Meet the Judges – Leanne Altman

July 30, 2021

Leanne Altman


Introducing our Labelmakers Geographe & WA Alternative Varieties Wine Show chief judge in 2021, taking on the torch passed on by Julian Langworthy – Melbourne based sommelier and wine communicator Leanne Altmann! 

A passionate wine educator, Leanne is a Certified Educator with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, a contributor to The Saturday Paper, and occasional wine judge. After joining Cutler & Co. in 2009, Leanne was part of the Supernormal opening team, and has been in her current role of Beverage Director for Trader House since 2017. Her most recent project was the opening of Andrew McConnell’s newest restaurant, Gimlet at Cavendish House. We asked Leanne (and all our 2021 judging panel) a few questions in preparation for getting to know them throughout the Show…

What was the last show stopping wine you drank?
“A recent memorable discovery was a bottle of 2020 Unico Zelo Halcyon Days Nero d’Avola from Riverland, South Australia. I’m an admirer of Laura and Brendan’s wines and particularly their dedication to environmental and human sustainability, but this wine knocked it out of the park. Medium bodied, supple and open, it was just a delight. Why drink Beaujolais when you could drink great Aussie Nero? Of course I managed to taste it just as the wine sold out with my supplier, so I’ll have to wait until next year to taste it again.”

What is your go to food and wine pairing?
“There is something magical about wine and food pairings that grew up together and the way that they complement each other in both flavour profile and texture. A particular favourite is off-dry Mosel riesling with roasted pork cooked with apples. The interplay of delicate sweetness in both the wine and the meat, with racy acidity to balance richness, is infallibly successful.”

Earliest memory of wine?
“I don’t really have an early memory of wine. My family has a great enthusiasm for food and cooking, and we always had wine at the table. An early tasting that had a lasting impact on me was the wine where I first perceived distinctive varietal character – none other than Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. It certainly set me on a path of study and discovery!”

What gets you excited about the Geographe wine region?
“I am thrilled to be visiting Geographe for the first time. I haven’t seen many of the producers represented in Melbourne, but the wines I’ve tried so far have always captured my interest. I look forward to learning more about this diverse and exciting corner of Western Australia.”

What’s the most interesting part of wine judging for you?
“I particularly enjoy judging at regional shows as they can provide a deep insight into a place. Sharing the community of wine with winemakers and fellow judges is wonderful, but at its best, a wine show provides a comprehensive snapshot of a region and its producers – a moment in time. I can’t wait to taste the story of Geographe.”

Stay tuned for our next profile, on Senior Judge, Robert Diletti