Everybody’s swooning over Mr Nobody

Just when you thought nobody regards fortified wines with enough love, Mr Nobody arrives to prove us wrong with a seductive new cellar door offering in the centre of Auburn.

Mr Nobody, located in the rugged stone building that also houses Terroir Restaurant, is the brainchild of Shut the Gate’s Rasa Fabian and Richard Woods.

They see fortified wines becoming a hot new bar trend – sitting beside cocktails in the elegant luxury drink market – and also wanted to grasp the opportunity to have creative fun as producers.

“Fortified wines are the forgotten gems of the Australian wine market, so we thought that with relevant packaging and a dedicated cellar door tasting space to create a certain style, we might entice a younger generation to embrace these wines,” says Richard.

The couple’s previous experience as marketing executives with Seppelt, Penfolds and Brown Brothers taught them that people love the seductive taste of fortified wines, but also informed them that retail outlets won’t support the style, so they had to find other ways of getting the luscious drops into people’s mouths.

So, they’ve created a rarefied tasting experience at the Mr Nobody cellar door that guides seated guests through a suite of four fortified tastings, in petite vintage crystal glasses, for a $10 fee (redeemable through bottle purchases).

Rasa and Richard have fortified two of their own white wines as part of this project – riesling and viognier. All are hand-bottled, hand-labelled and wax sealed, bearing the same sophisticated attention to packaging detail that has become a hallmark of Shut the Gate wines.

However, it’s not just Rasa and Richard’s own handiwork on show within the Mr Nobody range. They are also sourcing old fortified supplies from dusty barrels stored far and wide – hence the brand name, to signify that not one person represents the sum of this range, but many.

Their extensive wine industry experience and contacts have helped them identify many barrels of superior fortifieds concealed deep within big winery’s inventories. It’s now their mission to purchase and liberate them from the dusty cellars – but only decanting them from barrel in small batches to ensure maximum vitality.

The range at the Mr Nobody cellar door is augmented by some elegant foreign drinking companions – Spanish fino and beers, and Ruinart Champagne - along with Miss Somebody pinot/chardonnay, a seriously dry sparkling wine produced by Rasa and Richard in collaboration with Nick Walker, of O’Leary Walker Wines.

More ideas are set to follow, with plans to track down forgotten fortified across Australia – from Rutherglen to the Swan Valley, to old Hunter Valley verdelho. Inspired by the Vin Doux Naturel style of Southern France, Rasa and Richard are also thinking about light fortifieds flavoured with walnuts or pomegranates. “We’re keen to have a play,” offers Richard with a sly grin.

They are already seeing a more enthusiastic response at the Mr Nobody Cellar Door than anticipated. “Millennials who are prepared to hand over $80 for a bottle of craft gin also appreciate the value in these old gems, and older customers are just delighted to be rediscovering the taste of wines they tried and loved so much when they were young,” says Richard. “We’re getting people who buy a bottle of each style they taste, or a mixed six pack. Once they taste them, they’re hooked.”

Mr Nobody, at 21 Horrocks Highway, Auburn, is open from Thursday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm – with the extended trading time of 7pm on Friday, for
pre-dinner drinks.


This article is courtesy of the Plains Producer and is from the 2021 Spring Valley & Flinders Magazine which can be read online in full.