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Interview with Wine Scholar and Sommelier Anthony Pieri

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On a quiet tree-lined street in the mountain village of Woodend is a wine store. And inside that store is a treasure trove that will blow your wine-loving mind.

It’s also where you’ll currently find American-born French Wine Scholar and Sommelier Anthony Pieri.

Woodend Wine Store’s owner Caroline Bailey recently lured Anthony from the big smoke of Melbourne. Her career in wine has spanned some of the best restaurants, finest retailers and renowned wineries in the country. While up until recently, Anthony has been working as a Sommelier in Melbourne’s top dining rooms.

It’s no wonder their paths crossed.

A CMS-certified Sommelier and French Wine Scholar, Anthony sat the famously arduous Master of Wine exam in 2019. So we’re rather excited to welcome him into the Macedon Ranges fold. Here’s what he’s got to say about the Macedon Ranges wine scene…

1. Woodend Wine Store 2. Good Times Sommelier Anthony Pieri 3. Woodend Wine Store

1. How did you find yourself in Woodend and the Woodend Wine Store?

The owner Caz (aka Caroline) and I have a mutual colleague in common, and I was furloughed on account of COVID-19, going stir crazy in a small CBD apartment. She put us in contact and here I am!

2. We hear you’re rather partial to Macedon Ranges Pinots. When did you first taste a Pinot from the Macedon Ranges?

I am absolutely partial to Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir! My first Pinot from the Macedon Ranges would have been the introduction to Michael Dhillon’s wines* whilst working at Vue de Monde in 2012. We were fortunate enough to see the wines often, as well as to create a back vintage library — they were consistently impressive.

The core of red fruit wrapped in silky effortless tannin and carried by zesty acidity really intrigued me. It wasn’t until I was studying for the MW* and visited Curly Flat did I start to truly understand the vineyards and the climate and how it was contributing to these characteristics I really enjoyed.

Having spent time at Bindi as well, it’s obvious that his (Michael Dhillon’s) care and attention in the vineyard are second to none; creating the ‘it factor’ in those wines.

*Michael Dhillon is the owner and winemaker at Bindi Wines.

*Master of Wine

3. In your opinion, what makes wine tasting in the Macedon Ranges particularly unique, compared to other wine regions in Australia?

I’ve never actually toured and tasted in Macedon as a consumer, it has always been as a buyer.

The small-town aesthetic to Woodend and the forested surrounds with elevation are all contributing factors that undeniably make this a less-known and well-kept secret for Victorians, who might otherwise venture to the Yarra Valley or the Mornington Peninsula.

For me, there is an authenticity to the Macedon Ranges that is very special.

4. The Young Guns of Wine awards just starred four Macedon Ranges winemakers in their top 50 finalists, with couple Dilworth and Allain taking out the Young Gun of Wine Award and Best New Act Award for 2020. Why do you think they have made such a splash in the wine world?

The Young Gun of Wine Awards is a creative platform to highlight up and coming talent in the industry. I haven’t tasted the wines, and I don’t have a relationship with either Chris or Loique, but their story is fascinating, and the convergence of wine and art has been intertwined since antiquity.

The Macedon Ranges has huge potential for wine, especially as the earth warms, and it’s encouraging to see detail and attention in the wines of the region from professionals investing their experience and expertise here.

5. If you were to choose some wines to enjoy this winter from the Macedon Ranges, what would they be and what would you suggest to pair them with?

2018 Athletes of Wine ‘Vino Athletico’ Chardonnay with a ripe, soft, cows milk cheese or popcorn and a movie. Or all three.

2019 Bindi ‘Original Vineyard’ Pinot Noir with Duck, Pine Mushroom, caramelised onion Mac & Cheese and foraging buddies.

NV Hanging Rock ‘Macedon Cuvee’ with karaage chicken.

2010 Metcalfe Valley ‘Reserve’ Syrah with rosemary/garlic rack of lamb and a crackling fireplace. Significant other optional.

About Anthony Pieri

After abandoning a career in finance to pursue wine, US-born Anthony headed for New Zealand. After a season on Waiheke Island and then vintage in Spain, he settled in Australia working in dining rooms in Melbourne. He is CMS-certified, a French Wine Scholar and sat the famously arduous Master of Wine exam in 2019. Beyond wine, he enjoys time near the sea, good food with friends, and travel -, particularly to South America.

Follow his story on Instagram @drinkingwithmagellan.

Anthony Pieri

About Woodend Wine Store

Once a historic Scotch oven bakery, Woodend Wine Store has a thoughtfully-curated collection featuring small-batch new world and old world producers. The store supports local Macedon Ranges, Bendigo, Heathcote and Pyrenees wineries – with a focus on independent and iconic Australian producers and special wines from France, Germany and Italy.

After 20-odd years in wine, owner Caroline has collected an impressive cellar that presents an eclectic rotation of mature and museum releases of iconic wines, alongside local spirits and gins flavoured with mountain botanicals.

When Caroline is curating the wine list, it’s important to her to visit the winemakers to hear their philosophies. Kick the soil. And see the slope of the vineyard and the bees buzzing in the vines.

Caroline selects featured monthly producers and seasonal mixed packs for those who cannot browse the shelves in person.

The Woodend Wine Store is open Sunday to Tuesday 12-6pm and Wednesday to Saturday 11-8pm

42 Anslow Street, Woodend | 03 5427 2228

Email caz@woodendwinestore.com.auinstagram.com/woodend_wine/facebook.com/woodendwine/

Caroline Bailey

About the Macedon Ranges

The Macedon Ranges is a place for visitors to relax in village life, mountain air and the sounds of the forest. And according to the Woodend Wine Store, it arguably makes the best Pinot Noir in the country.

The region is situated northwest from Melbourne and it takes around one hour to reach Woodend. You can also get there by V/Line train from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne or from Bendigo.

Get inspired for a getaway with these places to stay in the Macedon Ranges.

Find out how to buy Macedon Ranges wine delivered to your door.

Find out what’s happening in the Macedon Ranges this month

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