Meet Sam Miranda of Sam Miranda King Valley
What is your favourite thing about being a winemaker?
No day, month or year are the same – we are dealing with everything from climate change in the vineyard to the consumers taste on a daily basis. It’s one of the only products that you are involved with every part of the process: Preparing the ground, planting, growing, harvesting, making, maturing, bottling, selling and consuming.
What are some of the highlights of your long and illustrious career?
Our family has been making wine since the 1930s, so I grew up with wine in my veins, however, it wasn’t until I had the maturity at the ripe age of 25 that I decided to come back into the industry and start at the bottom. Going out on our own in 2003, after the family sold the business, has definitely been the biggest challenge and highlight so far. It’s a very different experience when you don’t have the backing of a family business behind you and you don’t have the opportunity to ‘blend away your mistakes’ into a big tank – every drop counts!
“Sam Miranda is the third generation of a prominent winemaking family.” Do you feel any pressure when you consider your family’s extensive winemaking history?
It’s not something I think about as it feels natural to be making and selling wine. If I leave a legacy then that will be great, but I still have a lot to learn, so I guess my contribution to the family history will be judged by the wines I make!
If you had to pick a favourite varietal, which one would you choose and why?
There is no one variety, but more the style of wine that we make in the King Valley. As a region we have learnt that we have to embrace the cool climate and focus on making easy-drinking savoury wines that compliment food, rather than over power it. Everything from Prosecco to Nebbiolo can be just as rewarding, depending on the occasion that you are consuming them.
In your opinion, is King Valley one of the best regions in Australia?
I don’t agree with having to say something is ‘The Best’ – we are all different and if you enjoy a $500 bottle of wine, that’s just as good as enjoying a $20 bottle of wine. The King Valley makes great drinkable wines like Prosecco, that can be enjoyed anytime of the day to structured Sangiovese and Nebbiolo for the more serious occasions. Hopefully consumers become familiar with the regional style and will choose a King Valley wine to suite their mood.
How does your Italian heritage come in to play during the winemaking process?
It has definitely come out more the older I get, and I’ve started to embrace the whole Italian lifestyle in everything I make and do. We started making salami five years ago and now I have my own pigs fattening up. I’ve got a quarter acre vegetable garden that supplies all the greens to our cellar door kitchen, and I pretty much only drink our Italian varietals like Pinot Grigio, Arneis and Sangiovese when I am at home. All of this flows over into how I approach winemaking with a focus on fresh produce and a wine to compliment that.
What advice would you give to aspiring winemakers?
What you learn at school is just the theory. Making wine is only learnt by making wine!
If you had to pick a favourite wine at Sam Miranda King Valley, which one would it be?
No one wine can take that title. Prosecco for celebrating anything, Pinot Grigio for an everyday drink, Barbera with a nice steak and a Nebbiolo when the fire is going in winter!
The Sam Miranda King Valley 2017 Pinot Grigio is our January wine of the month – what makes this such a standout?
Its drinkability – the soft subtle lemon lime flavours and the crisp and crunchy palate makes for a refreshing after work drink.
We have paired it with a delicious scallop ravioli. What do you enjoy pairing it with?
Anything that has a bit of a creamy texture. The crisp natural acidity helps enhance the flavours that you get in pasta, risotto and seafood.
Your wine is part of our fantastic 2019 Chef & the Cellar Calendar Collection. Why should wine lovers buy this pack?
It’s a great wine that really highlights the easy approachable style of wines that you will find from the King Valley.
Other than your own wine, what wine do you like to drink at home?
Hunter Valley Semillon is pretty special and very underrated.
What’s your ultimate wine and food match?
Bistecca e Nebbiolo! A traditional Italian style flame-grilled T-bone steak seasoned with just salt and pepper served with flame-grilled roasted vegetables, creamy mash and a glass of Nebbiolo! Heaven!
What is your favourite…
Victorian restaurant? Vlado’s in Richmond.
Weekend activity? Bike ride and then a nap!
Travel destination? Italy.