Meet Rutherglen Estates Winemaker Marc Scalzo
We catch up with Rutherglen Estate's Winemaker Marc Scalzo to chat about the early years, his love for Italian food and the strong sense of community you find in Rutherglen
Can you recall the first wine you tried?
I remember from the age of about ten sitting around the family table after dinner eating roasted chestnuts and being allowed to try some red wine. My first perfect food and wine match! I am fortunate to have Italian parents and my father managed a bottle shop in Wangaratta. He often let me try the new samples from the local producers from Morris', Brown Brothers and Baileys.
When did you fall in love with wine?
Helping Rick Kinzbrunner plant his Nantura Vineyard in 1995. It taught me the importance of soil aspect climate and altitude, and the realisation that great wine can only be made from great vineyards.
Do you remember that moment? What happened?
After working all day planting vines, I was lucky enough to be invited back to try a Chateau Margaux (first growth) which completely blew my mind. I couldn't believe how such complex aromas and flavours could end up in a wine.
Do you have an all-time favourite wine? Why is it this wine?
Giaconda Chardonnay- helping Rick I always enjoyed watching their Chardonnay's, from starting off so tight and minerally, and then evolving into such a complex amazing wines. I love wines that are allowed to show their provenance.
What is your all-time favourite wine memory (other than a wine itself)?
Tasting wines from all around the world with my friends. While undertaking studies at Charles Sturt University at the Wagga Wagga campus, at the end of the day we would get together and try to outdo one another with who could bring in the most interesting wine.
Other than your own wine, what is the wine that you like to drink at home?
I am a seasonal drinker. I love crisp whites in the warmer months and big reds and Muscat's in the cooler months and I mix it up in Spring and Autumn. My constant is I am always looking at different Chardonnay's.
What is your ultimate food and wine match?
A slow cooked Beef Bourgogne with a five year old Renaissance Durif. The richness of the stew with the bold Durif flavours and grainy tannins leave you wanting more of both the wine and food.
Can you cook? If so, what is your 'signature dish'?
Yes, I enjoy cooking, especially traditional Italian dishes. My slowed cooked stuffed artichokes are nearly as good as my mothers.
What do you think is special about your wine region?
The climate is ideal for growing the varieties we do such as Fiano, Viognier and Durif. I also love the fantastic traditions but what makes Rutherglen special is the comradery amongst the other local wineries.
What do you do to relax away from the winery?
When I'm not tending to my small vineyard in the Beechworth hills, I am spending quality time with my wife and our two young boys. We have a national park behind our farm and I always enjoy bush walking in it when I get time.
Do you have a favourite holiday destination/memory?
In my twenties I once spent 3 months in Italy and I fell in love with it. Everywhere I turned was like a postcard. The food, wine, history, hiking and people, including relatives were all amazing.
Favourites - What is your favourite…
Book - 1984 by George Orwell
Movie - Life of Brian. I still laugh when I think of some of the lines
TV show - I'm currently enjoying watching The Weekly (with Charlie Pickering)
Restaurant - Provenance Beechworth. A love the Japanese influence which lightens and adds delicacy to all of the dishes. It is incredible.
Breakfast: Poached egg on Sourdough, smashed avocado with a nice cup of black tea.
Lunch - Hamburger from Tuileries
Dinner - A Sukiyaki hot pot cooked at the table. I love all food.
Time of day/night - why? I love it when I first get home and have the opportunity to sit down and find out what has been happening in our busy household. It also helps that this is beer or wine time.
Sport - Sporting Team? I'm a seasonal viewer- I love watching and listening to the cricket in Summer and watching Football (specifically, Hawthorn) in Winter.
Beer. Kolsh or Pilsener? A Bridge Road Brewery Pale Ale or a Rutherglen Brewery Pilsener