At The Bar with Crown Melbourne’s Director of Wine Matthew Brooke

The Write Drop speaks to Director of Wine at Crown Melbourne’s Cellar & Co Matthew Brooke – the man responsible for curating the wines we see stocked at the cellar door.

What’s more, many of those you find on the wine list at restaurants such as Rockpool and Nobu, can later be purchased at Cellar & Co.

From wines selected from Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan, to the hyped and well deserved chatter around MMAD – Brooke shares his wine tips and personal favourites.

MY CITY

I grew up in Canberra, but have called Melbourne home all my adult life. I moved here for the food and wine culture.  I love Melbourne as a wine professional because we have great wineries and regions. We have great wine tourism on our doorstep, in just about any direction you travel.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY

I’ll always remember my visit to Hanoi, Vietnam as a food tourist with a list of local street food dishes I wanted to try. I ate the equivalent of around three main courses all before midday, plus several Bia Hoi’s (beers) on the street because it got super-hot. I reckon we spend no more than about $10 each.

FAVOURITE BAR

La Table Du Square in Burgundy, France. They have so many great producers by the glass from a region I love, let alone bottle selection. You can sit there and watch the world go by, play cards as we do, and sip incredible wines while eating a fave bar snack of cheese and charcuterie.

WINE THAT DESCRIBES YOU

Chenin Blanc – versatile, flavoursome, and hopefully (generally) long-lived.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

Bacon and eggs are a staple for a weekend hangover, with an early hair of the dog, usually a beer in can, to get things back on track.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR

In Adelaide, I always drop into Mother Vine. The selection of wines by the glass is always interesting, and you’ll almost always run into someone from the industry; it’s that sort of hang out.

FAVOURITE WINE

Literally, the hardest question to ask a sommelier! My standard answer is I have a time and place for all wines, but I quickly follow that up and say if you ran a report on the wine I consume at home it’s heavily weighted to Chardonnay followed by Pinot Noir, and right now Curly Flat is a go-to producer for both varieties.

FAVOURITE WINERY

Giant Steps in the Yarra Valley has got to be up there. You’ll find their Estate wine or even single vineyard Chardonnay or Pinot’s on many of the wine lists at Crown, reliable and with such a great story to tell about the Yarra and the super talented Melanie Chester now making them.

BEST NEWCOMER

It has to be MMAD – based in Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale and part of the Shaw + Smith stable. The Chenin Blanc is now in its second release and is already cult status among sommeliers, and the Grenache is on point.

NEXT DESTINATION

Whilst I dream of being back in Burgundy regularly, my next wine-based travel destination is Tasmania. I’m excited because I think the Island is exploding with great produce and wine. The state is hot right now for Pinot Noir in particular.

GIVE US FIVE REASONS TO SHOP AT CELLAR & CO

Cullen Cabernet Merlot 1997 – the cellars run deep at Crown, giving us the chance to put iconic wines in the shop with age, that we have carefully cellared ourselves.

Yalumba X Cellar & Co ‘The Octavius’ 2017 – a collaboration with Yalumba where we bottled one octave’s worth of their iconic shiraz, individually number and exclusive to Cellar & Co.

Aligoté – some say it’s the poor man’s cousin to Chardonnay from Burgundy, but with the price of Burgundy becoming astronomical it is proving value and I think a rather delicious grape.

AA Badenhorst ‘Secateurs’ Chenin Blanc – a wine from Swartland South Africa. This is a gem in our Chenin Blanc range that over delivervalue and often surprises people.

Grace Wines Koshu – another surprise package from Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan, again few people would have ever seen wine from Japan and it’s just a delicious and fresh Riesling like wine.

A LOCAL BEST

Montalto from the Mornington Peninsula producing exquisite and great value Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that I often point people to – especially for a souvenir of visiting Crown from interstate or overseas.

AN INTERNATIONAL BEST

Brezza is a producer we stock from Barolo (Piedmont) in Northwest Italy. Their everyday Langhe Nebbiolo is so vibrant and flavoursome, it’s converting a lot of people to being Nebbiolo lovers.

 

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