We chat to Dan Sims, director of Bottle Shop Concepts, about his wine collection and drinking preferences. Here, he lets us in to the secrets of his cellar.
1. Favourite wine
That’s virtually impossible to answer, though I do have a love affair with pinot noir, Barolo/nebbiolo, chardonnay and sangiovese. As clichéd as it may sound, I prefer to collect wine ‘moments’ rather than wine ‘trophies’. I’ve been fortunate to drink so many great wines, but my favourite occasions always have more meaning. This may be a $5 bottle of Chianti on a hill in Chianti or a bottle of Barolo overlooking, well, Barolo, or a celebratory moment. Sense of place and occasion are as important as the wine.
2. Oldest wine you’ve consumed
An 1894 Seppeltsfield fortified. Mind-blowing doesn’t even begin to express the experience. Drinking history is pretty profound – I may have shed a tear!
3. First wine cellared
Mt Langi Ghiran Shiraz. It was one of the first wines that I had a ‘click’ moment with.
4. First case bought
Pewsey Vale Riesling. For quality, value and downright drinkability, it’s always a winner.
5. Wine that taught you a lesson
It always does, doesn’t it? But during the Len Evans Tutorial, we tasted old Hunter Valley and Coonawarra reds from the 1960s, which showed me that good Australian wines can age so well. In one bracket, we were asked if the wines in front of us were from the ’60s, ’70s or ’90s. I said ’90s based on how fresh and vibrant they looked. They were from the ’60s. Lesson learned.
6. Wine that isn’t great, but you love anyway
It depends on what you class as “great”. I break wine into two categories – for drinking and for thinking. Wine for drinking may not be regarded as great, but they give you a heap of pleasure. As for “bad” wine in all its forms, life is too short to drink it, so I don’t.
7. Best wine bargain
Australian riesling. Yes, us wine wankers sound like a broken record saying this all the time, but seriously, it is.
8. Favourite lunch wine
A good bottle of Chablis for lunch or a super-fresh Aussie chardonnay is great. For red, a cheeky bottle of pinot or Chianti.
9. Wine you never used to like, but now love
Palates evolve. When I first started getting into wine, I remember trying a Barolo [Italian nebbiolo] and thinking, ‘This is awful, dry, mean, tannic, high acid, no fruit’; I simply didn’t get it. But now I love it and consider myself a tannin and acid junkie.
10. Favourite wine to end the night with
A Negroni. No, it’s not wine, but it’s delicious.
Next article: Dan Sims and the Bottle Shop Concepts crew are throwing a malbec party this April.