Matthew Jukes must be a modest man, a UK wine-writer with the most avidly followed wine column in his country, who was recently made Honorary Australian of the Year (for promoting Australian wine and for his charity work for the homeless in Adelaide). And yet not a breath of any of this to me! Instead the sentence with which he sums himself up, is that he tastes around 40,000 wines a year and writes up or talks about the ones he adores for as wide an audience as possible.
Matthew last used his Code38 at a McLaren Vale Masterclass he had organised, the last bottle tasted being a 2005 Ulithorne Frux Frugis Shiraz. He tells me that the most exciting wine he has ever opened with the Code38 is “always the last one – Code38 makes the whole process of removing the cork thrilling and I find myself paying even more attention to the wine!” He says that “the finest bottle to date that had the pleasure of being speared with my Code38 was a bottle of 1996 Cornas Clape – the most elemental and soul-searching expression of Syrah on the planet.”
And while Matthew is currently loving “a fine Aussie Chardonnay”, he cites as his favourite white a Chevalier-Montrachet, Sauzet. Favourite red is La Tache, Domaine de la Romanee Conti and favourite variety and region respectively Pinot Noir and Burgundy.
It comes then as little surprise that his most memorable wine experience involved Burgundy. It was “having dinner with Henri Jayer…” (quoted by Wall Street Journal as arguably the most revered winemaker of the 20th century who helped to re-define Burgundy)”… and his wife many years ago, and drinking 1811 Chabanneau Cognac (the year of Halley’s Comet) which I had found as a treat for us to savour after dinner and which he declared as the greatest aroma he had ever experienced.”
A Jukes recommendation for other Code38 members to try? Matthew nominates any old (15 years plus) Penfolds St Henri – and a traditional, old-fashioned Sunday lunch to match. St Henri is of course widely available.
What he loves most about his Code38 is “the fact that it never fails and that it couldn’t look any more serious.”