See Also – Dux In A Row below
Suffice to say….the best week of my wine life…!!It goes without saying, the opportunity to taste some unbelievably amazing wines over the 5 days and to be mentored by some of Australia’s finest wine people is just a crazy opportunity that should not be missed by anyone…. The group from LET 2010….have become new friends in wine for life, we’ve all bonded so well as a group, we’ve got together each year since then having our own LET weekend of amazing food and wine…. Kevin Glastonbury, Yalumba Wine Company
The Len Evans Scholarship will change your life. You will taste wines you most likely will never, ever see again. It resets any benchmark you may have ever preconceived…. Steve Flamsted, Innocent Bystander
The Len Evans Tutorial is simply the best fine wine educational event I have ever taken part in. Where else could a scholar taste a horizontal of DRC; Pendold’s Bin 60A, Lindeman’s 1959 and 1965 classics, Wynn’s 1955 “Michael”, Mildara 1963 “Peppermint Pattie” and 100’s of other great wines of the World? It’s “high-altitude” intensive palate training for a wine professional… Randall Pollard
‘As an MW I was asked why I wanted to partake in the Tutorial. I was told that I potentially had a lot to lose. My answer was simple. The Len Evans Tutorial is an occasion to celebrate the richness of Australian wine, its place in the world, and those who embrace it; while tasting outstanding wines. There is nothing to lose, but everything to gain.’… Ned Goodwin, MW
“One of the toughest, but most rewarding weeks. I encourage anyone for whom the love of wine burns bright to apply, apply, apply- it is not to be missed, and you will not be disappointed.” Corrina Wright, Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards
The Tutorial is far more than tasting once in a lifetime wines and bench marking one’s palate against industry icons; it’s an experience that greatly assists one in being actively involved in the nurturing of the Aussie wine industry. And the Dark ‘n’ Stormies are pretty good too. Thomas Hogan, The Boathouse Daylesford
‘This would have to be one of the most important weeks in my life that I would love to do over and over again- sad to realise you only get to do it once! My life has changed because of the LET and the experiences it provided. Tom Ward, Swinging Bridge
Acceptance into the Len Evans Tutorial is the most aspirational milestone anyone who is passionate and committed to the wine industry can achieve in Australia. The elite network of mentors and supportive camaraderie amongst the scholars provides an enriching and enlightening environment that challenges and rewards elevating the ordinary to extraordinary. The generosity of wines provided and the extreme calibre of their quality will provide a lifetime of epiphanic moments that can only propel you forward to achieve the wine industry’s greatest international accolade – Master of Wine. Elizabeth Reed, Samuel Smith & Son WA
“The Len Evans Tutorial has become essential to anyone looking for a career in any aspect of the Australian wine industry, as well as simply being an extraordinarily enjoyable week”. Ken Gargett
DUX IN A ROW
In November 2020, during what would have been the 20th year of the Tutorial, we asked our past LET Dux to share a few thoughts about their LET experience:
Tom Carson – 2001 LET DUX
Chief winemaker – Yabby Lake & Heathcote Estate
The tutorial meant a great to deal nearly 20 years ago and still today. It really opened the door the wine show judging that had previously been a closed shop to young judges, since then I have judged at every capital city wine show, having the honour of also chairing a couple. Getting that start at a relatively young age has also strengthened my resolve to continue to give opportunities to up and coming young judges.
The highlight of the LET was without doubt Len Evans himself in full flight, holding court through the day tastings and evenings, his wit and charm and the relentless banter between the tutors kept everyone on their toes and thoroughly entertained.
Hamish Seabrook – 2004 LET DUX
Owner/winemaker – Seabrook Wines in the Barossa Valley.
I was one of the very fortunate candidates to partake in the 2004 LET with the famous Len Evans himself. I was encouraged by Ian McKenzie to write and application letter to the tutorial while I was working at Bests Wines in Great Western. I was quite young back then and very green when it came to my wine knowledge however I found that the tutors where exemplary in their discussion about the wines of the world and I soaked up the information they provided. I feel that my time at the tutorial has profoundly changed my understanding and approach to winemaking (and drinking). It has encouraged me to see and seek the enormous myriad of wines, styles and winemaking techniques that make up great wines around the world and use this knowledge in my everyday winemaking in an attempt to make great wines myself.
There were many wine highlights such as the Evening dinner wines, in particular the old Australian Reds (1963 Peppermint Patty, 1945 Maurice O’Shea, 1971 Penfolds Bin 95 Grange) and the 1982 Bordeaux Tasting (Margaux, Petrus, Las Cases, Lafite and Latour) however the over all highlight was DRC masterclass where we looked at the 1983 vintage. This was not only exceptional to me as I had never seen any DRC prior to this let alone all six vineyards and to have the entire set explained in upmost detail has left a lasting memory with me.
The week was filled with some of the best wines I have ever tasted. I wish I could do it all over again.
Elizabeth Jackson – 2006 LET DUX
Chief Winemaker – First Creek & Silkman Wines
From polishing glasses to the most amazing experience of being named Dux in 2006 The Len Evans Tutorial has become part of my life. The week is always different and amazing it has kept growing and adapting with the calibre of the wines always on point. I look back at the photos of myself in 2006 and the emotion is still so real. As a young female it threw me head first into the world of Wine show judging I loved it then and I still love it.
A story goes with this that Riggs loves to tell , along the lines of me saying out loud that I thought this was new world producer trying to make an old world style – it was the 2005 DRC Le Montrachet. I still remember the beautiful complex nose and great acid.
I can also remember Mr Evans optioning off a 1929 Ch. Lafite as his conception year wine – as his birth year wasn’t up to scratch. – loved it. It was still fruit driven and pure.
Sue Bell – 2007 LET DUX
Winemaker/Director – Bellwether
It was an honour to finally get in, I had been applying for years and was grateful to finally get a look in. The tasting environment with the tutors and other scholarship winners provides a special education experience – the diversity of knowledge in the room is great, multi layered! The wines test you, delight you and blow your mind. It then opens many doors afterwards.
The champagne every night before dinner was a treat I got used to very quickly – so civilised! Our Melbourne cup champagne list had several 96’s including Salon. The old Aussie red bracket is always hard to top but a bracket of Bordeaux Chateau Siran dating from 1966 back to 1918 would have to be my revelation! My top wine was the 1924 Chateau Montrose – and I still have the bottle!
Adam Wadewitz – 2009 LET DUX (EQUAL)
Chief Winemaker and Joint CEO – Shaw and Smith
Once in a lifetime opportunity to have:
- the steepest wine education
- taste some of the world’s most amazing wines in context
- create some remarkable memories
- forge great friendships
Highlight wine of your LET week. 1969 DRC Richebourg at dinner… ( I thought about having a crack at JH’s glass when he left the table, but then reconsidered as I wanted to continue working in wine…
Stuart J Halliday – 2009 LET Dux (Equal)
Ivy Bottle Shop Manager @ Merivale.
Probably one of the great highlights of 09 were the life long friendships that have grown from the LET week.
But, the blind tasting, ‘Options’ during the evening dinners were also most memorable.
In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t get sucked into Nick Ryan’s late night Negroni sessions, which I’m sure helped me in the following mornings bracket of wines.Also, a note to students to follow, make sure JH gets a winning ticket in the Melbourne Cup sweepstakes, it’s sure to put him in a good mood for the evening session.
Liam O’Brien, 2010 LET DUX
Owner/vigneron at Athletes Of Wine, Head Sommelier at Cutler & Co and Marion Wine Bar.
Being at the tutorial was a chance to understand more about the wines and wine people of Australia – who/what had gone before me and what was happening now. I remember a lot of discussion about what was to come too, and it shone a light on how important it is to strive (without trying too hard) to make great wines that respect the soil by not damaging it nor speaking too loudly over the top of it. It also taught me in my day job that it’s important to act as a connection between farmer and consumer and to work harder at supporting/buying wine from good people who make good wine and who are good to the earth.
Wine highlight: I’ll be good and stick to the criteria – one wine! 2006 Kumeu ‘Hunting Hill’ Chardonnay.
David Brookes – 2011 LET DUX
Even though I managed to come away with the Dux of my year (I still refer to it as my Steven Bradbury moment), for me, getting into LET itself was the prize and it was the culmination of many years spent working across the wine industry and many years sending in applications!! It was a chance to challenge myself, not only against my fellow scholars but within; a chance to express arguments for and against certain wines based on my own experience and assessment and a chance to gauge where the famous bottles across the history of Australian wine sat against their esteemed European cousins.
Highlight wine: I’m guessing there will be a few mentions of the DRC tasting, the incredible wines and options games at the dinners, the daily master classes or perhaps the nerve-wracking morning judging sessions. For me, I think the highlight was to forge friendships and be amongst a group of talented wine people who were all there to challenge themselves and each other.
Ned Goodwin – 2012 LET DUX
Host of Langton’s TV, Halliday Critic, Asia-Pacific Ambassador: Charles Heidsieck Champagne, writer of this and that, Advisory Chair: Biondi-Santi
Still living in Japan at the time, I finally transcended an application process that seemed wired to Australian residents only. In fact, my year was the first that an MW (self) and an MS (Michael Engelmann) were among the scholars. Salient because I was a non-Australian resident and he, a foreign resident of Australia! We marked a positive shift of the paradigm.
Before arriving in Sydney, I had no idea about his participation, nor of the competitive nature of the Tutorial. It was only upon sitting down for the first session that it dawned on me that it was a showdown of sorts. Naive, I was! Yet it was the camaraderie and palpable sense that should I return to these shores (which I was strongly considering) there were ample opportunities for me to contribute to the betterment of Australian wine while making a living.
Most memorable wines: 1971 Rayas and 1965 Lindemans Bin 3100
Matthew Brooke – 2014 LET DUX
Director of Wine – Crown Melbourne
The tutorial was a way of getting a stronger foot in the door for show judging opportunities. It’s the ultimate blind tasting experience that really hones your knowledge and understanding of what is expected of a judge and how to really asses and reward quality, a benchmarking experience like no other.
The highlights were many, tasting a ‘Madeira’ from 1889, the brackets of older Aussie reds some of which don’t exist anymore was a history lesson, shit canning a 1990 Chateau Lafite, hard to narrow to one wine but I’ll always remember nailing the Rousseau Chambertin in the judging. Finally the dinner wines in general were a once in a lifetime and mind blowing. @sommeliermatt
Stuart Hordern – 2016 LET DUX
Senior winemaker – Brokenwood Wines
What the Tutorial meant to me: The opportunity to contrast and compare the finest Australian wines with the great wines of the world, combined with the experience, knowledge and generosity of the tutors; the camaraderie with my fellow scholars, it all combines to make the greatest week in my wine career. Representing the Hunter Valley as also a real thrill.
One of the great institutions in Australian Wine and long may it reign.
Highlight wine of your LET week. 1990 La Chapelle or 1965 Lindemans 3100 Hunter River Burgundy
Julian Grounds – 2017 LET DUX
Chief Winemaker – Craggy Range, New Zealand
Hard to qualify what the Tutorial meant to me. Life changing. Challenged my assessment of my knowledge of the world of fine wine, which reset my internal benchmark of the aspirational quality of the wines I help to produce. Also gave me perspective of my place in the large history of Australian wine, something I found very grounding and again motivating. The collegiate nature of the week was greater than I could have predicted and the friendships born from one week seem eternal.
Highlight wine: Tie between the 1947 Mount Pleasant Henry 111 Dry Red or the Canepa Finisimo cabernet sauvignon – weren’t the greatest wines of the week but definitely the most memorable narratives as to how they came to be.
Tim Dolan – 2018 LET DUX
Senior Winemaker – Peter Lehmann Wines.
From a learning perspective, it was amazing to benchmark wines made at Peter Lehmann against some of the best wines in the world, and to think a little deeper and more broadly about the styles of wine we are making now and into the future.
To taste and learn alongside some of Australia’s (and the worlds) greatest wine industry people was also incredibly humbling. I loved every minute!
Most memorable wines: Pretty hard to go past the 1965 Lindeman’s HRB Shiraz Bin 3110. Tasted blind on night one of the Tutorial – the quality, freshness and history surrounding this wine blew all of the scholars minds!
Adam Walls – 2019 LET DUX
Wine Buyer at Wine Selectors
It is the best opportunity I have ever had to refine my tasting skills and listen and learn from some of the best minds and palates in the business. Both tutors and fellow scholars were sources of inspiration and knowledge.
Most memorable wine: 1970 Château Latour
#lenevanstutorial #duxinarow #letnov20 @lenevanstutorial