Nervous excitement and a bit of apprehension where the first feelings I had when I found out I would be meeting Ned Goodwin who is one of only four “Masters of Wine” in Asia . Ned who currently resides in Tokyo Japan, was one of the special guests featured at the 14th Annual World Gourmet Festival which was held at Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok from September 2 to 8, 2013. Ned offered two popular Wine Matser classes at WGF 2013 that were sponsored by the world-class luxury crystal wine ware company Lucaris.
Although I consider myself an unapologetic wine fiend, I am admittedly a novice when it comes to the subtle nuances of wine and the prospect of interviewing a wine master was a bit intimidating. Ned’s sharp wit and intelligence was immediately apparent, and he set me ease. “I get excited by the story wine tells, how wine is intrinsic to a place,” he shared.
Born in London, raised in Australia and educated in Tokyo and Paris; Ned is a well-traveled world citizen and he brings a unique perspective to the world of wine. The mysterious world of a Master of Wine (MW) is an exclusive one and acquiring the notoriously elusive tittle can be an arduous process. It takes years of perseverance and dedicated study and only eight people on average pass the test each year. Currently there are fewer than 300 MW in the world and Ned Goodwin is one of only four people in Asia to hold the prestigious tittle. Renowned as a wine journalist, judge and all-around wine guru Ned is also Wine Director for Global Dining Japan, one of Asia’s largest restaurant groups and a consultant for the P.J. Group and All Nippon Airways’ Business and First Classes. In the past, he has starred in a Japanese television show on wine—he is fluent in Japanese—and served as sommelier at some of the best restaurants in New York and Paris. He recently participated in Wine Futures Hong Kong, where he spoke alongside wine industry heavy-hitters like Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker.
Despite his illustrious pedigree Ned is charmingly down to earth and approachable. He is the antithesis of a snobby elitist and struck me as being a bit of a rebel and non-conformist when it comes to his attitudes about wine. “The most important thing about wine is drinkability. Ultimately you should drink wine because you enjoy it. The wine you drink should not dominate the conversation at a table because fundamentally wine is a vehicle to celebrate food” Ned asserted.
The Master Wine class was both entertaining and educational. Although there was the obligatory “spit bucket” for those who cannot handle the actual consumption of wine, Nate made it clear that he was not only a wine expert, but a wine drinker. His easy going attitude made everyone feel less intimated by the numerous glasses of wine we had in front of us, and even less guilty about drinking every last drop. The best part however was the “bind taste test” where we were challenged to define the subtleties of the wine, based on the wine glass instead of their vintage. The “trick was on us” as it was later revealed that the crystal ware by Lucaris not only looked great but enhanced the wine drinking experience as the room overwhelmingly voted for the wine in the Lucaris stemware for better flavor, aroma, and drinkability.
Fundamentally, the most refreshing part of the wine class with Nate Goodwin was his approachable attitude towards wine. Once you get past all the pomp and circumstance, wine is simply about good times, good friends, and good food. Nate Goodwin is an incredibly attractive ambassador of wine because he reminds us why wine is undoubtedly one of the most treasured elixirs in the world.
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Four Seasons Bangkok
155 Rajadamri Road
Tel: + 662 250 1000
Fax: +662 254 5390
MRT: Lumpini Station