"Resident wine optimist” is foremost how Shawn Gomes describes himself – surely the sort of Sommelier, shimmering with enthusiasm and passion and positive feelings, most venues would covet. In this case it’s Brisbane’s Il Centro and Mr & Mrs G Riverbar where Shawn not only somels but is also manager. He still recalls the most exciting wine he opened with his Code38 – possibly because the knife was brand new, ”only freshly pulled from the box”. So Shawn was excited and a touch nervous to uncork a 1982 Borgogno Barolo. ”Trusted it ever since”, he adds.
No longer virgin, his ‘Code’ most recently opened a 2008 Passopisciano from Sicily – but what he is loving right now is the 1997 Radikon Riserva Ivana, from Friuli-Venezia-Giiulia.
Staying with the Italians, Shawn claims his favourite red is a 2006 Bibi Graetz Testamatta from Tuscany – yet he whips over to the Loire Valley when it comes to his favourite white, a 1986 Marc Bredif Vouvray. He’s also also rekindling his love affair with the various incarnations of Australia’s Victorian Chardonnay, and, as far as regions go, adoring the Eden Valley. ”Breathtaking landscape”, he tells me. “Whites with purity and balance. Reds embodying the steel fist in a velvet glove.”
Shawn claims that a memorable wine moment was his first dinner in a candle-lit barrel room. ”I may have shed a tear of joy or two”, he says. When it comes to a wine he would recommend to other Code38 members it is back to Italy. The 2009 Hilberg-Pasquero ‘Vareij’ Brachetto/Barbera, from Piedmont is, he says, eminently drinkable and delicious. “Turkish delight, rosewater and blueberries malletted over a barrel”, he waxes, lyrically. “Supported by a much needed tannin/acidic corset.” This is one calling out for duck confit, and it can be acquired through Addley-Clark Fine Wines in Brisbane.
The Code38 is not, for Shawn, just a pretty face. He says that it is “designed with the wine professional in mind. With a flared two step blade and screw so precise, the Code38 is designed to anticipate your every move to ensure a smooth opening. The ability to present a bottle and utilise the Code38 one handed adds efficiency and fluidity to an otherwise cumbersome movement. Confidence in our game is paramount and the knowledge your Code38 will handle the most challenging of corks is priceless.” He sees one in the hands of more sommeliers and wine lovers as a future trend for the wine industry. You heard it from Shawn!