Celebrity Interview: Joe Fattorini

2nd December 2016

joe fattorini interview

Joe is a wine consultant, journalist and presenter, who worked as a wine merchant for 20 years. He has also appeared on television programmes on a range of topics and is well-known for speaking at dinners and conferences. He is currently starring on ITV4’s The Wine Show.

What are your thoughts on the future of English sparkling wine?

The great thing about English sparkling wine is that it’s no longer about the future. It’s about the now. England makes some of the most thrilling, exceptional sparkling wines in the world. And there’s a consistency and style that’s becoming recognizable and distinctive. The risks aren’t likely to come from making too much or watching quality slide, but they do possibly come from a bit of infighting and parochialism. I’m dead-set against specific PDOs like ‘Sussex’. If you live in Baton Rouge or Shanghai or New Delhi you want a brand like, say, Hambledon and a country, England or Wales. You don’t want to have to work out precisely why Sussex is different from Hampshire. Or what Sussex is. Let’s see more great wines and promote the name of our home nations.

Which sparkling wines or regions do you think are most underrated?

When I was a wine merchant I found the Aube often makes a style of Champagne that people find more approachable and welcoming, but it sits in the lee of great wines from further north. Filming The Wine Show we had phenomenal sparkling wines from Graham Beck in South Africa. I’d known them for a long time and it was great to see the crew looking delighted and slightly surprised when they tried the wines. England undoubtedly remains underrated across the board, whereas I suspect in places like Italy it’s more specific. Franciacorta is a jewel hidden under the sheer commercial weight of Prosecco. When we filmed in Shanghai we had the first release of Grace Sparkling from China. China is probably simply not ‘rated’ let alone ‘underrated’. But if you ask that question in a year or two I think that China would be creeping onto lists like this.

What is your favourite sparkling wine food pairing?

Without a doubt it’s Australian sparkling red and curry. It’s a local thing really. I was born in Bradford and live nearby and a lot of the curry restaurants are dry, but there are places you can bring your own beer or wine. We were at The Lumb Lane Sweet Centre for a party a few years ago. It serves wonderful, authentic, Kashmiri food from Pakistan and I thought the weight and ripe fruit of a sparkling Shiraz with the fresh, cool lift of bubbles would work well. I wasn’t wrong. I never go back with anything else now. You may have to trust me on this but it’s especially good with lamb’s trotters and bitter gourd.

Where’s the most memorable place you’ve enjoyed a Glass of Bubbly?

Sparkling wine is magical because it turns familiar places and familiar moments into something special. I am (in many ways) the luckiest man in the world because my fiancée has spent most of her career working with Champagne and she brings her work home with her. There is something about that mouth-filling perfume of Champagne that sets it apart. Christina opened some Devaux Stenope at our house in The Yorkshire Dales a while back. We were in the garden, by the river in our tiny village in the early summer. It reminded us you don’t need to go to the other side of the world for a wonderful experience and to be honest it’s the kind of thing I’d remember for years and years.



Glass of Bubbly

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