See Max's debut column, Australia's next generation.
Constantly striving to improve, we at JancisRobinson.com are delighted to announce another regular wine columnist to add to our stable of Alder Yarrow of Vinography.com on America and Alex Hunt MW on matters of taste - not to mention Nick Lander of the FT on restaurants. See here for the rest of our esteemed and swelling team (numbers not girths).
Max Allen will be writing regularly for us about matters Australian. He is one of Australia's leading wine writers and, although born in Britain, has been writing about wine from his base in Melbourne for 20 years. Among many other roles, he is wine columnist for The Weekend Australian and wine editor of Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine.
His first book Red and White: Wine Made Simple came like a breath of fresh air in 1997 and is currently being updated. James Halliday called it 'by far the most enjoyable basic introduction to wine I have ever read or am ever likely to read. Indeed, it is one of the best books on wine of any description I have seen.' He has written several more, of which the recent The Future Makers: Australian Wines for the 21st Century has won a string of significant awards and is a particular favourite of mine. In it he describes 'the people putting the heart and soul back into Australian wine' and it was partly because of this that I asked him to devote his first column to introducing non-Australian wine lovers to the next generation of over-achieving young Australian wine producers. Look out for this fascinating guide to up-and-coming names next week.
Max, just a teensy bit beard-and-sandals, wears his biodynamic heart on his sleeve and has in his time published online what he calls 'an independent, critical guide to biodynamics in Australian vineyards'. He co-produced an early app on wine and cheese matching, and is in the process of amalgamating all his not inconsiderable personal online oeuvre at maxallen.com.au. This will be ready very soon but for the moment you can get a flavour of his views on his old blog. As you can see, he has fully embraced new media and can be followed on Twitter @maxallenwine. He has played a particularly important part in producers' current enthusiasm for widening the range of grape varieties planted in Australia, however laborious (see Importing vines into Australia), and is chief judge at the Organic Wine Show in Sydney and was, until recently, chief judge at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show in Mildura.
So far in our 13-year history we have lost only one significant JancisRobinson.com team member. Luis Gutiérrez preceded Ferran Centelles as our Spanish specialist until he defected to The Wine Advocate team earlier this year. (Funnily enough, a couple of weeks ago Luis and Ferran ended up tasting, unwittingly, in adjacent rooms at the Monterrei Consejo, before having a jolly lunch together.) But when I look at our line-up I see that Luis's departure was inevitable. Luis lacks an A in his name. Max on the other hand is clearly exceptionally well qualified to join us.
Max was photographed by Andrew Chapman.