Meet the Judges: Mary Gorman MW

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  • Monday 4 March 2013

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Decanter World Wine Awards, we're profiling a number of this year's judges, who are some of the world's most renowned wine experts. Our 'Meet the Judges' interview series offers a rare insight into the world of wine and judging from the key industry experts choosing this year's best wines.

Mary Gorman MW DWWA Judge 2013

Mary Gorman MW was born in Ireland and has a background in business. Now living in America, read about her life as New York-based Master of Wine...

Tell us a little about yourself – where are you based and where do you work?

I am a Master of Wine, Irish, but living and working in New York. I have several areas of interest in wine: I am an independent consultant with a major focus on education and business strategy; the wine columnist for Apartment Therapy – a successful blog; a wine judge, and a seminar/conference speaker.

Tell us a bit about your expertise and how you got into wine?

In 2002, after I moved to New York with my husband, I decided to follow my passion for wine. Prior to this, I held various Senior Management positions within the management consulting and technology industries, as well as spending some time in the academic world as a business school lecturer in International Marketing. My expertise today very much marries my ‘old life’ in business with my wine knowledge and finely tuned palate.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while working in wine?

Remain humble and be open and always ready to learn.

Who has been your biggest inspiration during your wine career?

There have been too many to mention just one, but a few in particular stand out…Firstly Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, Chef de Cave at Champagne Louis Roederer, and Jean-Michel Comme, General Manager at Château Pontet-Canet – two incredibly passionate, innovative and insightful leaders.

Also, I have to mention the many Masters of Wine, who helped and encouraged me throughout my journey towards becoming an MW.

What are your most memorable wine moments from the last ten years?

Two especially stand out – September 2011, on learning that I had become a Master of Wine, and last year (2012), when I was honoured as a Dame Chevalier de L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne.

Which kinds of wines do you think should be given more attention in 2013?

Hungarian Furmint, Beaujolais (as it has never been better), Trocken German Riesling, Greek wines beyond Assyrtiko, affordable good Bordeaux, and Sicilian wines beyond Nero d’Avola.

Which wines are you drinking at home at the moment?

I enjoy a huge variety of wines, and therefore a well-stocked wine fridge. I probably lean more towards the Old World – I’m loving the Jura and indigenous Italian varieties, and Chablis always has a place at my table. That said, I have developed a love of good Pinot Noir from the cooler parts of California’s Sonoma Coast, as well as older Napa Cabernet Sauvignons (at least 10-12 years old).

What’s your desert island wine?

I have two actually, and both are Champagne:

  • 1996 Cristal Champagne, which would meet my need for desert island refreshment and also stand the test of time if I was stranded for a long while.
  • Extra Brut Champagne from grower Marie-Noelle Ledru - wonderfully minerally and complex, it would keep me intellectually engaged if I ran out of books!

What single piece of advice do you have for people just starting out in wine?

Listen, be open to new things, explore, experiment, drop all biases and most importantly develop and trust your own palate.

When judging, what are you looking for in great wine?

I am seeking a whole and complete wine. Obviously balance, length and depth of flavour are all important, but I am also looking for something more, that extra something that pulls me back to the glass.

Finally, what are you looking forward to most about judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards?

The opportunity to taste with such a phenomenal panel of judges, as well as the opportunity to experience current wine trends, and to further understand what is happening in wine around the world. I am also looking forward to meaningful and dynamic banter and exchanges with my judging panel colleagues.

The Decanter World Wine Awards 2013 is now open for entries. Click here for more information and to enter wines into this year's competition.

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