,  keen to lay the foundations for his own generational vineyard. His love of wines stem back to his time living and working in the USA where French cuisine steered his interest in pinot noirs.

 “I am the first in my Sicilian family to get into wine making,” explains Joshua Mason whose maternal side link back to the Italian isle of Sicily. “Nobody in my family is in the wine business, so I figured why not be the first and make a start.”

His property also comes with a rental Ciel House – a perfect weekend getaway for a rustic slice of downtime too.

After working at the Michelin-starred French restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, Mason got a taste for fine dining cuisine and wine pairings. He moved to the States to further his cooking career; and while there and aged in his early 20s,  fell in love with French wines.

“It was during my time in the States that I really got to know more about French wine and started collecting it,” says Joshua Mason. “I still have many bottles at home.”

In 2019 he ventured into winemaking and launched Ciel Wines.

“If I could shift a bit of my chef’s brain into wine making that’s when I realised anything could happen and I really put my mind to it to make it work,” he says.

“We started off quite small in 2019 with a shiraz and pinot noir, a limited run that sold out quickly. I travelled to Barossa and learned more about winemaking and the range grew. Then we started to place our wines in hotels and bars and it’s organically grown ever since,” says Mason.

This year, Mason unveils the ‘Cloud Series’ range– teaming with four winemakers to create a limited luxury drop. There’s a 2023 Beurre Blanc, Stratus Syrah Eden Valley and Cumulus Cabernet Sauvignon and the Greenock Shiraz.

“I have a good palette as a chef, and I don’t have one winemaker I work with – I have four. Each one of them specialise in different types of wine and I am all about shining a light on their own brilliance ,” says Mason.

He sources grapes from the Barossa region to create Ciel Wines – each bottle testament to his dedication to quality and innovation, promising an unforgettable sensory experience for Australian wine enthusiasts.

Ciel Wines, are made at his own winery in South Australia’s Barossa region.

MY CITY

I grew up on the Central Coast of NSW, but am Hunter Valley born. The beauty of the coast are its beaches and easy-going lifestyle. There’s less hustle and bustle here which people love.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY

When I was in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to work with Matthew Kirkley and enjoy a full degustation at his restaurant Koi where he was head chef. It was so precise, uniformed and well executed. I got to work with Matthew a little and learned a lot from him. I lived in the States when I was 21 and 22 and opened Quoi in Australia in 2016.

FAVOURITE BAR

I really the enjoy The Henry Deane at Hotel Palisade in Sydney – it has a nice romance to it with the best Harbour Views.

DRINK ORDER

I go straight for a Charlie Chaplin cocktail and natural Pacific oysters.

DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOU

I am a bit of a softie when it comes to cocktails. I like pretty and fun. My preferred drinks always have to have acidity and citrus, a fruity fun drink to get me in the spirit of things.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

Always leave bottles of coconut water in my fridge at home. Drink lots before you to go bed to help you rehydrate.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR

There is a cool gin bar in Tenundah in the Barossa called Musque. They have an insane amount of gins on the wall and the food is good too. For a country town, they do both well.

FAVOURITE WINE

Paul et Marie Jacqueson in France make an amazing pinot noir. I got an awesome allocation and sold it across all restaurants. I have collected some myself. I looked to their pinots when I make wine. I have one coming in three weeks time. We sold out in 2021 and 22.

Ciel’s Cloud Series launches for collectors priced from $135 per bottle.

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