Exploring a world of experiences that are truly out of the ordinary, Nathalie Amey wants to share her passion for fine wine, terroir and sustainability with all that are interested.
This stylish French woman lovingly blends experiences such as sailing the azure waters of Croatia’s Dalmatian islands seeking fine wine and walking the hot, or trekking on the dusty roads of South Australia’s Barossa Valley in the height of a scorching Australian summer. Hungry to feed her inquisitive mind paired with a deep love of wine and a passion for all things natural she seeks the path less travelled and ventures all over the world on a unique wine journey of discovery.
About Nathalie Amey: Wine Connoisseur, Educator, Gourmet.
“I felt at one with nature. It was growing up on the farm I gained an increased sensitivity to the natural essences of plants, developing my palate and being nourished by the earthly riches of Normandy.”
Nathalie Amey’s passion for nature started as a small girl growing up on a farm in Normandy. It’s this connection with the land that still drives Nathalie to seek out organic and natural wines that are a true expression of terroir. It’s something of a contrast that her bespoke wine tours and wine courses are luxurious affairs. A mix of guests getting their hands dirty for example in the back-blocks of Australia but retreating to the delights of Michelin star dining and a sumptuous suite in the confines of the17th century Hotel Fortaleza do Guincho in Portugal. Nathalie is a Frenchwoman after all and some things must be done in style. Nathalie’s life has revolved around hospitality, wine and travel. Whether it has been organising wine tastings for the United States embassy, NATO and the Royal Navy on discovering Portuguese wines or guiding a group of Japanese sommelier through the vineyards of California, there has always been a common thread. Real wine, done in style. Just ask Prince Nikola Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro. He turned to Nathalie to recreate a dinner from the 19th century for a special one-off event that was a truly grand and special occasion.
History Explored Through the Eyes of Wine
With 19th century European dining and grandeur in mind, did you know that in the late 1800’s, virtually all of Europe’s vineyards where wiped out by the Phylloxera epidemic? The wine industry in Europe would hardly exist today if it wasn’t for the grafting of American root stock to European vines that resist the Phylloxera insect pests. The use of resistant American rootstock to guard against Phylloxera also brought about a debate that remains unsettled to this day: whether the original, self-rooted vines produce better wine than those that are grafted. What has all this got to do with Nathalie?
It’s a little know fact that Australia’s wine making history goes back almost 200 years.
While European vineyards were being ravaged by the Phylloxera insect, the well established vineyards in remote Australia were untouched. As a result, some of the world’s oldest ungrafted, ‘pure’ commercial grape vines can be found there. To someone like Nathalie, this is like honey to the bee, a quest for the holy grail. The Barossa Valley in South Australia is perhaps Australia’s best know wine region. Settled in the mid 1800’s by German Lutherans escaping religious persecution in their homeland, they bought with them a love of wine and their wine making skills.
None are better showcased than by the Henschke family. They are 6th generation winemakers and their iconic Hill of Grace shiraz is one of Australia’s most esteemed and prestigious wines. Made from grapes picked from 150 year old vines, these are the oldest commercially producing shiraz vines in the world. And because they predate the phylloxera epidemic in France, they are ungrafted. A claim no French wine maker can make. So with this in mind, Nathalie had to see the vines for herself and more importantly, taste the wine. With her keen interest in natural wines and sustainability, the fact that all the Henschke vineyards are farmed biodynamically was the icing on the cake.
It was no easy feat finding the iconic Hill of Grace block amongst the dirt back roads and sweltering heat but the giveaway was the neat Lutheran church that stands across the road from the vineyard. And there they were, in the middle of nowhere, still as robust and vibrant as when they were planted in the 1860s. Something of a spiritual journey for someone like Nathalie, one that took her half way around the world. And what did Nathalie think about the wine? Well, a favourite quote comes to mind when she tastes nirvana, “Aaah, this IS wine…..” spoken in her delightful French accent.
But it’s not all exploration and wine quests of the Indiana Jones nature for Nathalie and her guests. It’s second nature for Nathalie to share her passion and knowledge of wine (and food). She has conducted wine education courses for many years and is now taking her course aimed at small private groups to wineries and luxury country retreats in France, Portugal and Australia. The Hôtel Le Cep is an institution for wine lovers worldwide who come to sample the delights of Burgundy. The historic Hotel Fortaleza do Guincho, perched high on a cliff above the Atlantic just outside
Lisbon. These are the venues for Nathalie’s European courses. And of course, there is the wonderful La Ferme du Bon Dieu in Provence. A beautifully restored 18th century farmhouse, this is the location for a 7 day wine education course and retreat. Who wouldn’t like to spend a summer’s week in Provence, learning all you wanted to know about wine and enjoying the charm of life in a country villa in the south of France?
And the pièce de résistance? In keeping with Nathalie’s philosophy of seeking out the unique and taking the road less travelled, there is her wine tour of the Croatian islands. This is a wine tour like no other which combines two sublime pleasures – wine and sailing. Living on board a luxury catamaran for seven days, sailing amongst the magical islands of the Dalmatian coast, is this one of the world’s most unique wine tours? Many people would be surprised at the quality and breadth of wines that can be found amongst the islands. And the settings. Sometimes the vineyards take your breath away as they spill down the slopes and end on beaches with aquamarine waters that are amongst the bluest in the world.
A perfect mix of sampling the vibe of ancient, charming towns and villages as well as those times when we find a perfect beach and quiet anchorage to enjoy the beauty and solitude that is the islands of the Dalmatian coast. And so the journey continues, seeking out those experiences that are truly out of the ordinary. Nathalie wants to share her passion for fine wine, terroir and sustainability with all that are interested. It doesn’t have to be at the expense of doing it in style though.
For more information visit Nathalie Amey International www.nathalieamey.com.