Tasmanian wines have been given the tick of approval from some of the world’s top sommeliers, who visited the state looking for new flavours for their diners.
International sommeliers Joo Lee from Eleven Madison Park, New York; Hiroshi Ishida from Restaurant L’aube, Japan; Kelvin McCabe from Yauatcha, UK; and Ying Guo from Four Seasons Shanghai Pudong, China toured Australian wine regions with Wine Australia.
They were joined by top sommeliers from New Zealand: Candice Chow from Rata by Josh Emett, NZ; and Theresa Woessner from The Lodge Bar, NZ.
Mr Lee was excited about Tasmanian sparkling wine and said he would “love to taste as much sparkling as possible” while he was in Tasmania.
“I’m looking for basically anything that’s good; wines that have a sense of place and a story about where it’s coming from,” Mr Lee said.
“I’d like to offer a [Tasmanian sparkling wine] to pour by the glass,” he said.
While diners at Eleven Madison Park are more used to old-world wines, Mr Lee said he thought they would like Tasmanian flavours.
“We offer wine pairings with our menus by vintage and are introducing younger wines from fresh new producers,” he said.
Mr Lee has worked as the Eleven Madison Park sommelier for the past three years and fell into the industry almost by accident.
“I was studying as an undergraduate in chemistry and a doctorate in pharmacy and worked in a restaurant part time to make some extra money,” he said.
“I started doing wine tastings and thought ‘this is really good’. I fell in love with wine along the way.
“When it came time to sit for my exams I had to choose between sitting those for wine or for the board, so I decided to do wine full time,” Mr Lee said.
Northern Tasmanian stops included visits to Josef Chromy Wines, Tamar Ridge and Devil’s Corner vineyards, a cruise on the Tamar River and oyster shucking at Freycinet Marine Farm.
The group also visited Moorilla Winery & Cellar Door and Lark Distillery in Hobart.
The Australian wine tour was timed to coincide with The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 event program, with the sommeliers attending the World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards in Melbourne on April 5.