Hey Rachel! If you could use 5 words to describe what you do, what would they be?
Publisher of Pipette Magazine, an independent print magazine about natural wines.
Where's your absolutely most favourite place in the whole wide world?
Can I pick two? (I’m sure everybody says that.) First is the patio of any mediocre bistro or bar on any random street corner in Paris. I love the anonymity and people watching. Can sit for hours at one of those little round tables with a strong espresso, a cheap, watery beer, an old copy of Hemingway, and my journal or sketchbook.
Second is the magical creek near the farm where I live in Basket Range, South Australia. The towering gum trees and the gurgle of running water are so comforting to me. Mint, watercress, walnuts, persimmon, medicinal herbs, and lemons all grow wild along the creek. It’s a very special place.
Tell us what your dream Sunday would be like...
Short yoga session. Coffee. Walk the dogs by the creek for an hour, which puts me in the best mood. Make breakfast bowls (rice, seaweed sprinkles, poached egg by my partner because I suck at making poached eggs, various fermented and pickled things by me). Maybe a small kitchen project such as fermenting whatever I found in the creek or garden. Read a novel sitting outside—I almost never read books about wine or food, just the latest fiction. Write or edit something for the magazine. More coffee. Early dinner of pasta, with some wine, followed by a movie at home—we recently watched the early 90s Italian movie Mediterano—or we might head to a friend’s house to have snacks and drinks and talk about whatever. All Sundays are a dream as long as they involve great food and wine in nice company, and no e-mails whatsoever.
Besides Pipette, what else are you working on?
For about two years now, I’ve been working on a nonfiction book proposal. I want to write a book about natural wine that documents my personal journey, leaving New York to live in Paris and then winding up in South Australia, making my own wine. The proposal process has been very difficult but I just submitted a solid draft to my agent in New York, so let’s see!
I’m also taking ceramics classes at the JamFactory in Adelaide. I’m obsessed! I dream of making beautiful plates, but I know it will be some time before I’m at that level.
Where in the world are you currently?
Basket Range, a hilly district in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia.
Finally, what's your top 4 natural wines that we must try/drink/enjoy?
Jean-Pierre Robinot Pineau d’Aunis:
I love the way this producer makes Pineau d’Aunis, a rare light red grape found only in the Loire Valley of Northern France. He ages it in barrel inside a dark, cool cave built into a hillside, for years without any sulfur at all so that the wine integrates fully while never losing its acidity and energy. I had one bottle that I set aside to age for several years, and it was amazing when I finally drank it.
Jauma Wines Chenin Blanc pét-nat:
There are few things I love more than an easygoing, dry, fizzy wine. Pet-nat, if you’ve never heard of it, is made with a single fermentation that finishes in bottle, which creates natural carbon dioxide (as opposed to Champagne, which is elaborated with two fermentations using sugar for the secondary one, or Prosecco, which is artificially carbonated). Jauma Wines in the Adelaide Hills consistently makes delicious, bright, refreshing pet-nat. I can drink it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
Cantina Giardino “T’ar’ara”:
I adore everything made at this winery in Campania, Southern Italy, run by a couple named Antonio and Daniela. This particular wine features a local white variety called Greco. They grow it in high elevation vineyards so it has great acidity. To make this wine, they allow the juice a short “skin contact” (this term refers to when white grapes are not pressed right away; it’s also known as “orange wine”) and it’s then pressed and aged in mulberry barrels.
Jean-François Ganevat “Y’a Bon the Canon”:
Ganevat is an iconic natural winemaker in the Jura region of Eastern France; everybody should try something from Ganevat to see why natural wines are so special. This cuvee is a blend of rare indigenous varieties he cultivates in his biodynamically farmed home vineyards, blended with Gamay. It’s fantastic, red but very light in structure, and infinitely surprising.
Top image: @ania_sm
Bottom image: @samaharris