Mel Brown sits down with Paul Pujol from Prophet’s Rock to discuss all things wine in our “Down In The Cellar” series.
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE MOST IN THE WORLD OF WINE AND WHY?
Its obscure – no one will guess this!
Francis Burn, Gueberschwihr, Alsace single handedly keeping muscat as a varietal alive at the top end of a small Alsace village. Basically there’s only him and 2 hectares in the middle of grand cru golden mile, and no one cares because its muscat. Commercially the wine is amazing, and if it wasn’t for Francis Burn there would be little hope for the variety Muscat. There’s under 2% here but it’s one of the 4 noble varieties of Alsace, and he’s one of the most lovely humble dudes you’ll ever meet. (You will understand my obsession with Muscat as you read on)
WHAT WINE VARIETY ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT FOR IT’S FUTURE IN NZ?
Me and my 150 cases of Muscat are going change the world view of New Zealand white varietals. I jokingly say that Muscat has tremendous potential.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PROPHET’S ROCK DRINK NOW WINE FOR 2018?
Infusion Pinot Noir – crisp 100% pinot from a single block, drunk cold, best enjoyed with my mate Heath at the Red Lion Pub in London (Heath is pictured in the pub below).
Prophet’s Rock | Infusion Pinot Noir
WHAT ARE YOUR 5 FAVOURITE WINES AVAILABLE AT THE NEW ZEALAND CELLAR?
- Ata Rangi
- Framingham (Because he sends me awesome wines)
HAVE YOU TASTED MANY AUSTRALIAN WINES? IF SO WHAT WINE REGION DO YOU THINK IS PRODUCING THE MOST EXCITING WINES AT THE MOMENT?
The style, movement and rise of Italian varietals! I’m inspired by the likes of Brendan and Laura from Uni Cozelo planting Fiano in the riverlands, they are such good people. Other red Italian varietals such as Nebbiolo, Nero de Avola in some respects (and controversially) are better suited, because they need heat, but they hold acidity – so you’ve still got that remarkable freshness. Totally loving them right now!
IS THERE A SPECIFIC WINE REGION YOU USE TO BENCHMARK AGAINST YOUR WINES?
My experience and background with aromatic whites is Alsace so I guess the benchmark in my head when I’m looking at aromatics is always Alsace rather than looking at other regions in New Zealand.
IT SEEMS LIKE MOST WINERIES HAVE A #WINEDOG – DO YOU HAVE ONE AT PROPHET’S ROCK? TELL US ABOUT THEM…
We have Jess! Jess is a Kelpie – An Australian cattle farming dog. What is A Kelpie you ask? They found english working dogs were not so good in the heat in Australia and they crossed them with a dingo (Mel inserts happy face here) With super cute, fox like features and an adorable nature, Jess is Regan our Vineyard Managers dog. (Jess is notoriously camera shy! pictured below).
Jess the wine dog of Prophet’s Rock
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST LEARNING CURVE WHEN YOU GOT INTO THE INDUSTRY?
The Biggest learning curve is easily landing Head Winemaking position at a 200 year old Alsace Domaine less than one year out of Lincoln. Becoming the first permanent foreign winemaker in the region that there had ever been and making 12/13 grape varieties, most of which were reasonably new to me, and planted before the war, like in the 1920’s. Some days I felt out of my depth, but was quickly reassured with village support as I ran the vineyard and the winery.
PROUDEST DAD MOMENT?
I’ve always introduced my children to wine from a young age, and although I have several very proud moments as a father, one that resonates to me is when my daughter nailed her blind tastings, age 3. I’ve always allowed them have a little taste, but only if they can tell me 3 things about the wine – I want them to think about what they’re doing. Anyway, when we were living in Oregon and my daughter’s party trick was blind tasting Pinot Gris vs Riesling – she always picked the Riesling, because it tasted like lemons…. #prouddad
Prophets Rock wines are available from The New Zealand Cellar with free delivery UK wide on all orders over £150.