Featured User: Georgina McDonald

Georgina McDonald was born and raised in Australia and studied Hotel Management at The Palazzo Versace Hotel School, graduating in 2008. In 2010, she left her motherland for New York. After eight years in her beloved Brooklyn apartment in South Williamsburg, Georgina moved to Copenhagen. By day she is the Lead Design Producer at SPACE10, a non-profit research and design lab, fully dedicated to IKEA. On evenings and weekends, she can usually be found in the corner of a wine bar, sharpening her oenophilic fangs on the classic and contemporary world of natural wines. When it comes to defining “home” Georgina admits she has geographical commitment issues, and moving to Europe hasn’t helped. To jump on a train, or plane to spend a weekend in Prague, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris - and many of the other great cities of the world – all at a moment's notice, has become quite a habit. Although she’s felt a recent urge to be amongst the vines in an Austrian vineyard, she couldn’t tell you where she’ll choose to live next. For now, Australia is always an ideal escape route during a Scandivian winter. Delectable: What sparked your passion for wine? Georgina McDonald: My Dad ( @BobMcDonald ). He began collecting in his late 20s after a trip to the Hunter Valley in 1979. Forty years of careful curation later, he now has around 3500 bottles, and growing. A large sum of which were motivated by 1001 Wines to Drink Before You Die. Now at nearly 600 out of the 1001, I trust Neil Beckett would appreciate this dedication to the list. Dad’s collection which started as 90% Australian Reds, 10% Burgundy, has since graduated into an eclectic mix of old world, new world, far-flung and experimental. From a very early age, he’d always pour me a little glass and encourage me to describe what I thought the wine smelt and tasted like. At the time, I’d react immediately with notes like “Grassy” or “Old books” - being playful, I thought - but to my surprise and delight, he’d sometimes return with “It does Georgie! You have a good nose on you!” I didn’t know exactly at the time what “Good nose on you” meant, but as it was always delivered with a smile and nod of encouragement, I took it as something Dad approved of. A good nose. As the years went on, and we started drinking more French wines, the questions became more complex. “Is the grape variety Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc or Gamay?” Dad, the fielder of all questions and the beholder of all answers while positioned at the head of the table reveled in these moments. Looking back, not only did he want us to be interested in his interests, but he saw these moments as an easy way to engage the family, talking and tasting in unison. This ritual continues to this day, and my fondness for wine, even more. D: What wine region are you wild about right now? GM: Moravia in The Czech Republic . On a trip to Prague in May 2019, I found myself at Veltlin, a natural wine bar located in the Karlín district. A neighborhood populated primarily with locals. I tasted wines from Moravian producers, Milan Nestarec , Petr Kočařík , and Jaroslav Osičkabut . I was impressed by them all, but the real standout was the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc from Jakub Novàk . I’ve been trying to hunt down a bottle in Copenhagen ever since, but unsurprisingly, have had no luck. Given the small quantities and increasingly high demand of Moravian wine, this little number - and many other producers - are not easy to come by. You must grab them with both hands when you have the chance. On my next trip to Prague - booked for May this year - I’ll be sure to stock up on anything that gets me as excited as Jakub Novàk’s 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. It won’t be easy, but I’m sure Veltlin will find another suitor to turn my attention to. D: What is the most unusual wine you’ve ever tried? GM: Jakub Novàk’s 2017 Sauvignon Blanc (mentioned above) from the village of Tasovice in Znojmo, South Moravia. Presents with an incredible tension between familiar and foreign. It was clear from the nose and palate that there were Sauvignon Blanc characteristics - green apple, white peach - yet it didn’t quite seem like any of the Sauvignon Blancs I’ve tasted from New Zealand or France . Something else was unfolding on the palate. For such a young wine, the concentration and balance was exceptional and what I remember most is a salty, botanical-like nature, closer to a Riesling . Peach and jasmine was a particular note that sat adamantly on the palate. Well-balanced acidity, and a medium-bodied length that lingered. Rapt, I continued to ask the gentleman who served me, if it was in fact a Sauvignon Blanc, he confirmed, smiling, numerous times, finally showing me the label again, both as proof, but more likely, to put my dubiety to rest. For someone who wouldn’t typically tip their glass forward for a slosh of Sauvignon Blanc in Moravia - if say, a Grüner Veltliner or Riesling were on offer - this wine has certainly changed my tune. This was a welcome reminder to never choose a wine by grape variety, knowing that terroir should always - if made without intervention - express each varietal in unique and unexpected ways. So děkuji, děkuji to Jakub Novàk (and to Veltlin!), for showing me the beauty of how Sauvignon Blanc manifests in Moravia. I’ve read that annual production is around 10 thousand bottles, I wonder if they've all been drunk… D: What is your golden rule for wine? GM: Drink good wine with people you like. Good company makes the memory of a special wine stick around. D: Say you’re not allowed to have wine, what is your second option? GM: Whiskey on the rocks, or an extra dirty Gin Martini - there’s no such thing as too much olive brine, or too many olives for that matter. D: Choose a movie, book, quote, or song and pair it with a wine GM: An excerpt from one of my favorite books, In Other Words, by Jhumpa Lahiri. My feeling, whenever I have the opportunity to drink a good Barolo : “I don’t have a real need to know this language. I don’t live in Italy, I don’t have Italian friends. I have only the desire. Yet ultimately a desire is nothing but a crazy need. As in many passionate relationships, my infatuation will become a devotion, an obsession. There will always be something unbalanced, unrequited. I am in love, but what I love remains indifferent. The language will never need me.” D: If you were a wine, what wine would you be? GM: Pinot Noir . The Goldilocks of wine, where the temperature, and environment needs to be just right for this grape to thrive. Contrary to my Australian roots, I am not a fan of the heat and very susceptible to sunburn. But, if you have the patience to understand and master the behaviour, needs and temperament of this grape type, Pinot Noir can be enjoyed in many different times of its life, and with a little love, will only get better with age… ;)

Christian Tschida

Brutal!!! Red Blend

Green, full-bunched, stemmy nose. Refreshing on a red. Interested to explore the versatility of Zweigelt and other Austrian grape varieties. Light to medium bodied with some young strawberries and a little grip - showing the ability to cellar. Would like to try again in a couple of years. — 6 months ago

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@Georgina McDonald Georgina nice Delectable feature on you Cheers 🍷

Frank Cornelissen

Munjebel IGT Terre Siciliane Rosso Dry Red Wine 2014

Huge fan of this producer Frank Cornelissen. 60-year old Mount Etna vines serving up yet another promising natural wine. Shouty green tannins amidst a well balanced, medium bodied red. A comforting, velvety and powerful aromatic nose. Sit with this and it will continue to open and unfold its many layers. Eat with a simple tomato pasta, lamb chops, or nothing at all. Versatile, vehement and Italian; what else do you want? — a year ago

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Frank Cornelissen

Munjebel VA (Vigne Alte) Nerello Mascalese 2014

Dear Natural Wine; I’ve been on your case for some time. Calling you weak, unpredictable, unbalanced; essentially, that you have no future. Although this remains true for some of you, I’m so pleased to find there’s hope, in Mount Etna. This 2014 vintage from 90+ year old vines is calling bullshit on my, well, bullshit; this dry, rich, punchy young gun has so much potential you could even cellar for a few years and he’d still come out with jazz hands. Encore! — a year ago

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Jean-Marie Berrux

Le Petit Têtu Bourgogne Chardonnay 2017

Like biting into a freshly cut pineapple, straight from the fridge. A friendly, approachable Chardonnay with a light air of maturity introduced by a hint of oak. Otherwise, a young, bright, dry, Frenchman that leaves the faintest lick of green tannins inside your cheeks. The perfect plus one at all summer BBQs. — a year ago

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Equipo Navazos

La Bota de Fino No. 35 Sherry

Since reaching my third decade on this planet, I feel it’s only right to graduate to Sherry. How content I am to be introduced to this smooth talking goat from Valdespino - one of Spain’s oldest Sherry producers. Gold, cloudy and unfiltered. Hold up to the light to discover flecks of pink rose and lime around the edge. A wise nose possessing orange peel, menthol, vanilla essence and grandmas underwear drawer. A spectacular drop, that summons you to drink and think more slowly. I guess that’s why the old birds love it. Pour yourself a Sherry and slow down my friends. — a year ago

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Zeni

Marogne Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore Corvina Blend

Fills the snout with a wet, warm, waft of rich chocolate cake, blueberries, and orange peel. Light grip of tannins; enough to pair with a little steak, or simply, drink without and enjoy the texture. Would drink again, and, again. — a year ago

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Julius Kimmle

Pfalz Trocken Riesling

Ever bitten into a fresh apple while laying in a bed of crisp white sheets? Either have I. But this wine tastes like what I assume that smells and feels like. I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to German Rieslings and this is no exception; well balanced and enough acidity to pair with a variety of cheeses and fatty charcuterie. I’d introduce this fella to friends and family any day of the week. — a year ago

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Oremus

Mandolás Tokaji Dry Furmint Blend 2015

Hungary - no wonder the nectar from Tokaji grapes are mentioned in your National Anthem. Yes, I did my research, after this slick, juicy, drop had me weak at the knees. Well balanced acidity paired with a medium bodied concentration, you’ll feel as if a delicate lick of butter, watermelon and lime is shimmying its way across all corners of your mouth - find where it visited by following the tingling tracks with your tongue. Anthropomorphism would unveil a suave talking Eastern European man called Ambrus, who’d need no introduction. Not to your parents, your friends, your dog, nor your gold fish. This, he too, knows. Green, steady eyes, tanned skin, a strong will, and a smile that’s so good, it’s cruel. A man they’d all love, but would hate you to date. Someone who’d stroke your head, but look to the horizon. A man that enjoys all company, but has no plan to stay around. That’s perfect - too much of a good thing is arduous. Drink up, and look forward to introducing Ambrus, to people yet to know his charm. — a year ago

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Richard Stavek

Mlady Bocek 2015

Like spotting that unassuming girl next door on a weekday afternoon with flowers in her hair. Suddenly in that Wednesday afternoon light she seems different; you get that feeling like you’ve underestimated something valuable - all these years - that maybe you could like her, have been liking her all along. Through the beauty of time - simple has become attractive and the familiar feels fleeting. The you-know-me and I-could-bring-you-anywhere-and-people-would-love-you reality draws you closer. You wish you didn’t like simple. Didn’t like the obvious smell of strawberries and ocean breeze. Wish you hadn’t traveled around the world, only to look out your window and see your future, but you did, and you do. — a year ago

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Hugel et Fils

Classic Riesling 2014

Saturday afternoon in Copenhagen and back on the Rieslings. This number from Alsace is the perfect early afternoon, no-food-pairing-needed wine. Respectful on the palate; light, lemony, dry. Leaves a lingering, oily slip around the mouth; a welcome runway for a simple pasta aglio e olio, if one was inclined. Easy and delicious; and sometimes, easy and delicious is all we need. — a year ago

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