Maison Vauron is one of Auckland’s hidden gems. The Newmarket-based cellar shop and ‘atelier de fromage’ has been curating the best in French wine and cheese for over two decades - and with the current lockdown, is doing even more business than ever as people look to good food and drink to ease their spirits.
We spoke with Jean Tristan DeTourbet, the team’s new sommelier and a Burgundy native, about his background in the industry, what he looks for in a wine and how he fell in love with the stuff in the first place.
Later this week Jean Tristan will also be taking us on a tour of some of his favourite bottles - all of which will be available to acquire through Maison Vauron.
Tell us about your background - what part of France did you grow up in? How did you get involved with the wine industry?
I was born in Burgundy and grew up in Salon de Provence near Marseille in the South of France. I started to work in the wine industry six years ago. Since I was a kid, I have always been very curious and interested in wine. At our family dinners I would always try to smell the wines. I passed a business diploma at a wine school in Marseille and after this I got my first job in the wine industry at a cellar specialising in wines from the South Rhone Valley and Provence (Châteauneuf du Pape, Hermitage and Rosé).
After two years I wanted to learn more, and I decided to move to Paris where I worked as a Bordeaux specialist in the biggest wine cellar in Europe with more than 6000 different prestigious wines from all around the world. After two years I made the decision to move to New Zealand to learn English and to keep developing my knowledge about international wines. My first job was as a Cellar Door managing the wine tastings at Saint Clair Estate in Blenheim in the South. After this I worked as a sommelier at Mudbrick Vineyard, before making the shift to Auckland city to start my new adventure at Maison Vauron.
For the uninitiated, where is a good place to start if you want to learn more about wine, and French wine in particular?
First, if you’re getting started with wine, you need to find what kind of wine you like and what flavours you prefer. For that, going to a cellar shop will be the best option. It’s a good idea to try different wines from different regions to develop the palate and learn what you like. We offer this at Maison Vauron - get in touch with us if you’d like to know more.
A good place to learn about wine will be going to a vineyard and talking with the winemakers, to understand the process and the different stages to make wine and the terroir and the climate. There is no one better person to talk about wine than the winemakers themselves.
We’ve got different events in France where you can go to learn about wine, which are great if you have the chance to attend. There are a lot of big tastings in the different regions where the winemakers are operating, and where you can drink their wines and ask questions - it’s a really good way to learn.