Pick of the month | Alexis Mattei, Hong Kong intern

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This week, Alexis tells us about his wine journey and shares his top picks from our selection of budget-friendly bottles.

Born and raised in the Roussillon, Alexis studies English and Mandarin in Lyon. He puts his language skills to good use at his uncle’s domain in the Roussillon, which welcomes visitors from around the world. He joined the iDealwine team in April, and is based in our Hong Kong office, where he supports the international team in a wide variety of tasks.

Alexis, tell us about your wine journey so far.

Wine has always had a role in my family, and bottles always adorned the table during family celebrations and meals. My aunt and uncle own a domain in the Roussillon, so even before being interested in how wine is made, the vineyards were my playground growing up. As I grew up, I took an interest in local wines, before discovering the Rhône when I moved to Lyon. I’ve also got to know more about wines from other continents during my travels, for instance Chilean and Australian wines.

Tell us about your work at iDealwine

I’m currently interning at the iDealwine Hong Kong office, where I support the team in developing sales in Asia. My tasks are very varied, but what I enjoy most is being in contact with local clients, understanding their expectations and culture (very different from that of European clients) and helping them to find their dream wines.

What was the first wine that really had an impact on you?

It was probably a wine from the Roussillon, from Domaine Lafage (Côte du Roussillon), a white wine that combines notes of ripe white fruits and citrus fruits with mineral notes.

Your favourite region

My favourite region is probably the Côtes du Rhône and its renowned red wines (especially Côte Rôtie and Hermitage), with their powerful aromas of blackberry, red fruits and chocolate. But I also am a devotee of Viognier, one of the region’s white grape varieties, and Condrieu, balanced wines with notes of lemon zest and nice acidity.

Your favourite white wine

It has to be Stéphane Tissot’s Les Graviers, a Chardonnay that goes perfectly with seafood. What I particularly like about this wine is its notes of plum, mushroom and ripe yellow fruit.

Your favourite red wine

My favourite red is definitely from my native region, from Hervé Bizeul’s domain Clos des Fées. I don’t drink red wine as often as white wine, but I was surprised by the power and complexity of the domain’s wines, with notes of liquorice and spices, all lifted by fresh red fruits on the palate.

Which wine has surprised you the most?

A very pleasant surprise was the vin de paille from La Cave de la Reine Jeanne, that I tasted at the recent Hong Kong Grand Tasting of Burgundy and Jura wines. I had never tasted a wine from the Jura before, and I was truly surprised by the power of its nose, with notes of raisins, honey and yellow fruit such as apricot and quince.

Your drinking habits

I generally drink wine during the weekend, at mealtimes with friends and family, we enjoy trying now food and wine pairings. When abroad, I always take the opportunity to spend time with people from the region, to learn more about non-French wines. Interning for iDealwine has also given me the chance to taste new wines at tastings and wine fairs.

Your favourite style of wine

I generally prefer dry, light white wines that are both simple and refined. It’s difficult to choose one style of wine, as for me, it’s always intimately linked with the meal, the place and atmosphere; a bottle of wine is always more enjoyable when it’s drunk in good company.

Domains you’ve visited

I hadn’t visited many domains before starting at iDealwine, but now thanks to all that I’ve learnt in the past few months, about lesser known, talented winemakers, I look forward to discovering them upon my return to France.

 

Alexis’ selection of budget-friendly bottles

Burgundy:

Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Bertagna 2016

Bourgogne Paul Pillot (Domaine) 2016

Givry Vieilles vignes Ragot (Domaine) 2017

Bordeaux:

Château le Sartre 2016

Château Belle-Vue 2015

Château Lilian Ladouys Cru Bourgeois 2014

Rhône:

Saint-Péray Les Bulles d’Alain Alain Voge (Domaine) 2013

Crozes-Hermitage Guigal 2011

Ventoux (Côtes du Ventoux) Domaine des Peyre Paparazzi Patricia Alexandre & Georges Antoun 2017

Jura:

Côtes du Jura Château d’Arlay 2010

Arbois Chardonnay Domaine Rolet 2015

Côtes du Jura Balanoz Berthet-Bondet 2016 

Southern France:

Coteaux du Languedoc Gavin Crisfield La Traversée 2015 

IGP Côtes Catalanes Clos des Fées Images dérisoires Hervé Bizeul 2015

IGP Côtes Catalanes Olivier Pithon La Laïs 2017

Rest of the world:

Liban : Békaa-Ouest Château Kefraya Michel de Bustros 2016

Espagne : Vino de la Terra de Castilla y Leon Rivola Abadia Retuerta 2009

Portugal : Vinho Verde Casa do Valle Grande Escolha 2017

 

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