We catch up with Jeremy Kode, owner of Geronimo Aperitivo Bar & Restaurant in Launceston, Tasmania, who points us to some top local wines as well as a few with European flair.
How is your wine list structured?
Our 300-plus wines are divided into four sections according to weight and flavour profile to help people get out of their comfort zone, and try unfamiliar styles and varieties. That means you’ll find a beautiful Austrian pinot noir next to a gamay from Hawke’s Bay. A good portion of the list is Tasmanian, and there are the mainland highlights, but it has always been my goal to introduce the local community to international wines they’d be unlikely to encounter otherwise.
So the philosophy of Geronimo is influenced by your travels?
Our aim is to showcase fresh Tasmanian produce while paying homage to European traditions. I worked in Shanghai for a time and my employer there was a collector of Austrian wines, so I’m a fan of varieties like blaufrankisch and zwiegelt. He also introduced me to French and Italian producers such as Chateau Lynch-Bages and Gaja. I grew up in Durban in a wine-loving household so we stock some quality South African wines at Geronimo too.
Would you say you embrace left-field choices?
I really enjoy featuring wines from unexpected regions, like the Romanesque blend of aglianico, petit verdot and touriga francesca from Grey Sands Vineyard just west of the Tamar, or the rondinella corvina from Freeman Vineyards in the Hilltops region of NSW. When we opened in 2015, Geronimo was the city’s first new venue in a long time and some people weren’t sure what to make of us, so I love that we’re now getting regulars coming in who are comfortable enough to ask “What am I drinking tonight then, Jeremy?”.
Greatest wine memory?
I’ll never forget the moment I tasted a 1949 port with my dad, uncle and grandfather. That’s why I see wine as such a critical component of the experience at Geronimo; it brings people together and helps create memories.
Any go-to local winemakers?
Justin Arnold has dramatically improved the quality at Ghost Rock Vineyard so I’m excited to taste his sparkling rosé once it has been disgorged. Rebecca Duffy at Holm Oak is another winemaker I follow; her pinot noir is great and I can’t wait for the new shiraz to be bottled next year. Julian Allport at Moores Hill is also making incredible wines.
You recently hosted a Burgundy tasting. Any more planned?
I just launched an online store called St. Urban Wines as an offshoot of my work sourcing interesting European and boutique Australian wines for Geronimo. From January we’ll host monthly tastings of wines from the website, starting with a Spanish-themed degustation including wines from Clos Figueras and Vega Sicilia.
Favourite food pairing for summer?
Fresh Tasmanian seafood dishes, such as pan-seared scallops, work really well with the oaked sauvignon blanc from Priory Ridge on the East Coast because of the wine’s wonderful texture. Our bay leaf ice cream is delicious alongside the 2006 Tamar Ridge Riesling, with its gorgeous honey notes, though you could also opt for a dessert wine from Craigow in the Coal Valley. The ultimate pairing for me is wagyu from my family’s farm in Longford with Vega Sicilia’s Tinto Valbuena blend.
Drink of choice after a long shift?
You can’t go past a negroni.
Next article: Drinks with Lyndon Kubis of Toorak Cellars.