The WAGFG caught caught up with WAGFG 2018 Sommelier of the Year, Foni Pollitt, to find out what she’s been up to since her big win and what we can expect in the wine scene in 2019.
Foni what have you been up to since your big win last October?
Since winning the award I have been super busy. I am continuing my (wine) studies in London, which is ongoing.
At the end of last year I was an associate wine judge for the Perth Royal Show and the Mount Barker Show and was on the speaking panel for the Alternative Varieties Forum. The New Year has seen a new strategy for my Mayfair Lane venue and an inspiring wine list for 2019.
What are some of the hottest wine trends for 2019?
There are many but I think these affect Perth at the moment:
1. Big I’s. Innovation(product and technology) and interactive (experiences and tourism). The wine industry needs to be both to compete with the habits of the younger generation and offer healthier options – as in low alcohol and low sugar.
Consumers are consuming less, but are prepared to pay for quality. This is good for us sommeliers as we can showcase great value wines from different regions of the world. Customers want to know what they are consuming.
2. Greek wine. . . finally!
3. Organic, biodynamic, sustainability, climate change, vegan and minimal intervention.
4. Rose is still huge. There’s no stopping it.
5. It has not hit Australia yet but there is already the infusion of cannabis with wine events in nine US states and in Canada.
Some industry commentators are saying Pinot Grigio is the new Sauvignon Blanc. What are your thoughts?
I have come from the UK market where Pinot Grigio was already one of the biggest sellers on wine lists, with New Zealand savvy a close second. It is therefore a natural pro-cursor to Sauvignon Blanc as it displays less intensity on the nose and palette, but is still dry, light and fruity. I think it’s more of a crowd pleaser.
‘Pet Nat’ (petillant-natural) wines are really hot right now – do you have a few favourites?
I am firm believer of great booze regardless of what they are. Many a vigneron have jumped on the Pet Nat bandwagon and many have been making it for hundreds of years and is the precursor of many sparkling wines we see today. My favourites are:
1. Cantina Paltrinieri Radice Lambrusco (not sweet)
2. Anything from Jean-Pierre Robinot (I’m a sucker for Chenin)
3. Broc Cellars the Urban winey in California do a great Chenin also
4. La Prova Aglianico Pet-Nat in Adellaide Hills
5. Blind Corner, Margaret River
6. La Violetta (Mr Hoadley’s Frank, Spunk and Der Sakrifizz are all winners) from the Great Southern
7. Renardat-Fache Le Cerdon from Bugey, Gamay and Poulsard grapes (slightly sweet but great with an Eton mess)
Where is your favourite place to drink wine in Perth (apart from Mayfair Lane of course)?
That’s a hard one. I always try and get out to all the new places but my go to is the Lalla Rookh back bar. Its list is sprinkled with classics, the must-haves and the weird and wonderfuls to try.