Andrew Murch of Pt Leo Estate on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula
Andrew recalls five of his most significant wine memories that have each come from professional experiences.
01 2013 Tolpuddle Chardonnay
I tasted this benchmark Australian chardonnay [when I was working] at Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne, with [former beverage director] David Lawler and the wine team. It was the first time I felt like I’d really nailed a tasting note in front of my colleagues. I remember saying the wine was citric, salty and leaner than most Australian counterparts, but still with a subtle creaminess adding some softer edges and subtle padding. It was so restrained. I tasted a 2013 a few weeks ago and it’s still looking very smart. The feeling of nailing that note has given this wine a special place in my heart.
02 Henri Germain Meursault Perrieres 1er Cru
Again I was with my Rockpool colleagues one night after work. After tasting this wine against the Henri Germain Meursault Charmes 1er Cru, David [Lawler] asked me which one I preferred. I said the Charmes, as it was rounder, softer and more floral – more charming. But after we’d discussed it as a group, I realised that although the immediate allure of the Charmes was undeniable, the gastronomic potential of the more structured Perrieres was unsurpassable. From that moment on, I understood that everything I tasted had to relate back to food.
03 1998 Chateau Bouscasse VV Madiran
I served a magnum of this wine to one of my favourite regulars at Rockpool. It’s always fun to serve large-format bottles. Once I’d served this wine on that night, I kept looking at it and it kept on changing. The wine was all dark and brooding one minute, then 15 minutes later it was super lifted and floral. I realised then that a good wine, with some age, will take you on a journey throughout the duration of the bottle, revealing itself in different ways, changing and evolving in the glass. It’s always so exciting when this happens.
04 2005 Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Barolo Riserva
This bottle was the finale of the 2016 Lorenzo Galli Scholarship [an initiative of Victorian winery Galli Estate that celebrates Italian styles]. We tasted it blind and I knew it was a great Barolo from Monforte, but it was showing some premature oxidisation and I picked it as being 20 years old. I couldn’t believe how much it was still singing in the glass. The slight rancio notes were failing to mask the sheer quality of its sweet fruit and profound minerality. I was blown away by how incredible this wine could be, even on an ‘off’ day.
05 2005 Domaine de Trevallon Rouge
The enjoyment of wine for me is all about the story. René Dürrbach was an artist who bought this estate and planted vines. On his deathbed in 2000, at the request of his son, he painted on 50 blank Trevallon labels. They use these unique labels each year, depending on the character of the wine and vintage. When I first read about this, I knew that a good story can make a wine even more enjoyable. As a sommelier, I try not to speak exclusively about the characters of a wine, but also the characters behind it. People respond well to a good story.