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Saturday, November 21, 2015

11/30/2015 - A Matter of Taste, San Francisco (2)

Slow Living Radio comes to you from Matter of Taste, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate premier wine event in San Francisco.  We enjoy a conversation with Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW, Editor in Chief, followed by Milan Brajkovich or New Zealand's Kumeu River, and Gavin Speight of Old Bridge Cellars to talk about Greywacke wines.

Matter of Taste is a no-holds-barred walkabout wine tasting experience built around sought-after, iconic wines and the most talented winemakers in the world.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (, brought its inaugural Matter of Taste tour to San Francisco on Saturday, November 14th at the elegant Palace Hotel, as part of a global series of exclusive events for members and guests.

A no-holds-barred wine tasting experience, Matter of Taste San Francisco is built around 150 of the most iconic Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays of California, Oregon and New Zealand, as well as cult-classic Rhone blends from California’s original Rhone Ranger pioneers. Each featured wine is rated 90+ points by The Wine Advocate and handpicked by Editor in Chief, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, and Reviewer Jeb Dunnuck.

Wine Advocate Editor in Chief
Assigned Regions: Australia and New Zealand

Born and raised in rural Maine, USA, Lisa graduated from Colby College with a degree in English Literature and Performing Arts. Her wine career began by accident when, living as a struggling playwright in London after college, she stumbled into a job as the manager of a wine bar. She progressed through wine sales and marketing roles in the UK wine trade throughout the ‘90s and early noughties before moving to Tokyo in 2002 where she worked as a wine buyer for one of Japan's top fine wine importers and a wine educator at Tokyo's Academie du Vin. In 2008 Lisa began writing a column for Robert Parker's website,, and later that year she achieved her Master of Wine qualification and the Madame Bollinger Medal for excellence in wine tasting. Now living in Singapore, she is the Editor in Chief for Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and and remains the publication's critic for the wines of Australia and New Zealand. Published by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate in 2015, Lisa's first book, Taste Like a Wine Critic: A Guide to Understanding Wine Quality, offers a comprehensive, straight-talking guide to answering the most important question that can be asked about wine: Is it good?

The Brajkovich family and Kumeu River Wines is a story that parallels the New Zealand wine industry.
From the pioneering days to the establishment of the New Zealand wine industry to today, the Brajkovich family have been internationally recognised as producing world class wine. The Brajkovich family continue to harvest their grapes at Kumeu and refine their wine making skills.
The Brajkovichs are nationally recognised as a founding family of the New Zealand wine industry, and the current generation are internationally recognised as producing world class Chardonnay.

Kumeu River has some of the most qualified, experienced, and dedicated staff as a business in this industry.

Milan Brajkovich

Vineyard Director


With a Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering, vineyard director Milan Brajkovich provides the technology at Kumeu River Winery whilst at the same time working with the land in the traditional way; such as hand harvesting, training the vines to grow on lyre trellises (U-shaped frames that expose the grapes to more sunlight), and canopy netting.
As the vineyard’s director, Milan manages a total of 40 hectares, with 10 hectares belonging to the various regional growers that supply Kumeu River.
We have an expert team of hand-pickers who harvest and sort the fruit, so that it arrives at the presses in pristine condition. The grapes are gently whole-bunch pressed to extract the best possible juice, which then goes in French oak barrels for fermentation. We do not add any yeast. We simply rely on the wild yeast strains that are naturally found on the grape berries that come in from the vineyard, which gives us a unique flavour and texture that is truly reflective of each vineyard’s individual terroir.
Variations in taste result from very minor variations in soil.
“We have two vineyards that are practically next door to each other, growing the same grapes in the same conditions, yet their minor soil differences are very obvious in the final product.”
For Milan, creating better wine involves a careful series of minor adjustments and planning as well as respecting that the weather gods will always play a role in the year’s vintage.

Gavin Speight of Old Bridge Cellars,
Importers of Greywacke

Greywacke is the Marlborough label of Kevin Judd, and the fulfilment of a long held dream. The name Greywacke was adopted by Kevin and his wife Kimberley for their first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura, named in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard. Kevin registered the name back in 1993 with the vague notion that he might one day want to use it on a wine label of his own.

This quality focused winemaking venture sources fruit from mature vineyards within the central Wairau Plains and the Southern Valleys. These prime viticultural sites are cultivated using yield restricting vineyard management techniques and intense canopy management regimes. A number of the vineyards are owned by the Sutherland family, while complementary grape parcels are acquired from additional select sites, all located within these sub-regions.  The wines are made by Kevin at Dog Point Winery in the lower Brancott Valley, a facility extended to him by long-standing friends and industry colleagues, Ivan Sutherland and James Healy.

The Greywacke portfolio is primarily based on two varieties, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir, the sauvignon blanc being produced in two distinctly different styles. In addition to this core range

of three wines, there are also limited edition releases of chardonnay, and three aromatic varieties – pinot gris, riesling and gewurztraminer. Kevin’s signature vineyard photographs provide the unmistakable identity of the Greywacke range.

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