Q&A // Gayan and Nathan - Palate Profiling and Wine Advisory

Marina Gayan MW and Helen Nathan are the talented duo at Gayan and Nathan, a bespoke professional wine service.

Marina is one of only a few hundred world-wide to have gained a Master of Wine. Read here for more about the Master of Wine (MW).

Helen’s professional expertise in food includes publications and experience in some of the word’s top restaurants.  Together, they introduce their clients to wines they will love, driven by their individual palate choices and not labels. Their service is exclusive and unique.

Cellar Maison are very pleased to bring our clients exclusive events and personal services through Gayan and Nathan to help enhance knowledge and enjoyment of buying, drinking and cellaring wine.

Here is a Q&A with input from both Marina Gayan MW and Helen Nathan. Marina will be providing more technical answers to questions in articles coming up.

Following on from here, we will also offer the rare opportunity to ask Marina Gayan specific questions of your own. Keep in touch here for details.

Q:  What are your core services offered at Gayan + Nathan?

A: First and foremost we want to help people find wines they really enjoy. We offer a palate profiling service – A type of ‘treasure hunt’ – where we examine wines clients currently drink, test their palate and then introduce them to similar or complimentary styles from other wine regions across the world. Once we know what wines suit, we run a personal wine shopping service and can advise on stocking and maintaining small or large cellars. Being independent, we buy on our clients’ behalf from some of the worlds best wine makers and importers. Additionally, we have helped fill cellars in ski chalets and game lodges around the globe.

Q: Who do you work with? Is this something that can be tailored to individual needs?

A: We work with anyone interested in wine; from the novice wine enthusiast, embarking for the first time on filling a cellar, through to the most experienced collectors, who may have knowledge in certain areas, but wish to expand their wine horizons – as one client put it “Gayan and Nathan awakened the inner wine child in me again!”

Q: Do you find there is an element of anxiety from people concerned about ‘getting it wrong’ when it comes to wine choices?

A: It’s all about enjoyment, so for us it’s important to remove any possible anxiety. We metaphorically hold your hand every step of the way. There are no right or wrong answers it’s purely about personal taste. With Marina’s vast wine knowledge, having tasted thousands of wines (and noted her results) over almost 3 decades, she uses this unique experience to link tastes and styles and help our clients find wines again and again that they really enjoy, not driven by labels or fashion.

Q: How do you cater to the requirements of your clients who are established wine collectors and what particular services are best suited to them?

A: Some clients are extremely knowledgeable and we love meeting people who share our passion. Some Bordeaux collectors might be interested to expand their knowledge of super Tuscans or the cooler climate regions of the new world. Others might love Pinot Noir but wish to learn more about how the grape is used outside Burgundy. We have run blind left bank vs right bank Bordeaux tastings, horizontal tastings of a particular chateaux, the list is endlessly exciting! We are keen to talk to anyone who shares our love of wine, whatever their knowledge or experience.

Q: What is the best way for someone who would like to develop their knowledge of wine and wine cellaring at home to start?

A: The best way to start is to open bottles and taste wines blind. You wouldn’t buy a perfume purely on the packaging and you shouldn’t buy wines because someone else tells you they are good. With the total number of taste buds humans have ranging from 500 to 11,000, people at opposite ends of this spectrum will have a natural predisposition to like different styles of wines. Which wines you like when tasted blind is purely a matter of personal taste. That’s why at Gayan and Nathan we start everything we do with palate profiling.

Q: Do you have advice for people concerned about how to choose the best wine to compliment the food they are serving?

As a chef, I think it’s really important to match wines to suit the food you enjoy. We always accompany our wine suggestions with suggested menus and food pairings Wine on its own can taste completely different when drunk along side food. At a recent blind sparking session we tasted a selection of wines including Bollinger NV, which none of the guests surprising enjoyed until accompanied with food.

Q: How do you find people respond during and after your Palate Profiling?

A: Some people worry that the session may be intimidating but we always try and put clients at ease and explain that there are no right or wrong answers. As soon as you bag up a wine and cover its label, the only question you have to ask yourself is “do I like it or not’ People often come away from palate profiling pleasantly surprised with a new found love of a different style to one they have currently coveted. We don’t try and trick people or catch them out. Sometimes the most experienced wine drinkers find it hardest to let go of their intellectual wine knowledge and let their palate lead the show. Palate profiling isn’t there for people to guess what they are drinking, but to dig a little deeper and examine what it is about certain wines they like or dislike.

Marina Gayan MW will be answering general cellaring questions soon, but in the meantime if you have anything specific you would like to ask her or Helen Nathan, please contact us at info@cellarmaison.com or info@gayanandnathan.com with subject line: G&N Wine Question.

The Gayan and Nathan private palate profiling service is lead by Master of wine Marina Gayan with food specially prepared by chef Helen Nathan. This can organised in your own home or office with up to 4 guests. For further information, please contact Helen Nathan at <a href="http://www.gayanandnathan.com/" target="_blank">www.gayanandnathan.com</a>