jamie goode's wine blog: Michael Seresin

Monday, January 15, 2007

Michael Seresin

Was at the New Zealand annual tasting at Lord's this afternoon, where among other things I spent some time chatting with famous cinemato-
grapher and wine producer Michael Seresin.

Seresin first left New Zealand in the late 1960s for Italy, and it was a real culture shock. 'How people lived was opposite to how I'd lived in New Zealand', he recalls. After a spell in the UK, he moved back to Italy once more, and clearly was captured by the culture of food and wine he experienced there. 'I like what wine embraces', he says, and when he decided to turn his hand to making the stuff, his first thought was to do it in Italy, before settling on his home country as the destination. 'I didn't think I'd be smart enough to do business in Italy', says Seresin. 'Besides, you are free to do a lot more in the New World than the Old'.

As befits a filmmaker whose attention is frequently on the quality of the light, as much as what is in the shot, the Seresin wines have a transparency to them. There's almost a quality of lightness that brings a sharp focus on what is present in the wine (does this sort of synaesthetic description work, or does it just sound pseudy?).

Of the wines, for me the standouts are the focused, precise Sauvignon Blanc and the two wonderful, complex, balanced Pinot Noirs. Perhaps it's the influence of organics and biodynamics that Seresin practices, or the fact that everything is done by hand, but this is an impressive set of wines. And the cinematographer influence came out when I asked Michael if I could take his picture. 'Don't use the flash,' he advised. 'The natural light is good in here.'

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At 12:50 AM, Anonymous Doug said...

Being at the top of the room Michael Seresin was lucky with the position of his stand at the New Zealand tasting. He didn't have to contend with the sun roasting the wines through the window panes. I found I needed an advanced degree in juggling to ensure that the wines were neither too chilled nor too warm. Boiled Pinot anyone?

As for biodynamics I think Felton Road is pretty well down that path. Their 05 Pinots were quite something; pity so little wine was produced. Yields are very low here (about 22 hl/ha).

I think you describe the Seresin wines very well. They have a crystalline quality and an ethereal precision - if that's not an oxymoron.

By the way, I thought the central varietal table was a waste of time. Trying to display the unusual suspects from NZ is a nice idea, but what a poor turnout of wines and why include Pinot Gris, which according to one article I read is being planted like it was next best thing since sliced Cloudy Bay Sauvignon. I have to say that the Pinot Gris I tasted were clumsy and alcoholic.

At 12:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blimey! Whats that around his neck?
Saddam chic?

At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Doug said...

Actually, judging by the photo you could say that Jamie was literally talking to the hand.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Doug, sorry I didn't stop by your table. Only realized you were there while I was on my way home. Spent much of the time in discussion with people and wasn't very focused in my tasting.

At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

Is he spectactularly tall?

I'd have thought he'd suggest that you shot from a more flattering angle!

At 7:54 PM, Blogger Paul Tudor said...

By a strange coincidence my wife and I were watching The Life of David Gale (Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet and Laura Linney) on NZ tv last night.
Only when the credits came up did we discover that it was an Alan Parker film, with Seresin (as usual for Parker) the cinematographer.
Over here we tend to forget his work as most of it is overseas - out of sight, out of mind.


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