Growing up in Matteo’s, his father’s famous Italian restaurant in Los Angeles, frequented by Rat Pack and Frank Sinatra in its heyday, Michael Jordan MS got a head start in the hospitality industry. Dubbed as “Sommelier of the people,” he went on to work as wine director for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide and Beachcomber Restaurant Group before becoming the director of Jackson Family Wines’ global key accounts. Also a Certified Wine Educator (CWE), Jordan was in Hong Kong last week for a Pinot Noir masterclass, comparing a flight of four Pinot Noirs from Jackson Family Wines against another four wines from Oregon owned by the group. The Master Sommelier chats to dbHK on the sideline about a special 1863 Madeira, drinking a 1961 Musigny and his lifelong ambition to learn how to drink a magnum of Pinot Noir under a swimming pool.[ Host of the What’s Cookin’ On Wine with Michael Jordan show every Friday on CRN Digital Talk.]
What vintage are you?
1958. Wasn’t a good vintage for wine. It’s really hard to find a good vintage in that year.
What bottle sparked your love of wine?
It was a 1961 Musigny that I had at a Christmas dinner with my mother. We own restaurants and she bought a case of that. I remember the case was sitting in the dining room, in a wooden box, and she opened this wine and I had tasted wine before but I could tell this was really a good wine. It was silky, delicious and I found that I enjoyed the flavours and I liked how it went well with the food at just nine years old.
What would you be as a wine?
I have to be a Pinot Noir. It’s my favourite grape.
Where are you happiest?
Being at home with my family, cooking for them.
What’s your greatest vice?
Bacon. I am pretty square in my old age. I was a hippie, played music and loved that crazy lifestyle but I am old now, so pretty square. Not too much vice, worst thing I could think of is probably bacon.
Best advice you ever got?
Grateful people are happy people; and those who are not, aren’t. A very dear man told me that. He was like a father to me, and really helped me to learn about life, people, balance and respect. Now I am going to cry. That simple thing says so much about people. If you are grateful, you will be happy. Those people who are not happy don’t have the gratitude for life. For me right now, I am perfectly happy. This is the greatest job I ever had, but don’t tell my boss, otherwise I will never get a raise!
Your cellar’s underwater, which bottle would you dive in and save?
My 1863 Madeira. That’s a Civil War wine. That’s an Abraham Lincoln wine and it’s delicious still. I still have a couple of bottles left. That’s irreplaceable. For Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling, they will make more, but there will never be another Madeira from 1863. That’s special. That’s drinking history in the glass, a peak moment for wine.
What’s the best and worst thing about the wine business?
Best thing is the look on the guest when you introduce them a wine they never tasted and they just love it. The worst thing, there isn’t any more left.
What’s on your wine bucket list?
I want to learn how to drink a magnum of delicious Pinot Noir underwater in a swimming pool!
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Leonardo Da Vinci, my dad and my wife.
Personal satisfaction (Parker points – out of 100)？
90 points. Still has some room to grow.
Which wine would you like served at your funeral?
1863 Madeira. 1999 La Tâche if they can find it. Actually I take it back. I am gonna drink them all before I am dead so there won’t be any left for my funeral. I will drink and share them with my friends so there won’t be any left.
10th April, 2017 by Natalie Wang